Tomorrow is the day. I am to check into the Atlanta location of Northside Hospital at 11:30 am. My surgery is scheduled for 1:30. I am SO ready for this.
My pre-op appointment went just fine. They had me strip from the waist up so that Dr. Elliott could take another look at my chest and figure out what would be the best approach for reconstruction. Then he reviewed the proceedure: taking the muscle and tissue from the back and migrating it around to the front and sculpting new breasts on both sides. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1274087-overview Even though I did not have mastectomies, this is a good description of what is involved in the procedure.
Of course we talked about size and since I have so much extra tissue <read: I’m overweight and this is beneficial in this case> I’ll end up with a B or C cup, for which I am THRILLED to bits. Honestly I’m just going to be deliriously happy to have breasts again. He also talked to me about the drains. They won’t be like the last surgery with the huge open tubing. These are MUCH smaller and they have little bulbs on the ends to measure and hold the drainage so it can be kept track of. These tubes are about half the size of the end of my pinkie. The others were BIGGER than my pinkie and left open.
Another thing he mentioned is that because tissue is coming off my back, my back will be tighter, meaning not as much fat. And for a few weeks reaching up over my head will be difficult and a bit painful. He doesn’t even want me to try for a week. BUT after the surgery, his nurse said that I am not to just lay in bed like an invalid. I’m supposed to get up pretty frequently and walk around, make my own food and try to have something of a normal life.
I spent time talking to Chris, the nurse I just mentioned, too. We reviewed my record, talked about allergies and made specific notes about avoiding penicillin and such products. We also talked about the process…again. They REALLY want to make sure I understand what’s going to happen.
As I was getting ready to go, Dr. Elliott came back in and asked me if I wanted to see what the results of the proceedure look look like. The woman in the next room, a cancer survivor who had developed necrosis and lost the left side of her right breast, said she’d be okay with me seeing. She looked fantastic!! The scars were very small and minimal on her breast AND her back. The results were fabulous. Her breast looked perfectly natural.
That’s the sort of result I’m REALLY excited to see tomorrow.
After the visit there, we went over to Northside Hospital, did my paperwork and I had some testing done. I did the piddle-in-a-cup test (Urinalysis) and the Vampire test (she drew a BIG vial of blood for a CBC-complete blood count). She also told me that when I come in after paperwork is done and when they take me back to the back, they’ll give me “happy juice” to help me relax. I’ll get an IV and afterward I’ll get a pain pump so that I can dose myself as I need it for discomfort.
As i said on Twitter: Be afraid. Be VERY afraid. I’ll be twittering on morphine. Wheeee!!!
I’m really hoping that they don’t give me anything TOO major because my system is SO sensitive to chemicals. Something TOO heavy duty will make me nauseous. Of course if I’m that doped I won’t care too much. BUT vomiting is bad. We don’t want to see me tearing stitches. But then, there really won’t be any cookies to toss because I won’t have eaten anything for about 18 hours by the time they get me settled in my room.
I’ll have an IV though. So I’m guessing they’ll be pumping some nutrients into me too. I’ll have to ask someone about that tomorrow before they give me the happy juice.
Finally, I have homework for tonight. I have to fill out my Living Will. Just in case something horrible happens I need to cover my bases. I already spent time talking to Ken about this. and I think this requires a separate blog post. So check out the next one: If I Should Die Before I Wake.