One Week Post-Op After Expander Removal

Despite being extremely grateful for not having cancer, not having to go through chemo and not having to process the emotions that come along with those things, I still found myself incredibly depressed this week.  I was back to a flat, wrinkly chest, back to not driving, back to treating the area like a faberge egg.  I sat and watched my abdomen seemingly grow before my eyes, as I was ordered to eat, especially large amounts of protein, yet I was not to exercise or exert myself at all.  The whole thing just depressed the hell out of me and I found myself reduced to tears more than once.  I could not stop thinking of my body possibly having a reaction to the surgimend again and having to be breast-less forever.  I did not sleep well.

I had my one week post-op today.  At one point I’d looked forward to the plastic surgeon visits because it meant expansions.  Today I was not excited about going.  I was dreading the removal of the surgical tape (which always elicited new and creative swear words in addition to many tears) and hearing what the hell it was–if anything–showed up in the culture they took since I left the hospital.

I have to say, the nurses at the plastic surgeon’s office are very nice.  And patient.  The first time they removed the surgical bandages from me (after the mastectomy) they told me that some people actually passed out from the pain, hence their decision to recline the chair back before beginning.  I took full advantage of that this time.

The doctor had cleaned up the incision a bit and actually left outer sutures.  After that small area opened up, I figured he wanted to make sure everything stayed closed.  He also stitched the small hole in my left breast that had formed a scab and began leaking fluid.  The nurse removed all of these sutures as well as my drains.  For those of you who have never experienced drains being removed, let me just say, as someone with a very strong stomach, it is gross.  They just seem like they’re pulling on those things forever; like they are never going to end.  Insert dry heave here.

So here comes the WTF moment of the visit.  The surgical nurse said that something finally grew in the culture they took.  I braced myself, hoping that whatever it was they would be able to prevent next time around.

“The bacteria we found is one that causes acne.”  She looked as surprised as I was.


What.  The.  FUCK?

I guarantee the look on my face was priceless.  Acne?  Are you kidding me?  How the HELL does THAT happen?  Somewhere, somehow, the area became contaminated.  The good news out of that WTF moment was that maybe this meant my body would be able to tolerate the surgimend after all.  Maybe I would get my boobs and everything would be ok.  I felt slightly better, albeit still quite stumped as to how a bacteria that causes acne could get into my breasts and cause such devastation.

They said that my skin looked good.  Very light bruising, nice clean scar, no redness.  I’ll take that. Now if we can just keep it that way.  The nurse said barring any complications I wouldn’t come back for two weeks, at which time if everything looked as if it were healing well, we would set a surgery date.  I can hardly wait.  At least having a tangible date to count down toward on the calendar would be nice.  I dared to get excited about going to California with my husband at the end of September.  If everything went well with the expanders, I might be able to go and have somewhat of a vacation and actually spend some time alone with my husband, which we both desperately need.  It is technically a work trip, but it was also our trip.  San Francisco was special to us, and it would do us a world of good after the past year and this whole ordeal to have a little “us” time.  I pray and long for it.  Here’s hoping my body cooperates.


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