Posted by: julia
on Jul 19, 2016
Patient patient update time again. I went back to UCSF today to see the plastic surgeon for a follow up. I finally got the last three drains out, which is a HUGE relief. The doc seemed very happy with how things turned out overall, and said that I should let things settle for another month and come back and see him again. He wasn't worried about any of the swelling or bruising or bumps and lumps and reassured me that everything looked great and we'd fix any and all issues with one last follow-up surgery in the fall sometime (which will not require any drains or even an overnight stay in the hospital). He also cleared me for lifting a little more, gentle stretching and raising my arms above my head (as long as it doesn't hurt me to do it), and said I could drive whenever it felt comfortable to twist and turn. I even specifically asked about handpan playing (which caused him to look up what a handpan was on his phone, and he seemed impressed) and he said it would be fine. The only thing he specifically told me to avoid for at least another month is "lifting heavy things", which in this case I think means anything heavier than a handpan. ;)
I think the key is to ease back in to things slowly and pay attention to how my body feels as I do things. If it hurts, don't do it. For example, I still can't quite stand up straight, but I can try to do so more actively now without fear of tearing or damaging anything internal as long as I stop when it gets too uncomfortable. I'm really hoping that by some time next week I'll be able to walk for some decent distance without my back muscles killing me from supporting my hunched over posture. And maybe even be able to sleep on just a couple pillows instead of the big foam wedge I've been using. That would be awesome.
So okay, a bunch more patience and one more time under the knife and hopefully this reconstructive journey will be both finished and satisfactory. Slow and steady wins the race.
Posted by: julia
on Jul 12, 2016
Time for a patient patient update. I’ve been laying low since getting home last week, and trying really hard to not. Do. Anything. (Besides sleep, eat, read, talk, look at Facebook, watch videos and lay about.) It’s harder than it sounds (hence the need for patience). I am trying to keep a good attitude about it and I have declared this the month of “Julax”, in which Julia relaxes throughout July. At least I have plenty of good books to catch up on and lots of lovely friends and family who come over to keep me entertained (which definitely helps the days go by). And every day I feel a little better and can do a little more. Slow and steady. Slow and steady.
In general, recovery is going as well as it can go. The first week was pretty rough and I was pretty weak and uncomfortable, but it’s slowly getting better. This was definitely the hardest surgery so far and it will be at least another week or two yet until I can stand up straight (I have been walking around hunched over like a little old lady because my stomach is so taut) or reach over my head or pick up anything over 5 pounds or drive. The good news is that I’m off the narcotic pain meds and able to manage my pain just by taking Tylenol, and that when I went in for my post-op visit today (first time I left the house since returning from the hospital) the nurse said that everything was looking good. The bad news is that even after today’s visit I still have 3 out of the 6 post-surgical drains in (I was so hoping to get them all removed today but it looks like I will have to wait another week, argh). But overall I am progressing satisfactorily, if slowly. So yay for that.
Posted by: julia
on Jul 04, 2016
[This was posted to Facebook while I was awaiting my official release after four days being in the hospital after my DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery. I'm posting it here too for posterity.]
I am being a very patient patient but I am so so ready to go home. Hopefully that will happen later today once the docs do their rounds. (Yay Independence Day!) I've done a lot of resting and healing in the hospital, and every day is better than the one before. I won't lie, it's been boring as heck but at least it hasn't been too painful (yay pain meds). There certainly is a ways to go before I can even stand up straight or move around without shuffling, but the trajectory is heading in the right direction, and I'm very happy about that. I know I'm in for a good solid month of Julaxin' and truly keeping it slow and steady...and you all can feel free to keep reminding me of that!