I think I’m ready to join the land of the living now. It’s been a tough 10 days. Needless to say, I’ve spent these days sleeping, sleeping and sleeping. I’ve been keeping some notes during this time. So here’s a break-down of my first 10 days. In this post, I’m focusing specifically on the physical aspects of my recovery…everything else will be covered in future blog posts. Let’s catch up!
Day 1: Pre-op was just as I anticipated. I checked in and went back to pre-op where I received my designer gown and matching socks. The nurses were great and my anesthesiologist was a rock star. I woke up in the recovery room to a fabulous nurse, Kevin. He was good to check on me and then check on mom and Jess as well. My docs gave them a great report. Surgery went well, blah blah. I am in and out of sleep in the recovery room. When I’m awake I try to talk to mom and Jess, although when I speak, I’m not real sure what I was trying to say but I’m certain that I either repeated the same thing over-and-over or said something crazy. They kept me in the recovery room longer than normal so that I could be placed in a private room. (YAY!) I went into surgery around 2pm, got into recovery around 4:30pm, and got into a room at 10:30pm. I basically slept this day away and don’t remember much of it. I was really dizzy from the anesthesia and in some pain, but not so much that I couldn’t sleep through it. Good way to start out, huh?!
Day 2: Ugh muscle spasms. In breast reconstruction they place tissue expanders under your pectoral muscles (pecs) to begin the reconstruction process. So where I once had pecs UNDER breast tissue, I’ll now have them OVER fake boobies. This is weird…really weird. My incisions don’t hurt or anything. I just kept having these painful muscle spasms. I could see the muscles contract and twitch. Needless to say, pain management was tough on the second day. The drugs weren’t helping much so I decided to stay one more night in the hospital until we got it under control. Mom and Jess took turns staying with me. Nurses came in to check my bandages. They said that my incisions looked great and my surgeon told us that I was able to keep more skin than most patients which meant my reconstruction was going to be faster and better. I have yet to see how it is faster or better…but I’ll take their word for it right now. I haven’t looked down at my chest yet.
Day 3: The spasms were still happening, but getting a little better. I started muscle relaxers. It was at this point that I decided that it wasn’t going to get much better and I just wanted to go home. The ride home was horrible. Every bump in the road made me cry. I’m pretty sure my mom and Jess were ready to start crying too. I think it was the longest ride of my life. When I got home…I think I just slept most of the day. I really don’t remember. In fact, I know that at some point during the first few days, I was so loopy I wasn’t communicating very well or much at all. At this point, I still haven’t looked down at my chest.
Day 4 – 5: Sleep. That’s about all that I can do. I get out of bed a little bit, but I’m primarily confined to the bed. The medicines make me so sleepy. My muscle spasms are still happening so that limits my movement. When the muscles contract, my arms sort of lock up and all I can do is keep them by my sides. I know that Jess was still here helping mom take care of me and waking me up every 4 hours for meds…but honestly…I don’t remember if we watched TV or what. I think we played cards at some point, but I’m not sure if I just dreamed it. She left on Day 4 to head back to AR. I’m sure mom was already missing her company. It’s at this point that I’m getting frustrated with my lack of mobility and the freaking drains are driving me nuts at this point. I have two drains, one in each noob (no boob). They are annoying and in the way.
Day 6: First doc visit. I weathered the ride to the plastic surgeon’s office pretty well. The muscle spasms were still killing me. Between the muscle spasms and the drains, I really don’t have much else to complain about. I’m doing pretty well at this point. My doc changes my dressings, tells me I can start cleaning the incisions each day with peroxide, tells me my drains can come out when I meet certain criteria, and tells me to keep up the muscle relaxers. I finally looked down at my chest. I’m not as shocked as I expected to be. In fact, it’s weird looking, but I apparently was more prepared than I thought. I’m yellow though. I guess all of the tissue is bruised. Knowing that I am close to having the drains removed, mom and I get more and more diligent about monitoring my drains. I can’t tell you how annoying they are.
By the time we get home, my other doctor calls to tell me that my pathology labs came back and all results were benign. So this was, indeed, a preventative surgery! Good news all around. I slept most of this day as well.
Day 7 – 9: I’m still frustrated by the drains. I have a hard time not sounding grumpy when I talk to people. I don’t want to sound grumpy, so I work really hard these days to smile and monitor my tone. At this point, one drain is ready to come out, but the other isn’t. My mother has her friends praying for “lefty.” I’m now able to basically bathe myself. Nothing like being 32 and having your mom supervise your bath. I’m thankful she can handle all this, but it’s nice that I’m getting my independence back. She still has to wash my hair for me, but at least I can handle everything else with no supervision. We also started setting an alarm so that we ‘strip’ my drains every two hours hoping that we’re encouraging it to heal faster. It’s definitely getting better, but I’m still not ready to call the doc to have them removed. I might lose my mind over it too. It’s over these days that I’m much more comfortable with my incisions. I have no feeling from under my right arm pit all the way across my chest to my left arm pit. You know the way it feels when your mouth is numb from the dentist? Well that’s the way my whole chest feels. I’m not sure when or if I’ll get much of the feeling back. It’s kind of a bizarre feeling though.
Day 10: I’m going to attempt to only take Tylenol today. I’m hoping that the spasms are long gone, and maybe after Shabbat tonight I can get mom to take me somewhere…anywhere…out of this apartment. We’ve been watching movies and are now stripping my left drain every hour. I can tell it wants to get better, but alas it’s still not the color it needs to be. I’m determined to be in my doc’s office Monday so he can take them out. Seriously, life will be so much easier when I have these out. I’ll be able to take a shower, my clothes will fit better and I can stop wearing pjs every day, I’ll be more mobile, I might be able to sleep on my side…sigh…
So that’s the last 10 days! It’s been rough, but it could be so much worse. I’m not complaining about it at all considering that I’m healing faster than most people do. I’m trying to find things to do (within my limits) so I’ve taken up cross stitching. I’m working on something right now, but next week plan to tackle some of the kits that I ordered off of this site called Subversive Cross Stitch. As you can see, I’m feeling more like myself now. Still keepin’ it real, yo.