Sunday, April 29, 2012

More surgery details

So, I'll try to post what I can remember about my surgery.
Monday morning, we had to check in at 5am for surgery. We found our check in spot and filled out the required paperwork. They called my name to go back to the prep area shortly after. I changed into my lovely gown and compression socks and one by one, the different surgeons and nurses came in to talk to me.
The anesthesiologist came in and met with me and ran my IV. About 7am, she gave me my "happy juice" and I said goodbye to Chris. That's all I remember until I woke up. I remember waking up in the operating room as they were moving me to the recovery bed. I remember seeing and hearing Dr Skoracki, but I can't remember what he was saying. That's the first time I remember ever waking up in the OR and not in recovery. You usually do wake up in the OR before they take you to recovery but you usually don't remember it. I must've dozed back off though because the next thing I remember was waking up in recovery and they said Dr Skoracki was talking to Chris and then Chris would be in to see me. I asked what time it was. My nurse told me "9:15" PM!!! Yes... You read that right. I was out for over 14 hours.
Chris came in to see me and then my mom came in for a quick visit. After I was cleared and they had a room ready for me, I was transported to my post-op room. It was almost 11pm now. My recovery nurse went with us to the new room so she could show the post-op nurse how to find the blood flow via the Doppler machine. They had to do this every hour on the hour. If they couldn't get blood flow, the flap or piece of skin could die. If they caught it in time they could rush me back to the OR and fix it. So they had a mini Doppler machine that is similar to an OB finding a heartbeat during pregnancy. It kinda makes the same swooshing sounds too. So, every hour on the hour that first night, they came in to check both breasts blood flow and my vitals. Chris left the hospital shortly after I got checked in my room and said he would be back the next day. He had a long day in the waiting room in uncomfortable chairs. I didn't sleep much the first night.
Chris came to see me Tuesday afternoon as soon as the kids got off to school and he ran a few errands. He helped me brush my teeth and spit into a bowl and rinse. He helped me eat my lunch. I was moved to my chair for a little bit. My nurse, John, came in and helped me and gave me pointers to help me get in and out of bed easier. Between him and Chris, I moved back and forth from the bed to the chair about 3 times that day. They still had to find the blood flow every hour via Doppler but my vitals were down to about every 2-3 hours by now. I had ZERO energy, it took every ounce of energy to pick up my phone, lift my silverware, or do anything. I was tired, exhausted and just plain worn out.
Wednesday, Chris brought the kids to see me. I had now been moved onto walking laps using my IV tower as my helper/walker. I had to do 2 laps around the nurses station each time. The kids "helped" me do my laps once they got there. But they didn't get to stay too long because the boys (mostly Brayden) were too antsy. Kaylee was very attentive, wanting to help with anything. I was sitting in the chair eating dinner and I had spaghetti and it was not easy. I would roll the spaghetti around the fork and then couldn't muster up enough energy to bring the fork to my mouth. I imagine it looked like an 89 yr old woman in a nursing home trying to eat spaghetti. I dropped a little on my gown. She pointed it out. She asked Chris why I was acting like that an he had to explain to her that I was really tired and exhausted still. When they had gotten there, my CNA, Alice, was emptying my 6 drain tubes. They squeeze the "fluid" into little Dixie like cups. Grayson came in and said "why are they making all that juice for mommy?" Chris explained that it wasn't juice, it was blood. Then Grayson asked why they were putting the blood into mommy. Again, Chris explained that it came out of mommy from the tubes and into the drain bulbs and they squeeze those into the cups. He was super fascinated with that. He referred to my tubes as pipes from then on.
Thursday, I finally got my catheter out and one IV out. I still had 2 IVs in. Still had to have Doppler checks every hour but they had gotten good at doing them in the dark and not waking me. So Thursday, I felt much better! I was falling asleep by 8-9pm and sleeping till 7-8am every day. Once my cath came out I was able to move around better and had more mobility. I went potty with help during the day, but by Thursday night I was going by myself and only needed help getting in and out of bed. Chris came and saw me that morning/afternoon. I was able to shower that day and the CNA on duty helped me shower but we didn't get to wash my hair. Friday morning, my pain pump was removed from my abdomen. I was downgraded to pain pills now.
So when Chris got there Friday with the kids, he brought me some shampoo and washed my hair. It was Good Friday and the volunteer dept where the shampoo was kept was running late. I didn't pack any because every hospital stay I've had they've had all your toiletries there. They had them, but you had to request them and I guess they were running behind.

So, anyways Friday, I felt even better because I was clean, my hair was washed and I was able to stay awake a little longer at a time. I had a good visit with my kiddos that day. I was able to even give them a light hug and kiss before they left.
Grayson laid on my bed  and watched TV and almost fell asleep. Brayden played on the iPad and Kaylee played "mommy" to them. Grayson was fascinated by the "phone speaker" on the bed and I had to get a picture of him listening to the TV through the "phone".

Saturday was a day of therapy. I had to go up and down some stairs to practice for home. I got my walker... Snazzy old lady wheels!!! I did about 10 laps around the nurses station that day. I got one drain tube removed. My dad came to visit. I got a nap and slept well! Oh, and thanks to Glycerin, I was able to get some "relief" and finally pass the "intestines are working" test.
Sunday I was discharged. Chris came to get me first thing in the morning. He helped me shower and get ready. I blow dried my hair that day for the first time. I got dressed in my new pajamas we bought. I REFUSED to wear a MUMU gown but I couldn't have anything restricting on my waist or on my chest and I couldn't lift my arms very high, so I bought a cute Vera Wang soft cotton 2 piece set in the next size up and it was perfect!

The only real complication I had was that my left breast blistered and bruised really bad. As the days went on and the blisters popped it turned into skin necrosis. So, 4 weeks post-op, I have some ugliness going on but the right breast looks AMAZING and I have a flat stomach. My dr is watching the skin necrosis but so far it looks like its improving every day. I have another follow up tuesday so we will see what he says.

Here are some pictures of the yummy food I had while I was there. You actually call "room service" to order your meals and they bring them to you in a tuxedo style uniform. It's really nice and not your average hospital food. The first few days, the food wasn't that great, but it was probably because I wasn't hungry and nothing tasted appetizing except water. After that, it was much better.

Chocolate chip waffles with a Texas in the middle.

Enchiladas and mexican rice.                           Grilled Shrimp over Penne pasta.

Steak and green beans.

Bread pudding!!! Delicious!!!!

my first post-op appointment after I was released.

Me and Grayson snuggling on my first Monday at home.

So, I am now 4 weeks post-op as of tomorrow. I am walking around normally, getting out of the house some here and there. I got released to drive short distances last week. I went grocery shopping for the first time (with the whole family) this weekend. I am back to work part-time doing rhinestones. I got all my tubes out at 2 weeks post-op. I cooked our first meal Friday night. I can shower, and change my bandages by myself, although if Chris is here to help, it goes much quicker and I'm able to save my energy for more important things like blow drying my hair and putting on makeup.

Once my skin necrosis heals (which could be 6-12 weeks) I will consider posting some PG rated pictures with some editing done to block out certain parts that don't need to be viewed.  :-)  In the meantime, just keep me in your prayers that the skin necrosis heals on it's own and doesn't require a skin graft surgery.

Did I answer everyone's questions? If not, please feel free to ask below.  Maybe I'll dedicate a Q&A post to those.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Surgery mini-re-cap

So, Obviously I made it out of surgery. It was Looooooong.... 15 hours!

I spent 6 days in the hospital, coming home on Easter Sunday, April 8.

Surgery went well, and I intend to post a long blog post about it, but I can't yet sit in a chair for too long or my back hurts, so this post has to be short.

I have 2 boobs, which is the most important thing....and they are healthy!

I also, for the first time in my life, have a flat stomach. I'm still wide, in my opinion, but my side profile is Uh-Ma-Zing!

I did have one issue.... remember how I had some skin necrosis back in August on my cancer side and my expander had to come out..... Yeah....well.... I have it on the left side (non-cancer side) now. At my last post-op, Dr Skoracki said it didn't look like it needed surgery, but he is watching it. It is pretty gross looking. Worst case scenario, it does need to be removed, and a skin graft will be used. Thje left one is a tad bit bigger anyways, so to remove some of it won't be a big deal.

I am about a perky C cup now. (I was a full- saggy D) Not sure if they will still be that big when all the swelling goes down, but we will have to wait and see.

Ok, folks....I am heading to bed back hurts.

I'll write more this weekend.