Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

2 Surgeries in a Week–Oh My! A Health Update

If you read this post, you already know I had to have some more reconstruction surgery.  I wrote a detailed post as to why, but in a nutshell it is because I formed keloids, and when the keloids were treated the skin thinned out too much.  There were other issues with my reconstruction, so it was time to fix me up.

I’ve had several surgeries and felt pretty tough going into it last Wednesday.  A bit apprehensive as it had been awhile since I have had surgery, but tough none the less.  Little did I know this would be my most painful surgery by far…including my mastectomy.

Recovery was a bear and several things added to it.  The main culprit of my misery were these crazy little red tubes.

They are only about 1/8 of an inch long, but I had 12 of them put onto my upper chest in the form of an “m.”  When you have a mastectomy all breast tissue is taken.  I am very small and with my skin thinning out, Doc needed to add tissue back.  He did this with a product called AlloDerm, it is a human product where all DNA has been removed and my body quickly takes over it and it becomes my own tissue.  Gross, huh?  Well, I am so thankful for it, despite the pain it caused me this weekend.  I can already see how extra tissue in the area is going to give a great result.

Back to those little red tubes from Hades…they are what held the tissue that was placed under my skin up…like little devil marionettes.

I also had drainage tubes coming out from either side an inch or so under each armpit.  I had these with my mastectomy so I knew what I was in for with those.  They are yucky, in a very sensitive spot (think of how ticklish you are there!) and make you feel pretty miserable.  It kept me from sleeping on my side, and finding a sleeping position was rough the first few nights.  I basically didn’t sleep, until I got smart, kicked my poor husband out of our bed, used 8 pillows to make myself a pillow throne (one under each arm) and found our travel neck pillow.  I now sleep like a queen on my throne, with a creepy necklace made out of tubes at my chest as my jewels….like a kids craft project necklace gone very, very bad!  Fitting as it is Halloween, wouldn’t you say?

I also have 2 incisions, 22 stitches each, in the middle of each breast.  This is typical when one gets a mastectomy and Doc used the same scars for this surgery.  These would be very painful, but the nerves were cut there long ago so I cannot feel anything in that middle area.  A blessing to be honest!

A few other things made the week tough:

~I had an allergic reaction to the betadine –  iodine solution they paint on your skin before surgery.  I itched for 2 days until we figured out what was causing it.  Not good to be itchy when  in a drugged state.  I found myself several times waking up to myself scratching at my bandages…the pain woke me up enough to figure out I needed to stop!

~we switched up my pain meds thinking I was having an allergic reaction to those.  The second pain med made me so loopy…couldn’t watch tv because there were three of them, couldn’t focus on reading or computer.  Made for a very long day.  It also made me jerk awake all night on the hour every hour…and each jerk was so very painful!  I would wake with a start and yell at myself.

~digestive issues from pain killers.  It took quite a few days to get this under control.  By the time I did, my stomach was so distended I looked very pregnant.  Ouchie.

~I started running a fever on day 3.  Freaked me OUT!  I do not want an infection.  If infection, they would have to take expander’s out, I would have to heal for a long while, and start all over again.

~Doc said fever was from my lungs not re inflating properly after anesthetic.  I was supposed to be doing deep breathing exercises every hour, but I was so drugged the first couple days that I was not a good girl in following Doc’s orders.  He also said I was to vigorously cough every hour.  YEAH RIGHT!  Even a small hiccup would make me swear (and I don’t swear…at least often:)) so to cough vigorously was a joke.  Once I started my breathing exercises, my fever cleared up.  Praise God!

~I went off Tamoxifen for the surgery, and when I went back on the hot flashes were INSANE.  I became so very miserable and a different person…crying and feeling like everything was hopeless.  I only took it one day and it completely did me in. That drug is awful, and I am not sure how I will ever make myself go back on it. I only took it one day and gave up. They doubled another one of my meds to make the Tamoxifen more bearable, but that made me sleep all day, so stopped doing that.  Please pray for direction with what to do.  This drug protects me from cancer coming back.

These things plus my pain level made the week one of the hardest I’ve ever had.

BUT…there were so many things that were beautiful that happened this week, too, and I can’t wait to list the gift for you in another post.  I was completely overwhelmed with love from my friends and family. The pictures show just a couple of those sweet gifts…what I like to call God Kisses.


I went in to get my drains out and my tubes out on Monday.  I was SO EXCITED, but wondered about  the right side being much smaller than the left.  When nurses saw it they told me it looked like the expander had failed.

OH MY FRIENDS DID I CRY AT THIS NEWS!  I just could not believe it. I knew it meant more surgery and that I would be going back home with drains and tubes.

My Doc office is an hour away and by the time I got home my crying fit was over.  It was a hard night but found my peace again by morning through so much encouragement on my FB page and from friends. There were so many saying they were praying for me and were there for me.

So… tomorrow is surgery #2, at 2:00.

I get to be Frankenstein for Halloween…at least my chest will be! Thank goodness no one will see it.

It is a process, but one of these days my Frankenstein will turn into Va-va-Voom!

I will let you know how it goes when I am coherent enough.  If you want to follow along on New Nostalgia Facebook page I will update there.  If you want to see cool photos, (like when my I.V. misbehaved last surgery) follow along on Instagram.

Love you all!  Know that God is so very close and is with me.  I know He will never leave me or forsake me, and will work all things out for overall good no matter what happens,  because I LOVE Him & He loves me and because He is good no matter what!

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  • Karen Gerstenberger
    November 2, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Amy, your transparency and faith are a gift to all who visit you here. God bless you and bring you through this with renewed joy and peace. Those chocolate-covered marshmallows look “divine”! Sending hugs –

  • Peppermint Ph.D.
    November 2, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Praying for you!! You’re an inspiration to all of us 🙂

  • cindy
    October 31, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Praying for you Amy! God bless you and your family!

  • Pam
    October 31, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Your amazing faith and attitude has gotten you through so much. I am praying for quick and painless healing.

  • kmac
    October 31, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    OMG, what you are going through, you poor dear. Reading this kind of threw my problems into perspective. Be strong and keep on keeping on. This too shall pass. You’re in my prayers.

  • Michelle
    October 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Praying for you, Amy!

  • katanderson61
    October 31, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Oh, Amy. I’m so sorry to hear all you’ve been going through. Praying for you in this next surgery and for strength during your recovery.

  • Anonymous
    October 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Dear Amy~~~Love following your blog! I’m praying for you & this trial you are in. Just rest in the arms of the Lord. You are such an inspiration to us all & I know you will be stronger than ever.
    Blessings XO,
    Linda Petersen

  • Jeanine
    October 31, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I am praying that God will surround you with love and peace, and that He will give you rest and complete healing.

  • Gold Country Girl
    October 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I dont think I had known that you are a breast cancer survivor. I have been semi following your posts on Facebook as a simplicity blog not knowing this part. As a survivor myself who has yet to complete recon my heart goes out to you. I hope everything turns out well and you will be in my thoughts.

  • Cuscini
    October 31, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I stopped reading your post halfway through, and just stopped to say a “Hail Mary” for you. May God bless you and keep you and help you through this, dear.

  • Anna
    October 31, 2013 at 5:00 am

    You’re amazing, I don’t know how you’re doing it. I will pray for a quick and less painful healing for the rest of your journey.


  • Ika
    October 31, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Be strong … I want to quickly recover. I send you a kiss ..

  • Marilee McCarthy
    October 31, 2013 at 6:18 am

    You are amazingly strong. Thank you for sharing your personal stories. It means alot to me. 🙂 i hope everything goes smoothly and I will say a prayer for you.

  • Marilee McCarthy
    October 31, 2013 at 6:16 am

    You are amazingly strong. Thank you for sharing your personal stories. It means alot to me. 🙂 i hope everything goes smoothly and I will say a prayer for you.

  • Nothing But Blue Skies...
    October 31, 2013 at 4:33 am

    Sweet Amy, I am sending up prayers for strength and healing for you!! You are so brave, and such an example to so many women who are fighting similar battles with this ugly disease, and it’s aftermath. God will bless you for many, many years to come on this earth, and for all eternity! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!

    Much love my cancer surviving sister!

  • Anonymous
    October 31, 2013 at 4:00 am

    I am praying for you, too.

  • vrtish55
    October 31, 2013 at 3:17 am

    Praying for comfort and healing, God bless.

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