Well, it’s been a few days since the surgery and all seems to be going according to plan. Including the fact that my breasts look like they’ve been blurred for censorship in a made-for-TV movie. But I’ll get into that a little later.
The first couple of days after the surgery are a little bit of a blur. I remember being very nauseous when I woke up in the recovery room and the nurses fixing that immediately. I remember being woken up every couple of hours the night I spent in the hospital having vitals checked, pain meds administered, drains stripped, measured, and emptied, etc. I also remember wanting nothing more than some solid food when they’d restricted me to clear liquids only. I ate two small bowls of chicken broth and actually convinced them to give me some saltines with the second bowl, which satisfied me enough until the morning when I was able to have solid food again.
I also remember seeing Dr. Turk early the next morning and him telling me I could go home that day. We were discharged and on our way home by 11am on Thursday.
I will say that the BEST decision I made was to rent a recliner for two weeks the day before my surgery. It has been a godsend and I am super thankful to my OB for recommending it. I’ve been sleeping on it since I got home and plan to keep sleeping there until I’m able to sleep on my side again.
Also, straws. STRAWS, believe it or not, were second to the recliner decision. When you can’t sit up straight and all the meds you’re on are giving you dry-mouth like a mother, a bendy straw is a blessing in disguise. Thank goodness I kept the package of straws I bought back when I lived in Nashville. My hoarding finally came in handy!
I’m getting around better than people seem to have expected. My visitors seem rather surprised to see me up and walking, but the truth is I have a very hard time dictating orders and having someone wait on me hand and foot. So the recovery has not been my favorite part of this process. And there’s nothing wrong with my legs. As long as I can stand up without using my arms (I can), I’m good to walk around.
But as soon as I think I can handle all of this just fine, it comes time to take a shower. Ugh. The dreaded shower. I’ve had two since I’ve been home and they have gone about as well as one can expect when you’ve just had your tits cut off. Beside the fact that I can’t even take my shirt off without help (not to mention wash my hair), there are also the drains to contend with. They do nothing but get in the way, but the hospital gave me a couple of lanyards to hang them around my neck while showering which works much better than the plastic hanger we tried to hang them on the first day (we didn’t get the lanyards until the day after I went home from the hospital). And then there is also the fact that my chest is significantly smaller (with quite a bit more lumps) than the one I had 3 days ago.
It is a little difficult to look at, I won’t lie. They are uneven, swollen, and bruised. A B-cup at best. They are also numb to the touch with sutures where the nipples used to be. The tissue expanders feel like weights sitting on my chest, and the drains (two of them) are kind of unceremoniously stuck into the bottom of the breast under each of my armpits with a suture keeping them in place. I also have to wear a medical bra 23 hours a day keeping everything in place.
It is NOT a sight for sore eyes, believe me. But my surgeon assures me that they will be perfect by the time she is finished with them. So, I’m trying not to panic about the way they look just yet.
Anyway, today I got out of the house for a couple of hours to get a pedicure, which may have been slightly premature because it completely wore me out, but I’m glad I did it. I needed the sun and the social interaction.
I’m still taking things one day at a time and am starting to alternate between the “big” pain meds and ibuprofen which is kind of a big step in weaning myself off the narcotics. I don’t like being on those for too long.
In the meantime my mom is, once again, proving that her second calling is “nurse.” And the 7 bouquets of flowers delivered to my house on Friday are proving that my friends are still the greatest.