Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Surgery Done

Hi, everyone! I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that the radiation had been pretty hard on my skin by the end and especially my mastectomy incision. When I went for my one month follow up appointment with my radiation oncologist, he said that if we tried to let it heal on its own, it could take up to a year. In the meantime, my medical oncologist did not want me to start my next chemo until I was healed. So, the decision was made to see an oncology plastic surgeon to repair the damage.

It is definitely a ride to and from Tucson each time, but the doctors taking care of me there have been absolutely wonderful, and Dr. Hurst, the plastic surgeon, was no different. I told Joe he looked like someone who would play a plastic surgeon on TV; classic good looks and a great smile. And yet, he was so kind and patient in explaining everything to Joe and I. He is also being wonderful about working around my school schedule so I don't have to take days off from teaching.

I am on fall break this week, so we scheduled surgery for this past Tuesday. My time was To Be Announced, so we waited at home Tuesday morning for a call from the hospital. They called around 8:30 saying I was scheduled for 11:30, so we headed out the door for Tucson. By the time we got there, Dr. Hurst had been called in to help out in another difficult case, backing up his scedule. I ended up not going into surgery until after 4. It was a long day of anxious waiting.

The surgery went great. Don't read the rest of this paragraph if you don't want details! It was much more involved than the mastectomy surgery. He cleaned out the wound on my chest and then moved the lattisimus muscle around from my back to my front to fill in the space. He then took a flap of skin from my back and used that in the front to cover over the wound. I have an incision on my back that is about twelve inches long and a patch in the front that looks like a giant cat's eye. I told my girlfriends I'm beginning to look like a patchwork quilt and Liesl said my new nickname should be patches. :>) I have three drains that will stay in for about three weeks. Overall, the discomfort hasn't been too bad. I'm finding all of these procedures are giving me a new perspective on just what pain is. I'm alternating Advil and Percocet about every three hours and am pretty comfortable most of the time.

So, hopefully, everything is back on track now. The plan is to heal for the next three or four weeks and then get the chemo restarted. I'm doing really well; just really, really tired of all of the medical procedures.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers over the last couple of days. Love you all!

Oh! I almost forgot. I said on facebook I would post pictures of my hair after I colored it, but am backing out. It took the coloring really weird and is a strange color and the texture is like that of a teddy bear - comforting on a teddy bear, not so much so on your head. I'll try again in a couple of weeks and hopefully have a better outcome.


velvet brick said...

Hi Martha! I'm so glad to hear that all went so well and that your doctor is wonderful! Last Tuesday, Norma, Ruthie and I sat in the cabin that day and wondered how you were doing, how things had gone, if you were doing okay and we said prayers for you. You were in our hearts the whole time. It was frustrating for us since we were out of communication with the world, but we certainly had you and Joe in our thoughts, so I really appreciate the update. You are such a trooper. I know this is hellacious and what an incredible year it has been - and yet, I can't help that for all the scars, surgeries, medication, doctor appointments, drains and pain, you truly are healthier today than you were a year ago. I salute your bravery and spirit, dear lady. You have taught me a very resounding lesson on grace. I love you, Martha. Call if there is ANYTHING that I can do for you!

Jane said...

So glad to hear that it went well. You continue to be an inspiration to me.
I hope your recovery is quick and you are back to doing what you love soon.


Gwendolyn said...

I'm so glad your surgery went well. I know that we aren't close but your willingness to share your story has touched many lives! I wouldn't have ever gone to the doctor to get checked out. I have shared your story with others and you have also inspired them to act! Thank you so much! Please know that you are always in my heart and thoughts!


Dottie said...

So . . . my Six Traits Word Choice score would be ZERO because NOTHING but the word AMAZING comes to mind every time I read your posts, Martha!!!

You are amazing in SO many ways . . . amazing in the way you address each of these "issues" and then move on . . . you're amazing in the way you carry yourself about school as though you can tackle the world . . . you're amazing in your courage . . . you're amazing with the love and beauty you give to the world . . . you're amazing that you give your classroom kids 10000% in spite of not always feeling your best . . . I mean, it's endless!!!!

You're absolutely our AMAZING MARTHA!!!! You ROCK, Girl!!!!

Love ya,