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I went to the PS yesterday morning and he removed the drain but didn’t deflate the left side. I thought it was going to happen and was looking forward to it but he doesn’t want to touch it at all until I finish this course of antibiotics. I can see his point and am actually glad that he’s being cautious about the situation. So, I’m still uncomfortable on that side and actually feel like it’s pulling more with only one side expanded than with two.  I do see him next Monday, 5/3,  to remove the saline.

As for the rash it’s finally stopped “getting worse” and leveled off yesterday. This morning it’s not as screaming, angry-red like it was. It’s still itchy as all getout though and I’m on the Benedryl every 4 hours to take the edge off. Physically, I’m feeling stronger each day and my appetite has returned. I don’t stray too far from the bathroom though as I think the meds are still upsetting my system and everything goes right through me. All in all, one week ago tonight, I was in the hospital, hooked up to IV antibiotics and awaiting surgery the next morning looking like this:

Now I look like this which is quite scary but hopefully, temporary.  (Plan is to deflate left expander, let Cellulitis side heal then go back in to have right expander reinserted and re-expand both together.)


I woke up this morning and my ribs on the left side hurt a  bit. Immediately, I thought of the “pulled muscle” feeling from last week just prior to the hot, red breast. Everything I’ve eaten today has gone right through me, another symptom  that I had last week too. Of course, then, I was sick as a dog and it doesn’t even compare to how I feel today. Regardless, I gave all of the info to the nurse when she called to check on my drainage totals and I’m keeping my eye open for any sign of heat, redness, or fever. I’m seeing the PS in the morning unless something brews today.  My rash is also much worse than when I left the hospital. I’m curious to see what he has to say about that.

I finished off some final paperwork for school so that it’s ready to be submitted and also got my doctor’s note off to the district excusing me for the rest of the school year. I had tried to plan everything so I could take as little time out as possible but this roadblock put an end to that. Right about now, I’m just anxious to get over the scare of a recurrence on the other side,  get rid of this rash, deflate some saline from the left side so I’m not so lopsided, and continue to heal.  In other words, I just want to move forward and not worry about any other extraneous plans.

I’m so glad to be home and although it took me awhile to fall asleep last night, once I was out, I made it through the night. I woke up in the morning with my back feeling like I was laying on a bed of needles from the rash.  I stayed on top of my meds today: antibiotic, motrin, oxy as needed for breast pain, and bendryl for my rash.  It was a decent day and while I caught up on online banking and things that I ignored for the past 10 days, I was able to rest and take it easy.

Since this evening, I’ve been getting more itchy and I’m starting to wonder if the rash is still spreading or if it’s still blooming. I’ll be talking to the doctor’s office in the morning to give my drainage totals and I’ll mention the rash and itchiness. There’s also a spot on the surgery side that looks like the skin was peeled of when they removed the tape. After my shower it was scabby. I’ll mention that too, since now I’m paranoid about everything to do with this skin!

It’s Sunday night, April 25th,  and I’m home from the hospital. WHAT?!  Looks like I need to back waaaay up here a bit and recount the events of the past 10 days or so.

I’ve never been “comfortable” with the expanders in and have had lots of actual “pain” after fills but it usually lets up somewhat as the week goes on. Beginning last Friday, 4/16, I began having vice gripping pins and needles pain across my chest that wouldn’t let up. It continued in on Saturday and I spent most of the day on the couch in tears. By evening I had chills and started with a fever.I hadn’t had much of an appetite all weekend and was feeling lethargic.

Sunday: 4/18:  I woke up still feeling feverish but I literally could not move any part of my trunk or arms without tons of pain. It felt like all of my muscles were pulled and and torn. I couldn’t get up from the couch without help and even with that, it was agony. It’s really humbling when you can’t even wipe your own butt. I had a fever and noticed that my right breast was hot and red so I called the PS on his cell phone. He called me back, prescribed Keflex (antibiotic) and some Vicodin for pain and told me he would see me first thing in the morning. I retired to the couch and felt lousy.

Monday 4/19: I had no appetite whatsoever and the muscle pain was getting worse as was the breast redness and heat. I forced down some saltines in order to take the antibiotic and went to the doctor. He asked me if I was feeling better and I told him no, not yet. He examined me and took out 60cc of saline to give me some relief from the pressure and told me to continue on the antibiotic for Cellulitis, to take Tylenol every 4 hrs for fever and I should start to feel better by Wednesday.

Tuesday 4/20: More of the same, nausea,vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, redness and swelling…. absolutely no appetite but forced down a few saltines to take meds.  I was also  starting to have hallucinations when I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. Whatever thoughts I had in my head, I would see them in comic book visions all night. I literally woke up at 2:54 when DH came home from work and didn’t fall asleep until 7:15AM. It was a night of terror for me.

Wednesday 4/21 I woke up from my 1 hour of sleep at 8:15 and immediately called the doctor’s office. I told them what was up and they told me that he was in surgery and would give him the message. Ten minutes later, I got a call back and was told to meet him at the hospital. I jumped in the shower with the help of DH and we took off for the emergency room. They took me right in to triage, had me  put a johnny on and took my information. They attempted to start an IV and take blood but it was difficult to do either because I was dehydrated. After some blood spilling, bruising, and clean-up I was hooked up and Dr. M. came in. He ordered IV antibiotics and admitted me. He scheduled a sonogram of the breast so they could sample some fluid to culture without piercing the expander.

Dr. M told me that if the culture was negative we would continue on the IV antibiotics but if it was positive, the Expander would have to be removed and we would put it back in again in a couple of months.  A single tear rolled down my cheek….( one fill away, one fill away…)   The technician and doctor saw a small pocket of fluid and started to excise it and no sooner did it come out, more rushed in to takes its spot. They expected about 25cc but took out 150cc. It was sent to the lab for culture and  I was brought up to my room and settled in.  I spent the day on a combination of 2 antibiotics and rested.

Thursday 4/22: I hung out all day with my red, swollen football of a breast under my right armpit and got the word that I would be having surgery the following morning at 7:30.  I was uncomfortable and could see that the redness was not getting any better despite the IV infusions. By evening I developed a prickly heat type of rash on the right side and on my back.

Friday 4/23: Surgery was quick and went well. I was back in my room by mid morning and continued on antibiotics. Naturally, that day and night was full of the usual post-op vitals and bloodwork. They still had difficulty drawing blood despite being on IV for 48+ hours.  By Friday night, my rash was worse  and they took me off one of the antibiotics and kept up the Benedryl.

Saturday 4/24:  Dr. M. came by first thing in the morning and was very happy with the incision and Cellulitis  site which was clearing up. He told me that barring a turn for the worse, I would likely go home on Sunday.  Another day and evening in the hospital recovering and sucking up antibiotics. The rash was getting worse so the second one was discontinued and replaced with a third one but at night, I had a scare when I had difficulty swallowing. They adjusted the dosage speed and continued with the Benedryl and I made it through the night fine.

Sunday 4/25:  Home. Sweet. Home!  I was dying to get home to my family, my dogs, and my own house. I’m here with oral antibiotics, pain killers, stool softener to help with the effects of the narcotics, one surgical drain, a chest that is expanded to 710cc on one side and actually concave on the other, and a bright red sunburned looking back and prickly heat spotted front.  The right side is very angry looking and is scary… I don’t know why I pictured some baggy skin once the expander was out but that’s not what it’s like at all. It would be that way if the foreign being was between the muscle and the skin but it wasn’t. Since the expander was between the muscle and chest wall and the skin is right against the muscle, when the muscle snapped back into place it’s like it sucked the skin in with it. So, my right side is actually sunken in and under the armpit, it looks like it’s been through a meat grinder.  It’s very tight feeling and I have to keep stretching. In the PS’s trained eye though, it looks “beautiful.”

I’m considering adding pictures to the site to accompany the entries but it will be a matter of me getting everything together and posting.

As of right now, I’m so looking forward to a good night’s sleep in my little nest….. zzzzzzzzz

So, after a morning being unable to lift my right arm, a right breast that’s red and hot and a fever, I called the PS on his cell (love the fact that he gives it out to his patients) he prescribed antibiotics,  and Vicodin and wants to see me first thing in the morning. I ended up sleeping most of the day and needed help to even get up off the couch.  I’m hoping that I can crash and sleep soundly through the night and don’t need to get up for any reason. I literally feels like the muscle has torn away.   Not sure what to expect tomorrow.  For now, I’m just thankful for relief from the pain.

I’m not sure what’s going on but my fill was on Monday so you would think I would get more comfortable as the week went on but that’s not what happened at all. Friday night, we went out to grab a quick bite and were only out an hour and I couldn’t wait to get home and to the couch. My chest felt like it was totally locked up and I had pins and needles galore.  I got home, took some meds and crashed on the couch.

On Saturday morning it was getting worse and I spent most of the day in tears. Saturday night brought hot, hard breast mounds and chills. I took my temp but didn’t have a fever.  DH gave me a backrub to try to give me some relief but I think his massaging under my arms aggravated the expanders and I’m very sore.  As of right now, Sunday afternoon, I’m in agony. My muscles are flexed again an I’ve got pins and needles and can barely raise my arms.

I’m going to the PS tomorrow but I’m going to tell him not to fill me and hopefully has an answer for what’s been going on. I’m worried about infection and/or my body rejecting the expanders. If they have to come out, I don’t even want to put them back in.. I’m at the end of my rope right now and just want my life back….

It’s been 3 days since my last fill and it’s definitely been an up and down week. On Monday and Tuesday I stayed on top of the pain meds and took them every 4 hours. Yesterday, I went for a nice walk in the morning and although I was tight and had that pins and needles feeling it was bearable. By the afternoon though, I felt a stabbing  pain in my left breast that wouldn’t let up. I took a percocet and retired to the couch for a couple of hours.  I’ve been taking the muscle relaxers but still feel like I’m in a constant state of flex so I don’t know if they even work. I went to bed with heartburn for the first time in a long time.

I had a decent night’s sleep last night and only remember waking up warm a couple of times but I’m thrilled to say that I haven’t had a soaking-chilling-I-need-to-change-my-clothes-and-bedding-sweat in awhile now. Thank You Premarin!!! I slept in this morning and felt blah.  So far, I’ve been to the bathroom a lot today so I must be coming down with a bug. I hope not but I guess it’s just wait and see.

After a weekend of pins and needles in my chest and back, I went in for my fourth fill this afternoon. Dr. M put in 90cc and I feel very tight and full. I’m projecting and have lots of fullness way up high. He told me to look at myself in a loose shirt to see if I’m feeling comfortable with the size, minus the fullness at top and under the armpits. I don’t have the desire to be as big as I was so I think I’m just about there. I’m at 710cc right now and next week’s fill will top me off at 800cc but he wants to do one extra to overfill.

710cc. Glue over scar trapping blood almost gone.

My major concern right now is whether or not to attempt to go back to school or not. Here’s the thing:  I definitely could NOT possibly work in this condition because I’m usually in a LOT of pain from the muscle spasms for a few days after a fill and although it eases up somewhat as the week goes on, I still have bouts of spasms that require pain meds. So, no matter what, I won’t even consider going back until after the final fill which is scheduled for either 4/26 or 5/3, depending on how much he is able to do next week.  If it is the latter, then the earliest I would consider going back would be the week starting 5/10. More likely it would be 5/17 if after two weeks I’m stretched out enough to be comfortable and able to function in somewhat of a normal manner.

From the time of the last fill, the exchange can take place 4-6 weeks out. He stated that he would rather be later than sooner. The real issue  for me is deciding if I am going back to work. I do not want to go back and then leave again for the exchange. It would not be good for my students if I went back for a few weeks then left again. I have a very good sub and everything is under control. My biggest fear is that I attempt to go back and find it too much then have to leave again. There is no way for me to just ease back in. There is no such thing as working only a few days a week or having an abbreviated day. When I go back, it will be full time and it also means all after school meetings and trainings as well.

Here is also the issue… I believe I’m very close to the end of my sick days. Financially, it will be tough on just one pay but if I can’t physically make it back to work then we would have to make due.  Once I go back, I need to follow through even if I made the wrong decision and I’m in pain.   So here are my options:  Stay out until after the exchange and get the surgery done as soon as he will allow it which will likely be the beginning of June. Or… go back to school and put the surgery off until after the school year ends and have to wait until the end of June which will be more like 8 weeks from the final fill.   So, between now and the end of the month I will have to make my choice. I really don’t want to keep these objects of torture (expanders) in any longer than I need to and I don’t want to upset the apple cart at school by trying to go back and not making it. I wish I had a crystal ball and could see how I will feel after the final fill during the 4-6 week window.

As of right now, I can barely breathe as my bowling balls are pressing on my entire chest cavity… Hopefully, I’ll sleep through most of the pain tonight and I can let go of the need to make plans right now and can stop the wheels from spinning…

In the last post I was upbeat and felt like I had turned a corner. Today is another story. I know there will be good days and bad, but when the bad days hit, I feel like crap.  Last night  we went to eat with some friends so I didn’t take any pain medication because I wanted to be alert and also wanted to be free to have a glass of wine. I was ok for awhile then started to become very uncomfortable.  My chest was having spasms and I was dying to just get home and lie down.  As soon as I hit the couch I was out!

I slept in this morning and took lots of cat naps. The boys were up and out at 5:30 AM for opening day of trout fishing season so I heard them leave and come back in at 7:30. I nodded in and out until after 10:00.  That is unheard of for me!  Today, my entire chest area feels like pins and needles and I can’t get comfortable no matter what I do. Even typing this is tough.  So, it’s back to the meds for me.  When I have to take them to function, it depresses me. I feel like I should be so much better than I am right now. I just want this whole thing overwith and can’t wait for the exchange surgery.

Don’t  mind me today, I’m just a grump and not very much fun to be around…. Tomorrow is a new day and I hope that it’s a good one.

I’m not sure if it’s the gorgeous weather or the walks that I’ve been taking but I feel different today… more like myself. Perhaps it’s the Premarin kicking in too. While I’m still having hot flashes and sweats, I’ve noticed that the vaginal dryness that I’ve had for months is gone.  I’ve walked 3 days in a row and getting a couple of miles at a shot under my belt has been a good feeling. It also means that I’ve been plugged in to an audio book and I’ve had enough concentration to focus on it. (I’m a voracious reader but haven’t been able to focus on reading since my surgery.) Ha!  I assumed that I would have been reading like crazy while in recovery mode but just the opposite has been true. If I’m not ramped up on pain meds then perhaps I’ll feel comfortable enough to drive.

My pectoral muscles are tight as hell over my expanders and it feels like I’m in a constant state of flex.  Then of course, when they spasm it’s killer.  Tomorrow is not going to be as hot but I plan on walking early and even attempting to do some decluttering  and housework and getting back to normal. I’m back to only taking the pain meds in the evening and at night.  The soreness and spasms are worse and my ability to deal with it decreases as the day wears on.

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April 2010
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