Posts tagged Hospital
Just the Facts: I had revision to breast reconstruction surgery 5 days ago. I handled the surgery and anesthesia well and returned home the next day, after 24 hours on antibiotics. The doctor actually did more revision work than he had planned, spending almost 5 hours instead of 3 in surgery. I went home with 2 surgical drains, but they were removed after a couple of days.
Details: On Monday, December 27, I underwent more plastic surgery to correct problems with my prior breast reconstruction. Alloderm was to be used over both of my breast implants. I was to receive new implants, and the left side was to be reconstructed, pulling it toward the middle. All of that was accomplished. In addition, the doctor revised the “pocket” that held the right breast as well. He discovered that this was necessary when he assessed the situation at the beginning of surgery, and discovered that the right side was beginning to shift just like the left had. This lead to an addition 1-2 hours of surgery to correct that problem, but I am very thankful that the work was done then. It potentially saved me from another revision surgery in the future.
I stayed in the hospital until the next morning when my course of antibiotics was complete. I had 2 surgical drains, one on each side, but the drain tubes were much smaller and easier to manage than those I had after the mastectomy. They still had to be tended, and pulling, twisting and catching them wrong had to be carefully avoided. I was only able to do sponge baths while I had the drains, but thankfully I was able to have the drains removed on Thursday and I’ve had no fluid build-up or other problems since then.
The pain has been a bit worse this time. That’s probably because so much work was done on both sides. The right side is especially tender. The pain meds help but I don’t like feeling groggy from them, so I’ve stopped taking them except at night. Of course, I’m still groggy from the general anesthesia anyway. But going off the narcotic pain killers is the first step toward feeling more normal, and that’s a good thing!
As usual, the “breasts” are covered with bandages. I can only tell so much about how they are going to look. But what I see looks SO MUCH BETTER than before!! I am thrilled, relieved, and also concerned that I will somehow “mess it up” again. Every time I use my arms to reach or pick something up, I think about taking it easy and worry that the glass of water, piece of laundry, etc that I just picked up will stretch or pull me too much. It’s nerve-wracking. I’m really looking forward to my appointment next week with my plastic surgeon so I can review what is safe to do. I DESPERATELY DON’T WANT TO MESS THIS UP! It looks good. I like these “Sisters”. I want to keep them!
This time around we have a recliner for me to sleep in. It has made a huge difference in how comfortable I am at night. After this type of chest surgery, lying flat is really uncomfortable. Being able to be in a semi-reclined position makes all the difference. I am so thankful for my recliner, but at the same time, I’m really looking forward to getting back to my real bed. Based on my past experience, it will probably take several weeks before I can tolerate lying flat.
Me: Nervous that I will damage the delicate work that has been done, but very hopeful. Thankful for a great doctor, good insurance, and a wonderful husband who has selflessly taken care of me every step of the way.
What’s Coming Up: Bandages come off on Thursday, when I see my plastic surgeon for a post-op appointment.
Prayer Requests: Please pray that this time I would heal properly, that the “Sisters” would stay in their current positions! Pray that my pain would continue to diminish and so would the grogginess. Pray that the blues would stay away.
Thank you: to Frances for taking care of my children while I was in the hospital and to Paige, who always finds the perfect way to help. Thank you, everyone, for reading, tweeting, commenting and encouraging me in so many ways. It has meant so much!!
Just the Facts: I am scheduled for reconstructive plastic surgery tomorrow, but have been sick and still have some lingering cold symptoms. I’m not sure if the surgery will happen or not. It will be the anesthesiologist’s decision when I go to the hospital in the morning.
Details: Following a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery earlier this year, I am scheduled for some of the reconstructive work to be redone tomorrow. This surgery has been planned since late October, and it is important that it happens now, for various reasons. However, since I have been sick with a pretty severe cold over the last two weeks and still have some symptoms, the surgery may not happen tomorrow. When I called the plastic surgeon’s office last week to inform them of my status, they said the decision whether or not to proceed with surgery would be made by the anesthesiologist. I have debated calling it off myself, but have decided to go to the hospital in the morning and discuss it with the anesthesiologist with hopes of having the surgery.
Right now my cold symptoms consist of a very stuffy nose, plugged ears, and a cough. I have some pressure in one ear, too. It pops and squeaks when I blow my nose. I’m sure that eustascian tube must be clogged. It’s possible I have an ear infection. I am coughing a little, but it’s only occasionally, and the cough is productive. It’s like the cough is almost over, but I still have the head cold. I don’t feel bad, but am really tired of dealing with these symptoms. The cold started almost two weeks ago. I finished a course of antibiotics on Friday. My colds do not usually last this long. It must be a really bad virus!
This is my third major surgery this year. Normally the night before surgery I am pretty anxious. Not this time. Christmas and the cold have kept my mind off of what’s ahead. I’m sure when my plastic surgeon begins drawing on me with that blue pen tomorrow before surgery, the reality will hit in a big way. But I want and need this surgery and I really hope it happens tomorrow.
Me: Hopeful. Sick of being sick. Ready to get major surgery behind me and move into 2011 with a fresh start.
Prayer Requests: That I will somehow be well by tomorrow morning – essentially leaving no decision to be made about my fitness for surgery. That my excellent plastic surgeon would hit it out of the park this time. For my health in recovery. For peace for Tracy and my children while I am in surgery and in the hospital. Please also give thanks and ask for special blessings for those who will be helping to keep an eye on my children over the next day or two.
Tomorrow: I will update my status on twitter and facebook as I find out what will happen. If we are able to do the surgery, Tracy will write on my facebook wall with updates. I’ll be back online soon, probably sometime tomorrow night.
Thanks for all the good vibes, thoughts and prayers.
Just the Facts: Surgery to revise my breast reconstruction happens on Monday, December 27. I will be in the hospital overnight for antibiotics. I have had my pre-op appointment with my plastic surgeon and the hospital pre-op appointment, to speak with an anesthesiologist. Everything is ready to go. The surgery will fix cosmetic problems, so by nature, it is much less serious than what I have gone through in the past. However, I have been very unhappy with the outcome of the reconstruction, and am excited that the problems will soon be corrected.
Details: All I want for Christmas is not my two front teeth, but two reconstructed breasts that face the front! Back in late August, my plastic surgeon (who I still believe is top-notch) performed the second phase of my breast reconstruction: exchange surgery. The hard and uncomfortable tissue expanders were traded for soft silicone-filled breast implants. He also did some repair work at that time, since my left side was troublesome-looking and had been ever since the mastectomy. The doctor re-sected and restitched the left “breast” to make it move more towards the right, creating a little cleavage. However, over the next few weeks, those internal sutures gave way, and the left implant began shifting back to what seems to be its desired destination: my left armpit. It is not evident with clothes on, but the reality is that the left side is messed up. One messed up side is one too many.
My doctor has other techniques to use to remedy the situation. This time, he will add Alloderm to give the left side more structure, and will move the “pocket” for the implant permanently towards the right by re-secting and suturing extensively in several different places. Alloderm will also be used over both “breasts” to correct fairly severe rippling, which often happens when someone “thin” gets implants. (If you are thin, your skin is thin and cannot camouflage the implant under it very well.) Excess skin will be removed from both sides, which should also help with rippling. Both of my scars will have to be re-opened for this surgery. I will receive two new implants, and I will need IV antibiotics for 24 hours. I’ll be in the hospital overnight and will have a surgical drain on each side. The drains will need to stay in place until there is minimal output, likely several days.
When I look, I see “DEFORMED” right now, and am so glad to be doing something about this. No one else (other than Tracy and the doctor) have seen the problem because it can be covered up in clothing. But in bathing suit season, it would be no secret. If there is a way to fix this, I want it done, and ASAP. Thankfully, we have excellent insurance which is paying for this re-reconstruction. Were it not for that, I would probably live with having a breast under my arm. I am truly grateful that I don’t have to do that.
Me: Looking forward to getting this over with! Excited about what the doctor described as my potential outcome. I will forever be changed from breast cancer and my mastectomy surgery, but hopefully I will not always be uncomfortable with the way I look. I am grateful too. This is cosmetic stuff, after all.
Prayer requests: That nothing, including a pretty severe cold (or is it the flu) that I have right now, will stand in the way of a smooth, uneventful surgery. Despite my earnest desire to have this surgery, anxiety over the process in general has crept in before my other surgeries in the past. Please pray for peace for me. Pray that my children and husband would stay healthy and that they would also be free of stress from this.
Just the Facts: Tomorrow is my Exchange Surgery. It’s outpatient, at Carolinas Medical Hospital in Charlotte. I’m the first one of the day for my doctor, so it will get started around 7:30 or 8:00 am. I hope to be home by mid-afternoon. I’m very excited to be getting this over with, and just a little bit nervous.
Details: I have been waiting months for this surgery and the day has finally come. I will say goodbye to my tissue expanders tomorrow and wake up from surgery with implants which should look and feel about a million times better than the expanders. I am SO psyched! But first, I have to go through the surgery.
It’s outpatient this time, thank goodness. The surgery is expected to take about 2.5 hours. My plastic surgeon takes his sweet time (a very good thing, in my opinion) so it may last longer than expected. I should be out of surgery by 11:00am EDT, if all goes as planned. This surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so I’ll then have to spend another couple of hours in recovery. I’m hoping to be home early to mid-afternoon.
I feel very positive about the surgery itself. I’m strong and in great health. I came through the mastectomy surgery well last April. I have not had problems with anesthesia in the past, and they will be using they same drug combination as last time. I do dread the sleepy, sluggish feeling that I felt for several weeks after the last surgery. But it shouldn’t last as long this time, since the surgery is shorter. Sometimes I do a little shudder when I think about the surgery and what they will be doing. But it SO needs to be done and I want to have this all behind me. No doubt, I’m ready.
I will have at least one surgical drain when I wake up. Its purpose is to keep the delicate tissue from becoming too moist. Today I located all my “drain management” equipment from last time, when I had four. What a nuisance! It’s just for a short time, I know. But ERRGH!
No recliner. We looked at them and tried a whole bunch of them out. Many seemed to be potentially hazardous to someone with tender places and/or stitches, given how difficult they were to open and close. So that’s off the table. (It’s a good thing, because we’re out of time now.) We’ll do the pillow propping thing on the sofa again. No big deal.
Now I am starting to remember what it felt like the night before my last surgery. I was very ready then too. Maybe moreso. And hyped up. I’m the same this time, but more nervous. I’m not sure why. Where is my sense of humor? I miss it!
Me: Excited. Nervous. Ready. Lots of things, but not worried.
Prayer Requests: Pray that the doctor and his team would do their jobs well, that there would be no complications and that everything would go as planned both with my surgery, and at home. Pray for a peace for Tracy as he waits.
Updates tomorrow: Tracy will be posting on my Facebook wall and here tomorrow to say that I’m out of surgery and doing fine. That WILL be the case.
Thanks for the encouragement, good wishes and prayers.
Just the Facts: I started taking tamoxifen and have completed month 1 of 60 on it! The next phase of reconstruction, expander -to-implant exchange surgery, has been scheduled. Life is busy with the kids home for the summer and teaching kettlebell classes but this is all good.
Details: In early June I started taking the estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer drug, tamoxifen. I was very hesitant, almost petrified to take it. It’s a tough drug. It alters the way cells handle the estrogen in my body. In some ways, it mimics menopause and can produce many of the same types of symptoms, though it won’t actually induce menopause. The list of side effects is long for this drug including: uterine CANCER (yes, cancer can be a side effect), blood clots, stroke, vision changes, weight gain, joint pain, fatigue, weakness, nearly constant hot flashes and more. So far, so good on most of these, at least as far as I know. I have experienced fatigue and hot flashes. But overall, I think it’s going well. I have also noticed a few side effects that aren’t even listed, the most annoying of which is a perpetual bad taste in my mouth. Literally! At times it’s like my taste buds have been numbed, similar to the way it feels just after brushing your teeth. Other times I have an actual sour taste in my mouth. It is worst about an hour after I take the pill, but it is there almost all the time. I call it Tamoxi-mouth. Oh well. All in all, I’m doing much better than I had expected on this drug and I’m relieved to know that I’m doing everything possible to keep the cancer away. I just hope that nothing ugly is happening behind the scenes.
The current status of my breast reconstruction is that the tissue expanders are still in place. My plastic surgeon requires a 3-month waiting period from the time of the last “fill” of the expanders until the time that surgery will be performed exchanging them for implants. It would have been great if it weren’t summer for this seemingly never-ending wait. My family likes to spend time at the pool and the beach. A bathing suit is required attire for me for the summer season, which happens to EXACTLY match my expander waiting period. Wearing a bathing suit is simply a difficult thing for me at this point, although friends and family tell me I look good. I have so much faith in my excellent doc, but I sometimes wonder if even HE is going to be able to pull off the job ahead of him, reshaping the strange configuration of tissue that currently exists into something which appears natural. One thing is for sure: I CAN’T WAIT to have that exchange surgery! It is scheduled for August 31.
What’s Coming Up? More waiting. I will see my plastic surgeon in mid-August for a pre-op meeting. At that meeting I will “pick out” the the implants that he will use. There is some decision to be made in terms of shape, etc. as I understand it. My surgery is expected to be outpatient, but will still require general anesthesia, so I will have a pre-op appointment with an anesthetist at the hospital in early August.
Prayer Requests: I am so thankful that the tamoxifen is going well, and still SO thrilled that no chemotherapy was required. Pray that the tamoxifen does its job and the side effects continue to be minimal. Please pray that our family would be able to move on with life in the right way, remembering what has happened, learning from it and growing. Pray for the upcoming appointments to go well.
Note: My sweet friend, Beth Currie in Southampton, UK, has entered Race for Life and is running in honor of me. What an honor this is FOR ME! Please support her by donating through this link. Thank you!
Just the Facts: My bilateral mastectomy/reconstruction surgery is tomorrow. I am ready!
Details: The waiting is finally over. This journey that began even before my first biopsy in February is finally moving forward. Tomorrow I will have bilateral mastectomy surgery, which will be followed by immediate reconstruction. The mastectomy portion of surgery should last about 2 to 3 hours. The reconstruction will last 3 to 3 1/2 hours. I’ll be in recovery about 2 hours. Sounds like a fun day to me!
Surgery is scheduled for 10:30am but will likely start closer to 11:30am. We have to be at the hospital at 7:30am.
My husband, Tracy, will be writing on my Facebook wall when he gets updates from the doctors. Later in the day he will post here. I will be online tomorrow morning for as long as they let me keep my electronic devices. Then sometime on Wednesday I will probably find my way online as well.
Prayer Requests: Please pray that all aspects of surgery will go smoothly. Pray that the pathology report tomorrow would confirm NO CANCER in the lymph nodes. Pray for peace for Tracy, especially, as he waits tomorrow. I am focused these verses tonight: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3 and For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future Jeremiah 29:11.
Me: Really ready. So glad that the waiting is over. I am eager to know the result of the pathology report. In all honesty, since my diagnosis, I have not been comfortable in my own skin. This part of me has felt as if it no longer “belonged”. The only event that I dread is saying goodbye to the children in the morning. But I’m ok with what we are doing. It’s what needs to be done. I’m also very very grateful for the support, good wishes and prayers from so many friends.
Just the Facts: Today I had a pre-op appointment at the hospital (Carolinas Medical Center – main). I met with someone from anesthesiology and had lab work done.
Details: Sitting in the waiting area to be called back for this appointment, I saw the look of dread on the other patients’ faces. Most of them were facing surgery soon as well, or at least hospitalization for some reason. They were not a happy looking group.
It took forever to be called back — no big surprise there. I got weighed and had my blood pressure taken. Then I was interviewed by a nurse on several “lifestyle” issues. After a while one of the nurse anesthetists came in and went through her own list of questions. I’m pretty easy. I don’t have any diseases, other than cancer! I am not allergic to anything, and I do well with anesthesia. I got through that part pretty quickly and then was ushered to the lab area to have blood drawn. I offered my right arm, realizing it was probably the last time I would ever have blood taken from that arm. Unfortunately, it is the “better” arm for that. But after the surgery, I will be at risk for lymphedema for the rest of my life, and am to avoid having any shots, IVs, blood draws, etc. on that arm. Oh well. That’s the way it goes.
What’s Coming Up? On Thursday I meet with the plastic surgeon again. I am not sure why this meeting was necessary but as it turns out, I do have a couple of questions for the doctor. Next Tuesday, April 6, is my surgery. The week is going to go by so fast, since the kids will be off school beginning on Friday. I’m still nesting and also have lots going on with my business right now, so life is crazy.
Prayer Requests: I will list my prayer requests regarding surgery soon. But for now, please just pray that our family would be calm and peaceful as the date approaches. I am seeing what I consider “normal coping behaviors” in the kids and I really think they are doing fine. But the stress level is high in the house nevertheless.
Other: A Care Calendar is coming soon to make it easy for those of you who are local and would like to bring our family a meal. We have received so many blessings already, but know that some of you want to do this as well. We are honored by your thoughtfulness and it will be a real blessing for our family.