Last Friday, June 4th, I had my exchange surgery. This is the surgery where my plastic surgeon takes out the tissue expanders and puts in the nice, squishy, silicone implants. This is the surgery that I have been waiting for, longing for even. I wasn't nervous at all....
I was clueless as to how I would feel afterward.
I'll explain what I mean after I back track a little and catch you all up...
June 3rd, I had an appointment to meet with my plastic surgeon to sign consent for surgery, have her mark me, and answer any questions I had. We discussed my desired outcomes, which were to have the foobs (fake boobs) match in size and location. With the expanders in, leftie sat higher and looked smaller, thanks to the effects of radiation. I told her that rightie was my favorite and so she said she would try to get the implant positioned lower and marked me accordingly. She said she would TRY, because after skin is radiated, it is dead and doesn't like to cooperate. Breast reconstruction is a whole different ballgame than breast augmentation and I'm not sure many people, who haven't been through it, understand that.
After my appointment my friend, Amanda and I went to get pedicures, which was so nice and relaxing (except for when she put the window up on my finger!! lol) We vowed to go for pedicures on a more regular basis. Hopefully we follow through.
The next day I had to be there at 9:30 a.m. for an 11:30 surgery and Amanda was my designated driver/family informant. Thanks so much Amanda!! I love you girl!
I wore my Manboy t-shirt that says "I have 99 problems, but a MANBOY ain't one", because I figured what can go wrong, when you wear your Casey's Draft House shirt?!
I went into surgery a little bit early and came out in a surgical bra, feeling pretty good, less than two hours later without any drains (she had said she would put one in if she saw a lot of fluid and with my history we kind of expected to need them)!!!! My chest actually only hurt when I tried to use those muscles. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my chest. The only thing really bothering me was my left arm. We think it hurt due to the position it was in during surgery. Remember, I had radiation on the left side, so those muscles are all tighter on that side.
While in recovery I experienced the unthinkable....I had to pee on a bedpan and have someone else wipe me!!! I will forever remember this and always empathize with my future patients who have to endure this as well.
See, I am getting experience, just from the patient's point of view!
Here's a picture of my sexy surgical bra. Don't be jealous!!!
Anyway, recovery has continued to be a breeze physically, but mentally it has been ROUGH! I know, it doesn't make sense. I never expected this, but I think I would chalk this right up there with how I felt after my mastectomies.
When I had my expanders, it was annoying they were different sizes, too far apart, and one was higher, but I dealt with it, because I knew it was temporary. Once I got the implants, reality smacked me in the face and I realized I would be forever stuck with these imperfect, scarred up foobs.
I came out of surgery and my foobs immediately seemed much smaller, which was depressing considering I liked the size I was with the expanders. Then after removing the surgical bra and gauze, I realize that leftie is still higher. Upon further inspection, I realized that although they are closer together than they were, I still want them closer.
Sure, I can have revision surgeries to try to fix some of these problems, but they will never be what everyone thinks they are. Everyone has been congratulating me and asking how the new girls are, because they are thinking about augmentation results, not reconstruction results. Like I mentioned earlier, two different things!
All I want to do is cry. I look in the mirror and cry. At night, I lay in bed thinking and cry. I'm tired of this emotional roller coaster that cancer has taken me on. I want off!!!
I had my first post op visit with my plastic surgeon's physician's assistant yesterday. I went in with so many questions, but I only asked one, because I'm not ready to face anything else right now. I don't want to know what my options are. I don't want to hear what the next step is. Right now I'm temporarily burying my head in the sand. Don't worry, I'll bring it back out soon, but this is my coping mechanism for the moment.
From the healing perspective, Kelly said everything looks great. The incisions are healing beautifully. There was only one little spot that was separating ever so slightly, so she stuck a steri strip on it. The implants, which look smaller are actually are bigger. The expanders held 370 ml and the implants I got hold 400 ml. The difference is the projection. Expanders go straight out, which is kinda freakish, but I got use to and the implants lay more naturally. It is just something I need to adjust to. I haven't been bra shopping, so I have no idea what size I am at this point, but I hear from my YSC sisters, that implants fluff. This is where the skin stretches and the muscle retracts, allowing the implant to move down into the pocket that has been made for it. The implant then fluffs out instead of being squashed. I guess I need to be patient and give it some time. I am only one week post op, so maybe things will look better with time. I am still not allowed to lift anything heavier than 10 lbs and I go back in two weeks to see Dr. De La Cruz.
Oh my gosh, I almost forgot to tell you a good story, the day after surgery a spot on my forehead hurt. I thought maybe it was a pimple that was still under the surface or something, but when I looked, it was actually a little bruise. Then I remembered...right before my surgery, I was in the OR and they were strapping my arms in and whoever was standing at my head (nurse anesthetist would be my guess) dropped something on my head! I remember saying OWWWWW!!! and my doctor asking if something had been dropped on my head, I said "yes, but I'm okay" and then the assailant said "It happens all the time" and with that they put me under. lol I am totally okay and not angry, because I understand accidents happen, but when I mentioned it to Kelly, as a "can you believe my luck" kind of thing and she said she was going to say something. I hope I didn't get anyone in trouble.
Well, that's it for now.