Sunday, 30 March 2014

Scars and Secrets Part 2

Warning! These photos are NSFW and might be gross to some people.

Want to know something interesting?
It's been almost a month since I had surgery on my breast and only now am I starting to feel like myself again.
Strange isn't it?
Then again maybe not.

The surgery itself was...okay. I mean, it's never going to be fun but I seem to remember that this one was more difficult compared to my ear surgery. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything past midnight the night before and I didn't go in for my surgery till about 2pm so I was STARVING. Not to mention extremely anxious and scared, I cried a lot before they finally took me in. Luckily I have the best mother in the world who drove into town and stayed with me as well as took me to the hospital.
She also kept me calm by being silly with me.

If you're wondering why I'm wearing a mask it's because I'm THAT mysterious! No, really, it's because I didn't get a flu shot this year so I had to wear it.

When they finally took me in I struggled to not have a panic attack, laying on the stretcher with all these strangers around you, strapping you down and marking you with pens.They actually gave me the option to not be put under, to just have heavy sedation and freezing but when I asked my surgeon if there was a chance I could wake up in the middle she said yes.

"Knock me out then. I don't want to go through that."

And so they started the IV and about 4 seconds later my eyelids felt heavy, I'm an idiot and almost started to try and fight it because I was scared but then I gave in and.......
woke up in the recovery ward.

And this is where everything in the world got groggy and disconnected for me, I can remember laying there just focusing on breathing and trying to swallow. Every time I go under for surgery I wake up and my throat feels BONE dry, it's because of that damn tube they shove down there. Ow.
After about 45 mins in the recovery ward they moved me down to the day time surgery ward where they let my mom sit by me, which was comforting. I can remember her holding my hand, kissing my forehead and of course talking to all the nurses. I tried to talk but couldn't, the best I could manage was a croak.

Eventually, and like always, the need to pee got me out of bed.
I managed to sit up and then very slowly shuffle down the hallway to the bathroom, I have to say that it's always awkward peeing with the IV attached to you. I shuffled back to my little area to find the nurses there with my stuff, the time had come for me to leave and let someone else have my spot. I got dressed and they gently put me in my mom's car.

And here is where my anxiety waves started.

I'm not sure why but once we had picked up my sister from work and started off towards home I started to have these weird waves of anxiety that would break through my drug fuzzed brain. The worst was probably when my mom and sister had to leave my alone for a while to go find parking for my mom, I can remember laying in my sisters bed (she's on the first floor of our building so it was just easier to leave me there) shifting around restlessly about every five seconds in an effort to distract myself from freaking out. Eventually they both returned but this weird anxiety didn't fully go away.
In fact, it kept me from resting after my surgery for at least four hours. I would lay there, trying to let myself fall asleep only to wake myself back up from feeling so weird and out of it. Which scared me which then made my anxiety worse.

Finally I had some soup and then bam, fell asleep. I slept solidly till about 11pm and when I woke up I felt like I had my brain back. Thank god.

I took the next five days off from everything and just concentrated on resting and healing, all in all the physical pain wasn't bad at all. I didn't take any of the pain killers the hospital gave me, just some regular Tylenol the first two days and that was it.

What took me longer to get over was the emotional backlash that I got from this surgery. I don't remember having it with my ear surgery which could be because I was younger or more likely, the fact that when I had that surgery it was in/behind my head and ear so I couldn't see it.
Couldn't be reminded of it.
With this surgery though I have gone through many different emotions. From a false sense of things being back to normal, to suddenly thinking about death and reality every hour of the day, to feeling disconnected from everyone, to being scared and having unreasonable crying jags and panic attacks.

I've talked to a few different people and I am happy to report that it seems like this is a fairly normal response to this kind of surgery, so I'm happy that I'm not totally insane or something. I've been told that even though in the grand scheme of things this surgery was rather minor and the lump turned out to just be dense breast tissue after all, it was still an invasion of a very private and important body part to me.
The other thing that I found out was that after such a prolonged "is it or isn't it" kind of situation and so many trips to the hospital and doctors that it is also normal to go into panic mode about everything else in your body. All this month I've been worried about any and all other bumps/bruises/headaches/pains.

However since I've become aware of all of this, and that it's normal, I'm now taking steps to work through it. This includes getting a massage and learning how to re-connect with my body. I've been doing more stretching and breathing exercises, not to mention working with some stones and candle spell work. I've found that since starting this my connection with other people has begun to balance back out and I am finally starting to feel like myself again.

But enough about all this emotional stuff! It's time to see pictures!
Because I'm a weirdo I documented the entire healing process of my breast surgery, so here it is:

Directly after the surgery, you can see all the fun scribbles the doctors made on me.
This was about two days after when I finally got to shower and take off that huge bandage. It felt SO good to shower after being so stinky and gross for that long.
Probably about a week after surgery, you can see that some of the steri-strips have fallen off and that the bruising is still pretty bad. Pale people and bruises don't go well together.
This was right after the last strip came off in the shower, behold the actual wound! Not too bad right?
And the last one was taken a full two weeks after the surgery, the day I went in for my check up and got the news that the lump was dense tissue and everything was totally fine. The scar has faded even more now and in probably about another month or so you won't even see it.

The story and experience will always be with me though and I have learned a lot about myself from it, parts of it have sucked a fat one but other parts were good and have made me stronger. After all, no one stays the same all their life.
I'm just happy to still be living mine, happy and healthy.

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