Post Surgery Update!

So I had the much anticipated implant surgery on Friday morning. Got up early to take a shower, and make sure the boys were getting up and around so they would catch the bus for school after we left. We had to be at the Surgery Center at 6:15 for my 8:15 procedure. As I was to undergo general anesthesia, I had been fasting since midnight. No food, water, candy, gum, nada since midnight. My mom & John flew in late on Thursday night so they could be here for us. Friday morning they met us here at home, then we left for the Outpatient Surgery Center. We all got there and got passes for parking since the Valet wasn’t open until 8am. There was one other patient there having surgery when I was (different surgeon, obviously) and her daughter looked older than me. She looked at me and asked if I was having surgery. I think she was thrown for a loop because of my age. (Yes, I know I look younger than my age, but I’m still too young to have this!)

We waited until it was my turn to get registered and then I got called back for the pre-op tests. Small urine sample (good thing, I hadn’t had much to drink and used the bathroom before going to the Center!), BP and vitals taken, all the questions asked that needed answering. Undress and get into the lovely paper gown with the hole for the warm air tube to keep me warm 😀 They call it “Bair Paws”.. lovely invention, I tell ya! After I was all prepped and IV inserted, Mike, Mom & John were allowed to join me in the pre-op room. Hard not to have flashbacks to the first surgery. Somewhat emotional but kept those in check mostly. Had visits from the anesthesiology team, nurses and finally my Plastic Surgeon made his arrival and was able to mark me up (right after John took that as his cue to leave :p) and get me ready to go.

Said bye to Mike and Mom, then they wheeled me across the hall to the operating room. This time I do remember entering the OR (I fell asleep before this time last time because it was a much longer distance at the other surgery center) I remember getting into the room and getting some instruction but before they could move me to the Operating Table, I must have gone to sleep because before I knew it, I was waking up to people talking to me and it was all over with. The surgery took about 90 minutes as they expected it would, and I woke up with a surgical camisole in place to support my new implants. The new implants are much more comfortable as promised. Doctor Braun was able to get rid of the wound scar but he had to cut what looks like a smiley face on that side (Happy boobie!) and used the same vertical incision on my right to access that one.

I experienced some nausea post op due to anesthesia, which is never fun, but by Monday morning was feeling good enough to come off the pain pills and just take Ibuprofen. My soreness is very minimal, if any. I’m on restrictions not to use my arms excessively in the first week, not to lift more than 5 lbs (a bag of sugar), not to lay on my stomach for 4 weeks, not to have direct contact with my breasts for 4 weeks. No excessive exercise for 4-6 weeks. Had to wait 72 hours before I took my first shower. But the best part? No drains this time, and no steri-strips. The incisions seem to be healing normally which is a relief. I see Dr. Braun again on the 22nd, and look forward to hearing what he has to say about my recovery and what to do next. He did have to do some scar tissue removal and “sculpting” on my left side, and hopefully in time the implants will settle in and be symmetrical. I’m trying to be patient. I don’t expect perfection, but I do want to feel as normal — It’s such a tricky word anymore–as much like my old self as possible. There, that’s more like it.

I was able to come home by 12:30 that day and spent the rest of the time relaxing and being waited on.

Saturday afternoon was Tyler’s prom and I was able to get out to the park and take pictures of he and his date before they went. That was nice to be able to do that at least. I got some good shots and the fresh air on a beautiful day did wonders. I even wore one of my new dresses!

The biggest part of surgery recovery that’s hard for me is not being active. Especially after being home for 6 months after my last surgery and going through chemo, I like to get out of the house. I need to take this time to let myself be lazy, not overdo anything, and to enjoy the time “off” so that when it’s time to return to work, I’m really good & ready.

Thank you for all the good thoughts, vibes, prayers, love and light you all have sent me. I feel and appreciate it ALL.

XOXO,
Jen

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Surgery, Work, Anxiety and all the things.

In less than a week I will be having my surgery to get implants in, tissue expanders OUT! Can I have an AMEN? I’ve appreciated the look of the tissue expanders under the clothes to make me feel “normal” again (what ever does that mean anymore?)

To say I’m nervous would be an understatement though. I have anxiety about surgery. I had a bilateral mastectomy last July, and after that had some edge necrosis that needed debridement, creating a wound that didn’t fully close up until just a couple of weeks ago. Chemo not only slowed that process down, it completely stopped it…even reversed the healing of that wound. This surgery is happening not a minute too soon, although I am still anxious about it because my first one was 7 1/2 hours with everything they had to do, and the recovery slow and painful. The tissue expanders are HARD. They are uncomfortable. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to have “real” boobs. I mourn the loss of my nipples. I want to feel normal again.

I don’t want any more healing issues. I’m sick of bacitracin ointment and gauze and tape. I’m sick of skin irritation due to bandages and tape. To say I have PCSD (Post Cancer Stress Disorder) would be accurate. I’ve since returned to work and work stress has sent me into anxiety overload. The stress was rare though and I’ve since relocated to a better fitting salon for me. I’ve had feelings of wondering if I jumped back into work too quickly, trying to gain some sense of normalcy in my life again. Then being expected to be “normal” all the time when I’m clearly still recouping from a stressful 6-9 months? It’s all just too much sometimes and tears want to spring up just typing this. I should seek therapy. Bless my husband…he’s heard it all and even felt it directed at him although it’s never intentional. He’s still madly in love with me and not running for the hills. Yay for patient loving men! I’ve felt like a raving lunatic at times. Pretty sure I’m blaming Tamoxifen for that one. Oh yeah, and the fact that I’m a cancer patient but I “Look so good.. handling it so well…taking it like a champ…am an inspiration…staying so positive…” Sure I am upbeat and happy but I am not perfect and I lose my cool sometimes, especially when people act like nothing should be wrong with me and why are you acting so strange? Please be patient with me, y’all. Cancer is hell and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. In fact, if my worst enemy had cancer I’d cry with her too because I know what she’d be facing. (Just kidding, I don’t have enemies!)

I do have an appointment on the 10th to see my Primary Care doc, and I will be talking to her about all the feelings and the anxiety. She knows about some of it though. I was supposed to see her last month but that appointment got canceled due to weather. My surgery is the very next day, at 6am. It should be a 90 minute procedure, in and out. Wham, bam thank you ma’am and I should be good as new (not really) and ready to go home that day.

Let’s hope and pray for no surprises this time around, shall we?
XOXO,
Jen