Thursday, March 10, 2011

Disappearing Pockets

I had my revision surgery Tuesday afternoon and things went well. Total time for all of it, plus waking up in recovery was about 4 ½ hours. I am in some pain and very sore, as expected. The Vicodin, for me, doesn’t actually get rid of the pain, but lessens it enough to be manageable. As a reminder, I had this revision surgery because both implants had fallen, so much so they seemed like they were not in the pockets that are supposed to hold them in place. After this surgery, my plastic surgeon (PS) told my husband that once she got inside she couldn’t even find where the original stitches had been. So, the implants really didn’t have the support they needed. This time she put in permanent stitches, instead of dissolvable stitches. She also added allo-graft (not sure exactly which kind, cause I was not all there!) to assist in making the pockets as sturdy as possible. I’m sure the majority of my pain right now is from the tight internal stitches, and let’s face it, being cut open. That’s never pain-free. Just think about how a stupid paper cut hurts and they are usually superficial tiny cuts!

Right away I notice a difference in placement of the implants. In August, after my exchange surgery, I already felt like the implants were falling and sitting pretty low. This time they are much higher up and not saggy at all. I know they will drop and settle a bit, but I think that would be a good thing as long as it’s not too far. I still really want them to look as natural as possible and so far my PS has done a great job at helping them look normal and I really appreciate that.

On a positive note - I had NO NAUSEA again! The scopolamine patch does wonders! The anesthesiologist also had me take Emend and put some other anti-nausea medication in my IV. It is really such a relief to wake up and not feel horrendous, like after my mastectomy surgery. I am so appreciative to the women on Facebook BRCA Sisterhood for their support and telling me about the scopolamine patch! I am sooooo thankful! Another positive note – NO DRAINS!! As I said in my previous post, my PS thought I would probably have drains in this time, so I had prepared myself to have those pesky things hanging from my body. However, when I woke up in the recovery room and asked about drains…viola! drains this time! It is just one less annoyance, two less scars and no worrying about accidentally pulling them out.

As of right now, I’m sitting in a relaxing recliner chair and only in minimal pain and discomfort. I still feel fuzzy and tired, probably from the anesthesia. My sweet, sweet husband is taking care of me and everything else, while working from home! He’s done everything from taking the boys to school, helping me with a shower and brushing my hair, making me a yummy lunch and breakfast, refilling my ice bags and even gives me “the LOOK” when I try to get up and get myself a glass of water. I am so blessed to have the most amazing, loving and thoughtful husband. He is wonderful!

Until next time, here’s to a quick recovery, no more surgeries and silicone that stays where it should! :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let the Nerves Begin ...

So, this weekend it all of a sudden hit me smack in the face. Bam! Oh boy! I’m having surgery in less than a week! It started on Saturday and continued getting worse on Sunday, which consequently, just happened to be my birthday. So, in addition to realizing I was another year older (which never used to make a difference one way or another), my head started messing with me. Don’t get me wrong. I have had the surgery at the fore front of my mind for a while. Knowing it was coming up I’ve started to get things in order around the house as I will not be able to lift, scrub, vacuum, etc. for a bit again. Coupled with “nesting”-like behavior, I’ve started to freak myself out with the “what ifs?”. Now, I know that it makes no sense, and there is no correlation, but I’ve started to worry that I had been feeling so confident that this surgery would be just as “easy” as the exchange surgery in August or even “easier”. (I put “easy” in quotes because let’s be honest, it’s not really easy, but in comparison to the mastectomy surgery it is a WHOLE LOT easier. The mastectomy surgery is in a league of its own.)

My point being, I started to worry that maybe I had been jinxing myself by thinking this surgery wouldn’t be so bad. What if I used all of my good luck for not having any major complications on my first two surgeries? I have been very blessed so far. What if I’m not remembering things as well as I think and maybe things were more difficult after the exchange surgery than my brain is allowing me to remember? On Sunday night, my head started playing tricks on me and my stomach started doing flips and somersaults, like it was in a circus. The reality that I was putting my body through another surgery in five days was presenting itself full force. No matter how calm and in control I had convinced myself that I was, I am still human. Any surgery, no matter how big or small has risks and can make one nervous. I especially don’t like having to rely on others so much post-surgery, and feeling like I’m putting other people out. I will have another lifting restriction of 5-10 lbs (about a gallon of milk) for 7-14 days. There will probably be drains put in again (for at least a few days) and I will have to rely on my husband or dad to drive the boys to and from school, among other things. It’s just hard to not be able to do the normal things I do daily for my family, let alone simple things for myself.

I had my pre-op appointment Monday and they had to reschedule the surgery due to a more pressing surgery my doctor needs to coordinate along with three other surgeons. So instead of my surgery being on March 4, it is now scheduled for Tuesday, March 8. Just one more thing…now my waiting time doubled from 4 days to 8 days! As if I wasn’t already worrying and ready to get it over with, now I have to wait twice as long! I know in the grand scheme of things it’s really not much time, but it still threw a wrench in my emotional preparation and plans. My poor husband already had Friday scheduled off and had a business trip in the works for next week. Now he has to rework his entire schedule and can’t go on the trip. Not that he’s complaining about it (he hates having to travel all of the time anyway!), but I still feel badly. I also had to reschedule with my dad to watch the boys during surgery. I’m sure it’s really not as bad as I’m feeling it is right now, but I hate inconveniencing people, especially when they are already doing so much for me. Plus, let’s face it – I’m a bit emotional right now. My husband has of course been amazing about the whole thing and my dad said whenever we need him, he’s there.

I am sure all of the frustration with the moved surgery just comes from already starting to freak out a bit. I had a lot of questions for my plastic surgeon and she answered all of them. I first asked her what she was going to do to try to keep the implants from falling so much this time around. She said she would be moving them back up and more towards the middle (they have been migrating under the arms a bit like with the expanders, but not quite as drastically). She would use more Alloderm, or perhaps try Strattice, where ever it looked like it was needed and would assist in reinforcing the pocket. She is also going to stitch up the sides internally, as before, to help the pockets heal and maintain their structure. I asked about what we do if the implants fall this much again after this 3rd surgery. That full answer was much less comforting, although she first said she had a lot of confidence that we would be able to make them much better this go around. One of her solutions is to drop to a smaller size of implant. Honestly, I don’t like that answer at all because I am already smaller than my natural size was. But what she explained made perfect sense. She said it was the weight of the implants that was adding to the stretching and dropping. However, she confirmed that due to my height, she was afraid if we went smaller I would feel very flat chested. I really hope that isn’t a road we have to go down. I asked a lot of other usual before-surgery questions and she took the time, as always, to answer them all until I was comfortable.

So, for now I am feeling more confident that I haven’t jinxed the surgery, and as my sister told me, I have to think positively. (Boy, how the tables have turned! That always used to be my line to her!) This post may sound a bit negative, but I was trying to honestly vent my feelings that crept up on me the last couple of days. They really kind of hit me like a ton of bricks! I am still nervous and still feel like there is too much to do prior, even though I was given 4 extra days, but also just want to get it over with and be done with these surgeries. It would be nice to be a part of the “All Done Club” as some ladies call it.

Until next time, here’s to structurally sound implant pockets, calmer nerves and positive thinking! :)