Sunday, April 13, 2014


Flowers from my garden

Back to the hospital I went for what I hoped was going to be the last surgery for me for many years.  You would think I would have become used to this but I still felt kind of nervous on the way there.  As I noted before, you sometimes hear these stories about people that go in for some kind of routine surgery and then some weird thing happens and they die on the operating table.  That is always in the back of my mind I guess.  Plus the anesthesia always freaks me out.

After I said the painful goodbye to Mike and was wheeled off on my own I started to get a little bit more nervous.  I had no idea what to expect but I was confident I was in good hands.  Literally.  Once I got into the operating room and had the shot of stuff that knocks you right out, I had one last glimpse of my surgeon setting his iPod into a dock.  I remember wondering what music he might be listening to while sculpting my body into something new and improved.  Then I was out.

I woke up feeling worse than I had ever felt in my life.  I was pretty sure I was nearly dead and had no doubt been hit by a wrecking ball then run over by a huge truck hauling something very heavy and then dragged around for several hundred miles.  I was pretty drugged up and not quite sure what was going on.  My surgeon came to see me and started calling me “dopey”.  That stuck for the remainder of my stay at the hospital which was several days.  You have to remember that there are two recovery spots on my body with this type of surgery.  One is in the abdominal area where the tissue was removed and then the site on my chest where this was transplanted.  In order to keep the blood circulating properly with the reattachment of the blood vessels, I had to stay warm.

My beautiful family at home - Fall 2008
There was a blanket on me that felt like parchment paper and had tubes in it and was hooked up to a machine that was pumping heat into the blanket.  I would get to the point sometimes where I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t stand the heat and wanted to just rip off the blanket and all of the other machines I was hooked up to and run screaming out of the hospital.  I never did that though.  I kept asking myself, “What the hell was I thinking?  Why did I do this?”  Those first 48 hours were just awful.

When I was finally able to sit up I was so dopey that I could not hold my head up.  However, after a few days things started to get a little bit better each day.  I still had not actually seen what I looked like.  Nor did I seem to care at first since all I wanted was to sleep so that I couldn’t feel anything.  Soon I was eating and starting to feel a bit more human except that I was afraid that if I moved too much I would bust open everywhere and my guts would come pouring out.  Eventually I could get out of bed and finally I was able to go home.  I was to see the doctor once a week for the next month or so.

My Dad and I - Manitoulin Island - Summer 2013
When I got home I was finally able to see how things looked.  I went into the bathroom and surveyed myself in the mirror.  I looked like a train wreck again.  I had staples on the incision from one hip bone to the other.  My new breasts were also stapled on the top and bottom of each breast kind of in the shape of an eye and then up into my armpits.  There was still swelling, etc…so it was hard to judge but I could already tell that it was going to look good.  It struck me that maybe it was hard for my family to imagine what I looked like and it is hard to explain so perhaps they might want to actually see it for themselves.  Some of them did and they were absolutely amazed.  Although it was a bit unsettling to see so much metal I think.    

Just being home makes you feel better.  The next day a couple of my friends came over and I was trying to describe things to them until I finally said do you just wanna see?  They both immediately said “YES” and pretty much jumped on me.  They too were amazed.  Dr. Reconstruction is an artist and because this is his craft he wants to do the best possible job for every one of his patients.  He is very talented.

Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus

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