Breast Cancer, Breast Reconstruction, Cancer, Reconstruction Surgery

DIEP thoughts

I did something naughty today.

I snuck away from my caregiver aka Supportive Husband and shaved my legs.

Why would one need to surreptitiously take a razor to her legs? Had to be done. The hair, long and matted,  resembled the shag carpet from inside a ‘76 Chevy Van. A weird reddish/brown color, full of lint. Something a CSI team should have under a microscope. 

You see, I am recovering from DIEP Flap Surgery, and under the very watchful eye of Supportive Husband, which means every move monitored.

Last Tuesday, October 5th, I woke up at o’dark-thirty to report to the hospital for what would hopefully be the last of ANY breast cancer related surgeries. This was it. The BIG ONE. The one that will put me back together and help me feel whole again while moving forward in the wake of breast cancer..

I don’t remember much from that day. Just a whirlwind of lab coats, masks, scrubs, tubes, monitors, IV’s  and pain.

I stayed in hospital for 3 days, then was given the a-okay to head home to begin the real recovery.

The ride home was a blur, and I stayed in a haze of pain meds for a few days. Moving my body in any way shape or form was serious effort. FOUR tubes snaked out of my body, Divided to drain whatever nasty fluid was pooling on my insides. At the ends of those tubes were bulbs that needed to be emptied regularly. Thank ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’ that Supportive Husband doesn’t outwardly show any repulsion for such tasks. He dutifully drained my tubes for days without complaint. 

I truly had no idea what kind of recovery this surgery would entail. Now that I sit here at 9 days post-op, recovery is some serious shit. There is an incision that goes from one side of my torso across the belly to the other. Not only that, but INSIDE, where you can’t see, are two vertical incisions on either side of my abdomen. This is where all the tissue, fat, veins and arteries were harvested to move ‘upstairs’ to create ‘boobs’.  

Looking in the mirror, I am a patchwork of relocated skin and stitches. One giant scar smiling across my belly like a deranged clown, and two oval shaped scars on each newly-built breast. 

Good thing I had this surgery in October…perfect timing for Halloween. My torso looks like Jack Skellington

I had to use the assistance of a walker (one which Supportive Husband threatened to put tennis balls on the bottoms of the metal legs for laughs), and I couldn’t stand up straight for days. LIke AT ALL Picture taking medical tape and putting several pieces vertically from the top of your rib cage to your lower belly. Pull as tight as you can, then secure. Now picture that feeling WITHOUT the surgical tape. I feel like I am covered in invisible papier mache. 

The bruising on my torso between my hips and armpits looks like I just stepped out of the body-painting tent at Coachella.

I got the drains out yesterday at my post-op exam and given the thumbs up in my recovery to move my  body just a teensy bit more. That is like giving me the keys to said Chevy Van and hitting the gas. In reality it means simple things like going up and down the stairs by myself, or from one room to the other. Baby steps I suppose.

Next goal: to shower without an audience.

My constant view
Murph the Derp – my constant companion
Hairy leg-carpet dulling the razor