20 Jul 2013

Operation kick Kenneth out!

Hello my lovelies. I cannot believe it has been over 4 weeks since I last blogged. I am very sorry. I do however have a genuine excuse for my poor attendance. All will be explained later…

So here I am nearly 5 weeks post surgery writing to you all KENNETH FREE. I could pretend that everything has been sunshine and giggles for the past 5 weeks, but that would be all I was doing, pretending I mean. You see in truth moments of the past 5 weeks have probably been some of the hardest moments of my life and it would be wrong of me to pretend otherwise. Although I have remained fairly upbeat and positive throughout my treatment, there were some moments where I was overcome with grief. These moments were all experienced during my two week post op hospital stay and I can honestly say that not one tear has been shed since I returned home. I am also blaming the morphine for some of my mini breakdowns. I’m going to split this blog into sections to make it easier for some of you to digest, but I am warning you it is a long one.

THE OPERATION (18/06/2013)

I woke up in hospital on the day of my operation feeling surprisingly calm. Madre came into the hospital and accompanied me whilst I waited to see my surgeons, sign consent forms and finally be wheeled off to have my anaesthetic. My plastic surgeon (who by the way is one of my favourite doctors ever) was amazing with me on the morning of surgery. He came in, gave me a hug and promised that he would look after me and I completely trusted that he would do just that. I remember signing consent forms and suddenly beginning to feel nervous. I did my best not to let it show but I think a tear or two did silently slip down my cheek. The anaesthetist and her team were really great with me and before I knew it I was sound asleep. 

The first thing I remember after waking up was an overwhelming pain in my shoulder. Yes that’s right my shoulder, not my operation sites. I was given more pain relief and I saw a couple of lovely friends (because Madre wasn’t quite at the hospital yet). I can barely remember what we talked about and I don’t think I want to. It is in the past now and all I know is that I really did not feel well. I was told the operation was successful but took nearly 12 and a half hours. I was then moved to intensive care where I finally got to see my mum. I remember complaining about being thirsty and I swear the first glass of water I had was the best glass of water I’ve ever drank in my life. It wasn’t long before I began to realise that something was wrong with my left arm. 

I couldn’t move it. I couldn’t feel it. Surely this wasn’t supposed to happen. The nurse told me it was probably because of the arterial line I had in my arm (a big old tube in my artery). I felt a bit like Frankenstine, my body didn’t really feel like my own. I had two drips in my feet because the veins in my arm were so destroyed from chemo. I was being pumped with all kinds of things. My blood pressure was really low and so I had loads of fluid to try and bring it up, I also needed magnesium and other things I had low levels of. I was so swollen I felt like a balloon. The nurse promised me it was temporary although I didn’t believe her. All the while I was wrapped in a plastic blanket that had hot air being pumped through it called a bear hugger. I hated it. I was uncomfortable, sore and feeling pretty rotten. Late the next night I was finally moved out of ICU to a normal ward.

I didn’t like it. Something didn’t feel right. I felt really poorly. To make matters worse I then got a temperature. I was boiling but the nurses wouldn’t let me take the blanket off. In all honesty it was one of the worse nights of my life. I have never felt so poorly, ever. I was uncomfortable, tired and hot. SO hot. I had doctors coming in to check on me, drain blood blisters, give me blood transfusions and IV antibiotics. I knew something was wrong. Eventually the next morning I saw my surgeon and was told I had to go back to surgery. Luckily Snoop Doggy Rob was on his way and this time it was his turn to come with me to theatre. I think it is safe to say that both of us were pretty anxious. My veins were playing up and so I had to have a central line put in. For those of you who don’t know, a central line is a tube that goes in your neck and connects to a large vein by your heart. It is held in place by a stitch and although it wasn’t painful it was pretty uncomfortable as it had 3 tubes hanging off it. It was really useful though as it meant no more needles for me. All blood tests, blood transfusions and drugs could all happen from this one point, my hands and feet were free.

WEEK ONE POST OP (or should I say ops)

The second operation went well and luckily that was the last time I had to go to theatre. I had to have another two units of blood via a transfusion but then it was just a question of trying to control my pain. I was very uncomfortable I hated not being able to sleep on my side and being wrapped in plastic all the time. I was worried about my arm which I still couldn’t move but the thing that hurt the most was my stomach. Every time the nurses made me move position I was convinced I had ripped my stomach open. The first time I sat in a chair, 6 days post op, I sat like a hunched old woman for about half an hour before having to return to bed, exhausted. I had 6 drains attached to me that made life even more uncomfortable. At 22 years old I felt like a pensioner. I relied on nurses to wash me, dress me, pass me a drink. The only thing that made life bearable was my daily visitors. Snoop Doggy Rob came to see me every morning and spoon fed me smoothies, Madre massaged my dead arm to try and bring it back to life, Jane kept me up to date with gossip and Lucy didn’t bat an eyelid when I threw up all over her. I also have to mention my favourite nurse ever Hannah who is a young adults with cancer specialist nurse, who regularly came to visit me and cheer me up!


Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling that well on my birthday. To make matters worse I had dressings changed, 2 drains removed and I also had another moment when I was completely convinced I’d ripped my stitches (I hadn’t). I think it is fair to say that really I didn’t have the best of days. BUT you lot did yourselves proud on the card front. I have never ever seen so many cards in my life!! THANK YOU. Unfortunately though I couldn’t open one card or present myself because of my stupid arm, Naomi and Lucy did the honours. I received some lovely gifts and I’m sorry I was so bad at thanking you all, but please know that I am so grateful! Even when I didn’t have visitors I never felt alone surrounded by your messages of love and support. The cards covered an entire wall in my hospital room, a window sill and a ledge behind my bed. The best happy birthday song was from Hannah, she knows why!

The wall of love grew much more but this was it on the actual day

There were hundreds more cards behind me but I couldn't turn around to take a picture


I began to get some feeling and movement back in my arm but I still had pins and needles, numbness and was beginning to have some serious pains in my joints. I had lots and lots of physio on my arm but also on my legs because being completely bed ridden for a week meant that my muscles had wasted and I could barely stand let alone walk. Doctors began to investigate what was wrong with my arm and told me that I had some nerve damage. Throughout the week I gradually had the rest of my drains removed. In time I gradually began walking (I say walking but everyone who saw me probably thought it was more like watching the hunchback of Notre Dame after one too many drinks). When I proved I could safely walk up the stairs I was allowed to go home. The car journey home was hugely uncomfortable but I made it all in one piece.


Anybody reading this who is about to have this operation please don’t freak out. The nurses will be great (with a few exceptions) and normally you are allowed home after a week. I was different because I had my surgery after chemo and so my immune system wasn’t tip top, therefore it took me a while to shift my infection. The hardest part of my recovery was all arm related and the chance of your arm being damaged is exceptionally small. Nerve pain is the worst pain ever and my arm distracted me from everything else, I was ready to chop it off when finally the doctor gave me some nerve specific painkillers that actually worked. I had some tests at the hospital on Wednesday and they have said my Radial nerve is damaged (explaining why my thumb is still numb and difficult to move). Hopefully with time it will improve but I may never have complete sensation back in the arm. Bummer. Now that my pain is under control and I can move my fingers a bit better I am finally able to type. I do have to have regular breaks though as my arm gets easily tired. I am still unable to grip anything so I have learnt to eat one handed, open bottles one handed in fact really my right arm is pretty darn amazing!

I spent a lot of time watching Wimbledon and tried to spend a little time in the sun. I have had lots of visitors including these guys...

In terms of boobs everything is OK, I still have some open wounds (again because of rubbish immune system) that the lovely district nurses come to look after and there is still a lot of swelling, so really it’s pretty early days to be judging them. I am yet to have my follow up appointment with my surgeon but I am sure he will tell me more. But as i type to you now I am pretty happy with them. The scar on my stomach is massive but it's not as ugly as I thought it would be and again I know that with time it will get better. Funnily enough when I did get home part of my stomach scar did reopen but again the district nurses are sorting me out. 

So all in all after a pretty tough five weeks I am now on the mend and finally beginning to feel more human. I am looking forward to living my life and creating some happy memories for 2013. A full recovery is going to take a long time, I am still very tired, covered in cuts and bruises and mentally exhausted but I have proven to myself how brave I really am. I have learned that sometimes it is OK to cry, in fact its natural and part of the healing process. I’ve realised that sometimes I need to let people know how I’m really feeling because they can actually help. Most importantly I now firmly believe that having conquered the last eight months I really can do anything! 

Love you long time. X

ps. check out my new hair!!


  1. You are such an inspiration and well done for getting through it all and coming out the other side safe and sound and a stronger person :)

  2. Fantastic to hear everything is looking up! You're a great writer btw.

  3. You could give Jessie J a run for her money with that hairstyle :) hope your road to recovery goes well!

  4. Amazing to hear Laura! I love reading your blogs. Well done for getting through it and i hope your road to recovery goes well! You're so inspirational. Sending all my love. If i can advise you anything it would to try eating Manuka Honey, read my blog about it - http://aspoon-full-ofsugar.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/manuka-honey.html xxxxxxx

  5. Well i dont know what to say? Well god bless you Laura Louise, soon you will recover and will be back to normal life. Keep writing, you will be an inspiration to many.

  6. Such an incredible blog and such an incredible person! Wishing you all the luck in the world on your road to recovery, and I have a feeling your words are going to help a lot of people. A big vote in the Cosmo Blog Awards coming your way from me- If anyone deserves to be acknowledged for their contribution to blogging, I'd say this was it.

    1. You have just made my day! I didn't even know I was nominated. Thank you! I am so glad you enjoy the blog xxx

  7. I love this post, I've just discovered your blog and I think you are one brave lady.
    Wishing you all the best for the future and looking forward to reading more from you xx