Saturday, May 1, 2010

Post-Op Update

So, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted…since the night before my surgery. That night we didn’t get much sleep, but mostly because we chatted with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and finished getting our stuff packed for the hospital. My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am on Friday morning and we were supposed to check in at 5:30 am. I’m not exactly sure why that early because we had already taken care of all the necessary hospital paperwork, payments, etc. We got there right on time, got called back to a small room where we were asked more of the same questions (allergies, what I was there for, etc.). They had me change into a hospital gown, robe, tight stockings to help with circulation and non-slip socks. Then we waited and waited. Luckily I had my husband, his mom, my dad and one of my sisters to talk with and distract because I was just ready to start and it seemed to take forever for 7:30 to come around.

My breast surgeon came to say hi and made a mark or two with a purple marker close to my collar bone. Then the anesthesiologist came and after reading that I throw-up if given morphine (side note: they gave me morphine to help “move along” my labor with my first son…it didn’t work) and get nauseous if I take advil on an empty stomach, he decided to give me some pill to take prior to going under to help my tummy (it didn’t help, but more about that in a minute). Then my plastic surgeon came in and marked me up all over with a purple marker. She gave me a hug and then it was time. A nurse came to my room and walked me straight to the operating room. That was strange to me…I always figured they wheeled you in on a bed to the operating room – maybe just in the movies! It was super cold in there and the anesthesiologist made jokes about how it was too cold for him. They quickly covered me with warm blankets, wrapped things around the awesome stockings for circulation (to avoid clots) and started an IV. The nurses and anesthesiologist were so kind. The anesthesiologist kept calling me kiddo and explained everything as he went. He gave me something in my IV and said not to be alarmed if I felt a little dizzy. Promptly following that I felt dizzy, like the room was spinning. I remember saying something about how quick that started, then they put a mask over my mouth and nose, the nurses were both talking with me and holding my hands and that’s all I remember.

About 6 hours later my surgery was complete, unfortunately I woke up to terrible nausea. So bad in fact, it took them about 3 hours to get me out of the recovery room into my hospital room. They told my husband they gave me every anti-nausea medication possible. I just remember filling sooooooo sick, praying I wouldn’t throw up, and having the hardest time trying to keep my eyes open. The rest of that night did not go well unfortunately. As I said earlier, my tummy can’t handle morphine, so they were giving me something called dilaudid that just made me nauseous every time they pumped it into my IV. So not only did it make me feel terrible, it didn’t reduce my pain in the least. I don’t know if most women are in pain the first day or so or if it was just because I couldn’t take morphine and the other medication wasn’t working, but that first night was rough for me. If I am being completely honest, I did think “Why did I do this right now? I was healthy and in no pain and now I am having the most pain I’ve ever had and nothing is even diminishing my pain.” I am not saying this to discourage anybody. I just want to be perfectly honest. To my HUGE relief, when my plastic surgeon came in the next morning she suggested we try Toradal and Vicodin. Wow - something that reduced my pain and didn’t upset my stupid sensitive stomach!! Yay! It was such a sigh of relief to have the pain actually lessen. My breast and plastic surgeon said everything went great. My plastic surgeon said something about all of my bruising that made my husband and I laugh, “These are colors only a plastic surgeon would love.” She’s probably right, but thanks to all the women that shared their experiences before my surgery and my surgeons who were very honest beforehand, I was expecting my breasts to look like they were run over by a truck and they do! But the bright side is they look better and better every day.

It’s been 8 days since my surgery and I am doing great now besides feeling ridiculously tired most of the time. Today my pain is so little I have not taken a single Vicodin and have only taken Ibuprofen. It’s amazing what a week can do! The body is an amazing thing – what it can be put through and how it can heal itself…I’m so thankful to be healthy! My family and friends have been amazing through this. My mother-in-law is staying with us. She has been helping with the boys, cooking, cleaning, and anything I need. I honestly cannot thank her enough or show her how much we appreciate her help. My dad is coming to help if I still need it when she goes back home. My father-in-law just drove all the way here to help too and all of my sisters have been so caring and sweet! My sweet husband stayed with me every night in the hospital (I was released Monday) and has helped me get showers, wash my hair, and tend to my drains. Emotionally and mentally he has been my rock. The day after my first night when I had my “why?” thoughts I told my husband. His response? “Honey, you just did the bravest thing I have ever seen. You just saved your own life! ” He hasn’t even shuddered once when he’s seen the train wreck on my chest. As I wrote in my previous post – I am the luckiest – he is amazingly wonderful! I love him, love him!! :)

I don’t have any regrets and I am looking forward to life on the other side of surgery where I don’t have to worry about breast cancer. So far besides one tough night, things are looking brighter each day and I know I made the right decision.

Until next time, here’s to great surgeons, medication that works, and silicone!


  1. Tracy!

    I love Toradol!! It is the best thing invented, at least for surgical pain! I'm so glad you did well! We are only a couple hours away if you need anything. You are in our prayers!

    Amy and the Quarcelinos!

  2. Thanks you so much Amy! I really appreciate your support! Please tell your family hi too! :)

  3. I'm sorry you had such a rough time afterward - I'm glad that you are feeling so much better now though, and that your husband is being so loving and supportive. That makes all the difference.

    Rest lots, and keep getting better. I'm thinking of you! :)


  4. Teri - Thanks! Hopefully it didn't sound too much like whining - I was mostly trying to be honest for those in the decision process. One of the sweet ladies on BRCA Sisterhood mentioned a nausea patch that helped her have no nausea in her subsequent surgeries, so I will definitely ask about that! And my husband - yeah I'm the luckiest! He really is the best! Thank you for your kind thoughts and comments! :)