I had my surgery on October 21st, and I was feeling so good prior to the day. I felt strong, well, and I anticipated recovering very quickly. I think we forget that things don’t go as quick as we remember, or at least want to remember. I knew I would have pain afterwards, but I planned to start walking right away to help speed up recovery.
Everyone I talked to that had reconstructive surgery said the pain doesn’t last long, in exception to my friend who had a double mastectomy and had a transplant which is a much longer recovery and a lot of pain for a longer time. One friend said her pain was mostly from the drain and once it was out, it was much more tolerable.
What I had done was: (1) the removal of my expander (that was an uncomfortable thing in my chest) which was replace with the new silicone implant which is gel based nicknamed “jelly bear” ; (2) the removal of my medi-port (I had my last infusion of Zometa through it on October 16. I will have the infusion by regular intravenous every 6 months from now on), I had a breast lift on the left breast to match my right breast (looks pretty good), and he fixed the pouching incision on my back from the Latissimus Dorsi Flap site by making a longer incision (it is nice and flat now on my back).
The burn on my leg was from cooking something in my oven and because I wasn’t sleeping very well, I was not as careful to watch as I reached into the oven to put something in to roast. My leg touched the open door of the oven and it burned really bad. I put a cold pack on it, but I should have used ice in a baggie which would have been more effective, so I am scarred and it blistered badly. Then the blister burst, and I have been putting aloe vera ointment and a dressing on it since. Just another thing to have to take care of with everything else. Oh brother! The last two days I have just been putting the aloe vera, but it is finally at the point I don’t need a dressing on it. It is an ugly scar now.
Well….Today is November 2nd, and I still have my drain. My surgery was on the Monday 21st and I had a post-op visit with the doctor on the following Wednesday 23rd two days following surgery in anticipation of having the drain pulled. It is very uncomfortable. I would agree that it does cause me the most pain, although because I have four surgery sites, plus the drain site, and then I had a burn a couple of days before surgery (2nd degree) on my right lower leg, I pretty much have pain in various places of my body. Fun, fun. I went to my post op visit with my plastic surgeon on Wednesday the 23rd, and there was too much drainage he said. So I went home with my drain again. With another office visit for the following Wednesday on October 30th.
I looked at the post surgical instructions and I was trying to increase my activities gradually, but I wasn’t up to walking as much as I thought I would be as the days went by. I was sleeping because the drain hurt as well as all my other surgical sites, and the pain medicine that I was taking didn’t help me sleep. It made me tired, but wired me, so I was going days without sleep. So I didn’t even go for walks. I would walk around the house and that was about all I could tolerate. I did attempt to walk a half block with Pete to our neighbors one of the days to visit with them and their darling little Schipperke dogs. Then when we got back home, Pete and I decided to go for a drive to do a few errands and that was going to be my activities for the day, but as we were on our way to our first destination, I said, OK, I am really not up for this at all. So Peter turned around and took me home, dropped me off, and that was it for my errands. I didn’t do one, but at least Pete did them for me. I was disappointed that I wasn’t progressing as quickly as I expected. I didn’t venture out after that or even go to church because I knew that would be more than I could tolerate.
When I went to the doctor’s on Wednesday October 30th, and the assistant looked at my drain and had all the equipment to remove the drain, asked how much it is draining in 24 hours, and she said it is too much for the drain to come out. I was majorly disappointed. The doctor was very not happy with me. He asked me if I was active, and I told him I wasn’t all that active because of the pain from the drain. He said I was doing too much. And then he wanted to see what bra I was using and was not happy he wanted more support. It didn’t seem like I was doing anything right. He told me, “remember, the more activity you do, the more drainage develops”. That was in response to my question of walking.
So I was thinking if I do anything less than what I am doing, I will be in bed all day. My back never likes that and I am going to be really out of shape when I start back to work. I guess I can’t worry about that right now. I really don’t want any infections or set backs.
I have been trying to read a lot, and have gotten some books finished, but it takes me longer and sometimes my comprehension is lacking because of the pain medications or because of lack of sleep. So subject matters that are lighter are probably better than something that requires my brain to concentrate or remember. I should just watch an old movie or something and if I fall asleep, all the better. I would be resting.
Pete went to a men’s retreat this weekend and left late afternoon yesterday, so I am on my own, but friends that are aware of that have been bringing me meals and a short visit. I needed to take care of Tango, a bird client that Pete usually takes care of because the bird likes men more and absolutely adores Pete. You should see how excited the bird gets when Pete is in view. He isn’t as animated with me, so Tango was depressed today. I had my next door neighbor take me over there, and she is really good with birds and wanted to have him on her shoulder, so I let her do that while I did the food and water for Tango. He wasn’t as animated today, and very sober, so I think he was disappointed that it was two ladies and not men. If I wasn’t trying to recover, I think I would throw in an extra visit to try to get the bird to be happier because he is a social one. Who would have ever thought?
Anyway, next Wednesday is my next doctor follow up visit, but if the drainage decreases before then, I can call and have the drain taken out sooner. The drainage is a bit less, but it isn’t enough yet. I need to be good and DO NOTHING!
I will post again after my appointment if not sooner. Hopefully I will be without my drain by then. Can’t rush the body.