Well, today I’ve decided I might actually live. It was touch and go there for 48 hours. I had the beginning of my breast reconstruction surgery Wednesday at 10am, during which I had tissue expanders placed under the pectoral muscles.
Apparently my veins have gone into hiding since having chemotherapy, even though I received my meds through a port in my chest. So, needless to say, starting my IV was fun. The nurse tied a tourniquet, slapped me around a little, and gave up without a fight. “I’m not even going to try. Luckily we have someone from radiology here today training us on how to start an IV with ultrasound. I’ll have him come in.” Thank God for small favors. The IV guru arrived with trainee in tow, and he decided to let her have a go at it first. Fail. He pulled the six foot needle back out and started over. I could feel my needle-phobic husband trying his hardest not to pass out in the corner. After 20 minutes or so, we had a successful stabbing.
Next, the nurse anesthetist came in to give me some medicine to “help me relax.” This always cracks me up because, for me, this translates to “see you next Tuesday.” I don’t take medication very often, so it works fast and dirty. I barely remember getting into the operating room. After that, lights out, see ya later. I woke up after what seemed to be 5 minutes in the recovery room with the nurse trying to wake me up. The surgery had actually taken about 90 minutes.
I started to get a little queasy in the recovery room, but I was given some Zofran and all was well. Until…I rode in the car. The minute I stepped in the house, I had to rush to the bathroom to be sick. I went to bed thinking that I just needed some more rest, but it wasn’t to be. My head hurt and I vomited for the next 24 hours with an empty stomach. I couldn’t even keep water down. So, needless to say, that prescription for Vicodin sat untouched on my bedside table.
My husband called the doctor, but apparently they were having a phone issue, so the answering service kept coming on. But they never paged the doctor. Eventually, by sheer luck, the office assistant called to check on me and I got a prescription for anti-nausea meds. They are addressing the phone issue today; it’s not a good idea for the doctor to be unavailable after surgery.
Anyway, when I woke up this morning and managed to get some Tylenol and caffeine on board, I felt almost human. I went to the doctor, and after he told me that my hair was a mess (he’s a piece of work!), he took the bandage off to reveal my brand new Barbie mounds. He managed to get 180 cc’s of saline in each side during surgery. Thankfully, knock on wood, I’m not having intolerable pain thus far. A friend who had this done 5 years ago said that it felt like she had ground glass under her skin every time she moved. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to that. The only thing that may get irritating is the edge of the right expander, which looks like a little unicorn horn sticking out. This should fill in when he adds more saline.
Next up, I will get my stitches out April 8, and then the filling process can begin in earnest. The doctor said that the radiated side has a lot of scar tissue and is tighter, so we may have to fill every 2 weeks to allow the skin on that side to stretch and catch up. My husband is going for something the size of cantaloupes. I’m thinking a smaller, firmer fruit will suffice.
Oh, and please remind me the next time they ask if I’ve ever had a problem with anesthesia to shout a resounding “YES!!”