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Diane is having surgery to take out some scar tissue that the surgeon thinks has formed on the bottom corner of one of the pockets of the internal “bra” that holds the implants in place.  The surgeon used irradiated muscle stratus to form them, the patient’s body grows tissue within and around the foreign muscle that eventually becomes part of the body.

A ribbon of scar tissue has formed and is causing irritation and pain on her ribs.  During the day her undergarments put pressure there and at night she has trouble sleeping on that side.  Massaging the area on the other side helped to keep scar tissue from forming but on this side it did not help as much.

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We are approaching three months since Diane had the expanders removed and the permanent implants put in place.  Diane is doing well, there is some muscle pain yet and those crazy twinges from the nerves firing off as they recover.  The amount of pillows Diane needs to support her while sleeping is gradually diminishing.  She can sleep on her side for short periods too, but she still gets sore when she does.

Diane has been walking, getting back in shape.  She had gained weight because of the reduced physical activity and the need to eat every time she took medicine.  The city has added some nice paved walking/running paths in the greenbelt (floodway) in the past couple of years which makes the activity much nicer than utilizing the city streets and sidewalks in the past.  The greenbelt is just half a block away so it is convenient too.

Diane’s mom is getting married in the middle of November so we will be seeing a lot of family and friends for the first time since all this began a year and a half ago.  Diane should be doing just fine by then and will be able to thoroughly enjoy the time with her mom.

Sunday I removed the pain ball tubing.  It was inserted between the breasts and then had extremely sticky clear tape covering it to help keep it in place.  Approximately four inches of the tubing had to be pulled out, Diane said it felt weird as I pulled it out.  The ball was in a fanny pack that Diane had to lug around or find a place to set if she was sitting or lying down.  Diane was thankful to have one less accessory to carry around and get in the way.

Wednesday we visited the surgeon’s office and the nurse removed the rest of the external plumbing, the surgical drains.  They serve an important purpose but they are a pain in the “you know what”.  Diane commented on the amount of fluids that we emptied out of the drain reservoirs over the week since the surgery.  It would be a lot of fluid for the body to absorb and get rid of on its own.

The tubing was inserted lower on her sides this time, last time they were inserted at her arm pits.  The lower location was a little less irritating than at the arm pits but the tape still caused plenty of irritation and itching.

The nurse that removed the drains was real nice, she assists the surgeon when he performs procedures in his office.  We have had a wonderful team taking care of the princess, they have been professional, extremely skilled, and will patiently answer all questions put to them.  We are pleased with the final result so far barring any last minute complications.

What a long day we had yesterday.  I was up at 5:15am so I could be at the job-site by 7am to go over everyone’s duties for the day.  I went back home after a couple hours, ate a nice breakfast, then we headed to the hospital to check-in.  The check-in process went quickly, they are beginning to know us there, plus a lot of the info could be transferred over from our last visit.

Then off to the out-patient surgical center where we saw more familiar faces.  More questions to answer while another technician checked blood pressure, oxygen levels, pulse, etc.  The IV was administered, this is always an adventure due to Diane’s small, tough, rolling veins.  Then the waiting began.

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It is 9:30PM and Diane had ice chips, crackers, Jello and water.  She was given pain meds, plus Valium for muscle spasms.  Now she is resting while antibiotics are fed to her through the IV.  We are still scheduled to go home tonight.  What time that will be we don’t know yet.  It could be a longer night than we were expecting.  Whenever you miss out on the outpatient dept checkout procedures, the process seems to drag on forever.

The power just went out for a couple seconds, the lights went out and there was silence.  It has been raining but it has not been storming here.  Maybe there are some storms in the area that affected the power.  Very strange.

The surgeon came by to discuss the results of the surgery with us.  All went well but he did have to do extra internal muscle work along with removing some scar tissue.  The implants fit well and are nice and soft, the expanders were so hard and stiff.  There will be additional pain associated with the work he had to do with the muscles and she has surgical drains again.  There is a pain management probe inserted and a ball at the end that will be administering pain medication too.  We can remove it and the dressings on Saturday.  More to come later.

Diane’s surgery was scheduled for 1:00PM.  The surgical suite was not ready until 2:15PM.  The outpatient surgical dept shuts down at 5-5:30PM depending on when the scheduled surgeries are completed for day.

So if the surgery is not completed by that time period the patient is admitted and goes upstairs to wait until they are ready to be discharged.  That is what we are looking at right now unless the surgery goes quicker than expected.  That is doubtful because the surgeon had already informed us he has some extra work to do to make the results match his expectations.   He has a reputation for being meticulous in his work.  I will let y’all know more when I know more.

Thank you for all the support and prayers.  Fred

On Wednesday Diane enters the long-awaited final phase of her re-construction and recovery.  She will have surgery to remove the rigid, firm, and heavy; saline filled expanders.  They have literally been a real pain in her chest.

Sleeping has been the biggest challenge, our bed has been taken over with an assortment of props and pillows.  There have been many nights when all of that has not been good enough and she sleeps a good part of the early morning hours in the recliner.  Muscle pain and spasms in the back, sides and chest area have become extremely annoying and uncomfortable.  The weather even pitches in to provide pain and discomfort when there is a front moving in and rain is in the forecast.  Plus each time saline was added to the expanders the pain and discomfort increased until her body adjusted to the additional size and weight.

The surgery is scheduled for 1:00pm and the surgeon told Diane it would last approximately three hours because he has some internal adjustments to make.  As long as everything goes well Diane will be home  late afternoon or early evening.  I will be blogging with updates from the hospital and later on when we arrive home.

Diane had her appointment with the breast surgeon this morning.   The surgeon told us everything is going well with Diane’s recovery.  There is a little fluid building up on the side of her left breast and if it continues to accumulate, then it may need to be drained.  If the fluid needs draining it can wait until Monday to make an appointment for later that day.  The breast surgeon said she could do it; or if the plastic surgeon prefers, he can do it otherwise.  The body would normally absorb most of the fluid at this stage, but sometimes it does need to be drained.

The breast surgeon wants to see Diane every six months for the next two years to do a visual check-up.  There will  always be a minute amount of breast tissue present in her body, it is not possible to remove all of it, individual or small groups of cells are so small that some are always left behind.  If a mass did form from what is left behind there is very little space for the mass to hide.  So if anything does form it can usually be found easily, with Diane’s frame there is just a thin layer of tissue left between the pectoral muscle and the skin.  Mammograms are a thing of the past, an ultrasound or MRI would be ordered if a mass was visually found at some point.

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Diane visited the plastic surgeon today.  He removed the tape that was covering the drains at the point where they emerged from the upper incisions.  The tape was irritating and uncomfortable since day one, I think it has been Diane’s number one complaint.  Then he pulled and the drain tubes slipped right out.  The drain ports were a constant pain in her side, plus they kept her from sleeping on her side, sleeping on her back had been getting old.  The drain reservoirs and tubes were always in the way too.

Diane asked the surgeon if everything looked fine.  He smiled and proudly said of course, you look great already and you will only look better as we move forward.  Diane really likes him, he is so positive and he is confident in his abilities.  He is meticulous in his work and it shows, if he wasn’t a surgeon he would probably be an artist. Read the rest of this entry »

Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness

August 2017
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