So I thought I’d share a few insight before I completely forget. A few of you have emailed me and let me know you are headed for a DIEP flap soon and I wanted to share a few thoughts and suggestions. Before I had my surgery I sat down and talked with a wonderful woman named Gay here in Kalamazoo and she shared so much with me….I felt completely prepared going into the surgery. Sometimes I think Dr. D thought I was clueless because I never asked any questions…..lol! But the truth is….that Gay told me so much I felt like I knew what to expect. So here I am, two weeks from the surgery and there’s a fe things I thought I’d share.
1. The tummy tuck is miserably painful. Like….can’t move painful. Some very kind nurses will gather around you for the next few days and hoist you back up as you creep down in the bed. You will have no way to lift yourself to a sitting position. Not to fear though….the first few days were the worst. After a couple days it did get better. I’m still in pain at two weeks but nothing like the first few days.
2. After a day or so they wanted me to get out of bed. My entire body felt like a ton of bricks. I think this may have been when I thought….what have I done to myself. But not to worry, every time you get up to walk it gets easier and your body does not feel like a ton of bricks forever.
3. Bring chapstick. In the first hours after surgery your mouth will be incredibly dry and they will only give you a sponge (like that does anything….lol). I suppose 10 hours of surgery would make anybody dry. You will want something for your lips in the days following.
4. I was unpleasantly surprised that other parts of my body hurt so much after surgery. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during surgery to watch what they do with you, but I suppose comfort is not their top priority. I guess they put you in one position and leave you there. I suppose operating in a lay-z-boy is out of the question. When I came to, the insides of my arms and the back of my head hurt like the dickens. I had ice packs everywhere. Don’t be afraid to ask for those. I’m sorry to say my arms are still healing from whatever strange position I was in….lol!
5. You will look incredible! Ok…I can’t gaurentee this. But I am so happy to see my new curvy body in the mirror! Besides this darn drain left, I can see that he took every bit of fat off my middle and I LOVE it! I love having breasts…..and they feel great!
6. You may start your period. I did and the nurses told me it was quite common for women to start their period even though they might not be expecting it. Nothing like bleeding from everywhere to make you feel great….lol!
7. I am incredibly grateful that Gay recommended Dr. Dumanian and his dozens of residents (OK, maybe I didn’t love having all the residents looking me over, but how can I blame them for wanting to learn from him! ) I would never have guessed that I would have ever seen a plastic surgeon and I have so much more respect for the field! Dr. Dumanian is well known for his work with prosthetic arms, so I’m grateful he has the time to put a stay-at-home, cancer survivor mom back together again and giving her and her family some normalcy.
7. My email is listed in the “about me” section and if I haven’t answered all of your questions about what to expect with the DIEP flap, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have!