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November 2021 Surgeries

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  • labmama56
    labmama56 Member Posts: 21
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    Hi all,

    Frustrating day here. Had a PS appointment, yay no more TE fills, but…looks like no DIEP flap reconstruction for me until May. Which is after my youngest’s college graduation. And 6 months out with these dang TEs. :( Hospitals in Colorado are overflowing and ICU and step down unit beds are in critically short supply, so “elective” surgeries have been cancelled and the backlog is growing. So frustrating. Guess I’ll have to practice my damn patience. grrr..

    I hope all of you are doing well.

  • sondraf
    sondraf Member Posts: 1,605
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    I hear you on the frustration there labmama - I had an extra day in ICU because they couldn't get a room open for me upstairs as two emergency treatments took it before I could be moved (also, a lot of cleaning between patients). Finally the ICU Matron had to duke it out at some senior level meeting for me to get the next bed. My hospital is very small, very old, no ER, only does cancer and its a juggling act for everyone to get all the resources lined up at the right time. I fear having a true issue at home, though, as the more general hospitals are full and in a lot of areas of the country you won't get an ambulance for hours.

    Recovery still going well, Im doing 2x10 minute walks outside every day now and I think I can do the Tube both ways on Monday to appointment, though partner will come with this time just in case. I am so tired of sitting around though! But its better to rest and do a little often than blow it all up and have to start again. I will say that the walking really helps loosen up the stomach tightness which seems to be lessening a little every day. Ive also been able to eliminate one or two pain doses so that has been good. if anything I have pain not from the incisions or the breast but from the aches and pains of having to modify how I hold myself and walk!

    For pre-surgery I would really recommend "training" - so its good that you got a PT to show you core exercises. Last winter I started doing an online barre/pilates video to strengthen everything as it really helps stenosis in my lower back. Its on YouTube - Senior Shape Fitness - and all those hours of doing plies and light hand weighs, etc paid off as adjusting in bed, standing, moving, especially right after surgery, really requires some strong quads and calves. I also have a spin bike at home and was riding that about 20 to 30 minutes a few times a week (fatigue permitting) on top of walking in the evenings. But I think what really helped the most was doing shoulder and lat exercises with a therapy band as they strengthened and targeted areas that I now have to strengthen and target with the post-axillary clearance exercises. Keeping everything loose before surgery meant I started from a really good place after!

    Id been hoping for surgery for a long time so made sure to keep myself as fit/strong as possible so when/if the conditions occurred for surgery to be allowed, I was ready. You never know, Covid could all of a sudden drop away in early spring, policies change, etc and your surgery is moved up. Who knows! But its always good to do what you can within your sphere of control!

  • labmama56
    labmama56 Member Posts: 21
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    Hi @SondraF!

    Wow, you sound like you are doing very, very well with your recovery, yay!! That is incredibly awesome and encouraging. I’m glad the ICU matron was able to advocate for you to get your room. I hope you have no reason to need to be admitted to your local hospital during your recovery, sounds like you are doing everything to heal beautifully. Good luck on the Tube excursion. Glad your partner can go with you for the first ride.

    I am taking your exercise example to heart. I’ve been doing all I can to take control of what I can. Rehabbing from the DMX and being ready for another surgery is definitely something I can do. I also have a spin bike—I think I could do some spinning upright—next PT session I’ll ask if it’s ok for me to rest my hands on the handles as I know that will mean some weight being born by my arms/chest. Of course if I can have my best cycling form, my core would be doing most of that support! 🚴♀️

    I really appreciate hearing how things are going. Keep well and big hugs from Colorado

  • sondraf
    sondraf Member Posts: 1,605
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    Whoa, I really hit the wall yesterday! Woke up very achy and with chills (like flu achy) but had to go to hospital to see oncologist, bloods, bone injection,drug pickup and dressing removal. I had been scaling back on the paracetemol to two pills every 12 hours but maybe that was too fast. Everything ached BUT my surgical sites. And then due to everyone being short staffed, I was delayed hours at the hospital and didn't have any pain pills so I sat in that god awful waiting room for three extra hours waiting for the pharmacy to clear my one injection. Suspect my tote bag was a little too heavy and I had to switch it to my bad side a few times.

    I was a painful mess by the time I got home. Took pain meds and got into bed. Spiked a 102 fever by that evening and my eyes felt like they were burning. More pain meds and the fever came down (and stayed down). The fever was likely caused by the bone injection as it happened to me at the last one, but the achy chills that morning were weird. Not covid positive, dont think its a UTI, etc. I did call the nurses today to report it in and they told me to take it easy today and tomorrow. Walking around the hospital was really NOT helpful and now my pecs are really sore and it was too tough to do my exercises today.

    It does feel like a set back but hopefully a few days rest and I will be back to where I was last weekend.


  • labmama56
    labmama56 Member Posts: 21
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    Hi SondraF, that sounds like a very rough day. I hope you’ve been able to take it easy these past couple of days. It seems like it’s so easy to overdo it—not always in your control as in your hospital wait and bone injection! Rest, rest, rest.

    I went in to the PA at my plastic surgeon’s on Friday to have them look at a red spot on the end of one of my incisions. It was a suture abscess. Pretty easy for them to drain it a bit and now I’m just using bacitracin and keeping it covered. But here’s the cool part—my PA said she was able to help get my DIEP scheduled for 2/24/22 rather than having to wait until after my son’s college graduation in May! I was so happy I stood up in my exam gown and did a happy dance!! So now to really get to working on my leg and core strength!

    Hope everyone is doing well. Dear husband and I have our 34th anniversary tomorrow, so glad to have his love for so many years. We make a good team

  • sondraf
    sondraf Member Posts: 1,605
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    I got hauled back into hospital two days after that prior post for a full investigation after spiking another fever. But it turned up absolutely nothing - not covid, flu, kidney or UTI infection, chest infection, wound infection, nothing. In fact, I sat in the investigation area with a book looking and feeling completely normal. So they gave me some antibiotics just in case and sent me home and I was fine by the next day to see my breast surgeon. They still have no idea what it was, probably just a passing virus + surgical recovery. I still think it was too much paracetemol and I felt a lot better after I stopped it completely and switched exclusively to ibuprofen. Im now off all pain relief unless needed.

    Recovery is otherwise going great and I was able to do a lot of cooking over Christmas. I did light vacuuming a few days ago and it wiped me out :) but yesterday I returned a bunch of sports bras to the store and took a little walk and was just fine. The stomach is loosening up a bit and I am about to try sleeping on my side. Reconstructed breast looks amazing and is starting to move and lie like a normal breast as the side swelling goes down. I've been able to wear normal tshirts for the last two weeks as my shoulder range has improved. I am so happy I did the diep and my entire care team has been so proud of my recovery speed (they even told me this!). Exercises + moisturizing + scar massage for the win!

    labmama - you will be well recovered by May for your son's graduation! Its incredible how fast the body can heal after something like this, especially when you first see all the incisions!

  • labmama56
    labmama56 Member Posts: 21
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    SO glad things are going well, Sondra! And glad your fever spike was not lasting and seems to be past. The holidays have been mostly good for us, wonderful having both kids home!

    Christmas Eve I noticed some redness and swelling in my right breast, which got a little worse Christmas Day. Sent a pic to my plastic surgeon and she called in an antibiotic and told me to come in on the Monday. They drained some seroma type fluid and marked me up to see if the redness spread. It did. :( So on Wednesday, 12/29, I went in for outpatient surgery and they removed the tissue expander. I went home the same night with one flat side (we’re trading all the in poor taste joke names—The Sinkhole, Crater Lake, Shark Bite—anything for a little humor!) and a drain. Doing ok with it all but I will say tears were shed.

    Today I get a message in my health app that the culture results came back “rare staphylococcus, not aureus”. Not sure what the heck that means in terms of seriousness and treatment (still on my augmentin). I sent a message to my PS but haven’t heard anything yet. No fever, seems like the redness is a little better, so hopefully the augmentin antibiotic is taking care of whatever’s left! Two steps forward, one step back, eh?

    Sondra, your encouragement and experience are inspiring!! Thank you! I am trusting that once I can have the reconstruction, I’ll be on the path to my new normal! Love to you all