Yesterday brought me within one week of what is supposed to be the final surgery for reconstruction. I, of course, am not counting on it being the last as we all know I tend the follow the path of MOST resistance these days.
However, next Friday I will head back to the hospital so that my plastic surgeon can finish my breast reconstruction. After that, she and another surgeon will tackle the huge abdominal scar that is my souvenir from that scary bowel perforation that occurred almost exactly a year ago.
When I met with the second surgeon this week he showed me the CT scan of my abdomen that clearly reveals that my abdominal muscles are not attached to one another; explains why I can’t do much physically without feeling like I have to compensate with different muscles. His plan is to cut out the huge scar (5 x 20 cm) bring my muscles back to midline (which may require cutting smaller muscles on the side of my abdomen) injecting me with long acting pain meds, and sewing everything back up.
Sounds complicated. Sounds painful.
That is correct on both accounts.
Apparently the first few days aren’t too bad, but once some of the meds wear off, it’s going to hurt.
For about 6 weeks.
The good news is that the first week is the worst. And I can go back to work after the 2-3 week.
As he told me, “it’s not as if you can tear anything, you will be rock solid when this is done. It will look great.”
So the downside is more pain. I don’t take pain meds – although I have a feeling I will bend that rule next week. They understand (my care team) that I’ve been addicted to oxy once (another gift from the bowel perf last year) and that I would rather be in pain than take meds. Major surgery will make me adjust my thinking on that, but not for long. Pain is our body’s way of making us pay attention. Pain is important and nowhere in healthcare does it say “I’m going to cut you open, resection your body, add some things, take some thing, see you back up and you won’t have any pain at all!”
This expectation is why we have an opioid crisis in this country – pain is part of life. Trust me I know. I live with it every day.
My plan – surgery Friday. Home Thursday. Rest. Rest. Follow up. Back to work the first week in November.
Seems like a great plan to me.
Now let’s make it happen.