Monday, September 26, 2011

The Flasher

Nurse Wendy kept us afloat over surgery week

Happy 3rd Birthday Jenny-Jane

That's a donut in her her hand and another on her pie!
Naturally the whipped cream fight ensued

Diane's Barbie masterpiece
Were you expecting a big frontal photo of my new boobs?  Well, I did consider it, seriously.  But let's wait until the swelling goes down a bit before I start in with the Internet porn.  Playboy Magazine will just have to wait a couple more months.

In the meantime, I'll update on the unveiling, nurse Wendy's visit, and Jenny-Jane's wild birthday weekend.  First up, the unveiling Wednesday was a bit of a let down.  Had my doctor given me any clue what to expect, I think I wouldn't have freaked out so badly.  As you can imagine, after three days in an unimaginably tight bandage, they were really, really squished. I was expecting something significantly more perky.  I kept saying "I waited 18 months and endured those horrible expanders for this??"  Lots of tears, lots of stomping around. So Thursday I decide to take matters into my own hands and I paid an unscheduled visit to my doctor.  Of course he was not there, but I demanded that the office staff call him and tell him that I was NOT HAPPY.  I then, in a move that surprised even me, lifted up my shirt in the lobby and made the front desk gal, the office manager and the doc's assistant stare at my newly operated chest.  "You tell him that this is what I'm dealing with!"  Not a proud moment.  I can't believe I flashed the plastic surgeon's staff.  I later learned that I was the first in the practice history.  Can I blame the percocets?  

In subsequent phone calls with the doc's assistant, who assures me that my results are actually very good, I have been heartily reminded that reconstruction is not augmentation.  Playboy will not want me. Things will look really good under clothes, but naked?  Not all that natural looking.  Remember, I still don't have nipples, they were removed in the first surgery and will be recreated in three months. My left is bigger than my right because of the radiation on my right. And I need to give the implants and my skin a good 2-3 months before any true judgements can be made.  Sigh.  I see the doc for real tomorrow morning for my first post surgery appointment.  I've got lots of questions in need of answers.  I guess that means I have to face the office staff tomorrow too, ugh.

I have to give a HUGE shout out to Nick's sister Wendy who left her oh-so-busy family and career in North Carolina to be with us for my surgery week.  Once again, she kept us afloat during this storm.  Not only does she cook, clean and love our children like her own, she is a true friend to both Nick and me.  As Nick's only sibling, they are incredibly close and share a great sense of humor and lots of silly memories.  As a sister-in-law who really should take her brother's side in most matters (but most often sides with me), she has become one of my closest confidantes and beloved friends.  She sips grapefruit cocktails with Nick and makes him laugh when all he wants to do is cry, and indulges my silliest desires with TrueBlood vampires and chocolate brown pedicures.  Dear Wendy, thank you for selflessly putting our burden on your shoulders.  We are forever indebted to you.

Last but not least, let's quickly review the Jenny-Jane birthday extravaganza, now with photos!  Nick snidely noted that I was giving her three birthday cakes this year.  I pointed out that one was a pie, so actually, no, only two cakes.  I previously mentioned the purple Rapunzel cake at preschool which was a tremendous hit.  Next came the chocolate pudding pie dessert on her actually birthday, which she adorned with white powdered sugar donuts, of course.  Finally, the piece de resistance, a truly glorious Barbie cake (seen above) created by my personal cookie and cake artist sister, Diane.  I've never seen anything like it, it was crazy gorgeous!  Six layers of pink strawberry deliciousness under that skirt.  Please call me if you need cookies or a cake for any event, I'll hook you up!

That's all my news for now.  I'm off the pain killers, but back on Xanex for now.  The pain is lessening every day, but I'm still really pooped.  I'll let you know what the doc says tomorrow.  I still have not ruled out showing off my new figure, maybe with clothes on for the time being.  I'll have Nick take a photo and post it soon. 

Thank you to everyone for the calls, flowers, cards, meals and love. Every little bit is appreciated more than you know.

with love and gratitude,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oh This Bandage is Tight!

Sorry to leave you hanging after Monday's surgery! In a nutshell, it went as well as expected and I was able to get those 650cc implants of my dreams. My doc was right, the operation took a little more than an hour and I was home around noon. I'd love to say I was on the treadmill this afternoon but recovery is proving to be less pleasant than advertised.

Here's my list of complaints, in no particular order. The bandage. Holy crap is it tight. It goes over my right shoulder like a sassy top and squeezes my chest to kingdom come. I'm having a hard time sitting or laying down because it's cutting into my ribs making breathing a tad challenging. Then there is the right shoulder blade pain. Did they have me laying weird during surgery? Is it an after effect of the anesthesia? I don't know, but it kept me up all last night. The fever. It's not too bad, still under a hundred, but it's making me chilly, achy and super cranky. The creaking. I have no idea what it is, but my left implant is making loud creaking noises when I move. That can't be normal. The helplessness. Once again I am forbidden from opening the refrigerator, emptying the dishwasher or any general household task. Feeling sick and useless=depressed in my book.

So the good news. Doctor told my family that during surgery he sat me up right after placing the implants to see his handiwork and the OR staff burst into applause (or something like that). Tomorrow morning I am allowed to remove the boa constrictor of a bandage, check out my new girlie figure and take a shower. Not sure which I'm most excited about.

I've got Wendy by my side until Saturday and I don't know how we'd be getting along without her. Thank you to Dylan, Emma and Troy for loaning us your superwoman once again. Jenny-Jane and Fisher are handling it all quite well and Nick is content as long as I take my meds on schedule.

I'm a tad drugged so I hope this post is coherent. I'll write again soon with a report on the big reveal tomorrow morning. Wish me a better night's sleep and positive vibes for a great new figure!

With love

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Surgery Day!

I've done a good job of avoiding it up until now, but I can't deny that I'm definitely feeling the anxiety of tomorrow's surgery.  Let's back up to the avoiding it part.  This past weekend has been all about Jenny-Jane, Rapunzel and Barbie, in that order.  Jenny-Jane turned three on Friday and I worked in her preschool classroom where we celebrated the little lady in grand style with a big purple Rapunzel cake.  We then progressed to chocolate pudding pie Friday night and a glorious Barbie cake on Saturday, courtesy of my ever-so-talented sister Diane.  Presents consisted of everything Barbie and I think I counted seven new dolls on her floor this evening, all naked as jay-birds, of course.  

Unfortunately, as of 10:57pm tonight, Jenny-Jane is still awake.  She is an intuitive little thing and knows that Momma is up to something again.  I gave the kids a quick speech tonight during dinner that "Mommy is going to have another operation tomorrow, and I won't be able to pick you up for a while and I will need to rest in bed, but I'll get better quickly so please don't worry.  I'll be just fine."  Jenny-Jane quietly hung on every word, while Fisher interrupted me before I finished speaking with "Are there rats under our house?  Let's go look!"  I knew he'd handle it just fine.  Jenny-Jane is worried and won't go to sleep.  I just sent her to cuddle with Nick in our bed and hope we can get her back into her own bed before morning.

If you talked to my plastic surgeon, you would think I'd have nothing to worry about.  He said surgery is at 9am, it will last an hour and I'll be home by noon to make Nick lunch.  Yes, he's kidding about lunch, but seriously, I'll be home before noon.  This is true outpatient surgery.  How can they cut me open, remove these horrible hard tissue expanders, get the implants in, sew me up, send me to recovery and then get me home in three hours?  Just doesn't seem possible.  

But none the less, I am worried.  Not about how the surgery will go, but about the recovery.  I have such difficult memories of how much pain I was in after the last surgery, how depressed I felt, how I could not raise my arms for weeks, how I couldn't brush my own hair or stay awake for more than a couple hours at a time.  I've been told that this surgery is far less taxing than the last, but the memories haunt me.

I was told I'll wake up from surgery with a great feeling of relief to have my expanders out, and I really, really look forward to that. Eighteen months in this internal iron bra has been more than enough.  I'll be wrapped like a mummy around my chest for two days and get the bandages off on Wednesday at the big reveal.  I was also told that I must be up and walking two hours after surgery and then pretty much continuously when I get home.  My surgeon warned "If you lay around you will get blood clots in your legs that will travel to your lungs and you will die."  No mincing words there.  So look for me on the treadmill at the club come Tuesday.  Jeez, I was hoping for a little more R and R, I'm getting gypped!

Oh, and what bra size will I be upon waking from surgery?  That's yet to be seen.  Doc said he ordered implants ranging from 400cc's to 700cc's.  He is under my strict orders to shove in the largest ones that will fit.  Nick is horrified, but I'm psyched.  

So we are off to St. Joe's at 7:30am tomorrow morning after dropping Fisher off at kindergarten. Wendy (who gently glided back into our family routine after arriving from North Carolina last night), my sister Diane and Nick will all be at my side as I get wheeled down that long white corridor.  I expect that Nick or Wendy will be posting tomorrow with an update of how it all went down.  I hope to be too loopy on pain medication to be writing myself, but then again, that could be fun too.  Wish me luck, here we go!

with love

p.s.  I just noticed that I've got 99 followers on my blog.  How cool is that? Who wants to be lucky 100?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Week and Counting

All smiles before heading to school

Ok, maybe a little nervous

Off she goes!
Can you stand it?  She is such a little spit fire, that Jenny-Jane.  Her first day of pre-school was Thursday and she totally rocked it. She looked cute as a bug in her navy dress, white tennies and Barbie backpack.  I left her happily swinging on the playground and ran to my car for a brief sob.  My little girl!  It was a combination of "my little girl is growing up" and "how lucky I am that I'm well enough to see this day". When I picked her up at noon, sweet Teacher John said she did great and she couldn't spit the words out fast enough about her exciting day. Yay.  

Unfortunately, Jenny-Jane missed her second day of school due to a stomach bug that had me washing sheets, blankets and bunnies, and tossing her into the shower late Thursday night. That same bug kept Fisher in bed all day Saturday and me in bed today.  I think we are all coming around, but it was quite a dreary weekend. The kids shuffled from ipad movies, to tv shows to DVD movies for two days.  I think they kinda liked it.

This little bug was my first true "sick day" since I ended chemo last September.  I told Nick this morning that I now realize how much chemo feels like the flu. Super tired, headache, body aches, lack of appetite and upset stomach.  It actually put me in a bit of a depression.  I did not want to remember how horrible I felt for those five months. And staying in bed most of the day was a memory trigger.  Today and back then, the kids played around me and I just willed myself to feel better.  

My experience today reminds me that I need to start preparing myself mentally for my reconstruction surgery, just one week from Monday.  I will again be in bed on my back and unable to lift my arms for some time.  I really blocked out most of my immediate post surgery life last April, and I'm nervous that I will start remembering all the sadness and pain I endured.  While I'm of course super excited to move forward with this surgery, I'm scared.  I know several women who have needed additional surgeries after their reconstruction because things just didn't look quite right or because of horrible infections or (this is true) the sutures failed to due radiation damage and the implants fell out!! Oh my.  I just have to stay optimistic that all will go well.  All will go well... all will go well.. say it with me, please.

I meet with my plastic surgeon on Thursday for a pre-op review.  I'll write about his take on everything before I head into surgery on Monday.  In the meantime, we've got Jenny-Jane's third birthday to celebrate this Friday where I get to work in her classroom and share birthday treats with her little friends.  Tonight I think I'll focus on Barbie balloons and pink cupcakes to keep my mind off the big stuff. I expect the freaking out to begin Sunday.  Until then, I'll renew my Xanex prescription and start my prune juice pre-op ritual.  No, I'm not kidding, sigh.

Next post I'll need to start thanking the angels around me including Nick's super-sister Wendy who is coming for surgery week to keep our household from imploding, and my NCPG girls who already have a meal delivery schedule in place.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

T-minus 8 days and counting,