I had my appointment today with Dr. Greaney. I set out pretty early because the last few times I have traveled to Philly the traffic has been horrible. Not today. Sweet, point #1 for thetracinator. Yes, I just referred myself as thetracinator. It’s just that kind of day. I was 45 minutes early. I walked into the office and thought maybe they had closed it because there was not one other patient in the waiting room. GREAT!!!!! This day is starting off well! Tack up #2 for me. The receptionist yelled “Hey Trace, I’ll let him know you are here!” When I walked in. I love that they take the time to learn my name. I sat down for maybe 2.5 seconds and Lisa, my favorite nurse calls me back. Point #3 for this day. She talked to me for a while, it has been nice getting to know these people over the past few months. It really makes me feel that they care. I get changed and put on my crop top paper gown open in the front, but this time it’s blue. MUCH better than that ugly mauve color they had before. As if this matters, apparently it did to me. Score point #4 for me. Dr. Greaney walks in and asks how I have been doing, and I tell him about how my back scars have been bothering me, he takes a look and agrees with the physical therapists opinion. He explained that right now (month 3-5 after surgery) is when your scars have the most inflammation and can really be uncomfortable. He thinks that I may benefit from some steroid injections into the scars, but it’s too early in the healing process for that. I have a follow up appointment in 6 weeks (my sister Annie’s birthday) and he will do them then if they are still bothering me so much. He took a look at my breasts and was pleased. I am now allowed to put lotion on them which was good, cues those suckers were dry. He went over the implant massaging that I have to do daily. Then I whipped out my handy dandy iPhone and went down my questions. (Q is me, A is Dr. Greaney)
Q: You expanded me further in my right side, I would have thought that you would have used a different size implant. Why didn’t you?
A: On your left side I only cut into your nipple on the bottom half. It was very difficult to get the expander out and put the implant in. That’s why you see more redness on your left side. This side had more time to settle, and didn’t need any pocket work. Because we took off your right nipple graft and moved it, I was able to get in their and do more pocket work on that side. I was able to form almost a perfect pocket where I could give you the same size implants and you will have symmetry on both sides once they settle which can take months. That’s why the implant massage is so important. We don’t want the pockets scar tissue to freeze the implant in one place.
Q: When will they stop aching when I wake up?
A: Sleeping keeps your body in a position for a while, and they are sore because when you get up and move around so does the implant. This can take months to go away. Remember, you are only 2 weeks post-op. (I forget this all the time)
Q: How long do I have to wear a bra?
A: I would like you to wear a compression bra 24/7 for at least another 2 weeks. It’s going to be more comfortable for you at work if you wear your compression bra.
Q: When can I begin high impact exercising?
A: 3 weeks after your last surgery, so next Thursday. You can go running and things like that, wear a very supportive bra. I don’t suggest lifting heavy weights. (I guess I wasn’t supposed to shovel the driveway. Oops!)
Q: When can I wear a normal bra?
A: For you, I think it’s going to be a question of when your back scars will feel well enough to wear a normal bra. You can wear one in 2 weeks if you want and it’s comfortable, but I think you will find that a regular bra is going to cut across your scars. (Looks like I’ll be letting them wild and free more often because I can, score point #5)
Q: How about nipple reconstruction. I will be having this done and I know you said at least 3 months, do I have to wait longer for settling? Will this be a problem when I have my implants exchanged out later in life (they don’t last forever)
A: We can go ahead with nipple reconstruction in 3 or so months, we can talk more about the specifics of that at your next appointment, but no, you don’t have to wait. It will not be a problem when we go to exchange out your implants in 10 or so years. (Point #6)
Q: I can flex my pecs like a dude. Also, you can really see my breasts clench when I do something like open a bottle. Will it always be like this? (I showed him my technique and he thought it was hilarious. I need to find some sort of competition)
A: No. A muscle must have 2 attachment points to function. When surgeons do this surgery, they can split the nerve in your lat or keep it in one piece. I keep it in one piece because if you split the nerve you can tend to see the implant more and see more rippling. Over time this all dies down, and because your muscle does not have two connection points (only one in my shoulders), the muscle will atrophy and you will no longer experience this sensation.
I expressed to him my concerns about the possibility of my back hurting the first few weeks of work and he told me that will be likely until those muscles are built up. Take tylenol. I was too chicken shit to ask him for pain medicine. Being a nurse, this hinders me. I don’t wanna seem like a drug seeker. So I didn’t ask. If it gets too bad I guess I can call and see if they can give me something. Who knows, maybe I won’t need it. He signed my form for me to go back to work And that was that.
It was crazy to walk to the receptionist and tell her that I didn’t need an appointment for 6 weeks. Good feeling, but strange. I have come to know these people and they, whether they knew it or not, had become a big part of my support system throughout this interesting journey. (score#7) May God bless them for all of the kindness they have shown. Thank you Dr. Greaney, Lisa, Amy, Lydia, Richard, Anna, and Josephine.
I do know one thing, if I can show my patient’s one ounce of kindness they have showed me during this process I’m doing something right. Maybe a plastic surgeon will want me to work with them to help with their breast surgeries from a recovery and emotional level. A girl can hope!
thetracinator 7, everyone else 0
Get ready PACU people, you better prepare because as of Monday, giggles is back.