Days and moments to cherish…

Some very good, poignant thoughts to reblog today!

Dalynn's Road to Recovery

Just now my crazy, non-stop, beanpole, cutie of a 5 year old walked up to me, put one arm across my chest and the other arm across my back and leaned his head on my shoulder.  Surprised by this sudden display of affection, I brought my hands up to his arm on my chest and held it to me, asking if he was okay.  His response, “Yeah, I just wanted to hug you, does that make you happy?”  To which I replied, “Yes, it does buddy?  Do hugs make you happy?”  He said yes, but that he just wanted to make me happy.  Sigh.  As he walked away, jabbering about something I wasn’t quite following (probably about Julia or the video game she said she would play with him today) I took a moment to let that hug and conversation sink in.  Tears of joy brimming.  My family…

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A good calm Christmas, fixing air seepage in drain bulbs, the funny thing about physical exhaustion, and Waaaaaaaahhhhh I miss my bed…the importance of naps (again).

So, yeah…it’s been wayyyy too long since I wrote my last post.
I started this one with just a title on Jan. 2nd, then didn’t come back to it until today(2/11/19). I have lots of excuses, some are really good ones, like I’ve been napping alot (aides in healing), or spending time with my family, or my computer that I prefer to SIT AT while writing (aka typing) has gone kaput. I have tons to write about, not all of it for this audience, yet definitely enough to be posting at least once a week on here. During these past few weeks, I’ve been kind of floundering in my own thoughts and as that happens my zeal for writing ends up being replaced by doubts of the importance of putting this all down on paper. Then, like anything procrastinated, the job looks too overwhelming to know where to even start.

Well, I’ve made it a personal goal this week to get SOMETHING down in writing. So, here I am. Taking a few minutes after a trip to the hair salon and the grocery, and before I settle in for a nap to get this post going. Just typing out my thoughts using an app on my phone, which I abhor for writing, but whatcha gonna do, right? Write! Get all those rambling, rolling thoughts on “paper” so I can organize them and get some relief. Ahhhhhhh, it feels so good.

A Good, Calm Christmas –
We had three Christmas celebrations this year with family. One at my parents for Christmas Eve, another at our home with just us and the kids, and the last on the 29th with Shawn’s family. I opted out of “non-family” parties this year seems it was all still within my weeks of restrictions and bed rest. We missed out on at least 3 friend/church/work parties, but this year it was ok, even a calmer year than normal for us. Shawn was home on vacation days for most of December and the boys were home for two weeks from school, so we really just chilled and spent time at home with each other on most days. It was good. I’m glad we “had” to take a step back into our own bubble. Lots of good things came of it.

………………………….

The real today – March 4, 2019

And I only managed to get one other paragraph typed out before I realized I had lost my timelines…I lost track of the between from the next few weeks of happenings and had to delete the whole paragraph.

So now, I’m left to give a shortened version of the past 3 months.  Sorry, to my readers that like details and you’re welcome to my readers that like to have just a summary :).

I ended up squatting and bending at the waist too much throughout the last week of December and rubbed open part of my belly incision.  That was a bit of a wake up call.  I thought I was following all of the doctors orders to the T.  Nope, I thought no bending over was meant to help my top half heal correctly.  It was meant for my belly as well and it was no BENDING OVER AT THE WAIST.  Also, the whole “listen to your body” is meant more for exhaustion and further out from surgery…like 4-6 weeks out, not 2-3.  I felt just fine squatting, but I was still allowing my waist to be creased and rubbed by my abdominal binder, because I was moving too much, too quickly.  It wasn’t an emergency situation, as my body was already healing the internal stuff, but I caused my incision to become a broader scar than it would have been.  I made a trip every week to and from Nashville for most of December and January.  For checking on the incision split.  For removing spitting stitches.  For adjustments to my drain that suddenly decided not to hold suction even though it was still inserted correctly, that turned out to be a stretched out connector tube, fixed by some well placed Teflon tape from hubby’s plumbing supplies.  There was another trip down to remove the final drain.  My skin was very irritated from all the weeks of adhesive and slight oozing from the insertion point.  After that, I thought I was done with the frequent trips.  Not.  I ended up with one more trip following a diagnosis of a surgical wound yeast infection.  YAY!!!!  NOT!!!!  My treatment for the slow healing belly incision, bacitracin and covering with a gauze bandage, was keeping my incision too moist.  Allowing the yeast infection to start up.  That was interesting, as I have luckily never had any sort of yeast infection in my life.  Always firsts…sigh.  My general practitioner was concerned about the look of my incision, and kept asking to be sure my surgeon had seen it with his own eyes.  I told her he had, but later that night I realized that I hadn’t seen Dr. Higdon in person since my two week follow-up.  So after calling and chatting it over with the head nurse at Vanderbilt, we decided Dr. Higdon would want to see me himself, photos wouldn’t do it justice.   February 6th was that appointment.  Higdon cleaned everything up, agreed with my physician’s treatment plan for the infection (prescription anti-fungal ointment and airing the wound each night), and gave me new instructions for treating the incision itself, did a full physical exam of all incisions/scars, then scheduled me to come back in a month.   He also released me to just see my regular physician for any other concerns, with referral to him if surgically necessary, seems my incision points were all healed well and closed, even though one part is deformed now due to my own ignorance.  We will be discussing any future procedures at that next appointment, which happens to be this coming Wednesday March 6th.

Things I’ve learned about healing from DIEP:

  • Beach Chair position is important for sleep and awake times during the first three weeks.
  • Choice to drive should also be based on the movement caused around the belly/waistband while climbing in and out of the vehicle.
  • Squatting is good, but not in excess.  Let other people pick things up for you.
  • Be prepared to have lots of follow-ups.
  • Be ready to push through to the surgeon if you get any gut feelings that the Nurse or Assistant isn’t quite experienced enough to be ready for your issues.  No matter how nice, or good he/she is.

I am basically completely healed.  I feel great.  I have been released to build back up to lifting things over 20 lbs, but only work up to them.   Still no more than that for a few months yet.  No strenuous bending and twisting.  I no longer need bandages of any sort.  I am allowed to use lotion and rub on the scars now.  I love my new squishies!  They are warm, they are soft, they are me!  They aren’t my original breasts, but they are definitely good enough for me.  Wayyyyyyyyy better than implants and wayyyyy wayyyyyy better than prothestics or flat, for me.  I may still need some other small procedures to maintain or balance things out, we’ll see, but the surgery and following recovery was all definitely worth it.  I’m interested to see what Dr. Higdon has to say at my appointment on Wednesday.  I will also be asking about scans needed from here on out.

My 2 week post-op appointment…

YAYYYYYY!!!!!!!  2 more drains removed, only one left.  And yes, the most annoying of all my drains (the one between my ribs and my right arm) was one of those two drains!  YES!!!!!  My final drain (just below my abdominal incision on the left side) should be ready to be removed in about 2 weeks, once the output is below 25 cc for 24 hours.  When all other drains are removed, the last one tends to have more output for a while to compensate.  Dr. Higdon was pleased that I had taken a 1/3 mile walk on Tuesday in the warm weather, and insisted that I continue to be that active and gradually increase from here on out, even if that also increases the drain output.

I’m allowed to shower again, as long as I don’t scrub the incision areas or the drain insertion point.  Even though I was exhausted by the time we got home yesterday evening (bad night sleep beforehand), I found an extra boost of energy to take a wonderfully long shower around 8:30 pm.  Yeah, I scrubbed all the surfaces that I was allowed to and just let the water run down the surfaces I wasn’t allowed to scrub.  Ahhhhhhh! It feels so good to be clean, there are layers of dead skin cells that just have to have running water to wash away, lol.

I have been given permission to wean myself off of the pain medicines, but not cold turkey.  Dr. Higdon suggested using the nerve pain med at night only now, seems its the drowsy/dizziness one, then continue to take Tylenol in lower milligrams each day.  I am allowed to restart my estrogen blockers and my Calcium D3.  I need to continue taking Aspirin for the remainder of the 30 days from surgery.  Due to crossing of state-lines with prescriptions I ran out of the nerve pain med and I cut back my Tylenol at the same time yesterday.  Too much cut back.  No worries, I didn’t hurt myself, I just proved to myself the need to still take something for a bit longer.  So I’m going with Dr. Higdon’s suggestion, of course!

This week I had noticed a hardened area within the left-side outside-edge of my left “breast” accompanied by purplish hue to the skin in that area. Dr. Higdon explained that it’s normal for the edges of radiated tissues which were not able or were unnecessary to remove. It’s scar tissue basically (in my original chest/side tissue, not the transplanted tissue). It should soften over time, best to leave it alone unless it is painful (it’s not). He explained that it was there all along, the swelling has just gone down enough for me to be able to feel and see things like that.

I was instructed to go ahead and get a soft, NO-Underwire, good support, but not squashing, and again NO-underwire bra. I should go ahead and start wearing it during the day, take it off at night.

I need to continue to wear my abdominal binder, I can switch to store-bought support garments, but only light-support, not compression.  I think I will hold off until I have that last drain out, less awkward that way.

Lifting restrictions have been increased to no more than 5 lbs. (from no more than 2-3 lbs). I am allowed to reach “pantry-height, but not Statue of Liberty height”. Shawn and I got a chuckle out of that one seems most everything is statue of liberty height for little ole 5′ me, but we got the gist.

I still have to sleep beach-chair position on my back, knees elevated, NO side sleeping. Grumble, sigh! I have figured out how to mimic side sleep using pillows this week though, so I am getting better sleep than last week, but oh how I miss my bed with my hubby and sleeping on my side.

So, my next appointment will be sometime near the first week of January. We will  get a drain out, discuss some of my next steps/options, and be done with weekly trips to Nashville. That drive!!!!!  Twice in two weeks with no layover ’bout did us in this week! The drive home seemed to take Forever! We are very glad for the break over Christmas and New Year’s.

I am still super pleased with my new breasts!!!!!  I am soooo happy I made this decision for me!

Thank you all for supporting me through all of this!  Love to you all and Merry Christmas!

My 1 week Post-op appointment…

Hello all, sorry if I worried or confused anyone with my reblog of a 2-year old blog post this morning.  It popped up on a memories feed this morning, as well as photos I took of myself from 1 year ago (post infection).  Lots of disturbing things have hit me in the first three weeks of December for the past three years in a row.  I’m glad to say this year it was a choice!  Now on to the real-time information:

Yesterday was my 1st DIEP Post-op Appointment.  Dr. Higdon came in with his Nurse assistant.  Examined “the girls”, as he professionally called my new breasts, lol.  Its only funny because of what I’ve been through and because he knows that about patients like me.  All incisions look great!  All healing doing well and appropriately, coloring, circulation, warmth, texture, etc.  All appropriate for my timeline.  Shawn and I both expressed our satisfaction and gratefulness for his work several times during our visit.

My belly button wounds were a bit too “scabby”.  So, he had the nurse clean that out a bit and then put generic neosporin in my belly button, with orders for me to clean and re-goop with Bacitracin or generic Neosporin 1-2 times a day at home.  They want it to heal pretty, not scabby.  Who knew?  Yup, he’s a plastic surgeon, and evidently he “fixed” my belly button for me during surgery.  Didn’t even realize my belly button needed fixing, lol.

I was able to have 1 of 4 JP drains removed, with a small bandage placed and orders for ointment daily on that open wound until it stop oozing.  I would have had 2 drains removed, but there was a question about the dramatic difference between the first two days of drainage recordings and the following days.  I had recorded 50+cc on drain #3 Day 1 and Day 2,  #3 has only put out 8-2cc daily on the rest of the records.  We are pretty sure it was my drug and post surgical fog at play while recording the outputs, but Dr. Higdon doesn’t take chances.  Drain #3 stays in for another week to be sure there isn’t something hinky going on inside my body vs. hinky with my records.  I received all new dressing on my drain insertion points.  The Nurse said they aren’t a necessity, just a precaution that blocks off the insertion points from anything even possibly dangerous (similar to a PICC line dressing).  Let me just say, I am super pleased with these.  I had no official dressings on my last set (Mastectomy).  There is a noticeable difference, not so much with sterility, but more on the comfort level.  I have way less soreness and irritation at the insertion point than I did last time.   The dressing patch also holds the drain tube firmly at a position out away from the actual insertion point; which allows for movement, but less wiggle room I guess you could say.  It doesn’t allow the tube to move enough to irritate the skin in the area.  The adhesive on the dressing seems to be hypoallergenic, so I’m also not getting skin irritation from tape and gauze versions.

While checking my belly button wounds, Dr. Higdon noticed the scabbed up wounds to each side on the skin’s surface.  Shawn and I had these on our list of questions to ask.  We couldn’t figure out why I had two long scrapes down each side of my belly about 3 inches out from my belly button.  They weren’t incisions and didn’t seem to have served any purpose.  Dr. Higdon was a bit upset over them.  He said they didn’t belong there and weren’t there when they had completed my surgery.  He didn’t seem to want to talk about it anymore, but we chatted about it with the nurse later.  We have a few theories relating to my sensitive skin reactions to tape, monitor adhesives, and other such things.  The most likely being that there was a bandage across my belly button area to prevent my binder from rubbing there and a hospital staff had accidentally damaged my skin at the edges of the tape during removal and cleaning in the recovery room, especially since my skin in that area was stretched tighter post-op and the “scratches” run vertically, similar to my stretch marks in that area.  Dr. Higdon said they seemed to be healing well with our methods at home, and that I just needed to continue to keep them clean and let them heal.

There was a small vessel marker placed on each breast during surgery, using suture thread.  This was to mark the connection of the two blood vessels in each breast, so the doctors and staff could quickly and easily find the spot to get doppler readings.  There is no need for that now, so Dr. Higdon had those removed as well.  The skin around one had gotten a bit irritated and was reddened, not swelling and not warmer to the touch, but definitely wasn’t happy with clothing and such rubbing against the thread.  Dr. Higdon said it should stop once the thread was removed, but it would be good to put a small bit of antibacterial ointment on it with a small bandaid for a day or two, just to help it improve more quickly.

Before he left the Nurse to her work, Dr. Higdon went over my restrictions with me again:

  • Lift, Pull, or Push NOTHING over 3-5 lbs.
  • Arm reach still only within my small bubble, no stretching to get things, if it tugs, its bad.
  • No bending at the middle to pick something up (no to touches).
  • Squat to get anything from below waist level.
  • Beach chair sleeping on my back, no side sleep.
  • Continue to care for and record drains.
  • Continue to take my Tylenol, Aspirin, and Gabapentin on a regular basis until my next appointment.
  • Still NO excedrin, anastrozole, or Fish Oil. Vitamin C, E, and Iron can be resumed.
  • Still no Showering, not until all drains are out.  (Again, he takes NO chances).
  • Take it easy, lots of naps and resting
  • Short, easy, frequent walks (movement) at least every two hours.

As soon as the Nurse finished removing things, gooping things, re-dressing things, and being sure I had my clothing on in better way, we were excused with a request to be sure we had a 2 week post-op appointment scheduled for next Wednesday.  We did, and after being sure it was still in their system, we headed home.  Relieved, Reassured, and ready for the possible removal of all drains next week.  But wondering if we would be heading to Nashville again the week of Christmas if any had to be left in past the 19th.  We shall see…

 

Learning some things from a sort of busy and overwhelming week, followed by a scary couple of days…

OLD POST ALERT!!!
Wow! Amazingly I had forgotten about that weekend, it seems so long ago now! I am greatful that God gave me the ability and desire to write those events and thoughts down. I needed to read them today as a reminder to behave and not overdo it. I hope it can help someone else today too. Now to write a more recent post about my 1 week post-op appointment, be watching for it.

Dalynn's Road to Recovery

Last week was a little hard on our family and more so on my physical and mental wellness.  Most of it was unplanned events, but some were events I had thought I would be “okay” doing at 3-4 weeks post-op.  Yeah, well, I learned a few things about what the new meaning of “okay” is for me.

I’m not even sure exactly where to start with the chain of events on this one, so I guess I’ll start with Friday and then see where it leads.  Friday I checked in with you all, and my physical condition was okay.  By Friday night, I was headed downhill.  Julia got to come home for an last minute weekend home, she got home around 7:30pm.  We enjoyed a chat with her high school bestie, who she had hitched a ride home from Berea with 🙂 Thank you, Maddie!  After Maddie headed on to…

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I can cough without it hurting, again…

Hiya!

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.

Other things:

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!

 

 

I’m Home!!!

The drive home was good, no serious pain or issues, but as we stopped for dinner I realized painfully that I had neglected to take my 2pm meds as we waited airport-style for our valeted car. 

That’s a whole other story, let’s just say Vanderbilt is a big, busy hospital with most of it’s outbound patients leaving from one entrance due to construction and other types of things, lol. 

We stopped at Mr. Gatti’s in Shelbyville so I could have a salad bar.  I had Shawn dig out my gabapentin and Tylenol 500mg so I could hold them in my fist as I shuffled into the restaurant.  He grabbed me a water and a lemonade (non-carbonated choices).  I took the meds and sat for a few minutes to wait for them to kick in.  Shawn walked through the salad line with me, then we ate.  Salad definitely hit the spot.  The hospital food had been hit-or-miss on flavor (depending on shift) so I was starving for something that I knew would taste good. 

All the laxatives and softeners they had me on were kicking in occasionally too, luckily we had made it to the restaurant for one of them.  Although, if you are going to have this surgery you should know, toileting is an issue, not just the consistency and such but cleaning afterwards takes a little creative thinking.  Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance the first couple of times in the hospital. 

We finished eating then headed back to the road, I was now exhausted.  So I sank down gratefully into my car seat with foot stool (because I have short legs), leaned my head back, and dozed as Shawn drove the last hour home. 

Home felt so good!!!  I shuffled, walked around the house a bit, looking at the post it notes my mom had used to leave little housekeeping messages around.  The house was clean :). Thank you, Mom Beaver and Mom Jeffries for that.  There was a lovely yellow envelope in the bundle of mail to brighten our homecoming and the wedge pillow I had wanted for under my knees had arrived while we gone too.  Thank you, anonymous friend for the wedge and round pillow set and Dave and Mary Sue’s family for the card, your cards always arrive on just the right day :).

I slept really well last night, better than I have in months actually, I guess meds,  traumatic surgery, and 48 hours of hourly round the clock nursing checks will do that for you ;).  I’ve been wide awake since 7am.  Shuffling around the house, having Shawn help with this or that, doing my scripture study, catching up with my mom and friends via text.  In about 15 minutes Shawn and I will empty my JP drains and get my daily meds taken too, then maybe a hair washed in the sink.  We’ll see if I feel that energetic or not today.

So, know that I’m home, and happy and comfortable, and well-cared for :).

Thank you, all!

Going Home Today!

The doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other staff continue to comment on how good my incisions and health look.  Dr. Higdon popped by late yesterday afternoon, gave me some pointers on positioning of my abdominal binder, JP drains, etc.  Then chastised the staff for doing it wrong, lol.  He gave me permission to stay one more day if wanted, but said there’s really no reason for me to if I feel ready to go home, just be sure that it’s after 4pm on Wednesday to meet the minimum stay requirements. 

So, all my staff are working towards 3pm discharge instructions for a 4pm departure.  Yay! 

I’m a bit nervous but ready to be in my own home with my shorter “bed” (couch) and my shorter toilet. 

I will be writing a more detailed post tomorrow about my instructions for the next few weeks and the actual surgery details. 

Thank you so much for all the prayers, keep them coming for fending off infection. 

Day after DIEP update

The surgery went really well.  It was only 8 hours, which is good.  Blood vessels are flowing as they should.  Higdon was able to replace nerves in the right breast, but not in the left, radiation had damaged them too badly.

My pain is being handled well.  I have some pain, but I’m actually happy to have it, lol, it tells me I have feeling again.  It’s only a 1 when sitting still, 2 when moving around; on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst.  My neck pillow has been my hero this morning, definitely needed it.  Thank you, Linda!

My lidocaine IV drip was activating my vestibular neuritis. Blurred vision, double vision, dizziness, etc.  That’s finished now so I’m able to function much better.  I’m shaky when I get up to walk, but not bad enough to worry about it.  I’m not allowed to wear my fuzzy socks or my Crocks yet, because  I have an extra IV port in my fort.  It’s a precaution in ICU here, in case of emergency I have to have two IV ports, and fuzzy socks/Crocks don’t slip on over a port.

My nurses are amazing!  The whole staff here is.  They even have a Charge Nurse who comes in and asks about how the nurses are doing.  I do have alot of medical visitors though, so that’s kind of a down side when I have to show everyone my incision sites. I just remind myself it is all to teach future doctors and nurses to be the best they can be for future DIEP patients.  The nurses do a Doppler check every hour, my blood vessels are doing great.  My incisions look great, too.

I did get nauseous this morning as I was eating my solid food breakfast.  I’m farely sure it was because I ate too much sugary food, too quickly, on an empty stomach.  I get that way even on regular days.  But this time I almost threw up.  Syrupy french toast, apple juice and Mandarin oranges, yeah. So I called my nurse, did some breathing as I pushed my tray away, got some anti-nausea meds, waited a bit, and then ate my plain-jane grits instead. All’s good now.

My catheter is out now.  I’ve been to the restroom twice,  which is good.  I’m up and in the recliner chair, which was the main goal this morning.  And, I get to wear the hospital gripper socks, because I’m a fall risk and they do fit over the IV port.

Here are a couple pics from pre-op yesterday:

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And that’s all folks, for now 🙂