Sunday, June 14, 2015

Surgery Day

I started the morning taking one last shower and making sure I had everything I needed for the hospital.  Food was really all I could think about as I wasn't allowed to eat and surgery wasn't until 12pm, but I managed to make it just fine.  The funniest part of the whole morning was when I was saying goodbye to my kiddos.  Each one hugged me and gave me lots of love, but leave it to my seven year old to give me a hug and act as if she had bounced off of my chest.  We all laughed as she was remembering our dinner conversation about gummy bear boobs.  It was just the send off I needed.

After arriving to the hospital and completing registration with a wonderfully humorous woman, I was taken to an initial hospital room where I stripped my clothing, put on a hospital gown and was donned with the tightest surgical compression socks I've ever felt.  Let me say, the male and female nursing team I had at this moment were AWESOME.  They kept telling me how wonderfully my type of surgeries ended up here, and how many happy patients they've seen leaving the hospital.  They put me at ease immediately.  I then got cozy in my bed with a warm blanket, and we were off, down the hall, into the elevator and into the surgery preop area.  I was taken into a curtained off area for "privacy" while waiting for the doctors and nurses to do what they needed to do.

I was seen by the anesthesiologist to go over the surgery, his role and what I'd be given.  He had a sarcastic humor, one I liked and am often guilty of using.  I was seen by my surgical nurse who would stay with me the entire surgery.  She was warm, comforting and reminded me of how my own grandmother, a nurse, took care of me prior to surgery when I was six.  I was seen and poked by another nurse setting up my IV.  I'm TERRIFIED of needles...she did it in a way that I didn't even know it happened.  And then I was seen by Dr. Chrysopoulo, who marked up my chest with a black Sharpie.  Through all of this, I kept my humor, my confidence and my peace.  I was ready to do this.

As I lay in the preop holding area waiting to go, I couldn't help but be distracted by some shelves of boxes ahead of me.  This was BEFORE any medications had been given to me, thank you.  My husband found it funny to post this on FB:
Heather is officially OCD. She is laying in pre-op and the only thing she can think about is that one shelf is so messy and the glove boxes aren't arranged by size, whereas the shelf next to it is "so much nicer."

I mean really, M, S, L?  Come on.

I've been marked by Dr. C's medical grade Sharpie (LOL!) and
I've been given a drug to help me follow instruction but to not remember
anything that has happened.
Right before I was taken to the OR, my surgical nurse gave me a serum to relax me.  She said that it will allow her to tell me to follow all instructions but that I wouldn't remember any of it.  Apparently it made me talk up a storm...almost immediately...none of which I remember.  As they began wheeling me away, I shouted back to my husband, "You can have the kids paint pictures for me!" and off I went.   I said hello to everyone in the OR room, and I guess I was really infatuated with the blueish lights with green handles overhead in the OR. :)  This same nurse came back to see me after the surgery to tell me all about it, but not before having a laugh with my husband about it in the waiting room during the surgery.  I suggested that she needs to start getting consent from patients to video this period of time, as I would have LOVED the recording as a memory.  Everyone here is just so nice.  

While I was in surgery, my husband posted this onto Facebook as an update to our friends and family:
While still waiting, the waiting room nurse is walking around checking to see who's who. She takes Heather's name from me and looks at the sheet. "Oh, you've got Dr Chrysopoulo. You've got nothing to worry about." I reply with, "Well that's good to hear!"
She asks, "Didn't you research this group of doctors?"
"Of course we did, but it's just good to hear it from people who work with him on a regular basis," I replied.
She assures me further. "There are four groups of doctors in the country who do this, ranked 1 through 4. The San Antonio group ranks #1."
Good to know. Good to know.

I am now 12 hours post surgery and feeling good.  Dr. Chrysopoulo said everything went really well.  By the way, it wasn't until a few days later, where I found out, on Twitter and Facebook, that it was his birthday.  The poor guy was stuck with me, in an OR, on his birthday, and I didn't know.  Oh, and those fibrous breasts I was talking about?  Yep, mine were.  Sorry for the extra work on your birthday Dr. C, but I'm glad it was you.

I'm in some pain from the muscle spasms and overall tightness, but on a morphine drip which helps.   I don't feel that "elephant on your chest and can't breathe" feeling many have mentioned, which is good.  I have two drains on each side which I have not looked at thus far, but I can feel them.  I'm in a binding surgical bra which makes my breathing a bit difficult, but not terrible.  My legs are in compression socks and have air pumps around them to prevent clotting.  My catheter decides not to work here and there which also leads to discomfort. My throat has a lot of residual pain from the breathing tube and it's difficult to talk.  So really, I'm totally ready to slip on a gown and hit the red carpet!  But hey, here I am, blogging, 12 hours after surgery.

Post surgery and able to smile about it.  I remember telling
my husband that I no longer had to worry about cancer.
All that being said, I'm doing well and felt an overall sense of relief about my future. A weight has been lifted.


  1. It's so wonderful to see you are one courageous mama! Praying for a smooth and speedy recovery!!! Check out createspace when you feel up to it! Xoxo, Katie

    1. Thanks so much Katie! I'm having a hard time typing, but wanted to reply to you.

  2. Hi there!!!! So wonderful to see you smiling and what a sense of humour!!! Your strength amazes me!!!!!

    1. Thank you Tala! Things are moving in the right direction!


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