Welp. Here I am. I cannot believe I am actually writing my first post following my exchange surgery. My expanders are officially a distant memory and I am spending my spring break recovering and getting used to my new, expander-free life. I had looked forward to this surgery for so long… and now its over…it seems bizarre that I don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Although everything turned out ok, the road leading up to my exchange surgery wasn’t quite as smooth as I had anticipated. I spent all week last week preparing because I was originally scheduled to have surgery last Friday, March 28th. However, the stomach flu had different plans for me. I became extremely sick last Thursday and, when I called his office, Dr. Noel recommended that we postpone surgery until I felt better. Obviously, that was the right thing to do, but at the time I was super disappointed. I cried. Silly, I know…. but I was SOOOO ready to get rid of those expanders!!!. So, I spent 4 days in bed and drank more water and Gatorade than any one person should in a lifetime. THANKFULLY I was better just in time to have surgery Monday morning.
So, with even more anticipation that normal, I woke up early Monday and got all ready for my operation. Just like before my first surgery, I showered and washed with this special anti-bacterial soap that tingled like crazy. Then, I curled my hair and put on mascara and lip gloss, even though they said not to wear makeup. =) What can I say… I like to bend the rules a little bit. Finally, it was 10:30am and my friend Sarah and Super Husband drove me over to the hospital.
Even though I was excited to have this surgery, I was a little more nervous going into this surgery than my last. I know the first surgery was a much bigger deal and had a much longer recovery… but this surgery was different for me. It marked the first major medical event in my life that I would go through without any family. As most of you know, I am an only child and my mom passed away a couple of years ago. Until about a year ago, my dad was my only family within about 500 miles. Now, my dad… well… he isn’t around anymore. So, going into surgery alone made things feel pretty different for me this time around.
I know I am 30 years old. I know I have an amazingly sweet and capable husband. I know God has blessed me with the most amazing friends on the planet. However, there just isn’t anything that can take the place of knowing that a parent… someone who loves you more than anything… is waiting on YOU to come out of surgery. For reasons I am still trying to figure out, this just wasn’t in the cards for me this time and knowing that made me much more anxious than I normally would have been as I headed over to the hospital.
Fortunately, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about things once I got to the hospital. As soon as I checked into the surgery waiting area, the nurses called me back to get ready. I tell ya, that hospital always runs on time! It’s so nice. Once I changed into a hospital gown and verified my name and date of birth about a gazillion times, they finally let me have some company.
Here I am with Super Husband. He is so good.
And, here I am with my friend Sarah…. Laura and her sweet mom were also there with me. They were such good company and did a great job distracting me while I waited. I am super bummed I didn’t get a picture with all of them.
Finally, Dr. Noel came to check in with me and do all his final markings.
After we’d had a chance to talk (and Dr. Noel ASSURED me that I will someday be able to do push ups again), they gave me all kinds of medication, put me in a hair net, and I said goodbye to my people.
Before I knew it, I was back in what seemed like the same stark, white operating room thinking about the same beach that brought me peace during my last surgery. The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery.
As I prepared for this surgery, I was told by lots of other women that this surgery was “a BREEZE” and “so much easier on your body” compared to the first surgery. Well, let me tell you… if you are getting ready to have your exchange surgery and this is what you’ve heard… YOU HAVE HEARD CORRECTLY!!! There is just no comparison to how you feel post mastectomy and post exchange. When I woke up in recovery, I was in very little pain and was even able to walk and get myself dressed. Even though it sounds weird, my chest actually felt better after surgery than it had before. My poor chest muscles had been so sore and strained over those crazy expanders and I felt like I woke up to instant relief. I stayed in recovery an hour or so and before I knew it, they were sending me home. My surgery had started at 12:30pm and I was home by 5pm. CRAZY.
The last few days since surgery have been a blur of company, percocet, naps, and Sex and the City reruns. I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy doing absolutely nothing. Ha. Thank goodness my sweet friends have come over to see me so I don’t Pinterest myself to death.
At this point, I am three days post exchange and the only medication I am taking is an antibiotic to prevent infection. I am not hurting AT ALL from the surgery and haven’t needed to take any pain meds since yesterday morning. I can’t drive and I’ve only taken a couple small trips outside the house, but for now that’s ok with me… especially since I have these back…
THE DREADED, HORRIBLE DRAINS.
I am hoping that these beauties will be removed tomorrow during my follow-up appointment with Dr. Noel. I know they are important for a healthy recovery… but I need them out for many reasons. First, they are driving me crazy. Second, the dang things hurt…. those tubes are sewn into your skin!!!! Last… and MOST important… I need to get rid of these things so I can cheer on my UK Wildcats when they play in the Final Four on Saturday!!!!!! It’s hard to cheer when you have all these crazy bulbs hanging around and holding you down. Say a little prayer for me… TAKE. THEM. OUT.
I’ll keep you posted.
GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!!