Over the worst maybe?
So it’s been exactly 2 weeks since my surgery. I’ve posted photos of my new body under the medical picture section of the blog and more details of surgery if anyone wants to look. I’ll upload some actual surgery pictures when I get them too so keep checking if you like the gore!
So how was it?
As you know from my last post I was pretty scared. Surgery is always a risk and always scary but this was different as it was my choice to have it done and I had nothing to go by as to whether it would leave me better or worse off. But I decided, with the help of my consultants, that it was worth taking the risk as the condition of the implant, if left, would only worsen as it had been damaged due to the radiotherapy.
The day before surgery went well. I was all marked up and forms filled and ready to go. No beds so plan was to go home to sleep and return to ward by 7am the next day. We were at the hospital for 4 hours! So tiring, but just before we were due to leave a registrar came and told us that they were urgently trying to contact my surgeon as it was highly possible that my surgery was going to be cancelled as no beds available! I had been quite calm up until then. Unbelievable how things can change so quickly. So that night was not calm at all. In fact we were all very anxious as it’s the not knowing, again! I had to go to hospital the next day and just wait and see. So Phil dropped me off with my bag and I went to a waiting room with about ten or so other patients. Some in for major surgery, some just for the day. I was feeling ok. At this point we still had no idea whether surgery was happening or not. But then by 7.30am I was called up first and whisked away to my bed where Mr Griffiths was waiting saying…. hurry up, aren’t you ready yet??? I’m waiting for you! ha ha! He has a great sense of humour! So quickly quickly I got changed, leapt on the bed and we were off. I quickly messaged Phil to say my surgery was happening and I was on my way now! It was like something from a carry on film! I had no time to worry……..
I had a canular fitted ready for my anesthetic and they explained how they would give my body physio throughout my surgery where they could to help with stiffness afterwards. I was in good hands……
and then I woke up after surgery and opened my eyes to my lovely surgeon Mr Matt Griffiths at the end of my bed. He was asking me how I felt? I remember him telling me the surgery was easy and straightforward for him and all went perfectly well. He said my anaesthetist had given me extra pain killer directly into my stomach to help with the pain. All good. I felt amazing. In fact I couldn’t feel anything at all! My whole body was pain free. This was great! All happy, I should be back on ward in no time, was I dreaming????…….
I was still in recovery when about half an hour later and suddenly with no warning the pain kicked in. In fact my whole body was in intense pain like I’ve never felt in my whole life. I can’t even compare it to anything. I couldn’t breath, or speak or move or anything. I think this is how I would feel if I was being sliced up in Game of Thrones! The poor recovery nurse was frantically getting some pain relief into me. She didn’t understand why this was happening – I had been fine. I had tears running down my face that I couldn’t control – pain tears. What was going on? I couldn’t have morphine as it makes me extremely sick and with a stomach op that wouldn’t be good, but they gave me a synthetic drug instead (which I can’t remember) but it worked for a bit. So when that kicked in I was ok again. For a bit – just normal uncomfortable pain that was expected. But then again that wore off and again I was in sudden intense pain. This went on and on without gradual warning for the next few hours until finally on Tuesday evening my body stabilised and I was able to return to the ward. Not a nice experience but it’s done now. My body just doesn’t seem to react well after surgery – it must be the hypersensitivity and it takes a while for my body to normalise it’s senses. Who knows? But it’s over.
So the op went well. Mr Griffiths said it was the smallest tummy he had ever removed and the smallest boob he had ever made! Quite funny really. Although it hurt to laugh! I hadn’t given him much to sculpt with. But my stomach muscle was good and he had managed to lift it to get to the blood vessels – this was great news as it meant he hadn’t had to cut into it – less to heal. He also said that my ribs were well spaced (must be the yoga!) so when it came to connecting the blood vessels in my chest he was able to work between my ribs instead of having to break or remove one. Yay! This was great news for me too.
So, yes at this point my body did feel like I had been trampled by wild horses or run over by a bus or whatever. But immediately I felt the relief of having the tightness of the implant rock boob removed which was great. I no longer feel I have a rock sewn to my chest – even after surgery it feels so much better. My bones hurt a lot – did they have a party on me? Or hang me upside down and use me as a piñata? It sure felt like it. But apparently this is normal. Plus I already have the joint pain and fibromyalgia to contend with – this just intensifies things. I felt I could just sleep forever, but even laying down, moving or breathing hurt – but it was manageable hurt now. I needed to rest and repair.
Thank goodness for electric beds in hospital! Plus we were on high dependancy care which meant every half an hour our nurse checked us. Over the first few days this gradually went down to every hour to then every two hours etc. The nurses were so lovely and caring but it really felt wrong to have them do everything for us. Literally! even putting the straw to our mouths to have a drink, or moving a pillow.
So over the next few day we were encouraged to get out of bed and try and stand, walk, sit in a chair and gradually get to the toilet and have a shower. At the beginning every time I stood up I threw up! Not so good but this eased over a few days. The staff and nurses on Stock Ward in Broomfield (Chelmsford) hospital were amazing. I can’t fault the care I had at all. Even when my veins decided to pop they stopped immediately. It makes such a difference to have the right people looking after you.
There were 4 of us ladies together, all been through similar ops on the same day – Lou, Anne, Lorna and myself. It really helped as we each knew how the other was feeling and encouraged each other. It’s wonderful the bond you form with others so quickly when you can relate to each other. They made hospital too much fun when it really shouldn’t have been! Plus laughing hurt a lot! And coughing and don’t even mention sneezing!
Anyway, by Sunday I was allowed home. We had to be able to have all pipework out (cannulas, drains, catheters etc), and be able to walk and shower ourselves. We had a particular focus to keep us going in the form of a prisoner chained to his bed further up the ward. Far too nosey for our own good we all took it in turns to check out, it was difficult not to feel sorry for him. We had felt chained to our beds after surgery but that was due to all the equipment. Must have been awful actually being physically chained to the hospital bed with guards!
Having the stomach drain out was the worst. I had one that stretched from one side of my body to the other to drain excess fluid. When drains are removed they just feel uncomfortable and tugging but when this one was removed it was painful – very strange pain that made me feel sick. Wouldn’t recommend that feeling again!
So since being home my family are looking after me well. I missed the fur babies so much and they missed me. Clover wouldn’t leave my side!
I’m gradually pottering about and I’m doing good. The wounds are healing well, still sore but all ok. And in clothing the boobs look more even already……
I can pretty much stand straight now – at first I was bent over. My stomach is so stretched like a trampoline – very tight indeed – you can’t even see my ribs! And apparently there is swelling underneath still! Don’t know where that is! Mr Griffiths said he had some private patients that would pay thousands for a stomach like mine! I was quite happy with my old stomach but needs must eh! If I eat too much or move awkwardly it feels like it could pop open at any moment and an alien appear!!!! Not nice. This op is definitely a better option if you have more flesh to work with than I had. But now I’m home I’m allowed to massage and moisturise to help the itching and tightness. I still have to wear the compression band which will help support the stomach wound. I’m meant to wear this 24 hours for weeks!!!
Yesterday I saw Mr Griffiths and he’s happy with my healing and said I’m doing well, but to continue to listen to my body and not to do handstands yet!!!! Funny! Last thing I feel like doing!
He has peeled away the mesh across my stomach and new belly button so all is revealed. All looks good so far. A little sore still but it’s neat, 9/10 for the sewing so far! He’s even given me the ok to pick off the surgical glue over the new stomach-boob! I still look like frankensteins monster but give it a few more weeks the bruising and swelling should settle down. It’s very sore across my chest from where the vessels were connected and I have some fat necrosis lumps, which he said is where he stuffed my stomach into the boob – it’s better to have too much and remove rather than add. But it should even out and subside a little. So after just 2 weeks I’m feeling better than I thought I would. I actually think my own pain tolerance is amazing now.
Today I’ve been hanging out at the hospital again for more physio and wound checking. Exciting life I’m leading at the moment! Can you tell I’m bored?
And thank you for all the lovely flowers, cards and gifts – they are helping me so so much….
I am so grateful. Every day. So let’s hope I continue to heal with no complications. Slowly does it. And maybe, just maybe I’m over the worst? I really hope so. But the for the moment, I’m still doing one day at a time still. Although I am doing a little holiday research while I’m resting!!!! Apparently I’ll be able to travel by the end of September.
Thank you all for your support. Please continue to share my blog – if it can help others then it makes all this worth it!
Much love x