Post-Op: Part IV

I think this post will bring me up to date on the post-op stuff thus far, unless I get super drowsy.

Beginning Thursday evening, once I was in my room, I’d have vital checks every hour, then every two hours, then every four hours. They’d also check my drains, incisions, and run the Doppler over my chest.

When I’m in bed, I’m open in the front with a sheet covering me. When I sit up or stand up, I wear a surgical bra for support and a camisole that has pockets to hold the drains. When I walk today, I’ll be wearing a gown as well.

Needless to say, I have zero modesty whatsoever. I’m essentially butt naked all day, which just a sheet draping over me. Just about everyone has seen the goods. It is what it is. People have seen me pee, and they’ll probably see me poop when that happens, too.

Right now I’m just trying to work on passing gas. I keep shifting to make that happen so I’m not so bloated, and it’s helping.

Also, I don’t have feeling on my chest, like the skin surface, at the moment from the leftover nerve block and the pain meds. If I apply pressure, I can feel soreness under the skin where there’s probably bruising.

I probably already mentioned at least once that where the drain goes in on the left side of my chest is sore. That’s pretty much my consistent problem area, but it’s not even that bad. It can be sharp, and probably rates a good 6-7, but it’s super quick.

I think that probably covers most of what’s been going on the last couple days. I’m still pretty sore along the incision sites, and around my breasts. Lots of gas in my stomach, too. Still draining…

I’ll update again after I have my walk, and I’ll talk about how much fun standing up is! Ha.

Post-Op: Part III

I may have mentioned that I’m sleeping off and on, and at random due to the pain pills and muscle relaxers, which is to be expected. I was mostly awake during the day yesterday, and slept through most of the night. My tail bone is totally sore though, so I can’t wait to get up.

So every day post-op I have different goals. The day of surgery was just bed rest. I had the catheter and didn’t get up for anything. The next day, yesterday, was to get up and move to the chair, and use the bathroom so the catheter could come out. I passed that with flying colors, and I honestly fell back on some of my exercise techniques in order to do that. Today the goal is to walk the halls, which I am looking forward to since it’s more movement! And tomorrow with be bathing.

I’ve had the same night nurses, day nurses, and techs, which definitely makes it more comfortable since they get to know me and how I like to move, etc. So that’s pretty cool. Plus they’re awesome! I got very lucky. The hospital is also super quiet, so I get a lot of attention if I need it.

You know I’d mention the hospital food. It’s not bad at all. Yesterday, I had eggs, hash browns, and a blueberry muffin for breakfast. Lunch was baked chicken with gravy, rice, and veggies. And dinner was roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, and creamed spinach. I mean, it’s hospital food, so it’s not epic, but it’s pretty decent. Plus, I’ve got lots of snacks people have been bringing by.

I’ve had some visitors, and they’ve brought healthy snacks, not so healthy snacks, drinks, etc. So I’ve had quite the variety as far as food goes, which is nice. I also have lots of pretty flowers and balloons.

Those photos were the best I could do from my bed. 🙂

For the first 24 hours I couldn’t eat, so I was doing ice chips and water, which was totally OK since they have ice like Sonic has…crunchy ice. I’ve even asked for it after I was cleared to eat. Yum!

TV stinks, so I’ve been trying to entertain myself with the occasional re-run, napping, blogging, and checking FB and my emails. I’m working on reading, but I’m mostly still too groggy for that.

Fun Fact: whenever a baby is born in the hospital, they play a lullaby over the loudspeaker. One of my visitors was a coworker who brought her baby boy who was born here in March! So adorable.

Post-Op: Part II

Still a little drowsy from the meds, but I just had dinner so I’m feeling a little surge of energy and alertness, so I thought I’d try to squeeze in another post.

I had a catheter. They inserted it while I was unconscious, so that’s cool, because apparently that’s what’s uncomfortable about it – having it out in while you’re awake. So yay. It was kind of neat to just be able to pee without thinking about it. There were periods of discomfort, mostly due to the positioning of the drainage tube. It was uncomfortable when they pulled it out, too, but it’s not like they yanked it. They did it gently.

I’ve gotten up to pee three times since the catheter has been removed. Standing up is uncomfortable because I want to use my arms to push up and stabilize myself, but I can’t. I also feel like my abs are going to jump out of my body. I think it’ll be much easier to do once I get over those things. The first time I tried to sit to pee was a struggle, but the second time I remembered my squats and it was a piece of cake. Laying down hurts when I engage my abs. The nurses hold my back and lower me, but it’s nearly impossible to just release my abs and let them do the hard work. So that’s another thing I need to get over.

The last thing I remember before the surgery was the anesthesiologist saying he was going to sedate me a little bit to do the nerve block, which I remembered from the lumpectomy. He inserted the medicine into my IV and it was game over. I vaguely recall telling Dr H about my successes with losing inches around my mid-section, and saying something about wanting big boobs. That’s about it! Then I woke up in recovery. So while the world was passing hours upon hours, I was in an amazing time warp!

And I do have big boobs apparently. Double the size. Yowza!

Anyway, getting groggy again so I’ll talk to you later!!

I also apologize if there are typos in any of these post-op posts. I’m not proofreading, and I’ve only got one eye open half the time. Ha!

TTFN

Post-Op: Part I

I made a list of the bazillion topics to cover so I don’t completely flake out the way I did with the lumpectomy. It’ll be broken down into different posts as I feel the umf to write about. I have a little burst right now, so I’m going to try to cover some stuff. It may be totally out of order from the actual series of events, but I’ll include everything I remember!

First off, everything went great. Everything looks good. All is well. So yay for that. The mastectomy and the flap took about 8.5 hours total. Unfortunately the part of the hospital Brad was waiting in was a cellular dead zone, so he didn’t get updated. He would just have random missed calls, but the phone never rang.

Pain has been moderate. I had the same nerve block as I did with the lumpectomy, at the upper shoulders, and that has begun to wear off. Pain is being managed with pain killers and I’m doing ok with all that. I also have a nerve block, still do, at the abdominal incision.

I’m also on a muscle relaxer to help with the ab, back, and chest muscle tension. Those are the areas I’m feeling it the most. And of course an anti-nausea med.

I started with an IV, which I still have but they’re not currently using it. I was getting the meds intravenously, but this morning I was able to switch to pills, which is lovely because any time the meds went through the IV, it burned!!! I was also getting IV antibiotics last night into this morning. I haven’t gotten any pill antibiotic yet today, but I may be done with that now anyway.

Since I was horizontal for so long, I had some crud in my chest, so I’ve got to use this little breathing thing to help break that up.

I have a lot of gas/bloating around my stomach area. So I’ll be passing quite a bit of gas (no surprise there!), and it will dissipate more and more each day.

I have drains: 2 for the breast area and 2 for the abdomen area. The breast area has had less liquid than the abdomen, and part of that is just due to gravity. I may go home with all 4, or I may go home with fewer. It just depends on how much is coming out.

Ok, so I’m pretty tired now! I’ll update with more later or tomorrow!

Pre-Op

Took care of my pre-op stuff. I got a bunch of prescriptions from my plastic surgeon, and had some blood taken at the hospital.

The hospital looks nice, and apparently I’ll be recovering on the same floor as maternity, just the opposite side, which I’ve been told is a nice place to be. So that’s cool.

I did all the paperwork for the hospital, so all I have to do when I check in tomorrow is get a bracelet and head to my floor.

I’m not nervous about the procedure, and I doubt I’ll get nervous in the morning since I have to be up and at the hospital at o’ dark thirty (aka 5:30am). Doesn’t really give me the opportunity to panic prior to getting the good stuff from the anesthesiologist.

Did I mention that for my lumpectomy they gave me some kind of chill stuff through my IV to make sure I stayed calm before the surgery? I’m guessing they may do something similar tomorrow.

Anyway, as I said, I’m not nervous. I have faith in my doctors, and I know everything will be ok. Brad, on the other hand, is super nervous!! So he’ll need all the support he can get. I do believe people are taking shifts with him tomorrow, since it’ll be a long wait.

The surgery can take anywhere from 8-12 hours, and probably will take about 8. That’s a long wait for a loved one! Not so much for me, since it’ll be lights out and I’ll have no concept of time. One minute I’ll be making bad jokes and the next I’ll be in post-op.

Regardless, tomorrow is going to be a long day!!

I picked up some slippers and button-down shirts today, and I packed my hospital bags (one for entertainment, one with clothes and toiletries). So hopefully I’ll be comfy since I’ll be in the hospital until Sunday!!

I’ll see you on the flip side!

Ten Years?!

Last week, on May 3rd, Brad and I celebrated our ten (10!!!) year wedding anniversary. I honestly don’t feel old enough to be married for 10 years, but I definitely am. I’m old enough to be married longer, but it just seems weird. We’ve been together for 15 years! Almost half my life. Crazy.

Each year, for our anniversary, we head to Concord, NC for Carolina Rebellion with Brad’s brother, Jeff. It’s a three day rock music festival held up at the campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Sort of like what I imagine Woodstock would have been, complete with the dirt and the stink. We don’t camp, though. We stay in a hotel, conveniently located directly across the street from the event. Because beds and showers, duh. I can’t imagine being sore and hot from being on my feet in the heat all day long, then having to sleep on the ground. Heck no.

Anyway, this year was as much fun as years passed. We get VIP tickets so we can leave the venue and gain re-entry later on, which we took advantage of when there were bands playing that we were less interested in seeing. We love to experience as much of the festival as we can, but sometimes we need a break.

I’ve been staying on my food and exercise plan as much as I can. It’s not easy eating clean at a music festival, but I’m doing the best I can and opting for the least processed foods. Surprisingly, it’s not impossible since there are a lot of food trucks at the event and you can get things that aren’t greasy or fried. I’ve also been exercising at the hotel (thank you Beachbody® On Demand!). I did cardio and yoga, and it felt good. Just the right balance of energy and stretching. My feet and legs didn’t get nearly as sore as they usually did at the event, and I think that goes back to my increased endurance from staying active over the last few weeks.

Anyway, if you like rock music and haven’t been to one of these festivals, I highly recommend going. Carolina Rebellion is awesome, but there are others that are part of the same series, like Rock on the Range (Ohio), Welcome to Rockville (Florida), Rocklahoma (Oklahoma), and more. So much fun.

And a lot of people say, “Aren’t you too old for that?” The answer is “No.” There are all ages at these shows, and I mean that. Babies to seniors, no joke. There was a woman in her 80s crowd surfing one year…someone in a wheelchair, even. You don’t have to be in the center of a mosh pit to be at a concert, there are plenty of safer, calmer places to be and still have a good time.

Plus, I’m a firm believer that you’re only as old as you feel. Some days I feel like I’m 100 years old, other days I don’t. Bottom line: I’m going to enjoy myself.

Port Shift?

When I got the port place, it felt awkward. It was like, “Holy crap, there’s something popping out of my chest.” Not actually popping our of my chest, but it’s there and it’s foreign and it’s weird. I still sort of feel that way, but I’m used to it.

So back to the beginning. I remember being afraid that if I sneezed a really good sneeze, like one of those muscle-popping sneezes, that the port would just pop out of my chest. I can’t explain why I felt that way, or how I thought that could happen, but I totally did. I presented this concern to the doctor, even though I was fairly sure it was an irrational concern. She said not to worry, that port wasn’t going anywhere.

Challenge accepted.

Enter jump castle. Correction. Enter jump castle obstacle course.

I thought it would be wise to show how great my endurance was and how quickly I could move through the jump castle obstacle course since I’ve been getting so much exercise, building muscle, etc. So after going through it once solo, I decided to race my sister-in-law.

You can imagine how this went. Long story short, we collided somewhere in the middle. She sprained her wrist, I overstretched my left arm, and I’m pretty sure I popped a stitch on my port because there’s a little wobbliness that wasn’t there before.

Shrugs.

I’ll see my surgeon this week and she can check it out, but everyone at the oncologist said it looked okay. It is attached to my jugular, so if there was an issue, I’d know about it by now. It’s been over a week and I’ve had an infusion through it, and nada.

So yeah…if you have a port…maybe jump castles aren’t the best place to be…or at least a jump castle race might not be the best decision.

Oh! I did win the race against my sister-in-law, but I then challenged my brother-in-law and lost miserably.

Second moral of the story – when you’ve got something crazy going on with your toenail, jump castles might not be the place to be.

Physical Therapy

I’ve had a few physical therapy sessions now. We do various exercises to stretch my right shoulder, and then started doing the same with my left since I fell in the jump castle at my niece, Gabby’s, birthday party, and super stretched that side. They did say I probably increased the range of motion on that side, though…so there’s that. Everyone got a good laugh. Yay, I’m funny.

Anyway, the stretches feel nice, and they’re easy and practical enough that I can do them at home as well. They’ve also told me that they don’t usually get people who come in who are already exercising, so that’s pretty cool. I guess most of the time people are injured, so they can’t exercise.

I’ve been taught some simply lymphatic massage techniques, too. Ways to sort of wake up the lymph system, particularly on my right side where some of the lymph nodes were removed.

The exercises are not strenuous at all, but I can see how they may become so after I’ve had the surgery and am sore in the shoulder area.

So, surgery is just a few days away now and I’m doing my best to stay active and energized! And positive, of course.