30-day shred

There are lots of subjects packaged under the guise of “change your life in 30 days.” Think about it: you can train your dog in 30 days, tighten your tush in 30 days, reclaim your financial well-being in 30 days, clean up your unhealthy diet in 30 days. You can even lay off drinking alcohol for 30 days, although I don’t recommend it. Some days, that’s all I have to look forward to (the drinking, not the laying off of it).

It’s been 30 days since my reconstruction surgery, aka the Big Dig. I’ve had some inquiries regarding my health, happiness, and healing at this stage, and here’s the deal: I’m certainly a lot better than I was at say, 2 weeks post-op, but sadly, am not completely healed yet.

I know, I know, what kind of eejit would expect to be healed from such a major excavation after a mere 30 days? Uh, that would be me.

To me, the impatient patient, 30 days is a long time. I really thought that at this point, I’d be back to normal and if not scaling the heights I am used to, getting close. Instead, I’m still creeping along, more clunker than speed racer. 

Can you tell I have yet to master the art of enjoying the journey and not the destination? I’m working on it.

After a month of convalescing, I can stand up straight most of the time, instead of walking hunched over. The incision on my belly is still pretty tight, which is normal since the Drs S gutted me.

The skin glue used to close the incisions is mostly off the belly but still stubbornly hanging on the newly formed breasts. That glue really works. I give it a 10 out of 10 for stickiness. I’m at the stage now where I can start gently removing it with baby oil but have to resist the urge to peel it off like a bad sunburn; don’t want to peel off the healthy skin cells in the process, as tempting as it may be.

The beauty of the skin glue, in addition to holding everything together and helping negate the need for external stitches, is that while it’s on, it’s thick and crusted with blood.

snowowl.etsy.com

How is this a positive thing, you may ask? Because at first glance, it looks awful and gives the impression that the scars will be thick as railroad tracks, raised and purple. But once it sloughs off, the scar underneath is actually thin and pink, with the potential for fading away into near non-existence at some distant date, instead of looking like Frankenstein’s forehead for all eternity. There’s hope after all.

I’m still pretty sore, especially around my sternum. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Dr S stood on my sternum to get the best angle for reconstructing. I still get insanely tired from minimal effort. About 3:00 every afternoon, I’m ready for a little rest, much like an overstimulated toddler. But instead of having played in the sandbox and thrown Goldfish crackers on the floor all day, I’ve been concentrating on healing.

My tummy is still quite swollen, and it’s numb, too, but not the good kind of numb as in can’t feel anything unpleasant (hello, novocaine!) but more the strangely unpleasant phantom numbness, in which I can feel stuff but it doesn’t feel normal. I imagine it’s similar to the feeling after having had a c-section. Since my babies came out the other way (or, I “barfed them out,” according to Macy), I don’t know but am guessing. It distresses me to no end to know that this won’t go away for months. Here I am, finally ready to reclaim my body, yet my clothes still don’t fit because I’m swollen and puffy. Not complaining, just sayin’.

Bathing is still a bit of a hassle since my port-a-cath is accessed. That means the needle stays in, through my skin and into the port, so I can administer the IV antibiotics for a few more days (4 more days, but who’s counting?).  The needle needs to exist in a sterile field, and getting it wet is a no-no. The needle is covered with a dressing that is not watertight. I’ve gotten pretty good at the spit bath, and can see a day in the near future in which getting in the shower means just that: getting in, without worrying about anything other than getting clean. It’s the little things, people.

I don’t have full range of motion back, so reaching for a coffee mug on the 2nd shelf or a shirt from the top rod in the closet still smarts a little. Getting better all the time, but respecting the need to not push it. I have no trouble moving my glass from table to mouth, though, so I’m good. I plan to be moving my glass like that a lot next week in Napa. A lot.

"Lots of Wine Bottles" by Leslie Saeta


8 Comments on “30-day shred”

  1. Tamara Kay says:

    I only hope you’re as light-hearted about this process as you come across in your writing!

  2. Barb Fernald says:

    I read this and thought, “It’s been 30 days already?” It seems like only 3 weeks. Nyuk, nyuk. Who wouldn’t be in a hurry to get back to normal after 30 days of being careful and resting and healing.
    I’ve had me a few big abdominal surgeries and I am happy to tell you that the bloating and the numbness go away. There is just a little numbness right on the scar, but you get used to that.
    As to your upcoming trip, you know the saying, “When in Napa, take a napa.” or two or three!

  3. Eddie says:

    Yay skin glue! Boo swelling and spit baths! Double yay for Napa! Lean on your friends and let them do for you. And if you really need that coffee mug on the second shelf, just call your butler.

  4. nancyspoint says:

    Yeh to thirty days out! It’s funny how a person can appreciate standing upright with no pain isn’t it? Here’s to the day when you can take a nice long hot shower!

  5. Julie A says:

    I like that your glass is half full…hopefully it’s a wine glass, margarita glass, champagne glass, shot glass… I could go on a la Forrest Gump , but I think you’ve got the gist. 🙂


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