I’m continuing to do well here at home, recovering from my DIEP Flap surgery just a week ago, Monday the 3rd of December.
Major noticeable milestones:
I can cough now without my belly incision hurting. Even through pain meds coughing always hurts belly incisions in the first days. So the day that stops hurting, the healing process feels real 🙂
My bowels are “fully awake”, as medical staff would say. This means I can have regular bowel movements on purpose without assistance from laxatives or stool softeners. Just what you wanted to read about today, right? But this is an important part of the recovery process, especially with abdominal surgery, plus it just feels oh so much better that way, lol. The nerve blocks that were put in place to numb and block pain in my body during surgery also put the bowels to sleep. It takes a bit to wear off and then there’s the constipation caused by the pain meds for after surgery. So, yeah, major noticeable milestone. I can go #2 again.
I can spend way more time out of “bed”. I feel like I could do things. I don’t do them, but mood wise and health wise I feel like I could do dishes, vacuum, cook, etc. My hubby has been wonderful at helping me keep the balance between want to and shouldn’t.
I can clean my own body easily now. Reaching around or scrubbing my neck or other areas with a rag has been hard due to tenderness. Today, it didn’t hurt to clean.
My belly area from beneath my ribs to my hips has been swollen, similar to a post- delivery swelling from childbirth. Yesterday, I was having a lot of mid back pain. I thought maybe I had just over done it the day before, or just hadn’t slept well enough the night before, etc. Well, today as I traded out one belly band for a clean one, I noticed that the clean belly band was a smaller sized one, and that the one I’d had on for the past two days had gotten loose. The larger sized belly band fit more loosely due to decreased swelling. Also, as soon as I put the cleaner one on snuggly, my back pain went away almost completely. I had also noticed this yesterday morning as I texted a fellow Breast Reconstruction patient, mentioning that I “felt” skinnier today, considerably so. It was something I couldn’t really “see” in the mirror, yesterday, but it is very noticeable today.
I felt like I could spend time with more people today! So, I made plans to get a ride to my my parents house to spend time with my mom, dad, and boys for about a half hour. Then add my brother and his wife and kids for another half hour. Then see if I could handle the whole crew for his wife’s birthday party with almost the whole family this evening. It ended up being more than just us to start with, but I handled it well, even managed to be a parent to my boys for more than just an hour here and there. I was able to stay for the party as well, but bugged out early to head home and put my feet up. I still had enough energy to do a couple little things around the house after resting for a bit. I wasn’t absolutely exhausted like I have been the past week.
My body and I got bored of/agitated about/tired of/aggravated with sleeping in the “beach chair” position a couple of days ago. I was having a hard time sleeping again. I thought I was comfortable, but I still couldn’t sleep more than a couple hours at a time, with drowsy meds and all. Last night I totally pulled my pillow nest apart and rearranged and added the bigger knee-pillow and my “hero” neck pillow back in the mix. Voila’! I slept like a baby for 4 hours, woke for my middle of the night dosing, went back to sleep for a glorious 6 hours of sleep. All without the drowsy meds! Yay!!!! So yeah, just because the nest configuration works for several nights doesn’t mean its going to work for the whole time. Rearrange if you aren’t sleeping good, just because you’re only allowed to sleep in one position doesn’t mean your pillows have to stay in one position, too.
I definitely still need to limit the time I spend with large groups, and I am still edgy about chances of getting bumped (as I should be). I handled the larger than expected group okay this evening but more time with smaller groups first would probably be better for a few more days. Maybe I’ll get a chance next week to hang out with just me and my parents. We’ll see. Shawn heads back to work next week, so I may go ahead and plan to do it then. I am sure that I will be ready for my boys to come home this weekend, though. I miss them, but I do still see the need to have “space” and time between their wiggly and active selves and this healing Momma.
Be sure to read your prescriptions and take exactly as directed. Double check it when you actually get them from the pharmacy. I realized yet again, that I haven’t been taking my meds exactly as directed. I’ve only been taking a half dose of my Tylenol. A mix up caused by going from a larger dose Tylenol all in one pill in the hospital to the same strength dose split to two lower strength pills from the pharmacy, because that’s how my insurance would cover it. Yeah, so there’s that! As Shawn said, my swelling probably would have gone a bit faster, and my soreness would have probably been less as well.
My husband and I actually do like spending lots of time together doing “nothing”, lol. We found that we are good partners as he carves wooden figurines and then I paint the tiny things as he explains what he envisions them as. That’s been fun. Also, we have enjoyed just talking again. It feels like its been awhile since I could just sit and listen and sit and talk for hours with my best-friend-of-a-husband. Probably since we found my lump 3 years ago this month. We’ve talked and we’ve had fun and we’ve been together off and on through that time, but this week, yeah, its been really nice! Gives me hope for retirement, lol.
Blood circulation in my new breast mounds is continuing as it should, still warm to the touch. No signs of infection. Only one little issue with a leaky and stinging painful drain when “stripped”. It was taken care of with a quick acting hubby who replaced the dressing, a phone call stating that the stinging pain was a nerve near the opening of the tube within my abdomen, some instructions to only “strip” that tube from half-way down if I can stand the lesser stinging, and placing Bacitracin or Neosporin around the insertion site to create a seal around the drain tube if it didn’t stop leaking. It’s all good now.
I’m really happy with my results. Warm, squishy, my own skin and tissue, no implants, no voids on my chest. The incisions make me look a bit like Frankenstein’s monster, but those will heal and turn to scars, which will fade and turn into something similar to what I already have on my body. Plus its really only my husband and I who will see them anyway, I don’t do bikinis, so I’m good with it. Really good with it! I have two breasts again!