Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Post Op–Halloween Style

Hey!
Happy Halloween!  Are you doing anything for Halloween today/tonight?  Trick or treating maybe?
We usually do trunk-or-treat at our church then walk the usual trick-or-treat route in our town.  It used to be a much bigger ordeal around our house, but now that Katie is the only one that dresses up it’s calmed down a lot.  Before Katie was in school, I’d be toting her around the elementary on my hip, managing two different classroom parties [one for Tyler, and one for Zach], then rushing home to get everyone fed something BESIDES candy, before heading out to trick-or-treat.  It was cah-razzzyyy!
Anyway, if you’re doing something fun today, enjoy!
I’m going to make the most classy segue ever from Halloween…to more mastectomy/reconstruction related news.  It’s actually not too far off.  Check this out- 
IMG_5954
Ahhh the lovely output of my drains.  Yes, four of them…ugh. (This was after a 12-hour time period.)
I had four JP drains placed at the end of my surgery last Monday; two under each arm.  They each have tubing that is snaked in and around my chest area and are used to collect all the excess fluid that accumulates after removing bodily tissue.  In fact, you could even SEE some of the tubing in my chest…really weird looking! 
jp-drain

Anyway, ask anybody who has had to have drains placed, and they will probably tell you that it is their least favorite thing to have to deal with.  Not only do you have the pain and discomfort from the surgery, but then you have to empty your drains every few hours, measuring and recording each amount for the doctor to see at your post-op visits.  And you have to do it very carefully, cleaning the drain and using clean hands or gloves so as not to risk infection.  Besides that, it’s gross!
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It’s a party, I’ll tell ya.
Well, on Monday, I had my one-week post-op visit at my plastic surgeon’s office.  And lo and behold, she looked at my output sheets from my drains and determined that TWO of my drains could be REMOVED!!!  I could almost swear that I heard angels singing!!  Or, maybe that was me…either way, I was/am ecstatic!  She removed one drain from each side, leaving me with only TWO!!  Hallelujah!!! 
It didn’t hurt at all, just felt like a weird pressure.  She had me take a deep breath and then blow out slowly as she pulled, and pulled, and pulled.  Very weird feeling.  And I was left with this-
IMG_5955
(I had to do some serious cropping to avoid showing too much!)
But yeah, that’s a HOLE!  Geez!!  And they don’t stitch those up anymore, because she said they actually had more problems with infection when they were stitched.  So she just covered it up and said it would close pretty quickly on its own.  Well, we changed the dressed last night and both holes are almost completely closed!  Cool!

So now it’s two down, two to go!  But just having two of them removed I feel like a new woman!  I am so happy!!
On Monday, we also got a good look at the different implants we will have to choose from. 
This is what I have now-
IMG_5959

Here’s a good diagram of how it works-
2012-10-31_0919terecon

To fill them, a magnet is used to find the metal port in the expander, then it is marked and cleaned.  Then a predetermined amount of cc’s of saline will be injected into the expander allowing it to fill and stretch the muscles and skin surrounding it.  The plastic surgeon put a small amount of fluid in during surgery to get started, but used 50 cc’s less on my cancer side, since it has been radiated.  She didn’t want to stress the area too much at first, and said she will catch it up quickly with the other side.   
And then there’s the different types of implants-


Interesting, right?? 
The implant we choose will be put in at an exchange surgery to be determined later.  Basically, as soon as we feel the tissue expanders are the right size, we will stop the fills for a little while to give it a break, then we will do the exchange. She will then swap out the tissue expanders for my new girls!  Yay!  I would love to be done with all of this by the time summer gets here.  *crossing fingers!*
Ok, so…I’ve wished you a Happy Halloween, I’ve shown you an icky bloody picture, and then some body parts.  I’d say this has been a perfect Halloween post!  HAHA! Winking smile
Love!
xoxo

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