So I had reconstructive surgery 363 days after I was originally supposed to. It was an outpatient surgery where they took out the tissue expanders that have been there for almost 12 months, and placed implants behind my pectoral muscles. To be clear, I have zero breast tissue or fat in my chest cavity, they took everything that could potentially breed cancer... and I mean everything!
These were taken after my Pre-Op appointment.
relief.anticipation.excitement. & a little bit of fear.
First things first, for the first time in a long time... I am basically pain free. Even hours after surgery I could feel the lightness in my chest. I weighed myself before and after surgery and my expanders added an extra 5 pounds apparently! I can put my arms all the way down by my side and I don't have a rock hard tissue expander creeping into my armpit. It feels amazing! To back track a little bit... walking into the pre-op the day of surgery was hilarious. The same nurse that told me I was pregnant with Bravery a year ago was the same nurse prepping me for surgery again! She tilted her head and said, "are you the one...?" Tyler and I just immediately started showing her and the other nurses pictures of Bravery. It was surreal. The fact that we were going to be parents was told to us in that very room with that very same nurse.... So sweet.
Surgery Day was supposed to feel like Christmas. Tyler spent the previous day treating me like a freaking princess and making the last day of temporary incredibly special. He's amazing. Anyway, this day I long awaited became incredibly scary to me. I had lived a year of looking in the mirror telling myself, "this is just for now". When I was insecure in my clothes or concerned about scars, I had the excuse, "this isn't the final look" replaying in my mind to keep me positive. I had a moment of realizing I wasn't going to be able to do that anymore. What was going to happen during this surgery, was going to be it! As much as I wanted to lay on my stomach and fit into my clothes again... I realized I was terrified of not liking how I looked after this surgery.
I realized I had found peace in the temporary and the indefinite. I cried all the way to the hospital, I was so grateful to finally be getting this surgery... but also incredibly terrified. Eventually things lightened up when we saw the nurses, and things especially lightened up when they all came in to tell me the pregnancy test was negative and I could get my surgery this time. (They always make you pee in a cup before major surgery fyi). Surgery was pushed back an hour so Tyler, Alli and I just hung out and it oddly felt like we were frozen in time from a year ago.... except I had a four month old at home. So incredible... and still so amusing!
Recovery has been easier than expected in the pain department. I was on muscle relaxers and pain killers for about a week. Like I said, I almost had immediate relief from going from tissue expander to implant! Tyler and I co-taught at church 6 days post-op. Family and friends have been helping and are still helping due to my lifting restrictions. (Not being able to pick up Bravery has been the hardest part!) I am still getting used to how I look in the mirror. I have one more cosmetic surgery coming up in November, and another three months after that. Six months from now I should have a better gage on how things will look and feel, but so far it's been far better than expected. When you're used to looking at a pretty mutilated looking chest, anything is better to be honest :)
I wanted to give an update since I basically started this blog when I had my first surgery! Thank you to everyone who has been so kind, understanding, and supportive over the past 16 months. If you have been praying for me, please know that I am eternally grateful to you! In other news that I'll share more about later...although we are definitely enjoying this season and praising God for its close, we are unfortunately having to face some difficult decisions regarding the possible removal of one ovary and its attached tube. Last week I saw a new Oncologist who specializes in the lower half of the body. He informed me of a softball sized cyst that has taken over my ovary and would result in ANOTHER surgery to remove it. Because I am still recovering from my last surgery, I have four weeks to ask God to completely heal it. The ovary stuff is still very fresh and I'm still in a bit of shock about it all, obviously I am dreading the fact of possibly getting another surgery. If you think of us, pray we do not have to go through with any of this!