It’s so hard to believe that in just nine hours I’ll be laying down on the operating table to have my chest (top) surgery. It’s surreal, to be honest. The last few days have been filled with anxiety and stress over whether I’m making the right decision. I hate to admit that I still have any doubt in my mind because, well, we’re supposed to be 100% sure before we do something as life altering as changing our bodies. But, I’m not 100% sure. I haven’t been without breasts since I was a kid. I can’t even imagine how it will look or feel. I look at pictures of results and it’s hard to connect that to my own body. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out in the end. How can I be 100% sure?
I made the trip down to Charlotte, NC yesterday and got in late at night. After not getting much sleep I had to be at my surgeon’s office at 10:30 for a pre-op appointment. I met Dr. Sherie and three of her staff members. All of them were super sweet and caring people. Dr. Sherie is very warm to talk to and open about answering my questions. Candace really liked her too. That made me feel a lot better as well. Going over to the office and seeing the surgical area really helped to calm me down and settle some of my nerves.
So tomorrow morning I have to be over there at 7am. Surgery starts at 8am. They will give me a valium to calm me down and walk me into the surgical area. After that, I guess I get to take a nice peaceful nap and wake up several hours later feeling a lot lighter and freer.
One of the things that sets Dr. Sherie apart from other surgeons that I’ve studied is how she does her drains. Instead of the long tubes with bulbs at the end to catch fluid and blood she inserts shorter tubes that only stick out a tiny amount from the incision. She attaches pads, similar to menstrual pads, to the surgical binder to catch the fluid. The pads have to be changed periodically as they fill up. I will go back on Monday to have the tubes removed. Then on Friday I will go in to have the nipple stents taken off and see my chest for the first time. After that, if all is well, I will be traveling home. I’ll have to baby the nipples with gauze and cream for several weeks and continue to wear the binder constantly for at least two weeks. After that I can take it off at night for about four more weeks. At six weeks I should be free of the binder and gauze pads.
A lot of my angst about the surgery is how this will impact my relationship with Candace. I worry that she will not handle it well. We have had some hard and emotional discussions since departing for our trip south to Charlotte, which is part of why we got here late on Tuesday night (actually Wednesday morning). Also, I’ve had to tell some folks about the surgery and why I’m doing it and that’s a huge stressor for me. Everyone has been great, though several have been surprised at how quickly I’m doing it. I’m actually not doing it quickly. I’ve been thinking about this for years now and done a lot of research. But they don’t see that because we don’t talk that often about this subject. Their reactions sort of set me back a little emotionally and have me second guessing myself. It’s really not fair to me to let that happen. I’ve thought this through and given it plenty of time to make my decision. I’m not jumping in without my eyes wide open. I’m wishy washy because that’s how I am. But I’ve made my decision. The thing that most folks tell me is that they hope it goes well and that it makes me happy. Me too! I can’t really ask for more than that.