April 28, 2015
Eight days post-op from my double mastectomy was my appointment with Dr. Fallucco, my plastic surgeon. I took another Xanax because I knew this would be a tough visit.
I was able to dress, pull my hair back and even put makeup on!
The meds had my head spinning. It felt like a quick visit and we were out of there.
Dr. Fallucco and Alana, a PA, came into the room. Alana opened the compression bra. I told her about the poking pain in the center of my chest. She examined it and said it was the drain tube.
We brought our Drain Bulb Record Sheet with us for review.
Alana checked my drains. She said they could come out!!
As Alana was doing her job, Dr. Fallucco brought in the pathology report. He said my margins were clear!! However, the report showed that one node on my left side (the cancer side) presented a minute metastization. That means there were cancer cells in the sentinel lymph node. That node and the next few were removed during surgery. He said if if were him he would not treat. This decision would be made with the radiation oncologist.
A tech had come into the room during this conversation. She cut the stitches on each drain. She had me count with her….one, two, three and she pulled out the drain tube.
Alana injected saline into my expanders.
I chose to have DIEP Flap reconstruction surgery after my double mastectomy. Part of that process is putting expanders under the muscle to make space for the body fat that will get lyposuctioned from my abdomen area.
This is what the top on the expander looks like. The circle part in the center is where saline is injected to expand my muscle and skin to prepare for reconstruction. We made the decision for a C cup. That means, based on body type and size, 450-560 ccs of saline needs to be injected into the expander.
On the bottom of the expander are three tabs. They are used to stitch the expander to the chest wall. One in the center of the chest, one on the bottom and one under the arm. Yes, they are UNCOMFORTABLE!!! For me, the center stitching drove me crazy!
This record shows my visits to the plastic surgeon’s office to inject saline into the expanders.
Alana told me I could wash the compression bra. This is what you are fitted with during surgery. You wake up with it on. It has a velcro closure down the center. The velcro irritated me so much that I was putting gauze pads in those areas. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I wore a shelf bra tank to bed. This is not enough support, so Alana said to buy a sports bra that zips in the front. This was so much more comfortable.
Even so, I still have pain under my arms (which are of little use because of double side node removal.) The center of my chest has pain. A hot shower is my only relief.
I am so glad that you are reading my progress! It is by the grace of God that I have made it this far. Each day gets a little better. Healing is a slow process. I have to rely on prayers and the love of my family and friends. Some days are so frustrating not being able to do what I used to. Other days I understand that rest is what my body needs. The point is that I have to listen to what my body tells me. Every body heals differently. I am sharing my truth in the hopes that it could be helpful to you.
Please feel free to email or comment below. I would love to answer any questions.