Monday, April 4, 2011


I would post a picture, but I am still adjusting to them myself. On April Fool's Day I went in for the last of my scheduled out-patient surgeries. I had truly debated on the need for nipples. Had I been 90% happy with the results of the reconstruction up until this point I might have skipped the nips all together. Dr. Berardi being the perfectionist that he is wanted to revise one incision and do a little FAT grafting, which of course would involve some liposuction. I figured the revisions were necessary to get my bust line in to tip-top shape so I opted to have the nipples done while I was under.

The week prior to surgery is busy as usual. Non-stop work, kids, school, and life nothing out of the ordinary. My friend Jen is my surgery chaperon, she has gotten quite good at it. It seems as if "California Girls" by Katy Perry is our boob run theme song. I don't know why, I am not thrilled with this as a theme song but it is ALWAYS playing when we do our little Scottsdale trips. We leave P-town around 6:00 AM in order to check in by 8:00. Surgery is scheduled for 10:00 AM. Just past Sunset Point there is a semi-trailer hauling cattle turned over on it's side. We don't see any cattle but the guardrail and posts are decimated. A single lane of traffic was open at this point so we cruised on down the mountain.
I arrive early and they take me in to pre-op quickly. Sandy is my pre-op nurse, this is the 2nd time she has administered my IV. Sandy makes my veins disappear, they just don't like her. So she numbs me and tries to find a vein on my wrist, to no avail it retreats. As you all know I have a short window for these things and she was about 30 seconds past my personal threshold.
Sandy kind of talks like a granny from the south, I think she said "Shucks I will have to try 'nother..." I was about ready to come screaming out of that pre-op room. Just as she pulls out the failed attempt that is still stuck in my arm, she manages to somehow pull off a cap to the saline bag and sprays saline all over me, my pillow and the hospital bed. Now at this point my fight or flight response is saying "get the F out of here". Nurse Sandy gets me dry linens and we try again. I am sure she is going to screw it up again, but I breathe through the next jabbing and miraculously she finds a vein. Did I mention I couldn't drink water, nothing after mid-night on surgery days. I have been waiting for my saline hydration since I got up that morning. Finally I am connected and she has the drip on high which turns my arm into an icicle.....but I am hydrating. Now Sandy will finally go away, I want to wait in peace. Please go get Jen. The IV is the worse part, now Jen and I just wait for my cocktail. The wait is a little long. Jen is cracking jokes about being a fat donor for my procedure. My pre-op neighbor thinks it is funny and pulls back the curtain to tell us ALL about her procedure. She volunteers to be a fat donor too. No matter where we go we are always making friends. Dr. Berardi doesn't show up until 10:20, he quick whips out his marker and goes to work on my body. In about 2 and 1/2 minutes he decides where my new nips are going to be along with where he is going to graft my fat. Dr. Thuley(anesthesiologist) comes in and quick puts 2 syringes of something into my drip and it is lights out, I think I said goodbye to Jen. After surgery I am much better then the last time. I don't puke until I see Jen and they move me out of the hospital bed to the recliner. The good news is I only puke once. I am very groggy though and have an ace bandage over my shoulder and an abdomen brace of some kind. My lip hurts like I bit it, what exactly happened to me in there? The nurses quickly pour me into my car and Jen runs me up the mountain. I sleep to the top of Black Canyon City. Traffic on the southbound lane of I-17 is backed up from Sunset Point to Cordes Junction. Apparently they closed the highway shortly after we went through in the morning for 8 hours. So I guess my timing is getting better. I try to sleep off the surgery most of the weekend. I don't even sneak a peak at my new nipples. There is so much gauze, tape, foam donuts and ace wrap. I am afraid I might harm my new appendages. So for once I take the Dr.'s advice and sponge bath only until I saw him today. The fat grafting seems successful the indentation from my mastectomy has been filled up. Dr. Berardi slowly takes off my ace bandage. Underneath are these foam donuts taped over my new nipples. Dr. B not so gently takes off the tape and reveals my thimble sized nipples with black suture strings sticking out everywhere, TOTALLY FRANKENSTEIN!!!! Placement is good, I knew that they would be big and then shrink down. I was totally fine with the exam until Dr. B had to poke one of them with a needle to make sure it had proper blood flow. Then my ears start to ring and I have to lay back before I pass out. I may never out grow my phobia of needles. Hopefully I will be spending less time around them. So the down low on the whole surgery is that due to the liposuction it was a little more invasive then the prior surgeries. I will have to keep my chest wrapped, without smashing my new nipples. I will also need to wear abdomen support to prevent any swelling from the liposuction. He didn't even take enough belly fat to notice and it is oh so tender. Again I am on the road to healing.... Drink water and breathe.......

1 comment:

  1. She should practice in the back of helicopters with in the dark dodging RPG's, gives you a whole new prospective on hard sticks. I'm sure there is a market out there for Franken-nipples, I'll have to tell you about the zombie show one of these days.