Posts tagged Surgery
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: 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 want to SHOUT for joy that the pathology report CONFIRMED all of the following: 1) the left breast was cancer free 2) the margins were CLEAR and 3 )the lymph nodes were CLEAN!! This fantastic news came late this (Friday) afternoon, several days earlier than expected!
Details: I received a call late this afternoon from my surgeon’s nurse. She said they had just received the pathology report from my surgery and my doctor asked her to call me to share the news. Basically, the pathology report confirmed all of the preliminary findings from the biopsies and the surgery. It seems that the cancer was confined to the right breast. It was confirmed that the lymph nodes were cancer free and the margins were clear. I did not ask the exact size of the tumors, but I will be able to find out that information next week, when I go back for a follow up appointment on Tuesday. We will still wait for the official word on a recommendation regarding chemotherapy and other treatments, but expect to hear that chemo will not be recommended. The surgeon had told us before that if this were the outcome, my cancer would probably be considered “cured” by the surgery alone. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: That news definitely helped! I do feel better today, after a good night’s sleep last night. I am resting a lot more during the day, which is difficult, since I do feel good, but I know it is the key to feeling even better sooner. The surgical drains (sorry, eww!) are the biggest annoyance, moreso than the pain. The good news is that the drains will only be there for another week or two. That is really not much time at all and after that, I should feel MUCH better.
Prayer Requests: PRAISE God for bringing me through surgery so easily, for having it go well and for excellent news from pathology. Aside from a difficult first night home from the hospital, this whole thing could not have gone better. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes!
Sarah is home and resting after being released from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon. Both surgeons were thrilled with the results and encouraged by how good she looked so quickly after surgery.
Thanks Pop, Steve, Doug and Alice for waiting with me at various times during surgery. A couple of them got to see me “exhale” when hearing the good news about the lymph nodes. I did not realize until yesterday I had been “holding my breath” since Sarah’s diagnosis. We both realize there are ups and downs to come but it is a relief to turn those pages in this chapter.
Sarah is trying to take it much easier today (Thursday). Last night was less than ideal. The trip home from the hospital was fine and Sarah was up and around most of Wednesday afternoon and evening. We sort of paid the price overnight. Rest is our priority now. Neighbors and friends are setting us up with meals and other support where we need it.
We have been truly blessed by the outpouring of kind words, prayers, service, support (and the list goes on) of all of you! Thanks again and the better blogger (Sarah) may feel like resuming updates soon. Sarah got a special treat on Wednesday by being featured in Episode 3 on www.dragondoor.tv as “Comrade of the Week”. Her fellow kettlebell friends nominated her and she is very honored.
Sarah is in her room and resting with pain meds. She is alert, relieved, & thirsty. All is good. All aspects have gone as well as we could have hoped! Thanks for all the kind words, prayers, & posts. She will be blog, FBook, & tweet active on Wednesday unless I hide her Blackberry & Ipod!
Sarah is out of (reconstruction) surgery as of about an hour ago. All went fine and was as expected. No problems and her plastic surgeon was happy with the results. She is in recovery and we will not get to see her for another hour or so. Hopefully room shortly thereafter. Will post again later tonite. Thanks for all the prayers, well wishes & kind words. You guys are the best! Thanks again!
Great news so far! Lymph nodes were clear & general surgery complete. Surgeon said it could not have been scripted any better! Plastic surgery underway. Thanks for all the continued prayers.
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: Enjoyed a great Easter Sunday with family. Would love to do this day all over again, but also, feel so ready to move on.
Details: It was a low key day for us, really. We went to church and then to lunch and hung out outside for most of the afternoon. Then we cooked burgers on the grill for the first time this season. SO good! I had a number of nice surprises, mostly in the way of support from friends in various ways. Check out what my sweet friend, Rose, had to say in her blog today. I am overwhelmed at the support I am receiving.
Tomorrow I have to run a bunch of errands, do a number of things on the computer and pack for the hospital. My sister also arrives tomorrow and I’m so psyched to see her! I am going to do a workout tomorrow, just something modest and no strength training. Doing it will help me stay focused better during the day and sleep better tomorrow night.
Prayer Requests: Time to focus on the lymph nodes. The surgeon will perform a Sentinel Node Biopsy on me in the first part of surgery. This is a method of checking the lymph node(s) that are most likely to harbor cancer if any of them does. It is meant to limit the number of nodes that have to be removed, as long as the pathology report indicates that there is no cancer in the sentinel node(s). Please pray that my sentinel node biopsy comes back CLEAR! Pathology will examine the sample during my surgery and if cancer is not found, no extra nodes will have to be removed (a very good thing, making it more likely for me to return to normal functioning.) I feel strongly that this biopsy is going to go well. However, please do pray for a good result. If cancer is found in the nodes, it means more extensive surgery and chemotherapy for certain.
Please also pray for peace for my sweet husband, Tracy, and my children, Olivia and Mitchell, as well as other friends and family who are closely following my situation. I pray that all will have the peace that surpasses all understanding.