SAN ANTONIO - It's 2:31 on Monday February 26. It's exactly one week before my surgery. So many emotions are running through me right now. My surgery is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. next Monday. As I look at the clock, I wonder what will be happening to me at this exact moment one week from now? Will I be out of surgery? Will everything have gone as smoothly as I pray it will?
I had my pre-op visit last Wednesday. If I wasn't already a bit nervous, I'm scared to death right now. They explained everything that can go wrong. The risks of anesthesia, the risks of a blood clot, the risks of the flap not taking, the risks of the perforating vessels not being viable, not having enough tissue, and on and on and on. Then - of course - there's the whole "once surgery is over" scare. The drains, the garments, the pain pumps!! AAAARRRRR!!! It's overwhelming! I know in my mind that everything that they tell me "could" happen - are just as a precaution. None of those things have happened to their patients - yet! I certainly hope I'm not the first!
My plan is to have a double mastectomy and immediate reconstruction. I didn't have enough tissue for both when we first met, so I've been trying to gain weight. I never thought I would "want" to gain weight - this is a first! I have gained a few pounds over the last couple of months, and we are going for the double! Dr. Ledoux explained that there is always that possibility once they get in there the vessels won't be viable. It's a very slim chance, but a chance none-the-less. Surgery and trauma in the past to the abdomen can affect those vessels. So I asked "what happens if they aren't viable?" He answered, "We abort the mission". "Abort the mission," I asked, frightened and puzzled. "What does that mean"? He told me "that means, we close you back up and have to find another way - another day". We decided he would make sure the vessels are viable before Dr. Rosenthal removes my breast tissue - just in case. That makes me feel a little better, but then what? I guess I will worry about that "if" it happens. I refuse to focus on the "what ifs" and instead I am determined to keep a positive attitude and pray for a successful surgery and speedy recovery.
I cannot tell you how thankful I am to the dozens of people who have contacted me to share their own experiences with Dr. Ledoux and the DIEP procedure. It has offered me so much comfort during this time. And to all of you who have written to tell me I will be in your prayers - thank you thank you thank you!!! I feel your prayers and your encouragement! It really helps!
In preparation for the surgery, I've had to give up my two daily cups of coffee, and my red wine. Other than the caffeine withdrawal headache - it's not so bad. Apparently, caffeine and alcohol affect the vessels, and I certainly don't want to mess with those. I will do whatever is necessary to keep these vessels healthy for surgery. I also had to stop taking my daily doses of Femara and multi-vitamin. Tylenol is all I can take - but I haven't needed that yet either.
As I approach the day of surgery, I am anxious, a bit scared, but also hopeful! I will update my diary as soon as I am able to, and let you know what it was like - and what it "is" like as I go through recovery! Check back often, and your prayers and feedback are much appreciated!!
Until after surgery, Leslie.
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