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24 June 2009 @ 08:47 am
 
6 MONTHS POST OP - DAY BEFORE EXCHANGE  (24 June 2009)

Here we are.
 
I went to the Hospital Monday morning to get some blood work done and of course the requisite urine sample.  Things have been so busy at work recently I haven't been able to think (or worry) too much about this surgery.  In fact I just realised last week that I had not filled my new prescription for my pain meds.  I picked them up this weekend.
 
I have also compiled a list of things to buy/prepare/bring for my surgery.  Since it is only a 'day surgery'.  I do not need to pack overnight stuff.
 
To bring:
  • front closing bra (as requested by Dr. T for after surgery)
  • lip balm
  • eye drops (I get dry eyes)
  • hair band
  • crocs (non-slip at hospital and comfy)
  • pillow (for the ride home)
  • front closing light shirt (it's supposed to be warm)
  • comfy pants
  • socks (incase I get cold feet)
  • iPod
  • camera (have a photo taken before exchange)
  • bike shorts (for under hospital gown)
 To Buy:
  • unscented/all natural soap (for when I am able to bathe)
  • baby wipes (for UNTIL I am able to bathe)
 
Prepare:
  • put fresh sheets on the bed
  • make sure my button front shirts are within easy reach
  • pull out my favourite movies
  • start taking stool softener a couple days in advance (anesthesia & pain meds will constipate)

So I think I'm ready.  I need to get my house in order today; get some laundry done, change sheets and set up a 'comfy spot' for me in the living room.

Of course I must include photos with my last post before my exchange. :)  Over-all I am very happy with the way they look.  I think my scars have faded nicely.

         

I have a few things to ask/mention to Dr. T before my surgery...  I seem to have some 'loose' skin on my left side.  This next photo shows what I am referring to.  I have also included one with my arms raised... the 'dents' of my horseshoe expanders are very clear...

    

Aside from the extra skin on the left there is a small pucker at the top of my current scars.   I do not like them.   So, I will ask Dr. T to remove any extra skin on the left and also to deal with the little pucker.  Not a huge deal, but something I would really like to see gone.

So there you have it.  I'm ready.


EXCHANGE SURGERY  (26 June 2009)

I made it through.  It is the day after my exchange and I cannot believe how good I feel.  I wonder how much of it has to do with feeling good emotionally as well.  It is such a relief to be DONE!

This is NOTHING compared to the first surgery.  Even without the block the pain is VERY manageable.   My husband has been giving me my pain killers every 4 hours; we will continue that for a good 24hrs post surgery.  I am a big believe in not trying to 'push' through the pain; I think I will heal better if I am not suffering.

This is how my day went down.

Hospital called to ask me to come in for 8:30, surgery was scheduled for 10:00 (or 10:30).  I was too fast from midnight the day before.  We leave the house in plenty of time and there at 8:00am.

The nurse very kindly brought us to a semi-private room (which we had to ourselves all day).  Gave me a gown and told me to strip and put the gown on.  She came back, took my vitals and temp (all is well).  She asked me if there was any change in my health and did I have any jewelry/piercings or any other metal on me?  (In case something goes wrong during surgery and I need any other care -MRI- they do not want to have to worry about those things)

She advised me when the time came; someone would bring me down to the OR.  I would meet briefly with my surgeon before going in and they would put the IV in when I was brought into the OR.

We waited and waited.  They didn’t' even come to GET me until about 1100am.  I left my husband with a kiss and a prayer and off I go.

They wheel me to a waiting area with about 4 other beds.  We were pretty tightly packed.   The pre-op nurse came out to go over my information: confirm my DR and my surgery.  Asked me if I had any questions, I didn't.  I waited some more.  I actually rolled to my side and fell asleep for a bit.  I woke up around 12:15.  My 'roommates' were coming and going during this time (there were 4 OR rooms in operating order).

Dr. T came to see me and I showed her my expanders for the last time.  She had her blue marker and the first thing she went to mark was the pucker on both sides of my expander.  She had a look at the shape and marked the incision line for this time.  UNDER my 'breast', I will have what is commonly known as an anchor scar or breast reduction scar.

She asked me if we wanted to create my nipple at this time as well.  I said no.  I would like to wait (I'm still not sure if I will do anything at all in the way of nipples... maybe simply a 3-D tattoo)

We discussed using the largest implant we had ordered and she mentioned to me, that because of the way they are shaped they may seem flatter than my expanders.  I understand (more than she realizes I think).

The anesthesiologist came out to introduce himself as well.  I mentioned about the block that I received last time (at a different hospital).  He was familiar with it was but has not done many and would prefer not to do it.  I think if I had insisted he would have.  He asked if I had any reactions to any of the sedatives the last time and how I was feeling over all.  Very good.

Then someone came to get me and wheeled me into the OR.  Big room with about 4-5 masked individuals.  I transferred myself from the gurney to the table, I met a nurse, and a second anesthesiologist who started the IV (she actually numbed the area before inserting the IV - nice) I can't remember who else...

I started feeling a little dizzy, like the room was spinning.  I mentioned this to whoever was listening and the anesthesiologist mentioned he had given me something to help me relax...  sure enough, the dizzy feeling went away and I felt very peaceful.  The nurse put an oxygen mask on my face and told me to breathe deeply, it was just oxygen she said, the other meds would be administered via IV.   I breathed then I guess I fell asleep.

When I woke up I felt really sleepy.  I thought about falling back to sleep but I had pain...  I felt a very strong pressure on my chest.  The nurse was by my side and asked how I felt. I told 'I hurt' she immediately gave me something via IV.   I suppose a couple minutes passed the nurse never left my side; I mentioned I was still having pain.  She gave me another shot of something.  Almost immediately I felt relief; almost as though all my body muscles were able to relax.  (I didn't realize I had been tense)

The very next thing I asked was if the nurse could pull my gown down so I could have a peek at the new me.   As soon as I looked down, I smiled.  Yup, I have foobs!  They looked HUGE to me!   No more dents!

I asked when I could go to my room; she could tell I was anxious to get out.  She asked if I had people waiting for me... I said my husband, my sister and my Mama.

I noticed right away that I had quite a bit of range of motion in my arms.  Not that DEEP tissue stiffness I had after the first surgery.   The first surgery although I did not have much pain, I was STIFF and my muscles were sore.  I remember walking to the bathroom all hunched over and unable to press the soap dispenser.  NOT this TIME!!!
It wasn't long before someone took me back upstairs to my room.  My family was in the hall; as soon as I saw them I reached up and pulled my gown down... "Not bad, eh?" is what I ask.   Smiling, they agree.

The nurse came to get take my vitals and told me I could try to get up (with help) in a half hour.  They were concerned that I would be dizzy.  I chatted with my family and called a friend.   My husband took this picture for me in the hospital.  First impressions...  not bad!  :)



I was told I would not be allowed to leave until I had urinated.  After the nurse came back to take my vitals again, she said I could get up and go to the bathroom.  I have to say at this point just HOW DIFFERENT it was standing up for the first time when I compare to my hospital stay post mastectomy!   INCREDIBLE!  I made it to the bathroom with support (just in case) and had gone to the bathroom without difficulty.

So I am ready to leave, I want to leave.  I wanted to go home.  Under ONE condition... VERY important, I wanted to make sure my pain meds were CURRENT.   I did not want it to be time to take another pill in the middle of my drive home.... what if we hit traffic?  The nurse came back in to check how things were going, I said we were ready to go but wanted to check on when I could take my next pain medication.  As it turns out I was due.  I took my pills, we waited 30-40min to make sure they had 'kicked-in' then off we go.

I had a pillow with me for the drive home, between my body and the seatbelt.  I couldn't help compare the drive home to the first surgery, I remember feeling every bump and jostle after my mastectomy.  I felt NOTHING this time.  Nice.

I got home and settled onto the couch.  I was starving.  My hubby gave me toast.  Those were the tastiest pieces of toasts I have ever had!  Then I snacked on veggies, then dinner, spaghetti.  I was hungry.  Of course I drank, drank and drank more water.  I want to get the anesthesia flushed out of me.

I'm not sure what time, but I fell asleep on the couch.  I woke up around 8:50 and my husband helped me get to bed.  I brushed my teeth and off to bed.   One thing that has not changed since the first surgery is the need to sleep on my BACK.  Wasn't a fan then, still not a fan now.

Good news is that I can actually get in and out of bed without my husband's help!  Again, BIG change from the first time.