Surgery went great today. We arrived at 7:30 am at UCLA to get checked in. On our way down the hall to the surgical center we ran into Dr.C and chatted with him briefly. I asked him about his recent trip (conference at a resort I spent a couple weeks at for work a couple years ago) and he gave me the quick low-down and we had a good laugh about a warning I gave him before he went (bed bugs at the resort). Although it's not the kind of thing he nor I probably needed to cause him to think about me while he was on his trip, I was able to give him valuable advice on how not to bring those buggers home to his family and it gave us something to laugh about the last couple times I've seen him. And, I'm thinking it's always a good thing if you make your doctors smile and laugh when you see them - especially if you'll be under the knife with said doctors so I'm always looking for ways to keep him and my other doctors smiling and laughing. LOL
I got called back for surgery prep so off we went (right on schedule, too). Got into that fashionable gown, paper hat and booties, etc. Saw Dr.C again and he marked me up with that lovely purple surgical marker and I got him laughing again - so much that he had to stop marking me for a second to avoid making squiggly lines heehee. Then the anaesthesiologist arrived and I got him to use my port for the first series of iv meds which was GREAT because that meant I was asleep when they put the next iv in my arm (right arm, of course). He gave me a tube of numbing cream and some cool cream holding bandages to take home with me (bonus! esp since I've been using press n seal wrap to hold my cream in place all this time haha) since I'll have my port another year for ongoing blood draws and a iv-delivered drug I'll be getting monthly for a year (more about that later).
We reminded every team member about my left arm - NO BP, NO NEEDLES - and we put a big long piece of surgical tape on my left arm with big lettering of that message to ensure nobody tried to mess with it - mission accomplished. Just after the doc put the first series of drugs into the port iv, I closed my eyes briefly and said a simple prayer: "Dear God, I give it to you. You have my complete trust and faith. Thank you for blessing me in countless ways on this day and every day." I opened my eyes and resumed talking to Bob and quickly things started appearing fuzzy. I woke up, looked at the clock in front of me, which said 11:30am (PT) and turned to Bob and said something like "gosh, when are we getting this party started?" and he laughed and informed me it was all done. =) Sweet! No nausea from the aneasthesia - yay! (my chart showed that has never been an issue for me at any of my previous surgeries and prior to this surgery the the doc mentioned it and was impressed - I told him I'm totally an overachiever and that got him laughing haha) The surgery went well and they wrapped me up in a lovely gauze halter contraption - the same style I had after the bilateral mastectomy. I get to sport this lovely fashion statement until Sunday afternoon and that is when I'm allowed to take it off, look at my new tatas, and take a shower. As I sat there in recovery I thought about how my breast cancer sister warrior powwow (aka support group) is on Thursdays from 11-12:30 at UCLA just one floor beneath the surgical center. I was thinking I should ask them to just wheel me down there to say hello but I know that Bob would think I was cookoo so I didn't say anything. Besides, by the time they finally got us out of the surgical center it would have been too late - but I was hoping I'd run into the gals on the elevator as they wheeled me down to the parking garage. Unfortunately, I didn't see any of them.
I can ALREADY tell the difference with the pesky expanders gone. I just felt under my armpits and can't feel them (could before), and felt the top of my chest area just below where my port is and can't feel them bulging out (could before) - this is SO AWESOME! Those things (expanders) took up so much chest real estate before and were so uncomfortable, I'm so happy they're out! Woot!
I was home by 2pm PT and felt pretty good - tired and hungry, but not in any pain (due to drugs, I'm sure). I had some soup and crackers and green tea and went up to bed. Bob woke me at 4pm to give me my next pain pill and I went back to sleep and woke up around 7pm to find Bob downstairs hooking up my new wii system! Bob and mom got it for me for my birthday and it arrived today while we were at UCLA. How exciting!
I still feel good, pain meds on schedule to ensure that continues. Cooper seems to be doing OK with me not able to pick him up. I sit down and someone else picks him up and puts him in my lap (with a pillow against my chest to prevent him from pressing on or knocking my incision areas). At bed time we did that in his room on the rocking chair and then when it was time Bob picked him up and placed him in the crib and I tucked him in and he was OK with that, thankfully.
Day 2 following surgery is usually the toughest, in my experience, so tonight I'm getting all the things I'll need arranged next to my bed so I can stay in bed and rest. Hopefully it won't be too bad since they gave me a full pill bottle of pain meds. Dr.H recommended a supplement (Bromelaine) for me to start taking tomorrow to help reduce swelling so that will go down quickly and allow me to keep my radiation simulation appointment in 2 weeks.
Thank you, God, for holding me and keeping me safe and comfortable - for instilling brilliance, talent and compassion in every member of my surgical team - for blessing me with a wonderful mom and husband to help me through this here at home - for precious Cooper - and for all the many friends and family members who continue to support me through this journey. For this, and many many countless other blessings, I thank and praise Thee.
To my friends, family members, colleagues, and blog followers - thank you all for your prayers and positive thoughts. I KNOW it helped because I had an excellent surgery experience today. Thank you to the UCLA team that took such awesome care of me today, as usual. I love Dr.C and the surgical center nurses - they're truly the best in their field as far as I'm concerned and I'm so blessed to have them as my care team.
PS - Here I am, ready for surgery - no make up, no brow pencil (though they're coming back quickly haha) - I'm au naturale! :)