It’s Wednesday, July 31, 2019. Two weeks after my surgery and it’s my first day going back to work! I’m excited and ready. I’m very fortunate because I love my job and many people would dread a day like this. But not me – I’ve been looking forward to it.
First, I know some of y’all are probably thinking “Back to work? Already?” But yes, already. The first operation that was done was the breast reduction. So this was the “easier” surgery of the treatment plan my surgeons recommended. This is why my insurance didn’t originally approve the claim because it was considered cosmetic. But because I’m so (eh hem) “blessed” they had to reduce and go small first in order to save my skin and nipples. In total, I’m having 3 surgeries and now 1 is done. I’ll tell you more about what’s ahead in another post.
Surgery Day, July 17: Here’s What Happened
I had to be at the hospital at 5am. My parents and sister were with me. This was the part I was dreading the most…the actual surgery. It was my first one ever and I wasn’t even thinking about recovery. But it was seriously the easiest part. As soon as I arrived, they took me to a room to prep me, started giving me drugs and I met with the anesthesiologist (Jim) who explained to me what he was going to do. Then my surgeon, Dr. Fisher, came in to check in on me, asked what size I decided on and started marking me up. The sweetest nurse, Kacey, came in to tell my family they were taking me away. That’s when I got scared and started to cry a little bit. My family kissed me and I was wheeled off to the OR. It was surreal having the POV of being in the bed and seeing the halls go past me. My only experience with surgeries has been on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Kacey was reassuring and said, “You’re going to be fine, Jessica. You’re in great hands.” Those two little sentences were so comforting and made me feel better (for about 30 seconds). Then I was in the OR and I remember looking around thinking, “Well this is a pretty room” because it had wood paneling and not steel like on TV. Then I saw Jim walking toward me and that’s the last thing I remember. Literally 2 seconds later someone was rousing me saying, “Wake up, Jessica. It’s over.”
It honestly felt like I closed my eyes and the surgery was over but it was actually close to 2.5 hours. It felt like no time had lapsed – I didn’t even do the countdown from 10! Jim put on the mask and I woke up to Glenn, the recovery nurse. He fed me ice chips and called my sister to give her updates. I was in recovery for almost 2 hours but it was very hazy. My blood pressure was high and they wanted it to come down before they returned me to my room. I remember it being hard to breathe because I was so tired and Glenn saying, “Deep breaths, Jessica. Don’t you want to go home?” Thank God for all that yoga. Finally, my BP was down and they took me back at 12pm. I saw my dad first taking pictures and my mom waiting at my door. I could barely talk but I asked them if they ate breakfast because I still couldn’t believe almost 5 hours had passed. They could’ve had lunch at that point.
Dr. Fisher came in to see how I was doing and said I handled surgery “like a champ.” I didn’t even need drains because they said I didn’t have excess body fluids. And she said they removed *1 lb* from each breast – yikes! I was released from the hospital around 2pm. The ride home felt like forever (longer than surgery) and every little bump or dip was torture. My dad drove with the hazard lights on since we were going so slow. The second I got in my bed, every emotion suddenly hit me. I was happy, sad, scared, hurting, thankful, relieved – so I cried. My first real cry in months. Then I took a looooooong nap.
By the evening, I was walking around and feeling loads better. I had some friends come by and they were surprised to see me up and about. Walking is the only thing I can really do and my doctor encouraged it since lying around too much would cause other problems. I received so many calls, texts, messages, cards, food and well wishes from everyone. On Friday I felt well enough to go to the movies to see “The Lion King.” (By the way, a real-life looking Simba crying over Mufasa is a gazillion times worse than a cartoon Simba.)
I was bandaged and in a surgical bra and scared to touch or even look at my breasts. Mostly I didn’t want to mess up the stitches but partly because it was VERY obvious I was now on the small-side. I didn’t know how I was going to react. Would I be sad? Depressed? Scared? Angry? Hate my body and realize this was a huge mistake? I was told to take a shower on Friday and nervous it was going to hurt. They instructed me to stand backsides to the shower head and let the water fall over me. Okay, this was it. The big reveal. I stepped into the shower, looked down to see the gauze wash away and….
Day by day I was getting stronger. We left for San Antonio on Saturday and I was so happy to be going home. Over the next 10 days, I watched a lot of Netflix, HBO and Hulu. Finished “Orange is the New Black,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Queer Eye, “When They See Us,” and “Big Little Lies” – you know typical viewing that’s part of the liberal agenda. I ate a lot of Mexican food. Was visited by family and friends. Cuddled with Finn, who was simply amazing and the sweetest thing ever. I saw a completely different side of him as he was so aware of what I was going through. He was less hyper and more cooperative than I’ve ever seen him.
And of course, my amazing parents and sister Melissa. I couldn’t have gotten through those 2 weeks without them. They spoiled me, catered to my every need, helped me shower, fed me, dressed me, made sure I took my medicine, etc. And, of course, they took care of Finn since I couldn’t. I love them so much and I’m so thankful for them. And thank you to the Soliz family for your wonderful gift. We all benefited from it!
I still have loads to talk about but I’ll save that for another post. Right now, just wanted to let everyone know I’m doing great and in a really great place. I’m so incredibly blessed to have you in my life. I’m one of the lucky ones.