Friday, March 28, 2008

Step by Step Improvement

A week has now gone by since surgery. I'm still sore and my torso looks (and feels) like I've been hit by a car. I'm moving much better. Walking a little down to the water and have been off pain medication since Wednesday. I'm still quite stiff though.

After that glorious shower the other day I decided to ditch the abdominal binder. It continually rides up and Dr. Rodriguez told me to wear it until the pain went away. I was sore, but not in excruciating pain, so as long as I was resting I left it off. Well I saw him yesterday. Gary had to work so I drove myself. Who thought that being in a car could be so uncomfortable. I guess this is my week to underestimate things...

They removed the stitches from my breasts. Wow, that man is an artist!! Absolutely amazing! The man-made stuff looks better than what I had before. Really! I still have steri-strips across the abdomen and heinous bruising across my chest and lower back, but it's already lost that eggplant purple hue and is starting to get that bruised banana look. Anyway, I'm to wear the binder AND the bra for several weeks. (Insert twisted frowning face here.) He explained that I will need to compress the outer layers of skin to the deeper tissue until they adhere. Oh, and no pressure on the nips either, so the 1950's Sears Catalog / Madonna inspired underwear is in my near future as well.

I can return to work Monday, but I can't drive which should be interesting as I live an hour commute 1-way to the office. Also no lifting of more than 5 lbs for 4 weeks. That's going to be a neat trick too considering my laptop weighs more than that. I can walk a do stairs so that's good.

So my surgical days are behind me. The last thing left to do are the tattoos. I've joked with friends that maybe I could do something interesting instead of just areoli... Maybe a daisy, or an 8-ball.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Post-op Day 3

To sum this surgery up in a simple phrase: grossly underestimated. My bad. I should have known that 3 hours (or what turned out to be 4 hours) of surgery was not going to be a walk in the park. I've had much more pain than I expected. Saturday I decided to take darvocet. I hate the way the oxycodone makes me feel. I was in pain most of the day, but not crippling pain. Strangely, I've had absolutely zero pain in my breasts where he did the most work. My abdominal incision hurt on Saturday somewhat, but the lipo sites in my back and where he did the fat grafts above my breasts have been excruciating.

I know, I know... Don't be a hero. Honestly, that's not what I was going for. So yesterday I took the oxycodone. Yup, that does the trick. No pain whatsoever. But oh my lord! I lost about 4 hours yesterday afternoon. Just wiped from my memory. Gary had to work and set everything up for me. Dinner was ready to go; all my pills around me; phone; everything. He even had the neighbors call to check on me (thanks Gwen & Aric!) Getting up was no problem because I wasn't hurting, but I had the where-with-all to focus through the drug induced haze. Good news is I wasn't wobbly on my feet.

Gar is home today. The doctor says I can shower (yea!) so that is my goal for today. Easy does it... easy does it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chillin' on the Couch

As you've no doubt read in Gary's message, the morning started heinously early. I drove so Gar could get a few more winks on the way to UMMC. Things seemed to move a little quicker in pre-op this time, but maybe that's because I had company. My friend who has been going through the same process was the next case after mine and was there early as well. So she came in and we compared notes and nerves. It was so reassuring to have someone there who new exactly what I had gone through and what I was about to go through.

They took me back at 7 am and once again I was staring at the two OR lamps above me. Then it was lights out. The surgery took about 4 hours. He removed the scar tissue from my abdominal incision and contoured the "dog ears" at the ends. He also took the cartilage 'stored' just under the skin in my breasts, shaped them and inserted them to give the appearance of a nipple. He also cut down on the size of the skin islands and pulled it tight so it will look round like an aereola. (I've had two friends who 'make stuff' tell me they could have crafted nipples for me in their shop... Ones that could shoot bullets! I do have strange friends!)

The one thing that had bugged me from the previous surgery (besides my manufactured love-handles, a.k.a 'dog ears') were the indentations left from where he removed the cartilage from my 5th ribs. Besides being unsightly, whenever I sneeze it would feel like my entire chest was going to come through that space. I've learned since to support the area with my hands when sneezing or coughing. Dr. Wonderful, of course, had a way to fix it. He told me that he was going to do liposuction on my real love-handles (again, I wasn't aware I HAD any!) and take the removed fat cells and insert them over the indentations to smooth things out. Okay, I must say that I am probably the only woman alive who has had fat removed with liposuction and then had it immediately replaced. Again I emerge with a net zero loss, just completely re-arranged. I'm starting to feel like Frankenstein, but rebuilt with all my own parts.

I emerged from the OR bound up like a Christmas goose. I'm wearing a Madonna-inspired bra. It looks like something out of the '50's (it is ENORMOUS), but the tips of the cups are cut out and I have gauze just laying over my nipples. I also have to wear an abdominal binder to help contour where they did the lipo on my back. So I haven't actually seen any of the work he did yet, and probably won't until Monday or so.

As far as discomfort, I was pretty woozie most of yesterday. The thing that hurt the worst was where he'd injected the fat into my chest. This morning my abdominal incision and areas that he lipo'd are hurting. I have a plethora of drugs to take, but the oxycodone he gave me really does a number on me, so I've downgraded myself to darvocet I have from last time. It seems to do the trick as long as I don't move that much.

My goal today is to rest up enough so I can be relatively independent for tomorrow. Sadly, Gary has to work. He has been so fabulous as always, getting every little thing for me, fluffing my pillows, feeding me... I got weepy last night when he was putting me to bed because I kept needing so many little things (I couldn't even reach to turn out the light.) He's done so much for me and all on little more than 1 hour sleep in something like 30 hours. He is such a rock star! I think I'll keep him.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Prepping for the Next Phase

This Friday I'll undergo the next phase of becoming the Bionic Woman. ("We can rebuild her.") It's not really that dramatic. Even though the surgery will be 3 hours and I'll need to be intubated, Dr. Rodriguez plans to do little more than four revisions; hence the lengthy operation time (refer to Dec. 27th post for what will be done.) It's funny, after a 13 hour surgery I'm sort of thumbing my nose at a mere 3 hours. But I've been reminded by a friend of mine who is a cardiac surgeon that there are far more serious surgeries that take much less time. True, but my surgeon won't have his hands deep inside my torso.

I'm scheduled as the first case which means that Gary and I need to leave the house at 4:30 AM - ouch! But I'll have a nice, fresh, rested doctor. I like it that way. I should be home in time for the evening news and hopefully we'll be able to beat Friday afternoon traffic. I'll be sure that a message gets sent out either by myself or Gar to update everyone. Dr. Rodriguez said I should be back to work no later than Wednesday. See. Piece o' cake!