Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Prepping for New Boobs

The surgery for my TRAM flap, insertion of an implant, and the oophorectomy (removal of my ovaries) is now 17 days away. But who's counting, eh?

I met with my plastic surgeon yesterday for my pre-op appointment. He showed me graphic pictures of the process, which was a bit daunting, but now I can visualize it better. I am trying to talk to those tissues so that the shock of the incision won't be as bad. My acupuncturist said today that it was good to prepare my wei chi (I think that's spelled right) or the fighting chi for the surgery so that maybe it won't react by fighting but will go along with the process and begin healing. In other words, by visualizing the surgery and preparing my tissues for it, I'm hoping that instead of reacting with fear and anger at the insult, it accepts the surgery as something needed and then does what it needs to do for healing. Does that make sense?

I'm starting to get anxious about the surgery. My acupuncturist asked me if I was worried and I had to say that I wasn't really worried, but more apprehensive about feeling the nausea after the anesthesia and the painkiller narcotics and also about the pain. She gave me tips for the nausea (magnets on pericardium 6 - near the wrists and also ginger tea) and then said that there were some herbal remedies for the pain if I needed them. She also gave me a movement from the Thousand Hands Buddha form that will help calm the anxiety. I will see her about 10 days post-op and she said that she'd do what she could for me at that point.

I also talked with Dr. H (the plastic surgeon) about saying positive things during surgery - his staff read the excerpt from Bernie Siegel's book "Love Medicine and Miracles" about giving instructions to patients while they are under anesthesia and thought it was cool, so I'm hoping they reinforce what the reading said to him. He has agreed to say positive things. I also mentioned it to one of my friends, Lynn, who is a surgical nurse at the hospital. I asked her to tell her coworkers about this. She seemed really interested and wanted to read the excerpt. She says if it makes a difference, maybe it's a practice they can implement during surgeries all the time. I would love it if this is something that would make a difference in peoples' lives!!

I asked Dr. H what music they listened to while they perform surgery and he stated rock/pop. I plan to call his office tomorrow and ask if I can give them some music CD's to use during my surgery. I hope so. I spent some time this evening putting together mixes entitled "New Boob Tunes" and "Dee's Boob Tunes"!! I chose my favorite songs, including some with positive messages and songs that have lots of good, fun energy and also some with a bit of fight in them - a bit of attitude, and a couple Native American/Alaska Native songs. I hope they use them! If any of you have suggestions for songs like that, I'd love to hear them!

I also saw the wound care nurse, L., for the last time. I will miss her. I need to bring or send her a thank you card.

Tomorrow, I will get some blood work done in preparation for the surgery.

Whew. I've got lots to do at work beforehand. I am also trying to remember what my fellow breast cancer survivor told me last week: 1) getting her TRAM flap was absolutely transformative for her (i.e., which means that I should focus on the positive); and 2) that as bad as the pain is at the moment, it will be less the next day. So, I keep thinking that one thing that will be good is that I will no longer have an open skin wound. The other thing is that it will be the first time in 14-15 months when my shirts fit correctly!


Carver said...

Hi Dee, It sounds like you are getting prepared in some very positive ways. Great too that your surgeon is on board with saying positive things during the surgery. I'll keep sending a bunch of good vibes out for you. Take care, Carver

Liz Kreger said...

Love your prep work, Dee. Sounds very positive. And the fact that your surgeon and his staff are willing to work with you ... cool.

Didn't have anything like that when I had my TRAM flap done, but still came through with flying colors. The only real problem I had was with stretching the stomach muscles. Sure, you get a terrific tummy-tuck in the process, but it took a little time before I could completely straighten up. LOL

It'll all be worth it in the end. You'll come through beautifully.

Dee said...

Hi Carver,
I appreciate you sending me good vibes, as always. It's so nice to be able to count on your kind of steady, positive support!

And, Liz, thank you for sharing your experience with the TRAM flap - I'm nervous about the pain I might experience, but you don't mention anything about it, so here's hoping I come through the surgery "with flying colors", too.

Thank you both for your support! It's much appreciated.

Liz Kreger said...

I don't recall much pain. Discomfort? Sure. But when they cut the muscles in your stomach, some of the nerve endings are affected, so my stomach is a little numb. Same with across the right side of my chest where I had the reconstruction. The nerve endings were cut, so its fairly numb. A little disconcerting, but not painful. You get used to it.

I barely notice it anymore.

Theresa said...

I think you should play some old school Loretta Lynn, like "Fist City" but instead of thinking of her shouting at a man, she can be shouting at cancer.

Dee said...

Hi Liz,
Wow, you don't remember any pain, huh? Discomfort I can handle. I already experience numbness on both sides from the bilateral mastectomy, so I'm not too worried there. But thanks! I'm going to keep the idea of "discomfort" uppermost in my mind.

And, Theresa, I like the Loretta Lynn suggestion. I'll have to find some of her music on iTunes. My surgeon's nurse told me to bring in my "boob tunes" CD's when I check into the hospital. Cool, huh?