As you probably know if you’ve been following this blog yesterday was a pretty big day for me. Yep, it was surgery day!
In case you’re not sure what that means, here’s a quick rundown:
Top surgery is a double mastectomy where they also masculinize the chest. The areola size is reduced and so is the nipple length. The nipples were cut and moved and have been grafted back into place. I will be left with two scars on my chest and around the nipples.
What the surgery was like
I had to be at the hospital yesterday morning for 6:15am. My mom drove me and dropped me off and I played my DS while I waited. They brought me into the pre-op area and got me into a gown pretty quickly. The nurse came in and spoke to me followed by the resident who would be helping my surgeon. He was pretty nice and we chit chatted over my name. He wanted to know what name I would wake up to best, I suggested “mamamamamama” as a joke. My surgeon came in and marked my chest and ran through what they’d be doing again. I told him I have 5 kids and he was pretty shocked, turns out he has 3. “You must be busy, I have 3 and I thought that was busy” he said. “I thought 3 was busy too, then I had twins” I replied. I make jokes when I’m nervous.
The anaesthesiologist was my favourite though. The guy was rough with an accent. Older, maybe his 50s. He was kind of rough around the edges, snappy to the residents. He made them turn off their music when he came into the OR and was way too excited to find a giant needle to use for my IV. Still, he didn’t collapse my veins and used an ultrasound to find the site which was a first for me. I’m used to a lot of IV pain. More importantly and unexpectedly, though, he actually asked me what the right pronouns to use were. He called me she, then stopped himself and asked me if that was OK or if I preferred he. I told him I prefer he but it’s OK. He insisted it wasn’t OK and didn’t mess up again as far as I know. Everyone used the right name.
General anaesthetic must be what dying feels like. You can’t fight as you slowly slip away, and so I did thinking about how much I wanted to see my kids again. There’s always a fear of not waking up. Of course I did, groggy and slightly confused as something clamped on my legs. Apparently they were compression things so I wouldn’t get blood clots but damn was it a weird sensation to wake up to. By the way, Kal was the right name to use to wake me. I was nauseous and for the first time in a my life a nurse actually believed me that Maxeran does nothing for me and they have to give me Gravol. Thankfully I didn’t puke for once.
I guess everything went well and they wheeled me over to my room after I was more awake. I got my stuff back and texted everyone. There was an annoying tube in my nose because I was having a hard time getting my o2 levels back to where they needed to be and it was really itchy. Coming off anaesthetic and taking so many drugs that made me sleepy meant spending the morning doing power naps between my blood pressure cuff going off. I got water, then juice, and after just a few short hours permission to go home. Hubby came to grab me.
How I’m doing now
Right now though all I can see is the huge absorbent dressing and ace bandage that’s holding my chest in place. Everything hurts! There are drains that I have to empty every 8 hours and I’m on antibiotics to prevent infection and Tylenol 3s for the pain. It’s all around not very fun. It’s also a huge struggle with the kids, most notably the twins. They’re too little to understand, love to be picked up, and are extremely rough with me. That means I can’t even have them on my lap because they’re always climbing and jumping into me. I actually just hurt myself now because one was fighting to pull all the books off my shelf and when I moved his hands he threw himself and his weight on my arm. They each weigh more than double my 10lb lifting limit. Also typing this actually hurts more than I expected it would… Or maybe my meds are wearing off.
Friday I head to the surgeon’s office to get the drains out which will be a huge relief. They’re annoying and I keep worrying about the twins grabbing them. Plus I can’t really go out in public with these massive drains in.
I’m anxious to get the dressing off and see what my chest looks like. Right now it’s a lot flatter than it was but I know that it’s going to be even smaller without all these dressings. It feels so weird to have good support and bare shoulders. Maybe I’ll do a ceremonious bra burning.
I have wanted this surgery as long as I can remember, at least in some form. As a pre-teen I learned about breast reduction and have had that on my mind ever since. Still, I have a complicated relationship with my breasts. They were seen a sex objects and I flaunted that before I came out. Plus it’s a part of my body and that’s always difficult to change. I was expecting some mixed feelings, and I know I am still in a bit of a state of disbelief. So far, though, everything has been positive. I’m really, really happy with my decision and even the results I’m seeing so far. More importantly, though, when I look down it feels normal.
Before an after photos to come when the dressing comes off!