Thursday, August 8, 2013

Post Surgical Update (Reconstruction, Phase 2)

Thank you so much for your prayers for me yesterday.  Surgery went very well and I feel great.  The surgeon was able to begin my surgery earlier than expected, and it only took him a little over an hour to complete.  He said my left expander was not exposed at all, which was initially a concern.  Exposed implants like that can lead to terrible infections.  I don't show any signs of infection and he made sure to put a lot of antibiotic on the inside of me after removing the expanders and before placing the implants.  I am also completing an oral antibiotic just in case.

He repaired incisions on both breasts, and created new incisions below both breasts to do the implant exchange.  The reason they do the incisions below the breasts (even though I have old incision areas around where the nipple was once located), is because that skin is typically more healthy following radiation.  I had a lot of radiation to the previous nipple area, including extra boosts to that area.  So, that skin has more difficulty healing.  He inserted one drain on the left side to help keep off any excess fluid (and thus excess pressure) off of the wound (the hole) he repaired.  This is going ti sound weird to most of you probably, but my favorite part of the whole surgery was the removal of my port-a-cath!  Strangely, I feel so FREE now!  

How I feel:

Yesterday, I felt pretty nauseous all afternoon and evening, simply due to the anesthesia.  Apparently, they called me a "light weight" when it comes to anesthesia.  I had some difficulty coming out of anesthesia at my previous surgery, so when they asked me if I had any concerns going into this surgery, that was the one I mentioned.   But, let me tell you--this anesthesia was good.  When I awoke from it, I felt really good--and comfortable.  I felt so good that I wanted to go back to sleep.  :-)  But, I continued to wake up and headed home.  

The implants feel SO much better than the expanders.  The expanders put a lot of pressure on the previous incision site the way they projected out.  These are so much softer, and relieve the pressure on the previous incision areas.  Now I definitely understand why he wanted to go ahead an perform the exchange surgery as soon as possible instead of just repair the hole in the left incision site and wait for many months for that to heal.

The pain has not been too bad at all.  I think most of the pain is coming from where my drain is inserted.  I remember at my last surgery so much pain was relieved when I had my 4 drains removed.  So far, I have only taken 1 pain pill last night and one this morning, and they were both Ibuprofen.  I am trying to avoid the strong stuff unless necessary.  I just want to give my body a little break since I was on so much medication for the hives.  The hives that I was so badly stricken with for weeks, thankfully, went away, and then they came back pretty badly the day prior to surgery.  But, lots of prayers went up, and I awoke yesterday morning with no hives.  Praise the Lord! I also have no hives today, so I am hoping and praying they are gone--never to return!

How I look:

I really can't tell too much how the "new girls" look yet.  When I peek down there, they look a little strange.  To me, they seem like they are too far apart and, thus, too close to the sides.  There is just an awful lot of space between them.  But, I am trying not to be too concerned about that right now.  I read in some of the post-operative instructions that they may look asymmetrical and just different than they will look following healing.  They also look smaller than my own breasts.  But, I am just happy to have something there right now.  The whole purpose for me was to have something that looked natural so that eventually I will not have any reminders of cancer.  So, I am sure they will serve that wonderful purpose.   I will ask my surgeon about the way they look tomorrow, when he removes my drain.  Hooray for drain removal!

Thanks again for your continuous prayers.  They mean SO much to us and we know their power!  I feel great and full of joy!  Plus, my parents are in town, so we get to visit with them!  SO much to Praise the Lord about today!

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