Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Post Op Recovery Continued

Yesterday I called my plastic surgeons office to say, "Hey! I am out of drugs and I am  not ready to be out of drugs." I was still in a lot of pain and really just in a really bad place. I was in tears all the time and could feel myself sinking into depression. No….no I think I was already there.

My plastic surgeon wanted to see me as soon as I could get in. Her first words, "You don't look well, and certainly are not yourself. What is going on?"

We went over everything, and here are her conclusions about what could be going on:

1) In my previous post I mentioned the breast surgeon who did my mastectomy wasn't able to leave enough tissue on the sides to cover the tissue expander so they had to use the alloderm. It could be I'm having a reaction to that, which slows healing. This is usually temporary but does involve more swelling (and the pain that goes with it) than if it hadn't been used.

2) Sometimes it doesn't work to save the nipples. The one on my cancer side looks great (well, this is a relative term because it looks like the shriveled end of a lemon right now) and the color is good. But the nipple on my cancer-free side doesn't look the same. Parts of it are black (black! It is pure  nastiness)  and there is a lot of swelling behind it. The Plastic surgeon wasn't concerned about the color as much as the swelling. More tissue is needed behind the  nipple to keep it alive, and sometimes that tissue becomes full of edema. It is a very good possibility when I go back next week she'll decide I need to have another surgery to remove the nipples. I'm ok with that. I tried. I just want to not be in pain.

3) I have, in her words, "extremely well developed pectoral muscles" and am told it took quite a bit of force to create the pocket to place the tissue expander behind those muscles. Once the expanders are placed they are supposed to be filled a little bit. My doctor wasn't able to put as much saline into them as she normally would because it was just too tight. It could be my body is just not happy with that assault and just needs more time to adjust.

4) I just finished chemo. Although my last treatment was two months ago it takes a lot out of your body and makes healing go differently than expected.

5) Everyone reacts to surgery differently. Although I've done fine with previous surgeries, this one is pure hell.

She changed my drugs around a little bit and I'll go back to see  her on Weds next week. Hopefully both my drains can come out that day. If there is one thing that drives me crazy, its these damn drains! 


eliz said...

Oh Leah! (((HUGS))) My mom just had her left breat totally removed, so she healed so quick I was in shock. Except for a huge scab that took months to fall off. I kid her now because she fusses with her blouse on that side all the time. The prosthetic hurt her skin rubbing so she doesn't wear one.
Like you say everyone reacts to surgery differently, I'm so sorry you are having a hard time. My last surgery I thought one drain was bad- but two would be heck!!
(((((HUGS))))) and lots of prayers. So good to hear from you!

KT said...

My Mom had her nipples tattooed on after her mastectomies -- just another option. Hope you're up to feeling better soon!

KT said...

My Mom had her nipples tattooed on after her mastectomies -- just another option. Hope you're up to feeling better soon!