Posts Tagged ‘reconstruction’

6 days post surgery

February 2, 2011

Six days post surgery and things seem to be going quite well.  No real pain, just mild discomfort.  I think most uncomfortable are the remaining two drain tubes stuck in my sides which continue to drain the fluids which come from who knows where, but with any luck, these will be removed this afternoon, even with a Level 3 Snow Emergency in Lucas County.  I haven’t even really tried to reach, lift, move much.  I’ve decided to behave in a super cautious manner for another week yet…

This is what was left of my “pain balls” on Monday.  When I went home from surgery, the tan tube looking things were actually like balloons and completely filled up the space inside the plastic box.  Somehow it continuously delivered some kind of potent pain medication directly into my blood stream.  Must have worked well, because only two days were kind of difficult.  By Saturday and Sunday I felt like I could get in and out of chairs without a lot of “ouchouchouch”.

So far, I am reserving judgement on the obvious, the looks of the girls.  They are pretty similar in size and location on my chest.  That is a plus.  But at this time, still a little swollen yet from all the manipulation.  Plus I am still wearing an uncomfortable surgical bra to hold all the dressings in place, and once I’m past that stage, things will be much more comfortable, and happy.


quick update

December 8, 2010

I’ve been remiss in not updating my progress here.  Sorry.  Fulltime work, going to PT and medical appointments along with motherhood and life in general…keeps me busy.

PET Scan – Radiation Oncologist said, “stupid test, too expensive, inconclusive..”  Also said he’d make the appointment for me to see Dr. Butler….the queen of all docs, the “Surgeon” and I say that with a mix of both fear and respect.  Butler has more experience than anyone else in town with breast cancer and has seen plenty of fat necrosis, tumors, and all things foreign in breast tissue.

My appointment with Butler was this past monday, and her opinion on the lump, after a considerable amount of time wielding the ultrasound wand was…………the lump is “rib”.  The lump will not have a needle stuck in it. Too close to the heart and the lungs, and risk of puncturing a lung or worse is too great.  Great…good news, right?  Wish I could get my mind to believe that.  In my heart I don’t believe it, but I guess I have to believe it.   I’ve had Medical Onco, Plastics Guy, Radiation Onco, and now the Surgeon all say, “nah….probably not tumor.” 

My Supreme Surgeon did, however, express great concern with the decision of GP to take me off of blood thinners after only three months.  Concerned enough to insist that I call the Hemetologist/Oncologist at U of M to get another opinion, and while I’m at it (she said in her most authoritarian way) get her opinion on the method and plan for the finish of the reconstruction (which is currently planned for late January.)  She didn’t like the PS plan to just remove the lump….because after all, she thinks it is my rib.  My rib grotesquely contorted out of shape.  From the plastic surgery. 


10 days later and the truck is still parked on my chest

June 26, 2010

or at least that is what it feels like 10 days out from the TRAM FLAP surgery.  I might add that it is not exactly uncomfortable, not really even painful, just a lot of pressure.  Really, really tight skin which makes me hunch over.  Hunching over without the support of the walker causes significant lower back pain.  So.  I use the walker…not really to walk, but to prevent back pain and support the front side.  I don’t want to sound like I am complaining, because, truly, I have it pretty good.

It’s good to be alive even if I am bored with convalescing already.

home, all in one body

June 25, 2010

Yes, I am finally home from a quite long stay at  the land of St. Vincents.  I think I was in a total of 6 days, it was a very long and strange trip.  I didn’t post much as I had problems with connecting to the internet, as well as connnecting to my brain.  But now that I am home, I actually feel pretty good, and have to remind myself about all the things I am NOT supposed to do.

I am NOT supposed to move anywhere without the walker.  While I actually feel pretty good, I have to remember all the abdominal tissues that are working on healing.  Big, huge sections of muscle and skin and tissue healing.  It is extremely difficult to sit back and let others do all the work.  Wish I could have a masculine mind for just a week or two.  They make it look so simple to sit back while someone else does the work.

I am NOT supposed to use my abdominal muscles, and I am NOT supposed to stand up straight.  I’m supposed to hunch over like an old lady, and when you add the walker into the picture, I really do look like an old lady.  Ick. 

But I am still alive, and for the first time in 13 months and 3 weeks, all of my body parts are inside of me.  This has been a time I have patiently waited for.  I know it may be hard for some to understand, why I have opted for reconstruction, but I think it is difficult to really understand unless you are in the position of having had your parts removed.

For now, I am reserving judgement on my scarred and sewn up body.


June 23, 2010

4:15 wednesday afternoon, 6 days post surgery.  JUST RECEIVED MY BRAND NEW WALKER!!  woooo hoooo!!!!  I feel like I have really crossed some kind of invisible line into “old fartdom”.  You might think I am ambivalent about this, but noooo…I’m pretty jazzed about it, actually.

It is NEW and has nice soft handles and folds down flat and everything!  So now, I am on a mission to name her and maybe even figure out how to dress her up a little.  As soon as I get home, I’ll get some images posted so you can send me your best ideas.  No suggestion is too irreverent.

oh, BTW, just in case you were wondering, Dr. Barone was in and said all scar tissue looks great, I’m healing like a champ!!  I just have to remember to take it REAL easy for the next four or five days.  So, it is your turn to call or email or snail mail me.   Just don’t make me laugh (right out loud….that silly silent kind of laughing is ok though!)

so much better today

June 23, 2010

Comparatively speaking, I am so much better today, 6 days after TRAM Flap surgery.  I am well enough to be a little annoyed with some hospital practices, but not willing yet to bitch about them too loudly.  I’m still at the “being nice” level of complainer.

The things I can do: type, cruise the internet, eat mediocre hospital food, make it to the bathroom without an escort, and….well, that is about it I think.  I thought it would sound like a more impressive list when I started that line……….

Things I definitely need help with: getting a drink of water, brushing my teeth, getting a shower, getting dressed, and about anything else you can think of.   Even something as simple as “coughing”…I had to be shown how to do it correctly to minimize the pain.  It is really quite a humbling feeling, to be so dependant on others for so much.

It feels like a big ring of super sensitive tissue from just below my collarbone to below my pubic bone, and it is all tight skin in between.  This is why my new postural stance is like the hunched over little old lady.  Kind of protects the scars and muscles in the front, but wreaks havoc on the lower muscles in the back.

BUT-no, more whining from me.  Being on the “burn unit” makes me realize how lucky I am in a thousand different ways.  This too shall pass.

new adventures

June 21, 2010

got three tubes removed from my body!!  i’ll spare you the gross details, but i have just three tubes left….may have them removed tomorrow if I am a very good patient.  Dr. B came in tonight and wants more movement and weaning off the Fentinol pump.  Still will have pain meds orally.

Today I had the big adventure of walking very slowly to the bathroom not once, but twice!  Both ventures resulted in a trip down nausea lane.  got more meds and just waited for the room to stop spinning.  It was no fun!  This is why I was never a big drinker when I was younger…..just feeling nauseated makes me a big crybaby. 

Lucky for me though, had a great nurse, Cindy.  Took a lot of time with me.  Some of these nurses are really so patient and kind.

june 18, 2010

June 18, 2010

i hear all went well during surgery yesterday, only 5 hours long.   today is my “quiet” day, no moving except my hands and feet.

they keep asking me about pain, and as long I  stay real still, i’m ok.  but any moving like to sit up and in my mind i say, “ow ow ow ow ow ow!!”

In 24 hours

June 16, 2010

I will be arriving at St. Vincent’s Hospital for my tram flap (reconstruction) surgery.  I am so ready for this, even though I know it will be challenging.  For my friends who are worried about me…..don’t be.  Worry is such a useless emotion, and I know it wells up from deep within, but if you notice anxiety or worry creeping into your consciousness, change your thinking.  Worry won’t help you or me.  Instead, think of clarity for Dr. Barone and his surgical staff, think healing thoughts for me, and coping skills for my family.

I am reminded of a comment I heard this last weekend (even though it was spoken in a completely different context).

“This will be difficult.  If we stick together, we will get through it.”

-Captain Daniel Sydes RMR

So just stick with me, think good thoughts, if you are around, stop by for just a short visit, or send me a card.  If you are really motivated to help,  come and take my kids out for ice cream, or a movie.  Call Lou and ask how he is and offer to take him out of the house for awhile.  Relieve BFF Sue of the cooking drudgery for our family and bring over a kid and husband friendly meal. 

….and thanks for your support.

lucky me

May 31, 2010

lucky me, my support person, BFF from 20 years back, Sue, has arrived in Ohio to be the back-up backbone of the family while I enter phase four of the cancerland ride. 

In three days I will have the first of three surgeries (the “delay procedure”) for the breast reconstruction process.  Tomorrow morning I have an appointment at St. Vincents Hosptial for a pre-surgery exchange of information and body fluids. 

Eyes wide open, I am anxious, in a good kind of way, for this process to begin. Once it begins, it is then just a matter of time and experiences before it will be done.  and over. 

I feel no fear at all, so please don’t be afraid for me.  It’s just not necessary.