Recovering from DIEP Surgery!

I’m home from Gainesville! The surgery was on Monday and went well. I was surprised by a few things so wanted to blog about it before I forget, so others can be aware. First of all, the most pain I have ever been in is when I woke up from the 8+ hour surgery and my arms burned like crazy. It turns out they are held perfectly still in some awful position throughout the surgery. If you only have one side done, then it’s only one arm. The pain meds don’t help and you’re not allowed to stretch them, which is the only thing that helps. It was so bad I would sneakily stretch when the workers were turned around. They’re still sore today, five days later. I heard that the reason the pain meds don’t help is that it’s nerve pain instead of surgically caused.

I was also very, very swollen from all the IV-fluid. My fingers looked like juice was about to burst out of them. That took two days to get back to normal. The last bad surprise is that I was not allowed to use my pectoral muscles at all once I could start using around. Not to brace myself when sitting up, to keep balance, etc. It’s hard to do that when your ab muscles have recently been removed then replaced into their cavity and only a binder is holding them in place. So the first day they had me move around was really, really hard. But I got the hang of it quickly.

The good surprise is that the nurses told me the recovery from this surgery is considered excruciating and they’d never seen anyone do so well with it. I’m pretty much fine. I feel like I had the surgery, and the 4 drains hanging from my body are very annoying. But I don’t feel much worse than I have after any other surgery, or like I did after 6 months of chemo. I stopped taking my pain meds more than 24 hours ago and am still managing.

My discharge note says not to lift more than 5 pounds or drive for 6 weeks. That has already been hard so I’m not sure how it will work. So far when Naomi needs something someone else has been around to help, or a few times I’ve let her climb on my back and I lift her that way. But it’s all going to get harder after the holidays when no one is around anymore, so please join me in prayer about that. I have a follow-up appointment on December 27 and hope Dr. Rosenberg will change my instructions at that time.

Anyway, before the surgery I started getting nervous about putting myself at risk for a cosmetic improvement. I prayed about it and God surprised me by filling me with true and complete peace about it. I never got concerned again. He took such great care of me. It shouldn’t surprise me after all He’s done for me, but I’m still shocked. He is so kind and loving. So gracious and awesome!

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid

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