Everything you never wanted to know but were afraid to ask… part 1

by debi9kids on July 6, 2017

I’ve sat for literally days thinking about how to share what it’s really like to have a mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction without sharing too much {read: scaring people who may soon endure the same hell}.

I decided to just tell my story the way it went down (or,  how I remember it.  Because,  I was on some seriously hefty drugs for the first few days).

Surgery was May 16th and the anxiety leading up to it was through the roof. I did my best to hide that I was freaking out inside but I’m pretty sure I was fooling no one.

We had to arrive at the hospital around 6am (it was my mom, Hugh, and I).
Unlike my previous surgeries (my lumpectomies), Fox Chase was quick to get me into pre-op, sign forms, get an IV started, say “good-bye” to mom and Hugh, and whisk me off for surgery.

Prior to going back, my surgeon told us he thought the surgery would take 6-8 hours, so mom and Hugh decided to stay at the hospital to be there when I woke up.

Honestly, after saying “good-bye” to them, I remember absolutely nothing until I woke up in the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life.
I’d been warned by friends who’ve experienced the same surgery that that the surgeons will start a patient off low on medication and increase as necessary.
They weren’t kidding.

My immediate first thought when I woke up (besides “holy crap this hurts!”) was of my dad. He’d experienced a double lung transplant in 2008 and the only “kind ” way to describe my dad as a patient is “asshole”.
My dad was a complete and total asshole to everyone at the hospital, including family members, because he was in such horrible pain.

So, without even opening my eyes, after my surgery (which latest 14 hours, not 6!), with mom and Hugh beside me, I said, “Now I know why dad was such an asshole after surgery. I’m going to be an asshole just like dad. ”

I was joking.
But I wasn’t.

And Hugh and mom pretty much didn’t know how to respond.

The nurse asked if I was in pain.
“Yes. Dear God. Yes!”
They told me to push the morphine button and I started to get sleepy and feel slightly better.

Mom and Hugh both kissed me goodbye after saying they loved me and they left for their long 2 hour ride home (I can’t even begin to imagine what an exhausting and emotional day they’d both had, sitting all those hours waiting, only to see me be a miserable asshole when I woke up).

I fell asleep.
Only to be woken up to a room full of nurses and doctors in a panic a few hours later.

To be continued…

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