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

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