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.