Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The big news--an introduction of sorts

I guess this can count as part of my introduction series, since it is big enough news to change things around here. Finally, insurance approved everything, and I have had the final meetings with all the surgeons, so I guess there is nothing to jinx it--I have no reason not to make it official any more.

Next month, I have surgery scheduled for August 13. I am having a bi-lateral trans flap procedure.  I am sure no one has a clue what that is unless they have been through it and since it is not common, I bet that no one does.  Essentially, it is a double mastectomy, and then reconstruction of the whole shebang, using  skin and fat from my abdomen.  What it boils down to is that I get what everyone jokes about wanting--their belly fat turned into new and improved knockers!

It is a very complicated procedure, because of course, nothing with me is easy. It takes three surgeons 10 hours to do it. First is the oncological surgeon, who spends two hours in demolition, so to speak.  Then there are two microsurgeons who commence to building my new and improved rack out of my useless and in the way tummy. (This is not totally unlike the story that some of you have heard about the lady at Kroger recently telling me that when I go to Heaven I will get a new perfect body, and no longer have to hurt or be ashamed of my condition.  WTF?  She should only have known that I had a new one on layaway all this time, huh?) I will be in the hospital for 5 days, undoubtedly bored out of my mind thinking about all the stuff I could be doing instead of throwing up from anasthesia, which is my habit.

When I get home, the recovery period is three months.  I do not have to be out of work that long, but will be for 6-8 weeks depending on how I do.  It is the abdomen part that is difficult to recover from--evidently I will not even be able to stand up straight for two weeks.  How I think I am going to get in and out of the recliner where I am supposed to sleep, I have no idea, since I am supposed to do nothing that involves my abs. I cannot lift my arms above my shoulders other than to brush my teeth, so for at least a while, I will have a great excuse for my hair looking like it usually does--I am not allowed to do it. I obviously cannot go to the gym for 3 months, but am allowed to walk starting on day 31, as long as I put my hands in my pockets and go slow.  That should be something to see. I cannot do anything that will twist or put pressure on my abs for three months, lest the repair of the ab muscles explode and I be left with an alien looking muscle poking out of my new flat belly (which would require even more surgery and is extremely difficult to correct).

After three months, we evaluate how the surgeons did, and likely will have to do some tweaking to get them just right.  So that is when I will have a second surgery, but it will be not as big a deal probably--the way it sounds, it will be just like a regular boob job in that it is just a day in the hospital on a Thursday, then I can go back to work that next Monday.  I kind of doubt that, though, since the main surgeon is also doing some other reconstructive stuff then, and its something he has not really done before--we will see how that turns out.

Then I wait three MORE months.  Then by God, they better be right, and I better have a flat belly---of course, my butt will have gotten jiggly since I will have to have essentially started over with my workouts and they have to be limited to not aggravate anything.

Then there is a third surgery to do detail work, but that should be no big deal at all.

Overall, this will take 6- 7 months and the estimates have grown to $200,000.If I don't look great when this is over, I am going to raise three kinds of hell with someone. Of course, I will have to do it slowly and with my arms at my sides, since I still won't be able to move well, but I will be able to run my nouth still! As a warning to my local people--if you get a weird phone call during August or September, answer it--I might have to pee but be stuck in the recliner!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope you have a fast recovery. Thats a long time, I would go crazy for sure. Update us when you can. who takes care of your animals for you? Nancy

Paige said...

Heath will-- he mostly does anyway. He feeds and waters every morning when he comes home from work, and then I stop by later on just to eyeball everyone. While I am completely out of commission, someone else will do afternoon check, but I should be able to do it as soon as I can drive. If something goes berserk that I cannot handle, I can always dial the phone to call friends to help me out. I am lucky like that

sara said...

Does it sound a bit odd if I tell you I'm a little jealous? I meant to comment on your post about weight loss the other day and then didn't. I once weighed nearly 240 pounds. Got down to 138 pounds but what remains is just not pretty. It's sad to lose that much weight and still not be happy with what you see in the mirror. I've gained some back, I think due to a lovely bout of depression that came after putting my sweet dog down last October. Getting back on track now though! Anyway, I wish you the best with this surgery and I'm sure when it's all done you'll be absolutely thrilled when you look in the mirror!

Paige said...

I hope so! I totally understand how you feel Sara--losing that much weight, look into what your insurance might do for you re: addressing the extra skin. you might be surprised.

I have lost 60, but would like to lose another 20. I can do it, I know, but these issues are things that will not be addressed by weight loss. And honestly, I should have done the whole reconstruction 25 years ago, but I was too self-conscious. Now I am not, and this situation sort of demands it be addressed.

So here I go!

I may go everywhere nekkid (besides my house that is), if it turns out as expected!

sara said...

Girl, if it turns out as expected you should totally go everywhere nekkid!! Except maybe riding, that could pose some interesting issues. :)

Keep us posted as well as you can on how things go please. And you're right, I should check with my insurance. Maybe they would cover more than I think they will.

Anonymous said...

Good Grief! but Good Luck!

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Prayers and good wishes! You always bring me joy!

path42

Funder said...

Ohmahgod, Paige. You are a hell of a tough lady. Rock on!

Shelley said...

Holy smokes! You have a lot going on. Don't get them so large you can't ride anymore!!!!

I might find myself with unlimited free time after next week and could step up and help if need be.

You know how to reach me.

Cara said...

Will pray for you girl - it sounds like it's going to be a good thing though. We are going to be down your way in for a wedding the weekend of September 22nd, so if you want some visitors while you are recovering, let me know and we can come annoy you for a while :).

Paige said...

That would be great Cara--we have some business in Champaign for part of the day and evening that Saturday but if you are still here Sunday, or get in Friday, or Saturday morning--I would love to see you!

Venom said...

Okay - large breasts & riding - I wear an underwire full support bra with a sports bra overtop of that.
Works well for my DD's.

Second - one riding club up here did a members calendar for a fundraiser of completely naked on or with their horses, the horses providing strategic cover. Rider had sheets on their horses. It raised more than funds - talk about awesome!

the cubicle's backporch said...

holy cow Paige! That is awesome! And scary but mostly awesome! ;-)

If you need something to do while you're laid up, you can start planning my wedding for me. Are you on Pinteret yet? That'll really drive you nuts adding to your fun projects list!

I'll have to remember that... turn 40 and start trading body parts in. ha!

Paige said...

Venom that sounds cool. I am not getting much bigger---Ds, if things go as planned. I am pushing that anyway, but they are uneven and hideous. They are also rock solid muscle so holding them down for riding has not been an issue I have ever had to deal with.

At this point, i am nore excited about losing the belly roll and the potential of having this scar that cuts across my torso from right under my left boob to my ricght hip covered up. The plan right now is to address that in the second surgery. The way it is now, there is no soft tissue under the skin under that scar--so you can see ribs. This doc thinks he can yank unscarred skin up to cover that--that would be swell, as I would not look so lopsided then

Paige said...

I am on Pinterest Jen but have not really gotten into it yet....maybe I will take it up. I am all for helping plot your wedding--I have done it about a dozen times for friends, and I actually enjoy doing it. Its way less scary when it is not your wedding! Hook me up with the details!

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