One week out from surgery . . .

4 Oct

I had surgery last Monday.  Cedars Sinai is quite a place. It was a great experience . . . given that I had to do it, that is.

The surgery went well. Today I took my first complete look at my newly constructed/reconstructed breast. Up until today, I only had a glimpse here and there. I wasn’t ready to see the final (or nearly final) product yet.

I wish I had been able to have Dr. Sherman as my surgeon from the beginning. Not only would I have been spared two surgeries, but, I would have a different result.

I got Dr. Sherman because my prior surgeon over-expanded my right side which caused permanent damage to my skin. Having seen what he has been able to do with the compromised side, I can only imagine what it would have been like if I had been able to have him do the procedure in the beginning.

I have a horizontal scar and a vertical scar on my left side. Plus a signifcant (and uncomfortable) scar under my left arm. The under arm incision was apparently needed in order to be able to move the latissimus muscle around from my back to my front. I also have a pretty significant scar on my left side of my back (where my prior surgeon went in to “harvest” my latissimus muscle). So, four fairly significant scars.

I have no idea how Dr. Sherman did it, but, I have no scar under my arm on the right side, no scar under the breast . . . nothing. The only scarring is where new skin had to brought to my front (from my back) to replace the skin that was damaged by the radiation and subsequent over-expansion.

Unbelievable. So, I really, really wish that I had been able to have Dr. Sherman from the get go. But, I am pleased with the result . . . given the condition that I was in when I came to Dr. Sherman. It is clear, however, that had I been able to go to him in the beginning that there would be no way to tell that I had reconstructive surgery . . . that is how good he is. The only scar would be the back scar, the rest he incorporates into the reconstruction. He is amazing.

Well, enough on that. I am tired, very, very tired.

For the most part my days and evenings are spent in bed. I have a nurse who comes in to check on things (I saw her Saturday and will see her again  on Monday and Wednesday).

Typing is very difficult. lifting my arms in anyway that engages my back muscle or front is very uncomfortable. It is pretty difficult to do much. But, I am getting better every day. I need to rest my arms and give myself time to heal. The latissimus procedure takes quite a bit longer to recover from than other types of breast reconstruction. But, the end result is worth it.

Oh, Dr. Sherman also did a revision of my left side. This makes a big difference to me, it is a nice improvement. So, I did have a little bit of surgery on my left side this time . . . again. But, it does not cause me much pain. It just means that I have limited use of both of my arms.

I am supposed to have scans this month. I am not sure I will be able to do the scans as I do not think they will be able to get a vein right now that will support the force of the contrast dye. (When I was in the hospital I had to get a new IV placed each day as my veins would infiltrate . . . basically just leak out causing the area surrounding the IV to swell up. So they kept moving the IV and ultimately ran out of places to move it to. So, I am not sure how that will affect my ability to get a scan.

I am nervous about the scan or scans (I am not sure if it is just one scan she wants to do or several). But, I have to do it I guess. I just want to be done with this stuff. I am so, so, so, so, SO tired. Tired of tests, tired of getting poked with needles, tired of surgeries, chemo and radiation and tired of taking drugs.

I am very tired of the side effects of the drugs . . . last night I nearly passed out because my blood pressure dropped so low I couldn’t stand up. I know that sounds a bit dramatic. But, it happens when I take narcotics. I have low blood pressure to begin with – my blood pressure is typically about 100 over 50. In the hospital it dropped to 78 over 40.  (I am told it drops like that because of the pain medications).

Anyway, I just want to be done with all of it. God, I hope it is all clear and I can just move on with the rest of my life, cancer free. I appreciate your continued prayers.

Well, I apologize for what is probably a pretty disjointed post. I am really tired. I just wanted to get something down here so everyone knows I am doing well and getting better.

Okay, my back is telling me I am not to write any longer right now 🙂

Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts. I greatly appreciate it.

Much love,

Lisa

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