It's been a very long time since I first posted about my personal struggle. In THIS article posted back in April, I shared a VERY personal experience with ALL of you. If you haven't read "Just Me", do so before you continue reading this. I was just re-reading that article and it brought me to tears. So many emotions came flooding back. I was a little surprised. This post will be an extension of my previous post. I'm throwing out a disclaimer! This post may contain some information you don't want to know about! It's personal and graphic. With that said, let me continue.
Some of you may be wondering, "her last post was in April, why continue this article now in November?". Honestly, I have been struggling with this issue since then! Back in April, we were packing 2 small tunnel wounds with hopes of them closing in a few weeks. I was to then have a new implant reinserted. Oh, if that was only the case...
Three weeks later we had our visit with my Dr. We thought we would get some stitches and schedule my last surgery. It was a pretty exciting day to start. When the Dr. looked over everything, he seemed pleased with the healing process. He took one last look before setting me up for stitches. To my horror he found some more of that infected tissue. He took a better look, and realized that there had been no healing. I was just developing that gross tissue. He then decided to operate. He numbed me up with several local shots and a block that he inserted through my ribs. The goal of this surgery was to clear out ALL of the infected tissue and create a healthy breast pocket. In order to achieve this, he had to scrape out all of my existing tissue. We were going to make a pocket that could be easily and more importantly, efficiently "packed". Doing this would allow me to heal correctly. Now, the process of scraping out the tissue was extremely disturbing. I could feel the pressure of pulling flesh. The sound was by far the worst. It sounded like someone was tearing cardboard right next to my ear.
When the Dr. was finished, I had a hole that was 4 inches deep and 3 inches wide. My entire breast pocket was open. We could fit 6 4X4 inch gos sheets inside, and that is exactly what we did. We had to pack that wound 3 times a day until it healed completely. To top this day off, I was put on some HEAVY antibiotics. These are the same ones they give you if you were exposed to anthrax. Needless to say, they made me sick.
That night when we got home, we were to change the gos. I will never forget this experience and the totall panic that came with it. As Greg removed the first 5 sheets, things seemed fine. The last sheet was crammed deep, he had a very hard time getting to it. Once, he got it out, the blood started pouring out of my chest. I was instantly light headed. I have never seen that much blood. It kept pouring out! Greg had to apply pressure on my freshly operated breast for 5 minutes. It was excruciating! He did this twice, and the bleeding stopped. We then had to replace the 6 sheets of gos. At this point, we were both in tears, and questioning this decision we made. I was put back on pain meds. Something, I wanted to avoid but couldn't.
The process of packing this wound went on for a few more months. The pain I had in my chest never went away fully. After a couple months, we reassessed my healing. For some reason, it was extremely slow. I was on and off those harsh antibiotics. There was still evidence of an infection. The opening at the base of my breast was actually healing faster than the wound. He had to cut it open a few times. I would travel up to Ogden everyday so Greg could change my gos. This party got old fast!
My training became hit or miss. My energy levels were all over the place. The medication I was on was making me crazy! I became mildly addicted to the pain meds. and went through withdrawal symptoms for about 3 days. I felt miserable. I hated the way my body looked. The negative self talk was in full force. The most frustrating thing was that my physical appearance was out of my control. I second guessed my decision almost every day. The biggest question I had was, "What if...?" I cried myself to sleep many nights. I felt weak. Right when I was about to roll over in my self pity, my sister sent me a package in the mail. She has no idea (until she reads this) how much her thoughtfulness did for me. It gave me the boost I needed. It reminded me that this was all for a reason. I could either just "get through" this or I could "embrace the challenge" and learn from it. I developed new relationships and friendships because of this experience. My friends rallied around me and always offered words of encouragement. I greatly appreciate all of you! (you know who you are)
As time went on, I was finally able to weight train at full capacity. My healing had progressed enough that the Dr. allowed me to finally work out! This was a BLESSING! I finally got to do what I LOVED! Things started to settle down a bit. I had figured out a way to "stuff" my bra to make me look as even as possible. I decided, I could do this! I started to see some of my muscle tone come back. I was being patient. It's amazing what an attitude adjustment can do!
A couple more months went by. The healing process was taking way too long. I called the Dr to see if there was anything else I could do to speed up the process. He called back, and gave me two options;
A: He would open me up in his office, and see if he could get a better look at what was causing the slow healing
B: I would go to the hospital so he could really open me up to see what was going on.
Greg and I decided to go with option B. That was the best decision we made! We scheduled my operation with hopes that he would be able to clear out whatever was the problem, and we could start packing again.
This was surgery #4 for me! It was a success. The Dr. found deep inside my ribs, more of that infectious tissue. There would have been no way for him to find it, had I not had this surgery. My prayers were answered. Another bonus was, I was without a hole!!! I was all sewn up! I had a drainage tube in place but that was removed 1 week after surgery. It had been 7 months since the last time I was without a "hole".
The next step in my journey was to let my newly operated on breast tissue soften. The Dr. wanted to see me back 4 weeks post surgery. If everything looked good, we would talk about the next step, a tissue expander. Those next 4 weeks were great! Things were finally moving forward! It had been 7 1/2 months since my first surgery. I was prepared for the tissue expander. The expander was to be inserted and then slowly filled until the skin had expanded larger than the needed size for my implant. This process was estimated to take 6-8 weeks. I was ready for it! I saw the Dr. and things were healing great! We scheduled my expander surgery for 1 week. I was excited! I was almost done! The day of the surgery, I had a really good feeling. I felt a tremendous amount of comfort. When I woke up, the first thing I did was feel my breast. It was bigger than I thought it would be. I was confused. The nurse kept saying I had a right breast augmentation. I argued that it was a tissue expander. My Dr. overheard us and shared the best news with me. He was able to put a new implant in and skip the expander. I had another drainage tube in place but that was something I could easily handle. Now, everyone seemed to know my "story" at the hospital. Each one of the nurses, my anesthesiologist, and surgical assistants congratulated me and celebrated with me. I was completely overwhelmed! My emotions were all over the place. I was finally finished! Now, I'm a planner. I had everything all worked out as far as my training schedule goes. I was now 8 weeks ahead schedule!
I had strict orders from the Dr. to not do anything. I did exactly as I was instructed. I was not about to do anything to mess this up. 1 week after surgery, the drain came out! I had 5 more weeks of recovery ahead of me. I did talk my Dr. into letting me ride a stationary bike. So, that is what I did for 5 weeks! Need less to say, I'm so over the bike! I did appreciate my recovery on it though.
6 weeks after surgery, I meet with my Dr. He was extremely pleased with my healing. Everything was settling nicely and faster than he thought it would. We all celebrated in his office! Dr. Sellers is an amazing surgeon. I know the Lord had a hand in my decision to choose him. Everyone there was supportive and understanding. I greatly appreciate each of them. I received full clearance to train at 100%. It was the best day ever! It had been 8 months since day 1 of this journey for me. I hope and pray I never forget all aspects of this experience. I hope I can apply what I have learned to my life each day. It changed me forever. I do not regret my decision back in February. In fact, I would do it over again. My loving husband Greg, is my hero. He held my hand, and wiped the tears. I'm grateful for my sister and her support long distance. I love you Erin! I'm blessed to have a great neighbor friend who was more than willing to offer an ear or even help in the gos changes. I'm blessed to have made new friendships. These ladies are awesome and they inspired me. Thank you.
I have started a new journey about 3 weeks ago. Before this all started, I was preparing for my first photo shoot. I am focused on getting my body where I want it to be, photo ready. I am documenting this journey and will be sharing it right here! I will be including work outs, and nutrition plans that I will be implementing. I'm starting off with Body by Blue! My "before" pics were taken, and I look forward to sharing them right next to my "after" shot! It feels so good to be back!
I hope there is someone out there that reads this and can pull something positive from it. I learned that I could do hard things, pain is temporary, and attitude is everything. Each of us has something we are struggling with. For some it's their weight, others have health issues, or even problems at home. We need to rally together to support and encourage each other. I couldn't have done it alone.
To celebrate, I'm extending my 2 for 1 offer! Visit HERE to take advantage of this opportunity! You have until Thanksgiving day to redeem!
Thanks to all!