Everyday things that are exactly the same since having a mastectomy: #1 Nipple Hair

Hairy-Kim-Kardashian--76715

Before you think I’m disgusting or freak-like, let’s get one thing straight; every woman has nipple hair. Look I found an article to prove it. http://www.tressugar.com/How-Common-Female-Nipple-Hair-2431028

As for myself, it’s not as if I have a mane of hair keeping my areola warm. But there are a couple of stray suckers that I need to tend to from time to time.

Call me naive, but I did think that one of the few plus points of getting my boobs surgically removed would be to say goodbye to my nipple’s lashes.

It appears not.

Now bear with me. I’ve had all my breast, bar some skin and my nipples removed. Blood supply has been severely restricted, causing my poor nipples to cling on for dear life by their imaginary finger nails. The artist formerly known as total eclipse of the nipple, went so black I was ready to wave it goodbye.

What’s more, their senses are dead. The other day Mr F asked if I could feel my nipple. I put my hand to it and confirmed I could. It turns out that I could feel my hand with my nipple, but on closer inspection, I couldn’t feel my nipple with my hand.

I have created the most inhospitable environment known to nipples and despite this, the stray nipple hairs survive!?!

I guess no one really likes change do they.

 

Signs I’m ready to go back to work

working girl

As the old saying goes, time flies when you’re getting your boobs lopped off. Or something along those lines. Whilst some elements of the last 4 weeks, such as hospital food, seem a lifetime away, it feels like only yesterday when I was waving goodbye to Mr F as they wheeled me into theatre.

But as I prepare to hang up my slippers, here are my top 10 signs that show I’m ready to re-enter the world of work.

  1. I am feeling better. Still get pretty tired, like someone has turned off the lights unexpectedly. But much better.
  2. My arm movements are pretty good and I’m lifting things, including my friend’s 18 month old daughter. I realise this wasn’t wise, but she reached up to me, my ovaries gave a little yelp and I instinctively picked her up.
  3. My day revolves around The Bachelor; Ben’s Season, and I already know that nasty Courtney wins, they are now broken up and my favourite, Kacie B made a fool of herself going back on the latest series.
  4. I am repeatedly purchasing clothes to wear to work despite not earning a wage.
  5. I have lots of new clothes to wear to work.
  6. The final episode of The Bachelor, where Ben chooses Courtney, airs tomorrow.
  7. My brain is the consistency of papier mache and I struggle to use the right words for everyday items.
  8. I find it hard to make it past 5.30pm before eating dinner.
  9. I should be able to go sans plaster on the total eclipse of the nipple by Monday.
  10. I’m fully back up to speed with Hollyoaks.

So that settles it, back to the grind on Monday.

But just to make doubly sure I’m good to go, I think I’ll head off for a luxurious spa and wine weekend….

ben-flajnik-bachelor-abc

Filling station #1: 150CCs

petrol_station_attendant_2

Before I got my boobs chopped off and no one really understood what or why we were doing this, Mr F told people that they’d make my boobs bigger via a pump inserted into my body. His plan was to secretly pump my new Foobies up whilst I slept so he could finally admit, for the first time in 3 years, that he was actually a boob man and wanted to go out with a girl with gargantuan breasts.

I’m not sure how many people actually believed him but it gave him a good laugh.

Inflatable boobs

So as we discussed last time (http://imgettingmyboobsoff.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/post-op-follow-up-with-silver-fox-plastic-surgeon/) yesterday was my filling day. I hope you watched the video I posted as this will help walk you through today’s process of pumping up the Foobs.

I woke up on filling morning and popped a couple of Panadol. I used to be someone who would only take pills under extreme circumstances. In my mind, pills = weakness. So what if I’m up all night with crippling period pains. Oh right, yes, it’s a silly approach. That’s why now, prevention is the name of the game and the trick is to take the pills BEFORE the pain.

I went for a walk and did my stretches before jumping on the bus to the hospital.

I arrive at Silver Fox Plastic Surgeon’s office and am ushered into the lovely nurse’s room. Before I sit on her dentist chair and take of my top I spy what I think is possibly the biggest syringe in the world, full of 50cc of saline. Oh, I see. That’s going into my chest? Got it!

big syringe

Nice nurse looks at my artist formerly known as total eclipse of the nipple and is pleased. It really is just a small, partial eclipse now with a tiny, tiny, flaky yet healing scab. Good news. I also ask whether it will pop out again at some point? She informs me it will. This is good because as well as being a little flaky, it also looks like it has been steam-rolled into my new Foob.

steam roller

Silver Fox Plastic Surgeon walks through his adjoining doors. His beard is slightly shorter. Still looks good.

He does his little magnet thing on my boob to line it up to the  incision site on the expander under my pec and draws a little blue, X to mark the spot. He then points an incredibly long, yet thin needle towards my chest, informing me it will sting just a little. It kinda does but it’s not too bad. I then have an odd sensation of my baps getting bigger . Again, not painful, but a little odd.

Less than 10 minutes later I’m done and I actually have visibly bigger boobs. They say that more than a handful is a waste, and yes my hands are abnormally tiny, like a carnie, but I now have more than one of my handfuls. Mr F made a good point; imagine you could have done this as a teenager!

Silver Fox is off on holiday next week so my next appointment for expansion is in two weeks’ time. Just enough time to get used to these new bad boys. A new rack every two weeks. I could get used to this…

Shopping for a post-mastectomy bra to wear during the expander process

multiplebras

We’ve chatted before about whether you need to wear a bra after a prophylactic mastectomy. To save you reading through my previous musings, I will summarise my findings. Do you need to? Not technically, no. These bad boys, especially during the expander phase are rock solid and won’t be going anywhere. Could you if you want to? Yes, of course.

However, as is often the case, the real questions don’t come until after the event. I know I don’t want to be splashing out on fancy lingerie before I get my final Foobs. I’m a little cheap and what’s the point, they’ll change size each week? But as I prepare to head back to work very soon, the following concerns have arisen:

Wearing a bra post-mastectomy: The real questions!

-          To pad or not to pad? Or to put it more succinctly, do I want to wear padding to go back to work so people can’t see how little my current boobies are? Or do I want to just show my baps as they are, regardless where I am in the expanding process?

-          Do my nipples show through some of my clothes?

-          Do I want my colleagues to be able to see my nipples?

To pad or not to pad?

Padded Bra

I was given a bra in hospital. It’s a decent one by Berlei that does up at the front. Yes it’s beige and extremely non-sexy, but it was free. It also comes with generous pads that are much better than any of the rolled up tissue paper I used to use as a pre-pubescent teen.

But do I want to pad my bra? Mr F thinks I do and I’d have more confidence when I go back to work?

For me, I don’t know if I give two stuffs? Surprisingly enough I’ve been pretty open about what I’ve had done, so people aren’t expecting me to return with a full rack. So returning wearing humungous padding feels a little disingenuous, as though I’m denying what I had done.  I also think it would draw more attention to my chest than not having anything.

What’s more, contrary to what most people think when they’ve seen me for the first time since the op, I’m not concave, or completely flat. There is some shape there and in the words of my friend, I just look like a sporty, small chested girl.

So, to pad or not to pad?

Nope. People can see the progression as and when it happens.

Do my nipples show through some of my clothes?

Yes, they really do. Seemingly more so now as the left one is in a permanent state of not erect (that function is now defunct) but not flat.  The right one is currently sitting underneath a bandage, which is also showing through clothes.

Do I want my colleagues to be able to see my nipples?

Hell no!

So what to do?

Well I found my solution yesterday in these very, tween-like cammi-bras from Ambra http://www.ambra.net.au/. They are soft, have no wires, will stretch as my Foobs grow, and most importantly, WILL HIDE MY NIPPLES FROM MY WORK COLLEAGUES!

They do look a bit like ‘my first bra’, which essentially they are, but they were tres cheap at $19.95 and are exactly what I need for now.

firstbra1

firstbra2

 

Confirmation I did the right thing

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GROSS DESCRIPTORS. DO NOT READ WHILST EATING BREAKFAST

Right Thing

Yesterday, I had my first breast surgeon appointment since my discharge from hospital. Part of me felt like there wasn’t really much for us to chat about, having just escaped 4 days ago. However, it came at a really good time. It was my first weekend on my own and on Sunday I had started to imagine a) there was fluid build-up in my right boob and b) my right nipple was definitely dead and about to fall off.

My sensible side realised that both of these options was unlikely but I was looking forward to getting some reassurance.

My post-op nipples

My poor post op nipples haven’t looked great. I have been assured this is perfectly normal and they do tend to get dinged in the surgery process, forming a blister or scab that will eventually drop off to reveal a healthy nipple.

My left nipple on my preferred boob (preferred because it was 2cm higher than the right breast, a better shape, was never biopsied and didn’t get an infection) had a little scab on the bottom of the nipple. In proportion it was a little like Tasmania to Australia, or Anglesey to Wales.

australia.tasmania.lg_

My right nipple however on my rubbish boob (rubbish because it was more saggy, had been biopsied, was home to an infection, and something else I’ll tell you about in a minute) was complete scab. Yes, my whole nipple was a scab. Imagine if you will a total eclipse of the sun. That was the scab on my nipple and the reason why I repeatedly believed it was about to drop off.

eclps12

A surgeon with a scalpel

I arrive at my breast surgeon appointment, take my top off, lie on the bed and the next thing I see is my surgeon going to the cupboard to grab a scalpel.

OK.

He goes back to my nipples. I don’t really want to look and I can’t feel a thing as all my nerves are dead so I ask him, “what are you doing?” To which he replies “oh just taking the scabs off your nipples”.

Oh well, that’s OK then.

The left side. Simples. Pops off with little persuasion.

The right side. Even before he goes to tackle the total eclipse of the nipple I’m feeling nervous. He takes the scalpel to the scab and assures me that the skin under the scab looks healthy and pink. Reassured by these words I decide to sneak a peak when he goes to get something else from the cupboard. URGH. My eclipse scab is lying to the side of my now, bloody right nipple. Vomit. Thank god he got a plaster and dressed it up because my stomach couldn’t handle any more.

Time bomb tits

Dressed and scab free we return to his desk where he gives me my pathology report, which is the analysis of my removed breast tissue.

Again, the lovely left side had no abnormalities to note.

My rubbish right side however had a couple of warning signs. There was a 3mm fibroadenoma that I already knew about as I had a biopsy needle injected into 4 times it about 12 months ago. Fibroadenoma’s are lumps composed of fibrous and glandular tissue.” Unlike typical lumps from breast cancer, fibroadenomas are easy to move, with clearly defined edges.” OK, job done.

What was also there was an atypical ductal hyperplasia. My surgeon described this to me as “proof that it was on the turn.”

Oh, right. So I came home and Googled it and found this description. “Atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) is not breast cancer, but is considered a precancerous condition…  If you’ve been diagnosed with atypical ductal hyperplasia, your risk of developing breast cancer is 4 to 5 times the average lifetime risk.”

Wowsers.

Combine this with my BRCA2 stats and the way I see it, Rubbish right boob was just waiting to make its move. Whether that be in one year, 5 years or 10 and thank god it hadn’t started already. So no, I didn’t need confirmation that I had done the right thing, but with these odds even I’d place a bet and I can’t gamble for toffee.

Establishing Routine In Recovery

Routine

Those who know me, and those of you who don’t will probably have guessed, I’m not a person who finds it easy to sit still.

Before I left London I had a pretty full on job, with a decent commute, a busy social life, I taught seven fitness classes a week and trained for a marathon. I left the country to try to chill-out, which relatively, I think I’ve achieved. Even so, I still have a decent social life, I exercise 5-6 times a week and I have a pretty full-on job, in PR.

For those of you who are not familiar with PR, it is a job that has no completion. Your to do list will never be done, many outcomes you desire are out of your control and it was recently voted one of the most stressful jobs in the world.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2256652/Want-easy-life-Dont-firefighter-PR-exec-enlist-military-reveals-new-ranking-stressful-jobs.html

I do urge some caution as this story was probably developed by people who work in PR. However, with this reputation it successfully attracts stress junkies like me, who may moan about being busy, but don’t know what to do if they’re not.

It is in this context I present myself to you as a patient in recovery. It’s probably obvious that I don’t like to sit still and left to my own devices and my mind will run riot. This is why, now I’m home, it’s important for me to set some sort of loose routine. Each day I have committed to do 3 things to help focus my mind, give my day some sort of purpose, and to help track my progress; Meditate, walk, and stretch / exercise.

Meditate

meditate

I talk about meditation a lot on here, but I’m not a person who finds it easy – and generally I will cry it off if I can. I know lots of people say ‘I physically can’t meditate’. This is essentially bollocks. I find it difficult, but I taught myself how to do it and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

I first started mediating during my testing  for the cancer gene: BRCA. Combined with being made redundant, looking for a new job, moving house and temporarily breaking up with the love of my life, I thought I might have a nervous breakdown. I swear meditation saved me from this and I emerged from this period stronger and more cantered than I think I’d ever been.

So now, it’s more about keeping me balanced. I have a lot of time to think, so softening that for a bit helps me keep focus. And by that I mean, not looking at my boobs and imagining loads of stuff is going wrong with them, or convincing myself that my nipple is still going to fall off, or that a sneeze = infection.

I am using these meditations from Oprah and Deepak at the moment – because for a short time they are free, but they are pretty good, and not too long!

Walk

Walk

As a self-confessed exercise junkie, I have been surprisingly OK with not going to the gym. Being perpetually tired and stuck in hospital helps. However, since I have been home I have committed to going for a walk each day. There’s a park round the corner and if I go first thing I can reward my return with a cup of coffee.

The commitment helps my day have some kind of purpose, and going just a little further every couple of days gives me the feeling of progress.

What’s more, early autumn in Sydney is my FAVOURITE time of the year. It’s sunny but not too hot and, touch wood, it doesn’t rain as much as it does in Jan and Feb.

Stretching / Exercise

I call this stretching  / exercise as it’s really not exercise, but ‘exercises’ to help me get the strength and range of movement back in my arms.

My prophylactic, nipple sparing mastectomy with expanders involved the surgeon inserting the expanders underneath my pectoral or chest muscle, which protects the expanders, and in turn, will need to stretch as they expand, ready for the implants.

If you can imagine, the pain feels as though you have done 100,000 press ups, morning and night. This then means you use your arms less and so your range of movement invariably becomes a little more limited.

So doing the exercises each day is important. Again, it provides purpose, but they also stretch out my very bruised and tight Foobs and as the exercises become a little easier each day, I have another way of measuring my progress. The hospital gave me some exercises while I was there as well as a DVD called‘Strengthen Your Recovery: Pilates program following breast cancer surgery’. It’s really very good. And whilst I can’t wait to get back to the spin studio, it is a great resource for aiding my recovery.

 

Day 8: What Happens After Drain Removal?

Yesterday was Good Friday, 8 days after my operation and 8 days in the wonderful Royal Hospital for Women.

The day started well as I accepted the ward breakfast for the first time since I’ve been here. This featured a very hard, yet tasty, hot cross bun. The reason for it being my first ward breakfast is partly because I’m an incredible food snob and also, I have started to combine my morning walk with a lush Campos coffee and nice sourdough toast and Vegemite – as opposed to processed white bread and instant coffee. Please don’t judge me.

Campos

I was still on a high from the removal of my right-side drain the day before. And despite the drain levels on my left side doubling from the previous night, the left-side fluid had turned very pale so I was confident that it was doing its thing.

Riding on my wave of positivity, I was about to embark on my first half-shower in 8 days, when I took a peek at my blossoming foobs (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Foobs).  After a slow start I’m pretty good with them now and have become increasingly familiar with them over the last few days. So imagine my surprise when my right boob looks like it’s got a blister on the side of it and feels like a water balloon to touch.

red_water_balloon

For the past week the many surgeons who come to visit me, breast and plastic, have stressed how bad it is if my smeggy bodily fluid collects in my breast cavity. The unwavering message I have taken from multiple conversations is fluid (or smeg), in breast cavity = bad!

So the only natural reaction from someone who’s still on a quite strong meds, has been cooped up in a hospital for 8 days, and has a dramatic disposition at the best of time is to FREAK OUT!

I ask my lovely nurse, who is a small women in her 60′s with an Australian accent like someone from 80′s soap opera, Sons and Daughters, seems a little concerned. However, when I ask her to call a Dr she nervously says we should wait until they come round this morning. Hmm, I have already mentioned how Australia officially closes on Good Friday and I imagine that applies to surgeons too, so waiting is not really an option I want to entertain.

Next step, call Mr F crying, saying my boob looks like a water balloon. He’s just woken up. Is not a Dr and is not really sure how to help me.

Destination number 3, go to ballsy, 20-something Irish nurse who’s been saying I should be allowed to go home since day 3. This is a good stop. She looks at it and says, don’t panic, I’ll call the Dr. Great response.

I sit and wait, cry a bit more, and eventually a plastic surgeon, who I have never met and looks around 23, arrives. My relief is minimal. My plastic’s team aren’t the warmest bunch, but at least I know them.

Child plastic surgeon (CPS) looks at my boob. I am holding my breath and waiting for the worst until he shrugs his shoulders and says… well, it’s quite normal for a bit of fluid to collect after your drain is removed. It will disperse over time.

WHAT?

This clearly wasn’t the answer I was expecting and I hate to say it, but work Trisha comes out to play. (Brief summary; work Trisha can be very nice, but she’s also quite pushy, doesn’t like to be taken for a ride and generally wants to know that people aren’t taking the piss. Sounds like a dream, right?) So I begin to quiz CPS on his diagnosis. I use words such as ‘with all due respect’, ‘please try to appreciate where my concern lies’ and ‘I’m sure you know what you know what you’re talking about, but please understand, I’ve never met you before.’

He clearly thinks I’m a bit of a dick, but reassures me that it’s not a lot of fluid. They could drain it out but that involves sticking a needle in my boob, which involves sticking a foreign object in there, which increases the risk of infection = the pinnacle of  this is a bad thing and something you don’t want to happen. OK. He leaves and the ballsy Irish nurse tells me that he is good and he’s older than he looks. She also makes a valid point that if he gives me bad advice and gets it wrong, his boss, my main silver-fox plastic surgeon, will be pretty peeved.

My lovely 2IC breast surgeon then comes shortly after that and confirms that he is not worried by the fluid. He then recommends I start applying Betadine to my bruised looking nipples, once a day. It makes them look more bruised in the short-term but I trust this is an effective way of keeping them infection free!

So everyone leaves and I’m reassured (I’ve also triple and quadruple checked with my friend from Pink Hope http://pinkhope.org.au/and my step mum, who is also a breast surgeon), but still a little teary. It’s at this point the nurses urge me to escape from hospital for a few hours. They can clearly see I’m going slightly mental and losing the plot. So with more information and less tears I call Mr F and ask him to break me out!

And here I am, patient on the run, complete with name tag and smegggy drain bag at the beautiful Bronte Beach, Australia. One large skimmed latte, poached eggs and avocado on sourdough please. And order is restored.

Breakout

 

 

My Little Book of Gratitude

Some of you will have seen that I sporadically talk about how grateful or lucky I feel at the moment, during what may questionably be one of the most challenging times of my life.

It really is an amazing feeling and is part of what’s getting me through each day. Even when I temporarily hit an emotional, and I believe drug induced, wall. Every day I feel so grateful that I have been given the opportunity to glimpse into my medical future and take back some control. Each day, when I’m surrounded by my loving and supportive network of friends and Mr F, I thank my lucky stars I’m not alone in this. And even when I look at my chest that currently looks like action man, after he’s gone through a few rounds with GI Joe, I’m thankful that these bad boys have less power to hurt me anymore.

Action man

And in my support of gratitude, it seems I am not alone.

This dude, Dr Robert Emmons (who looks very grateful) has written a best-selling book called, ‘Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.’ http://gratitudepower.net/science.htm. He believes gratitude can improve emotional and physical health and without it, “life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished.” Wowsers, steady on Dr Emmons!

This article from the NY Times gushes even further. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/science/a-serving-of-gratitude-brings-healthy-dividends.html?_r=0. They claim that “cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.” Lucky Mr F… I wonder if he’s grateful?

It’s obviously with these weighty claims in mind that my friend, MT, who I’m incredibly grateful for, made me this gratitude journal. Or as she’s called it, ‘A little book of good things.’

GratitudeBook

Throughout the book she has pasted happy looking pictures, underlined by inspiring, happy quotes. Some of my favourites include:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Dr Suess.

Dr Suess

And, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible.” Audrey Hepburn.

 Audrey

The 3 GTs:

Then each day, from the day of my op, MT has earmarked 3 spaces where I must write down 3 of my grateful thoughts. I have been pretty good with this and think it will help when I look back at this time in the months to come, and hopefully, see how far I’ve come. My GTs are very simple and may seem pretty banal at times, but I think the more simple the GT, the better as it’s easier to conjure back when it’s most needed.

I won’t bore you with each GT from the past 5 days, but here’s a snapshot of the small things I’m grateful for since my two friends left my inhabitance:

Day 1

-          For coming through the operation

Day 2

-          For HP bringing me coffee

Day 3

-          For being brave enough to look at my chest

Day 4

-          For my right nipple looking less purple

Day 5

-          Going to the toilet!

Oops, much better now: Day 4 Day and Day 5 Morning

Right, so you’ll be pleased to know, I am in much better spirits today. As I also was yesterday afternoon so apologies for that little dent in my spirits as I hit the wall of the Macquarie ward.

crazy

After pouring out my soul yesterday I had a nice visit from my two, no frills friends. This is not an insult to them or anything to do with their appearance. It’s due to the fact that they are two of my friends I know I don’t even have to speak to when they come or make any effort, so in short, no frills. They took me for breaky on the grass and we watched patients, hooked up to their IVs, puffing away on their cigarettes in the hospital amphitheater.

????????????????????????????

I am not one to judge, especially as when life throws you a hundred curve balls, sometimes a cigarette is the least of your worries. However, I am glad I knocked my once social habit on its head years ago. Especially as smokers have more chance of their nipples failing post-surgery due to poor blood circulation. (you may pick up that as well as bowel watch, I am also on my own private-ish nipple watch)

I then slept for a couple of hour’s yesterday afternoon.  The first time in the day, since surgery.  Bliss! Even on waking, with eyes full of smeg, I felt a heap better than I had that morning.

My two friends, northern K and German K came to visit in the afternoon. They brought with them a lovely zebra plant with the famous last words ‘you can’t kill this plant’… I have killed every plant that has been introduced to me in this way. Then more importantly, German K washed my hair and plaited it. This is important because:

I smell;

Wash

It’s been a good few days and I’ve only been able to wash with these wonderful, Bed in Bath wipes. They are essentially like baby wipes on speed. Massive! The packaging says, ‘for a complete bath’, which is a ‘complete lie’. Until the drains come out I can’t shower, so I have been festival washing any skin that hits the air. I still have the surgeon’s marker pen on my chest, as well as the black sticky marks where plasters have been. I have been wearing the same surgical socks for days, and whilst, as you know, I have been changing my pants daily (yesterday was luminous orange, today, turquoise) I am starting to hum. Thanks to the pesky drains coming out of my pits I can’t use deodorant and I’m too scared to try and shave them in case I catch something (small mercies that this is definitely wouldn’t be one of my breasts.)

Before the op I worried about how attractive my boyfriend would find me sans boobs. I hadn’t taken into consideration this might be mainly because I’m gross. A fact, which Mr F confirmed last night.

Bowel watch:

Day 5 and there is still no sign. This is now, the main question anyone is asking me. My pain is well under control, and so it seems, are my bowels.  Victorian control! Despite laxatives, multiple walks round the car park, stomach massages and a couple of squats, there is no movement. My stomach is so swollen it is now more prominent than my deflated chest. However, whilst I’m still able to breathe and not in pain, I’ll resist the urge to double dose on the laxatives.  Do not fear – I’ll keep you updated.

Drain gate:

Whilst it’s a bit minging, I fear it’s difficult for anyone to really understand what I mean when I say I have drains coming out of my armpit, so see below for a graphic visual. These lead into the cavity of my chest, where all the potentially cancerous tissue and fat has been removed and where my expanders are currently sitting behind my pectoral wall.

drain1

Blood coming out of the drains is a good thing because if blood collects in the cavity I have to go back under to open up my wounds again and the risk of infection is high. Also, as the Dr’s keep saying, it’s better out than in. However, before I can go home, and essentially before they can start filling up my expanders and giving me new boobs again, the drains need to run dry.

drain2

It is this area that is causing the delay. My right side is doing OK and the volume of blood and serum that collects in the bag each night (that they change at 12am) is decreasing. My left side on the other hand remains pretty heavy and the blood is darker. There is nothing wrong per se, as long as it’s draining out, but it does have to do its course before I can continue with mine.

Infection = bad! Especially with expanders as if this happens, they have to remove them and it could be a while before the reconstruction process can begin.

Day 5

So a day 5 begins my aims are as follows:

  • Walk
  • Read – I usually love reading, but have been too hyper until now to settle down with a good book
  • Meditate
  • Keep on an even keel…

Crash: Day 3 and Day 4 Morning

kind

They warned me that day 2 would be crash day. The day when all the drugs wear off and you realise the enormity of what you’ve done? Well for me that was day 3. Although depending on how you look at it, if you count surgery day as just being surgery day, yesterday could well have been day 2.

On paper yesterday was good. I got up in the morning and did my exercises – congratulated myself on being so strong and threw in some squats. My friend, Kiwi A, came in the morning and we had coffee and breakfast outside on the grass. My two friends, D and S, came straight after at the same time as my boyfriend, with another coffee (this may have been too much), and stayed til 1pm. As they left I saw them out with a walk round the car park with Mr F.

I returned to my room, had a peek at my chest, fell asleep and was woken by two new friends, M and L, who brought me nice pants from Peter Alexander in an egg carton – ingenious. I went for another walk round the car park before greeting my lovely friend, E, who brought a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. E and Mr F stayed until about 7pm. When they left I repeated my exercises, watched the Real Housewives of Miami and went to sleep.

However, extract things from paper and this was not the entire day.

Boob Watch:

I did look at my boobs. They are not as bad as you’d think. My left nipple looks OK and my scars are really tiny. However my right nipple looks bruised and sore and my overall impression was that I looked like action man.

I called Mr F and cried. Bless him, everyone else sees good Trisha, he on the other hand has the one that can only cry with him. Besides, what can you say when your girlfriend calls you up and says she looks like action man?

Bowel Watch:

Despite drinking 2 glasses of prune juice, walking around A LOT and having A LOT of wind… (sorry – oversharing) I still haven’t been to the toilet since Wednesday evening! I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t feel so very, very full and swollen.  Bearing in mind I’m only eating 2 meals a day and avoiding the 3 servings of white bread they are giving me in here. By the time I went to sleep last night I was struggling to breathe I was so expanded.

So of course I called Mr F-Therapist and cried, again (man going out with me is ridiculously rubbish), and he told me to ask for some laxatives.  I didn’t and went to sleep – until I was woken up to change my drains at 12pm and the nurse offered me some.

Midnight Caller:

I was then awake (as I have been at this time for the last 3 nights) and got a txt from AF to see if I was a) asleep and b) OK.  This time I blame him as I txted I was fine and he insisted on Skyping. It was at this point I cried, again!  Long story short he cheered me up and I managed to go back to sleep.

Morning has broken…

Got woken up to take pain killers this morning. If only pain killer could make me sleep and go to the toilet. Saw that my drain incision in my left armpit had leaked… cried… you realise this is again, right?

So look, I know, I’m shattered. I haven’t slept for 3 nights, some people took my boobs away and I still haven’t been to the toilet. I just feel a bit bad as I have been this positive poster girl for how to react when you wake up flat chested and my current emotional state makes me feel like I’ve duped you all.

Game plan

Today the game plan is to sleep as much as possible. I have been for one walk already and I’m determined the next one will push me to the toilet. Finally I’m going to give myself a break.  All this positivity is really hard work and despite what my many self-help books and Pinterest mantras may say, it’s alright to feel like crap from time to time and I’m allowing myself that indulgence for day 4.

kindess