Friday, January 25, 2013

The Phoenix


It just occurred to me that the above picture would look a lot more realistic if the gas control console and yellow gas pipes were not visible....

But that's not what I wanted to talk about......

Okay, I have arisen like the mythical Phoenix.  Well not completely, but partially.  And when I say "arisen" I mean that I have been able to get off the couch for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Lord, these last several weeks have NOT been fun.

Okay, they did the operation.  Or, as the nurse said, the 4 operations.

When I woke up after the surgery, the doctor told me that he had had quite a difficult time.  He  did the first part of the operation where he took out the capsules that the old breast implants were in, also removing the implants themselves, which had ruptured.  Then he told me about the second operation, where he scraped had out all the hardened calcium deposits in my left breast, which was quite difficult due to the fact that there was so much of the deposits and that they had practically filled my entire breast.  And there had been some beginning lumps in the right side, too.  Then he had done the 3rd operation where he performed the augmentation part---where he put in the new breast implants.  Then he did the 4th operation where he relocated the nipple and "lifted" the breast.

Ok, I know I don't have to tell you that I was in pain like you wouldn't believe.  I already told you in my last post about all the meds I would have to take.  I began them when Blaine took me home.  I was wrapped in an ace wrap and was to see the Dr. the next day.

The next day the Dr. examined me, pronounced me as doing fine, and I began the next part of my treatment. And that is the wound dressing part and the sports bra part, which is very painful in itself.

Every day I have to put antibiotic ointment on my scars, which are covered with steri-strips.  I'm supposed to let them come off naturally.  After I put the antibiotic ointment on them, I dress my wounds with gauze, holding the gauzes in place with paper tape.

And then I have to put on a restrictive sports bra.  I HATE THOSE THINGS!  Sports bras have extremely tight elastic at their bottom edges and that aggravates the incisions I have at the bottom of my breasts.  It has taken me literally 2 weeks to figure out a way to do the gauze dressings down there to pad things enought to minimize the pain.

And so I don't do much these days.  I'm not supposed to lift anything heavy.  I have to wear the sports bras 24 hours a day for 6 weeks.  (I bought lots of them so that if some are in the laundry I still have clean ones.)

On my 2nd post-op visit, when I complained of the pain, both the doctor and nurse exclaimed:  "But your boobs look FABULOUS!"  I felt guilty for not saying it myself, but all I could think about was the pain.

But then I had my 3rd post-op visit yesterday and I redeemed myself by telling the surgeon that I had finally checked out my boobs from a new view---from a painful view to an aesthetics view---and that, indeed, I think he did a great job---the boobs actually do look fabulous.  They look better than the boobs I was born with.  They look better than the first time I got a boob job.  They look better than...

Where was I?

Oh yes, how my boobs look.

But I really don't see what difference it makes any way how they look because nobody's going to see them.  Nobody but Blaine, that is.  And'm the kind of person who wants the lights off anyway, if you know what I mean...

So, I had my third post-op visit.  I am progressing fine and don't have to see the surgeon again for 4 weeks.  He said he'd take the "after" pictures then.  (Oh joy.)

Anyway, I'm kind of jazzed that after all that pain, they do look good---and also I am going to admit some vanity here and say that I'm glad they are bigger than they were before, heh.  (But you won't be able to tell that for 4 more weeks when I can begin wearing regular bras.)  And the Dr. seemed gratified that I had thanked him and told him how much I appreciated him for doing such a great job.

Now, as I have been doing for the last couple of weeks, I am still riding the couch for the most part.  I've felt pretty bad but in the last couple of days I have been able to get up here and there to knit for a very short time.  I'm knitting socks---Jelly Beanz socks, since I finished Blaine's house socks below.  Because after finishing his socks I am still in a sock-knitting mood and want to make some socks for myself---I want a bunch of pairs of Jelly Beanz yarn socks.

I also want to use my Bedazzler thingy to put some colorful studs around the iron-on patches of my psychedelic jeans jacket.  I saw someone who had done that on TV and I thought it would look cool on the iron-on patches on my jeans jacket.



Of course not everything on these jackets would be appropriate for lining with studs, as many of the patches are already sequined and beaded, but some little plain things will come out and "pop" if I do line around them with studs.  I have many sizes of silver studs, gold studs, and rhineston-ish colored studs.

But like I said, I'm only just now starting to be able to knit a little on some Jelly Beanz socks: :

Anyhoo, I'm healing a little at a time.  I can't hardly breathe in these tight sports bras.  And I've gotten quite used to laying on this uncomfortable couch.  But I am still alive and wanted to check in after such a long absence.  Hopefully my healing will start getting faster and faster.  I really want to make all those Jelly Beanz socks.


Monday, January 7, 2013

24 hours and counting....

Well....first the bad news.

Kitty left us.  We fixed her up all "brand new" and thought we had a nice, well-behaved, and sociable cat.  And then...Blaine went out to the BBQ a few days ago to grill some drumsticks.  (He makes the most absolute bestest drumsticks.)  Kitty followed him out onto the back deck.  Blaine didn't think anything about it since occasionally one of our cats will follow him out.  But then he shoo's them back inside since our cats are "indoor cats".

After Kitty followed him out onto the deck, she then ambled away---and when Blaine turned around, she was gone.  He followed her footsteps in the snow until they reached the street.  Then he couldn't find them again.  He checked all the yards of the other houses on our two cul-de-sacs but couldn't find them.  But all their driveways were in various states of snow coverage, some with ice only, and there were other, larger footprints.

And she has never come back.  We don't know what happened to her.  Maybe she went home to her real owner?  Blaine thinks so.  He had been nagging me about the fact that she was fat and healthy when I found her---not skin and bones like a real stray cat would be.  He said that he always believed that she had an actual owner who kept her as an outdoor cat.

And now.....

I have less than 24 hours until time for surgery at the Shawnee Mission Medical Center complex.

I will check into the center's surgery center to have the surgery done.

In case I didn't explain very well before, here's what is going on. 

I had a breast augmentation done years and years ago.  I completely forgot all about it, to tell you the truth.  Until about a year ago when scar tissue began forming around the "capsules" the breast implants were in, inside my breasts.  The scar tissue didn't bother me but my OB/GYN and breast surgeon followed me for a year, doing multiple mammograms and doppler studies.  We followed this pattern for a year---and, unfortunately, the scar tissue kept getting bigger and bigger.  I could no longer ignore it.  Because it began to hurt me, hurting more and more.  And my breasts were turning hard.

So my breast surgeon referred me to a plastic surgeon since my insurance wouldn't pay for the scar tissue to be removed since it was "of cosmetic origin".  So we have to pay nearly $10,000 of our own money to a plastic surgeon to fix the whole mess.

And when I got to the plastic surgeon,  it was decided that I needed a breast revision surgery, where they take out the old implants and capsules, and scrape out the scar tissue of course.  And then new implants are put in (under the muscle layer-OUCH!) to reconstruct the breasts.  But the doctor also said he wanted to do a second procedure called a "breast lift", a "mastopexy"---the explanation of it here.  He said this would tighten up the skin on the breasts and reposition the nipples to the new upright-ness of the newly augmented breasts.  He tried to comfort me by saying that I would have breasts like a 20-year old.


So I have to have two procedures in one.  And I don't know how the breast implants I chose will look.  They are "Natrelle Gel Implants" that come with some level of warranty if they ever rupture or something similar.  As for size, it's hard to guess what implant to go with when you're trying the fake ones on over your existing boobs.  I mean, how would one know what level of "sticking out" you will be when you can't simulate how it would be when they remove the old implants and then put in the new ones?  So I have no idea what I'll look like with the ones I chose.

Hell, I hope I don't come out of there looking like Dolly Parton--- or else Dog The Bounty Hunter's beautiful wife, Beth.  (I think Beth is totally cool but she has the biggest boobs I've ever seen!)

Who knows.  I am confused as hell about this whole procedure anyway.  But one thing I do know for sure---and they told me such---is that I'm going to be sick as a dog and in great pain after the two procedures.  

I will have to be on mandatory bed rest for so many days, and I won't be allowed to lift anything heavier than a cotton ball.  I won't be able to lift my arms over my shoulders.  I won't even be able to brush my hair.  And there has to be somebody to care for me that day and then bring me to the plastic surgeon's office the next day for the post-op visit.

Blaine is going to take those two days off and will care for me.  And for Thursday and Friday, when he returns to work, he will leave food for me in the refrigerator.

So I've been taping all my favorite TV shows on the DVR so that I'll have plenty to watch while I'm camped out on the living room couch.  That way I won't be at the mercy of the crappy daytime television.

I think the meds I have to take after the surgery might make me sick.  I'll be in great pain and so they gave me a prescription for a zillion oxycontins.  I've taken them before and they make me really nauseated.  But they gave me a prescription for Phenergan, an anti-nausea med.  And I also have to take 5mg of Valium around the clock as a muscle relaxer.  And an anti-biotic of course.  Hopefully I'll be high as a kite and not care about the pain....

I'm very frightened today.  And I miss Kitty.  In fact, I'm so out of sorts that I made an appointment at my beauty spa.  I'm going to get my golden blonde hair tinted down to more of an ash blonde, which I've always preferred.  I'm also going to get a deep, botanical conditioning on my hair and a trim.  That should keep my mind occupied for a few hours.  And they pamper you up there---they always give me some refreshing cucumber water to drink.  And since I won't be able to lift a brush to my head for days, my hair will be decent at least.

So I may not be able to blog for a few days.  

Wish me luck.....

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

If I Can Save Just One....

Somebody save me,
Let your waters break right through, 
Somebody save me,
I don't care how you do it,
Just save, save me, 
Come on, 
I've been waiting for you.... 
("The theme from Smallville, Remy Zero)
I knew I shouldn't do it when I did it....

I knew it because, in the past, I'd been warned about it, I'd been scorned because of it, I'd been ridiculed because of it---and I had already done it once.

It began several weeks ago when I began to see a lonely, dirty cat.....foraging in people's trash cans for food.  I had never seen this cat before---it had just suddenly appeared in the neighborhood.  And I knew that a hungry cat was not a good situation.  Because why was it hungry?  Why was it foraging in trash cans?  Where was its owners?

And, as I watched this poor cat, I considered our own spoiled and pampered cats-- and my heart began hurting because I knew that nobody was spoiling and pampering this tragic stray.

So go ahead and kill me.....

I fed it.

Yes, I fed it.  It was perched up on top of a trash can and looked at me with a little fear as I approached it with a can of wet cat food.  I spooned the food on the ground and the cat jumped down and began gulping it down in an extremely quick and desperate fashion.  There was a dirty old flea collar around the cat's neck.  I wondered who had abandoned this cat.  I wanted to strangle whoever it was.  I vaguely remembered that I had seen a moving van in the neighborhood recently.  I wondered whether they had been the ones who had left the cat behind.

Perhaps they had moved to a place which would not allow pets and so they had abandoned this poor cat.....
I went home---but I watched.
Sure enough, the next day I saw it doing the same thing, looking for food in the trash cans, and I took it some food again.  I called it "Kitty" as I set a plate of dry cat food chow in front of it---and also some on our front porch.  And I called out "Kitty!  Kitty!" so it would know which house I lived in.  I wanted it to discover the bowl of food I'd left out for it.  And sure enough, it did.

And so it began.  The food would always disappear whenever I put some outside on the porch.
One cold day I saw it across the street in the grassy area between two houses.  I called out "Kitty!  Kitty!" and it came trotting over to me from across the street, knowing that I was putting food down for it.
It's a pretty cat under all the grime and dirt.  And it has a lot of Siamese characteristics in it as well as those of the plain old American Shorthair.  Its lovely almond-shaped blue eyes look at me with fatigue.  And it is as friendly as could be---and it has a very sweet and docile nature.  It loves for me to pet it and will purr and purr as I pay it loving attention. 
And, pretty soon, Blaine found out what I was doing and blew up at me.  But then, as I begged him to understand, his heart became entangled as well---and pretty soon he was leaving cat food out, too.  But he remained convinced that the cat indeed does have a home to go to and just comes to our house to get a "snack".
Then yesterday was New Year's Eve.  And it came with a worrisome weather forecast.  And for once the weather man got it right.  There would be a storm---with snow.  Lots of snow.  In fact, the weatherman said it would snow for an entire day.  And then there would be freezing temperatures for the next few days after that.
By this time, the cat was mostly staying on the back deck, maybe so it could look through the glass sliding doors at us.  But when Blaine and I realized it was going to snow all day our hearts began to break in earnest.

And so, as the first snow flakes began to fall, Blaine and I went outside and built the cat a snow shelter.  We cut a hole in a box for the door, I put a thick chair cushion on the floor, and we covered the shelter with towels to try and keep in the cat's body heat.  We also covered the towels with plastic trash bags for 2 reasons: One to keep the snow from wetting down the towels, and two to keep even more body heat in.  And we put plant pots down to anchor it all so that the wind wouldn't whip things away.

Kitty went into the shelter the minute it began snowing and we had finished building it.  As it curled up inside the shelter, I became positive it had been abandoned.  Because if it had a home to go to, then it would most certainly have gone home then to get warm, right?  But it stayed--which convinced me that it had no home to go to and needed us to help it survive the cold.

All day, as it snowed more and more, it would only come out to eat.  We had to take out fresh food and water often because if we left the bowls outside, the water would freeze and the food would get soggy and frozen from the snow.

It took us about 5 hours to make a decision.  I'm ashamed it took us that long.

And so we did it.
At about 11am, with about 3 inches of snow on the ground, we brought Kitty into the garage.  We put another soft, cushioned bed down.  We put food and water down.  And we put a litterbox a ways away from the bed and food area. 
And that's where Kitty is, now.  In the garage.  If it wasn't New Year's Day I'd take her to get a bath at PetSmart.  I know she'll be stunning when I get her cleaned up.  And then perhaps I can talk Blaine into letting her into the house with the rest of us.  He keeps saying that we need to first get her checked for diseases.  But the cost would be high for us right now, since I'm going into surgery on the 8th, a week from now, a surgery on my breasts which will cost nearly $10,000.  (By the way, I'm extremely nervous about having surgery---I just want to get it over with.)
Blaine still remains convinced that she has a home nearby.  I just don't know.  The last time I allowed my heart to cause me to save a cat was was when I brought Little Baby home from her birthplace in a bush on a street in the ghetto.  Most of you know of our late cat, Little Baby, who lived until she was nearly 19 years old.  I had taken a hiatus from blogging but began again when Little Baby died, as a way of coping with my feelings at the time.  (That post is here.)
We'll see what happens.....

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"

(Matthew 25.35-40 ESV)