Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I'm gonna have to warn you I really just don't feel like being clever today.  Even to the extent that as I was  sitting in the waiting room of the general suregeons office thinking about what I would blog about and all i could come up with was that I just don't feel like being clever today.
Then I came across this quote from Hemmingway that I had found some months back that made me feel O.K. about not feeling particularly clever:
"There are events which are so great that if a writer has participated in them his obligation is to write truly rather than assume the presumption of altering them with invention."

I'll start here.

Have you ever had one of those pimples INSIDE your nose that REALLY hurts? I have one of those that has been there for one week and is making me look a bit like i could lead Santa's Sleigh.  It is on the inside of the tissue the end of my nose. There is nothing I can do about it outside of possibly a professional facial, which is ironic for 2 reasons.  Firstly, I had an anxiety attack the last time I had a facial, and secondly that I ended up turning down a free one just this very day when the plastic surgeon's office, which is also a dermatology office, offered me one in order to help me "relax" after the potentially anxiety provoking snafu that happened in the scheduling of my little surgery. (Left mastectomy and Bilateral Reconstruction with DIEP flap).
How did they know about this pimple?  How embarassing.

The surgery that I'm speaking of is the little surgery that I have deliberated over for more than 8 months and hat I had seemingly scheduled with both the general surgeon and the plastic surgeon over a month ago. The little surgery that I've organized basically my whole (post 50 miler...and even some pre-50 miler) life around.  Work, family, help with kids, abdominal fat gaining food consumption, weight training, etc. It took only about 20 seconds for the general surgeon to explain to me that she was sorry for the "Confusion" in the schedule, but she will not be able to do the surgery on the scheduled day of April 16 because she will be in Toronto learning how to do some new procedure. (This is reminding of a Seinfeld episode....That's the whole thing about a schedule, right? It's like "a reservation". )
  That sounds very nice...Toronto...

She the surgeon offered me a ridiculous date MUCH later in the future which would obviously not do for me.  (In her defense, she was just meeting me today). I actually liked this general surgeon on our visit. She seemed very competent.  I was just meeting her today because I have had to change general surgeons due to the fact that my original general surgeon does not have priveledges at the hospital that the plastic surgeon now prefers.  So, anyway, once she got me to like her, she broke the news and then offered up that one of  her colleagues might be able to do it on the originally "scheduled" date.  I was very proud of how calmly I stated that this was a bit upsetting to me, but that I would like to keep her as the general surgeon if I could get it all arranged with work and family,  etc.  That gave me time to speak with the guy that I really want to keep happy (Richie?).....the Plastic Surgeon.  I asked him what he thought I should do regarding the general surgeon and he basically stated it would be best if I could stick with this surgeon if I was able to arrange it.  He said that he would be happy to continue on either date that worked for me, however.  I thought that this was nice. And, becasue decision making in overwhelming situations is not really my forte' and that it's been customary for me to defer to the opinion of the Plastic's guy for some reason, I chose, once again, to go with his recommendation.  Fortunately, Richie, my Mother, Jenn, and my Job were very flexible with this change.  This helped keep my anxiety to a minimum.
So, Thursday April 12th it is. 

Here is a sketch of the plan:

Arrive 5:30.
Surgery starts at 7:30. Left Mastectomy should take about an hour.
Port Removal.
Then bilateral reconstruction 6-8 hours.  Should get out of surgery around 5:00 pm.
Suregeon is currently working on deciding on which way he will flap the skin. There are 3 options that he showed me in the  pictures.  The 3rd option was the least attractive to my eyes, but potentially the angle of choice.  He will decide how the radiated skin "opens up" during the surgery.
Recovery room for one hour then into the Intermediate care unit where i will have a private room but will have Intensive care for 18  hours then actual intemediate care which is a step down from intensive care.
They will start me on Dilaudid after anesthesia because I mentioned how morphine made me jittery after the last surgery. I will also have a ball filled with lidocaine called an ONQ that will be attached to my abdomen that is somehow programmed to provide a dosage.
I will have 1-2 drains for each breast and 2 drains for the abdomen.
I will likely stay for 4 nights then return home. 
They've recommended that I obtain a recliner chair for my initial recovery time because I will not be able to straighten up for " a while" 
I can start riding the bike trainer..."when i feel like it"  Really?....
No jogging 6 weeks. 
No heavy lifting 8 weeks.

Here is a sample of what a DIEP flap looks like:

This is a left reconstruction only. The right was augmented.


  1. Poor Emily! I'm so sorry the scheduling got screwed up. I would have been pissed, too, but it sounds like you handled it well. Best of luck to you on the 12th! I'll be thinking of you!!!!!

    1. Hey Heather! Thanks for your support! Yes, how I've matured even if through experiences I would never have chosen!