PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Just when you thought it was safe..

Back in September I had my "lift" on the left implant and the dog ear from my right side cut off. The technical term I had was capsularorotomyishthingy (that sound is the collective gasps of horror of my nursing teachers). Basically they put heavy duty subcutaneous stitches under my implant to lift it up. Easy peasy right?

Well for normal people..

Back in Sept I had an infection. We opted not to lift righty until later and my PS swore up and down I could get my tattoos done as well. So I called to schedule righty and my tattoos and I find out the doctor only wanted to do one tattoo. She wanted to give righty time to heal after the procedure.

Oookkkk I can deal.

So after I decided to put of brain surgery since the headaches seem to subside (for the moment anyway) I scheduled this procedure for 12/12. I mean 12/12/12 is a special day right? Surely luck would be on my side. I mean I've been through some form of complication after every single time my PS so much as waved a scalpel in my general direction. Enough is enough right? Or so I assumed.

And we all know what that means.

I have to scramble for a ride to the PS office because it's less than 2 weeks before Christmas and everyone is busy. I finally convinced my Dad to take me and drop me off and I was going to get Mike (who was working) to come back and pick me up. I was only going under local anesthetic but would still be loopy and probably not in the best condition to make the 25 minute interstate drive home.

I get back to the procedure room and my PS tells me she wants to put my tattoos off until right before New Years. She says that she wanted to give everything time to settle in, so they could be certain to get my tats symmetrical. Ok that's cool with me.... I didn't want to end up with a nipple on the side of my boob. My PS then neglects to give me the normal Valium/Lortab cocktail before an in office procedure (because I'm so calm and level headed she doesn't have to worry about me passing out on her). In hindsight, it probably would've been better to get it.

She numbs me up and starts to work. She's making small talk and her nurse is seriously talking to me like I'm a deranged patient on the edge of snapping. Seriously. She was sweet but I was ok... I wasn't having a meltdown and didn't need to be talked to in that calm, even tone reserved for crazies. My PS looked at her and said "Michelle's ok, she's been through a lot.. this is nothing" Well, the nurse was doing her job.

About halfway through the procedure (I kid you not). my PS says, "Oh shit" Well, right away warning bells should've been going off. Of course me in my semi-drugged state (no Valium though, just numbing stuff) just let it slide. I'd gotten fairly used to the motions that she was going to make during the procedure and she wasn't doing that. Instead, she was gazing at my chest intently and moving her hands around my chest. She looked at me, then without saying anything looked at the nurse and asked for some doohickey (again, gasps of horror) that closely resembled forceps. Umm..that's new.

I look up at her and raise my eyebrows. She tries to avoid my gaze, but then she says. "I lost the stitch"

It took me a minute to digest her words but when it finally clicked I said "You did what?"

She goes on to explain that the hook that's supposed to pop off the stitch when she pulls it back out, popped off while it was still inside me. She continues to look for about 10 minutes and finally I ask the question.
"What happens if you can't get it out?" Her reply? "We'll have to go across the hall to the OR and get it out there."  I think my response of "WHAT?" shocked her a little bit. She confirmed the answer and I (swear) said, "Can't I just wait to poop it out?"

Luckily, there's a surgery center across the hall from her office. She finally conceded the fact that I was having surgery and called to get me booked into an OR. While I was trying to process all of this I came back to one fact:

I had no ride.

Oh dear Lord, I was one of those people who get dropped off for surgery. I made some quick phone calls and explained to Mike and my Mom what was going on. (They probably thought I was just doped up on Valium). I was assured I'd make it home some how. Dr. C was so repentant about the whole thing SHE offered to take me home.

The nurse hurriedly taped my gaping hole that was my breast up and I threw on my shirt and scurried across the hall. In their defense, they got me back pretty quickly. I stripped, changed into a gown, peed in a cup (all the pre-surgery glory) and anesthesia came to talk to me. The anesthesiologist said, "Hey you're the Cowden's syndrome girl. I've been in one of your surgeries before." I smiled at him and said "Fantastic. I'm famous." He asked me the standard questions (after I went through my explanation of just what the heck Cowden's Syndrome is to the nurses) and when I said I'd eaten already that day (because you can do that with local anesthetic) he said the dreaded words:

"We won't put you all the way under. You'll be awake, just very sedated."

Oh. My. God. That's been my worse nightmare. Surgery while I'm awake??? I swear my heart stopped right there. He assured me I'd be fine and he'd be there the whole time. They wheeled me back to the OR and thankfully had the good sense to cover up my chest with a drape so  I was just looking at the blue sheet. The anesthesiologist gave me the good drugs and I started feeling very drifty. I did actually fall asleep a few times (who woulda thunk it?) but they tried to talk me through the whole thing. They told me when they found the hook, and that they were removing it. I heard an unfamiliar male voice say "Wait what size is she?"

**at this point my anthesiologist leaned over and explained he was a partner to my PS**

My PS then said "Michelle, we're going to give you a new implant since this one may have been ruptured" At which point I said "Do I go to sleep for that?" and she said "No but we're about to do it."

I looked over at my now best friend and was given another shot of the good stuff. To which I said "Best Christmas present ever" and began to feel all the tugging and pulling. (Like Mike said, it really should be harder to pull an implant out).

Surgery was FINALLY over (I prefer to be knocked out cold during the whole thing). and Mike finally came to pick me up. I've been on preventative antibiotics, and while my intestines hate me, it's managed to keep any infection at bay. My new righty is settling nicely, so I'm better than I was right after surgery (It looked SO bad).

And yes I went for a follow up with Dr. Cooper. And got the news I was now going to wait 3-4 months for my tattoos. Just because of all that I'd been through to let everything settle.


It'll happen... day