Friday morning was like my own personal Christmas in April. It was the day I had been waiting 17 months for. It was my BOOB DAY. Forget about the months I spent with a concave chest, forget about the chemo, forget about the excruciating tissue expanders. The day of my breast reconstruction day was finally here!
I was lucky enough to see my Plastic Surgeon (PS) the day before my surgery. Long story short..my dad had a last minute procedure to remove a squamous cell carcinoma from his cheek. My dad lives in Florida and was flying up here to help me out, so I got him a follow up appointment with my PS. So it was nice to see my Doctor the day before and be reassured that we're all ready to do this. I asked him to please get a good nights rest and not do anything crazy....
Friday morning- I get up bright and early (ok- it's not so bright outside at 4:30am). I enjoy an nice LOOONG shower (because I know it's going to be a few days before I can enjoy a shower again). Mike gets up and we get ready to leave at 5:30am. I feel excitement...I feel - relief. I feel like I'm "graduating". This is my first procedure at the Outpatient Surgery Center so I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but I've been through enough surgeries to have a general idea of what's going to happen. I basically get checked in, changed and prepped. My PS comes in and marks me up with a black sharpie. We talk about a few last minute things. He marks off where the other surgeon (Dr. Bob) is going to do his procedure (the Mediport removal). Come to think of it- I didn't even see Dr. Bob before my surgery. And, of course, the nurse can not get an IV going, so the Anesthesiologist actually hooks me up and wheels me to the OR. On the way, the IV pole is too tall for one of the doorways and - clunk- the IV bag goes flying off and onto the floor. I grabbed the IV tube hoping it doesn't rip out of my hand. Yeesh. We get into the OR and I move onto the operating table and I feel my arms being strapped down...and then - I wake up in recovery.
Recovery must be like what it feels like to die, but you "come to" as opposed to "fade away". First you hear muffled sounds of someone calling your name. Over and over. Then you can usually open one eye and you just see light and a blur. Then you feel people around you, moving, talking, checking on you. Eventually you come to and it takes you a minute to realize where you are. You're constantly asked- Are you in pain, are you hot, are you in pain, are you cold, are you in pain, are you thirsty, are you in pain? I remember NOT being in pain, but being really cold- so cold that they had to put the heater blanket on me. My mouth/throat was raw and my lip had been I guess caught between my tooth and the intubation tube, so it was swollen and numb. I had no concept of what time it was. My surgery started at 7am and was scheduled for 2 1/2 hours. What I did know- is that I had to pee.
My nurses were great- we were all chatting about something, but I have no idea what about. I swear- they must hear some Ca-Ra-zay stuff. I usually try to explain The Diaper Bag Wrangler to them, which I'm sure never comes out the way it's intended. I asked to get out of bed to use the bathroom and I was so proud of myself that I could walk unassisted (yep- it's the little things). My nurse brought me some ice, apple juice and crackers to make sure I could keep food down before they discharged me. I was feeling so good. I really couldn't believe it. I didn't even take pain meds at the surgery center! Dr. Bob decided to make an appearance and told me to come see him in 3 months. Nice.
I think it was around 11am and I was ready to go home. I WALKED to the car (NO wheelchair!!) and we drove home! Lilly wasn't even done pre-school yet! I started examining my bandages. I had gauze taped to my skin- like a shield of gauze. Then I had a surgical bra and a bandage wrapped around me on top of that. Plus two surgical drains (right and left side). My boobs didn't hurt at all. What DID hurt- was the site of my Mediport removal. It hurt pretty bad, so I busted out the ice pack, Percocet and took a nap.
Over the weekend, mother nature decided to unleash her fiery fury- and the temperatures rose to the high 80's- low 90's. Hot + bandaged boobies + menopausal night sweats DO NOT MIX. I think the adhesive from the tape was melting off and bonding with my skin. I was getting SO itchy from the tape, sweat and heat. Luckily I only had to wait 3 days to get my drains and bandages off. While I was counting down the hours/minutes/seconds until my post-op appointment I loafed around the house and ate Rita's Water Ice. I even went with Mike on Sunday night to stockpile- got a quart of Lemon and a quart of Florida Orange.
And then something strange happened. Around 8:30pm on Sunday night, the phone rings. It comes up "wireless caller" and Mike answers the phone. The caller asks for "Karyn" (that's my "real name" but no one calls me Karyn unless they work for the DMV, Government or Insurance Company). Mike hands me the phone and I say "hello....who's this????" And - it's my Plastic Surgeon! He's calling to check up on me....but he sounds entirely distracted...like he's hiding in the bathroom making secret phone calls to his patients.
Coming up next- the unveiling!