Reflections of Reconstruction, part 2


One very hard lesson I have learned in the process of reconstruction is that plastic surgery is painful.  My chest lost most feeling after the mastectomies so none of the recovery from any of the reconstruction surgeries has been very painful there, but the tummy tuck and the liposuction in my hips have been quite painful.  My dear plastic surgeon does not miss a thing I say.  When I told him I was sure I wanted the DIEP for the tummy tuck….he gave me a REALLY great tummy tuck.  On Monday, before my surgery, he asked if he could lipo the area to the side of my breast and I let him know he could lipo any fat off me he wanted…..so he did….lol.  I’m not sure he does this because he can, or because he feels sorry for me (and figures I could use the self-image boost), or simply because the extra fat was needed to boost my breast area…..but I think it’s fun that he did it for me whatever the reason.  I have certainly paid for it this week though!  Jeremy and I were laughing today about the moment I said “you can lipo anywhere” to him because the resident was standing behind my doctor and both of us noticed he had a little smirk on his face….and now I know why!  He knew what I was asking for….lol! 

Everything after the surgery was a total blur.  I remember waking up to incredible itching.  I can’t really describe it as pain, just itching all over.  I remember two women running in and out of the recovery area trying to help me and I feel bad because I don’t think I was being very cooperative.  I think I kept asking for Jeremy, my doctor and the anesthesiologist because for some reason I thought one of them could help me?  And then in between that I kept trying to get out of bed.  I don’t know how many times I tried to get out of bed, but I do remember them restraining me at least once.  I don’t think I’m going to allow them to do anything to me again unless they have a bag of Benadryl hooked to my IV…lol!  I don’t want to go through that again.  When some of the itching did subside, I realized one of the really nice women WAS a doctor and that is my first clear memory…..of her looking me right in the eye and saying….”you are having a bad allergic reaction.”  She also added that I am probably really allergic to opiates.  How about that…..note to self….avoid opiates…lol!   I do remember Dr. Dumanian coming to check on me and seeming alarmed…and he doesn’t normally seem alarmed by much of anything.  And I remember thinking how glad I was he was there, but I don’t remember how long he stayed or what he said.  I thought it was funny when they asked me if I wanted to stay the night?  I don’t remember answering them, so I guess they decided it was a good idea. 

And when I woke up in the morning I was greeted by Chase and Foreman from House and I got to show them my scars.  Seriously.  Would someone tell Northwestern that they are not ER, House or Grey’s Anatomy, because I swear the prerequisite for a residency there is that you must be either beautiful or good-looking.  To give them a little bit of the benefit….I will also have to say they’re very nice, there hasn’t been a mean one in the bunch.  The nurses too.  But in my fuzzy haze coming off narcotics I think I asked Jeremy if I was on House….lol.

I don’t want to say too much about how I feel about the work Dr. D did because I want to wait for the tape to fall off and it’s hard to tell.  But so far so good.  Digger is gone.   The shape seems really good, but the right side is still really puffy.  If it’s not swelling then there could be a problem, but I’m pretty certain it’s swelling.  And the huge red marks/bruises from the lipo are starting to go away and the pain is subsiding some…..but now those spots feel very itchy.  I was well enough to go Christmas shopping today and I even made gingerbread cookies with the kids. 

All-in-all, I’m glad it’s over, and I’m ready for Christmas and two fun weeks with my kids.  I don’t want to think about the next surgery for a while.

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One thought on “Reflections of Reconstruction, part 2

  1. sally says:

    I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction (an expander) in March 2009. It was not easy to go thru, but I did it with the help of God and many people praying for me. I am 59 years old and live in New York. I had one final surgery in Aug to place implants (silicone) in each breast. I am still not comfortable, as my chest muscles were slowly stretched and they still go into contractions at times. I was intially diagnosed as Stage 2 or 3, but in the end it was Stage 1. God knows I am faithful and trust Him to heal me and HE did!! This whole process has been quite a journey. I am on anti-aromtase pills now for at least 5 years and I see my oncologist every three months, but no chemo or radiation. I have a 9 percent of metastasis. Praise God!!! I hope and pray the best for you. Sally

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