So today I am 11 days post-op. It is amazing the difference from last week to today. I am really only feeling tightness/stretching from the expanders and some pulling where the stitches are. I have some pain now and then in and around my breasts, but nothing like that first week. I know I said this on my last post, but it is amazing how the body heals itself!
I had my post-op appointment today with my plastic surgeon. It was a great appointment for many reasons. First, I got my drains removed! For those who want to know because they are trying to make their own surgery decisions or learn more about this surgery I will give a little detail. Sorry if it’s TMI for others who are supporting me by reading my blog – just want to give people as much info as possible if they are trying to make their own decisions! So, drains are placed during the surgery to remove excess blood, fluid etc from the surgical site and I believe I remember my surgeon saying it helps speed up the recovery process. Thin tubes are placed in the surgical site before they close up and the tubes exit the body through a small incision that has one or two sutures to hold the tube in place. The ends of the tubes have bulbs attached that create suction to withdraw the fluids. The drains have to be emptied about every 12 hours [thanks to hubby :) , but can be done by yourself ] and in order to be removed the amount of fluid draining has to be below a certain volume within 24 hours. The drains are not terrible and they’re not painful, just kind of annoying. It is a bit hard to find a place to “hide” them. I just had them pinned to the upper part of my surgical vest, but there are special bras made with places to hold them. I found myself a bit worried I would accidentally yank on the tube and cause a problem, but now that they were removed I see that it would have taken a pretty big tug to probably even budge the tube without having the sutures cut. So that’s a positive! It didn’t hurt to have them removed, but was just uncomfortable for the few seconds the plastic surgeon pulled them out after cutting the sutures. Overall, I am relieved to have them out and not have any other foreign objects protruding from my body. Now, no more IV’s, no weird tubes – well at least until my exchange surgery!
In addition, I received a phone call from my breast surgeon’s office. All of my pathology came back normal!! That was a huge relief because if I’m being totally honest, there was a part of me that truly thought they might actually find something, even if it was just really early stages, like precancerous. I know that’s not a good way to think, but obviously I didn’t think everything was always going to be hunky-dory or I wouldn’t have had the surgery. I didn’t think I already had cancer, but I did wonder about tissues beginning to show signs of turning on me. I am still 7 years away from when my mom found her breast cancer though, so I made my pre-emptive strike early enough. It was a wonderful feeling to know the results were good. That also meant there were no suspicious findings of the tissue that was directly under the nipples. The tissue removed from underneath the nipples was specially tagged for pathology to look at closely. If something suspicious was found then I would need to remove them too.
Additionally, my husband and I had about a thousand questions for the plastic surgeon today. She answered all of our questions and didn’t make us feel rushed or like we were being stupid. I really love my surgeons – they are both such wonderful women and so caring. As I mentioned in my last post, they really try to prepare you by telling you that your chest is going to look and feel like it got run over by a truck. They aren’t kidding. My skin ranged from all colors from yellow, gray, blue, purple, dark, dark purple and all colors in between! But each day it gets less and less. Also, I have a dark blue spot on my skin on the right side which was caused from dye they use to find and remove sentinel lymph nodes. Just to inform others, my doctor told me that it was nothing to worry about, but it does take a long time for the dye to fade.
Overall, I am so thankful to have my drains out and to be feeling better each day. I am regaining motion of my arms and shoulders and able to do more things for myself. That has been difficult to not be able to do things that are taken for granted when I am completely healthy, like brush and wash my own hair, or reach up for something on a shelf or even opening a car door (their heavier then you think!). But every day is an improvement from the next and I am so thankful I was healthy before the surgery so I am able to recover as quickly as I am. It’s a good day!
Until next time, here’s to no drains, washing your own hair and silicone!