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love + light

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.”
– C.C. Scott

Two weeks post-op

Before anything else, my pain level is down to a 3 or 4. I move slow, but I’m not hurting too bad.

Bill and I met with the plastics team today, we will continue to go once a week until radiation starts. Sheila, the nurse, was unable to take the last set of drains out. My output of fluid is still too high. These drains function much like a blister, really. The fluid looks identical. Mine just happen to be tapped to pool outside my body. Once I reach this golden number of 30 cc per side per day, that’s what my body is able to reabsorb on my own. No matter the levels are, by next week Tuesday she’ll take them out regardless, as the risk for infection with this open hole in my side is too great.

These are our very scientific tracking notes on our output.
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The big question today was how do radiation and the filling of these expanders work together. I only get 50cc per side per week added to the balloons in my chest. But I cannot have radiation at the same time. Radiation cannot start until 6 weeks (at least) post op. And the plastics team wants to put in as much saline as possible before I start radiation and they have to stop filling me up. The point being, they are “saving space” for the implants to come later and would like to have as much space as possible when that time comes. Radiation will toughen the skin, diminish elasticity and potentially change the outcome of my new bodacious ta-tas. I haven’t called the radiologist yet, but that’s on my list of things to figure out today.

Before you fall over and faint, this is my armpit.
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The incision has left a large, bulging mass about the width of my arm, making it very difficult for my arms to rest along side my body. Just below these incisions is where the drains come out – which is what is partially causing the bulging. I have very strange stinging sensations along the back side of my arm where it connects to my body. On both sides. It’s tight but also produces a sharp, burning sensation. Nurse Shelia of plastics said it’s all normal. Next week we will begin physical therapy to help loosen that up and get more range of motion in my arm. I am to remain sedentary until I see her next. Still no dishes or laundry. Can’t drive. Can, however, work with my laptop which we’ve cleverly rigged so I need only slide it onto my lap and off again. My arms definitely alert me if I can’t do something. So taking it easy is the name of the game.

Once they take out the final drains this is my new jumpsuit.
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Since I still can’t lift my arms above my shoulders for some time, this “bra” like thing velcros down the front and slips on like a shirt. The hoops at the bottom are supposed to be for the drains to hook to, but they’ve (the plastics folk’s) found that people are too swollen while the drains are in, and so it’s used mainly after those are removed.

I’ve forgotten to share and thank along the way, and so this is a long list of beautiful people who have been so kind and generous to us as we work through this recovery. The meal train, organized by Miss Jeanne, has been an absolute life saver. Thank you to everyone who has participated. The food is delicious and it has made our lives to much easier.

My amazing Arbonne family from far and wide has sent letters from all of the country of encouragement and kind words. I have a stack here of nearly 40 letters and trinkets from my sideline sisters, mom and grandma that have arrived nearly daily. It really is an extended family. And from our tagline the word “beneficial” means so much more to me now that it ever did. I can’t wait to see you all in person, at Impact, when I am finally back to myself.

My dad gets three huge cheers for taking our kids for the week I had surgery. We yanked them out a day or two early from school, to get them to Wisconsin, and they were off to the north woods. My sister and brother-in-law helped too. They had the time of their lives, stories galore – mostly gross ones about how my dad farts in public and cleans fish in his underwear – but it’s a bonding they’ll have forever. Bill will say it was a stroke of brilliance to have them gone while we figured things out here – they had a better time than we did – and I really can’t thank the old man enough for being so generous, even if he was introduced to Napoleon Dynamite against his will. He still had nice things to say about them afterwards, enough to make a mother proud.
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I’ve shared this before, but I loved it so much, it was my only blanket in the hospital. Thanks Butzer.
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Auntie Gretchen sent a “hug” which was here when I got back home from the hospital, I’ve mentioned it before too, but since then it’s been my only blanket at home. Softest, most wonderful fabric ever invented. IMG_8174

My colleague Trish sent a bouquet from FarmGirl. A favorite in this house since SharkTank – the flowers are amazing – but the design, packaging, presentation and graphics are equally impressive. Thank you.
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Miss Carmen’s 100 bloom orchids continue to delight, daily.
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PKV sent a sketch book which we started our bucket lists of 100 things we want to do this summer, inspired by Miss St. Arnold, though we may just end up stealing hers and following her around Chicago instead.
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And my beside reading, thank you Katie Hays, it’s keeping me in one place, which is exactly what all these doctors want.
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And last, but certainly not least, a day with my big little brother Caleb complete with b-ball, hoops, ice cream, portillos and yahtzee. A very special treat. IMG_8164

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