Before Reading this Blog PLEASE NOTE: I have included photo’s (post-infection) which could be considered rather repulsive. However, since I’ve chosen to bear my soul psychologically, I felt it was only fair to do the same physically. Breast cancer leaves emotional scars, but can also leave huge physical scars, depending on complications and surgical outcomes. I’m hoping my Blog readers understand the spirit behind sharing the enclosed photo’s.
At 7 am the following morning I was rolled to surgery. It was an eerie atmosphere since it was a Sunday and no surgeries (except emergencies) were scheduled at that time. Comparable to being in a retail shop when the store is closed, the hospital halls were dark and only staff on-call for emergency purposes were on deck. Dr. Z was obviously there as he was responsible for surgically removing the infected tissue expander (however, I’m still not sure he had actually accepted the fact that I had an infection – LOL!!). I was still pretty out of it, between the ongoing drugs pumped into my body through IV for pain, and the strong dosages of Xanax from the nice nurse the day before.
In reliving this ordeal, I now realize I literally had no options or decisions in this surgery. Not that I could have, or would have taken a different route, but I was totally beholden to this surgeon, the anesthesiologist and the nurse on call to get this infected object out of my body. I knew Dr. Z held impressive medical credentials and surgical talent, but obviously sucked when it came to bedside manner and the needed sensitivity and compassion for this type of situation.
The surgery was over within two hours and I slept the rest of the day. By the following morning, I felt much better, the infectious tissue expander was removed from the chest wall, leaving an elongated rib. The chest cavity was thoroughly flushed and another surgical drain was attached and tied in a knot to drain any additional infection from the area..
Besides knowing this was a major setback, I expected it would now be much more difficult to resume the original plan of reconstruction. Dr. Z came in that following afternoon to announce (for the record) since I had already attained one infection, he would not be able to rebuild the left breast if I attained another. It seemed as if my parent was scolding me, comparable to “you are in trouble, if you get into trouble again, you are grounded.”
In a nutshell, the future was somewhat unknown depending on how my body healed from this infection. In the meantime, I was left mentally and physically exhausted, no left breast, a nasty looking knotted drain, scarring, and a right tissue expander. As I had mentioned in one of my previous Blogs, I was never emotionally connected to my breasts in the first place, but I definitely preferred to have two versus only one; unfortunately, that preference was not possible at this point.
Lisa F. Crites
Shower Shirt Principal/Inventor
Corporate Healthcare Consultant
Health/Medical Broadcast Journalist