Tits Off for Harambe! (or Hey, I got a breast reduction.)

So, I had a breast reduction on January 24th, and these are my observations/reflections/thoughts. I’m going to talk about the surgery first, and then at the bottom, I’ll have my thoughts on it as well as the reasons behind it. I’ve done it this way so people looking for information on having this done can find it quickly and easily, and people who just want my thoughts and not the details of the thing can just skip down to that. (This is much like my tonsil removal post, so if you didn’t find that entertaining in any way, you probably want to skip this one too.)

My pre-surgery research references:
I combed through the internet for the sane blog posts and articles from people who have had the surgery. I paid a lot of attention to sections that said “things I wish I had known before hand” and that helped a great deal in preparedness and expectations. To all those people, especially ones who posted photos of before, and after, Thank you. I will not be posting photos at this time, however a few years down the road, I can see adding some time lapse back in to this post, as the photos I found the most helpful covered a span of years.

Some of the links I found and used as my research:
https://www.realself.com/forum/13-before-breast-reduction-lift-surgery
http://www.prevention.com/health/10-things-you-should-know-about-breast-reduction-surgery
https://www.bustle.com/articles/59548-whats-breast-reduction-surgery-recovery-like-9-things-to-know-about-the-post-op-experience
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/i-had-breast-reduction-surgery

Pre-surgery prep recommendations:
1. Ask the doc for more than one post-surgical bra if you are required to wear one. If you have a second one, you can wash one while you are wearing the second, and just keep a rotation going. This is preferred.

2. Go ahead and have bandages/guaze and surgical tape on hand ahead of time. You’re going to need them. Maybe not right away, but you will need them. The best ones I’ve found to use also happened to be the most affordable ones I’ve found. You can get them here. Get at least two boxes when placing an order and even with paying shipping it’s still cheaper than the pharmacy/drug store. I ended up doing bandages on my incisions for 7 weeks afterwards and went through 3 boxes of these bandages. We put the leftovers in our first aid kit. I don’t have a tape recommedation other than find one that doesn’t make you itch or irritate your skin. I originally purchased Nexcare tape because their bandaid generally work for me quite well. Their tape made me itch, so on my second Jeffer’s order, I picked up some of theirs, and that worked better.

3. Get your prescription filled ahead of time and have it near where you will be recovering so it doesn’t have to be filled or located after surgery. You’ll thank me for this. You’re welcome in advance.

4. Take a pillow for padding between you and the seatbelt for the trip home. I live less than 5 miles from the hospital, so it wasn’t a huge ordeal for me, but if you have to drive for a longer amount of time, you’ll want the pillow for sure.


Actual Surgery related notes:

    1. The marks they make on your body for the reduction are a lot like a Tailor’s marks for corset contstruction. I found this an interesting correlation. Afterwards, it was amazing to me to see how far down my stomach the marks went because the new smaller boobs were so much higher.

    2. Standing Prep. I was awake in the OR. I stood up on some paper, naked as hell, and got swabbed down with cold cold iodine. Then shuffled over to the table, and got up on it and laid down so that I was placed exactly how the surgeon wanted me to be, then they knocked me out and proceeded. I’m not an exibitionist so this was a little awkward, but I quickly got over it because I was going to be unconcious with these people anyway, so it’s not like they weren’t going to see me at my worst as it was. And honestly, I don’t much care if someone went home and said “OMG this fat lady got surgery today and I saw her naked before hand” because if that’s the highlight of their day, they have other problems.

    3. Catheter. It turns out they give you one because of the amount of time you are under. Plan accordingly. The nurse I was talking to about this unexpected bonus said the same thing happened to her for her C-section. You may not care, but you might, so you plan accordingly if you do.

    4. Sleeping arrangements. Recliner recommended and if you don’t have one, you need a lot of pillows. Sleeping sitting up more than lying down is needed for proper drainage, at least the first few days. After that drainage slows down or stops and it’s not as big a deal but you can’t really sleep on your sides yet either so I slept in the recliner for almost a month afterwards until I got the all clear to sleep on my side some because if I had slept in bed, I would defintely have tried to sleep on my side.

    5. Speaking of drainage, Shmoo’s entry for this list is that “Drainage” means blood. So when they tell the person giving you after care there will be drainage and to change the pads as needed, they mean blood.

Recovery related notes:

    1. Your boobs are going to look like a train wreck right after surgery. Healing takes time. Don’t panic.

    2. One side hurts more than the other, and from the start I’ve had more mobility in the less painful arm (my right). The side that hurts less and has more mobility seems to be draining more, but I have no evidence or subject matter expertise to support that’s the difference.

    3. Speaking of sides… the sides of your body will heal at different speeds. No shit. My doc says this happens with facial reconstructions and such as well, even when it’s an incision going across the mid-line of the body, each side will heal at a different speed. In my case, my right side healed faster.

    4. Everything is really tight right now. My skin especially. Gravity appears to not be a thing for my boobs. From everything I’ve read, it will take some time for them to “settle” and look less like little square shaped skin sacks and back to more natural boob shape. And by time, I mean months.

    5. Do not buy bras in advance. You don’t actually know what size you will end up being until all the swelling has gone down and some healing has happened. Surgical bras should be worn at least 2 weeks if you need one (I was told a sports bra would have been more than enough, but I also got lipo under my arms to get rid of the sideboob that would have been left behind otherwise). I’ve been told and read that the longer you wear the surgical bras (1 to 4 months) the better your boobs end up looking. Also, underwire bras are out for a bit for sure. That wire would be right on a seam/scar. Some people can’t wear an underwire bra up to a year afterwards. As it currently stands, I may never wear one. My incisions feel like I am wearing underwires all the time right now. Additional pressure on those scars as they keep healing would be super painful and likely make me nuts.

    5. If you are prescribed Opiods for pain for after surgery, go ahead and get some Correctol or Seneca etc. You’re going to need it as long as you are on the Opiods. You won’t notice you need it for about 2-3 days, and then you’ll suddenly need it a lot. It turns out, the cells in your lower intestine/bowels respond the same way the cells in your brain do to Opiods. So your body says, “hey, shouldn’t you be working?” and the cells say “nope! we’re good”, and that keeps going until the body says “HEY! YOU NEED TO POOP NOW! NOOOOOOW.” and the cells are all “Nope! it’s all good.” But it’s not. It’s really not.

    6. Your nerves have to remap and regrow. This causes a lot of really wierd sensations. Not a damn one of the stories I read in preparation for surgery mentioned this. So let me say it as loud as I can. IT IS GOING TO BE WEIRD FOR YOU WHEN YOUR NERVES ARE ADJUSTING TO YOUR NEW BOOBS. One nipple is super sensitive and any time anyone comes near it and like.. you know, walks into the room, it twitches and gets hard. The other nipple has no feeling at all directly in the center, but the areola around it has feeling. The skin on my boobs is constantly having odd sensations. Sometimes there are itches in places that just don’t exist anymore because my brain can’t interpret where the signal is coming from correctly yet. Sometimes my brain tells me the nipple that has no feeling is desperately itchy. It’s not, it has no feeling, and there is no way to communicate this back to my brain in a way that makes the itchiness go away. My chest often feels like it has a massive fever in the areas affected by the surgery. It’s not hot to the touch, but the the skin has this buzzing burning sensation to it and it’s super super senstive. It’s like when you are coming down with the flu and even the hairs on your head hurt and the breeze from someone walking by you irritates your skin. That is how it feels, for hours at a time, and this goes on for weeks. NO ONE MENTIONED THIS!!! It’s not like this would have been a deal breaker for me, but it would have been nice to know in advance.

    7. You will very likely reject some of your internal stitches. It seems to be pretty common with this surgery. The internal stitches are supposed to dissolve and be absorbed into the body. But! If air touches them, it allows bacteria to find them. Bacteria really like the material the stitches are made with, so they are attracted do it, and then it hangs out there. Your body wants nothing to do with this, and proceeds to evict that shit from your body, as it should. This means your incisions take longer to heal, because your body isn’t trying to close off an incision when it’s trying to kick something out of that location. Once the stitch gets to a point it has been evicted (or removed by your doc, or possibly you in between visits) it’ll proceed with closing up the that lingering incision site. At 5 weeks post surgery, I still had open incision locations where I was rejecting stitches, and was still doing wet to dry bandages twice a day until the incisions closed over (at around 7 weeks out).

Mental/Emotional observation type notes:

    1. I was an H cup. I am now a large C/small D cup. (Not sure which yet, because I’m still in post-surgical bras and sports bras, and will be for a while.) I am totally satisfied with the change. I told the Doc I wanted a C or smaller, and he did his best. It turns out you have to keep enough breast to keep the nipple viable or it dies or something to that effect, but he was able to take more off than he originally thought, and I was pretty happy about that.

    2. Suddenly having a much smaller breasts is a bit of a mind-fuck. Your body perceptions and what you think/feel about yourself changes. I am still the same person I was, but now I am not weighed down by what society has taught me about women with large breasts. I’m getting a lot more eye contact from men, and I’m no longer an obvious “easy” sexual target. I’m just me, and that’s pretty fucking awesome. You don’t realize the day to day crap you put up with until it’s suddenly just not there anymore.

    2. My body profile is less balanced. My stomach is more obvious. Not that it wasn’t obvious before, because hey, I am fat and you could all see that, but it’s more obvious to me now because I don’t have ginormous boobs sitting on top of it. I am OK with that. Honestly, I feel like a kid again. My boobs haven’t been this size since around 7th grade. You know how you felt super free as a kid in the summertime running around in sprinkler in your underwear? That’s a lot what I felt like in my first shower after surgery. I know visually I have boobs, and I can feel them and see that they are there, but they are so much smaller and so much less in the way I feel like they aren’t there and it’s AMAZING.

    3. Healing takes time. Everything I read made it seem like after a few days I’d be chomping at the bit to be moving again and after the 2 weeks, it’d all be back to normal. It wasn’t. Maybe it’s because I am 42 instead of 22. Maybe it’s the amount of tissue I had removed. Or maybe it’s because I have RA and healing is always slower for me. But from everything my doctor has said, I am progressing normally. So anyone who says it’s not big deal, tell them to suck it ’cause they lie. It has taken 7.5 weeks for me to recover “fully” from this surgery. By fully I mean, I can lift my arms over my head again easily and without pain (though it still pulls a little). I can lift more than 10lbs. I have been cleared to exercise and swim again. I can wear (sports/sleep) bras that aren’t my post surgical bras, without discomfort. I don’t think “damn, my boobs hurt” 100 times a day from nerve pains or incision irritations. I don’t need to wear bandages and replace them twice a day. Sleeping in the bed as opposed to the recliner doesn’t make me uncomfortable.

    That’s not to say there aren’t still some things that are quirky, but mostly, life is normal. The doctor’s office doesn’t even take the post surgery pictures until 3 months after, so if you really wanted a time frame for full recovery, that’s likely it.

If I had to do it over again, would I? Yes. In a heartbeat. If you live near me and want the doctor’s name, hit me up. He’s not internet saavy, so don’t expect a lot of fancy tech anything. But since I was paying him to fix my boobs, and not to internet all the things, I am just fine with that. He’s good at what he does; he’s honest and up front with you even if you don’t like what he’s got to say. He worked well with both me and shmoo, and that’s a pretty high standard from any angle.

Mammogrammatical Error

So, about a month ago, I had a breast reduction. There will be a post about it in the future, much like my “I am a grown ass woman and I got my tonsil out” post, but this, this is not that post.

This post is about the Mammograms I had to have done before hand.

The Events!
So around 40, a woman is supposed to and get her baseline Mammogram done. It’s the one they will compare all other mammograms to for future changes and signs of abnormality(cancer).
I am 42. I had not yet had my baseline done. Mostly because I just didn’t want to be bothered. So even while I knew it was important and it was time, I hadn’t yet gone. Approval for my breast reduction took forever. (4 months, with no reason given for why it had to be submitted 3 times, nor why there was a delay in verdict, thanks Carefirst BCBS, you’re a champ, like always!) So once that approval came through, it became imperative that I get off my ass and get my baseline done. Luckily, I already had the script, and I knew where I was going, so it was just a matter of calling, scheduling, and arranging it with work.

My first mammogram showed some abnormalities, likly cysts. The radiologist said it was likely fine but I should get another mammogram and an ultrasound in about 6 months. When I said “I’m getting a breast reduction in 4 weeks” he said “well, you’d better get it done before then, but give the results a week to get to your doctor” (the gyno the order had to come from not the plastic surgeon who just needed the results). So I waited a week (it was Christmas after all) and then called the gyno’s office and left a message. They called me back, and while they hadn’t gotten the results yet, they understood my urgency and faxed the new script over to the diagnostic place for me, and I immediately called them and made a new appointment for that week.

The second mammogram and ultrasound was not conclusive. While they determined that the right side was almost definately cysts (less than 2% chance otherwise) there was some asymetry in the tissue on the left side, and I’d need further mammogramming in 6 months. I reminded them, that nope, I would not, because my boobs wouldn’t be there the same way, and was told that the surgeon would have to make the call if I needed to go further along the investigative path or not.

So about a week later I see the surgeon for pre-op two weeks prior to the scheduled reduction, and while he thinks a lot of the radiologist I went to see, he said “if you were my wife, I’d want you to go see a surgeon and have them make a call on it” and gave me some names of docs he worked with previously and offered to let my chosen doc come in during the reduction, if I got the green light to proceed with the reduction, for a biopsy if it was desired. So I called that day and scheduled an appointment for two days later which was also pre-op day with my PCP. I also called to schedule a pick up of my films and ultrasound results because it turns out, NONE of my doctors had been sent them yet, not even from the first mammogram. So irritating.

PCP pre-op went fine, going to blood tests went fine, then the trek to get my films sucked, because despite calling days ahead and asking if they could have them ready Wednesday morning, they weren’t. I had to wait for them to print them all.

Then was the visit to the specialist to find out if I needed a biopsy on my left boob before all the tissue was removed or moved around in such a drastic fashion that the baseline mammogram wouldn’t really map very well to the new structure. Shmoo went with me for this one, and it was a bit of a surreal visit. There were things about this office visit that I don’t think I can blog about without sounding crazypants, so I’m going to skip them, but know that it was an adventure, and yet another man, and his two medical students got to see me half naked and poke at my boobs. Yay. Really. So thrilled at this…

But! What I was actually thrilled about was the verdict that no, it was fine, he didn’t see a need to biopsy. He agreed with the radiologist that yes there was some asymtetry and it was odd, but there was a minimal chance it was bad, and it was just oddly shaped tissue, so, carry on with the reduction.

My Feels!
I’m not going to lie here. I felt super relieved. Despite the crazypants office visit, I came out of that office with the verdict I wanted. I wanted the all clear for the reduction and no need to do a biopsy and that’s exactly what I got. And that he didn’t think anything on my mammogram results was an issue also lifted the worry I didn’t even acknowledge I was carrying. From the moment you hear “irregularity” and “needs more tests” when you get a mammogram, there is the worry that it could be malignant. Even when you are reassured it’s probably not, and even when you know statistically it’s probably fine, and cysts are very common, especially in large breasts, and blah blah blah. I know shmoo was also relieved at this verdict as well. We didn’t really talk about it much, because I’m not much of a talker about the things that really concern me, but I know he worries about me and my health, and this cloud of doubt wasn’t a happy event for either of us.

The week that this all happened, I was a bit numb emotionally. I was trying to get my shit together and check off all the pre-op boxes, deal with this extra “oh your results aren’t good and it might affect your reduction” mammogram stuff, as well as get ready for shmoocon, and prep at work for being out for shmoocon, then coming back into the office for 4 days before going out again for two weeks for the surgery. I felt like I was juggling everything in my life that week, and it was stressful. By the time we got the verdict of no biopsy on Wednesday, I was pretty much at my stress limit, but walking out of that office, it was a burden lifted. It was the last thing I needed to deal with and put behind me for surgery prep and I was happy to have it done.

In all of this, I realized I was very lucky about my concerns (in addition to the results!). Even if they had wanted a biopsy, and the verdict was bad, and I was going to have to get a masectomy, the need for a masectomy was not a concern for me, like it can be for many women. I wanted less boobs, and if I was unlucky enough to need to have them completely removed because of cancer, I was just going to roll with that and move on, because either way I was going to end up with less boobs. I know other women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to whom the masectomy was a BIG DEAL, but for me, it was just a question of if I needed to be on additional drugs after that, and how much it would change my life to treat the diagnosis.

So there you have it, the roller coaster that was my life from Christmas to the middle of January. Now go get your mammogram if you need one and have been putting it off. It’s important.

Jeep Update, Summer 2016

jeepfront2016

This year’s summer jeep update took a bit longer to get to than last year, for a number of reasons.

We went camping on Memorial Day weekend this year and the hard top stayed on for that. Then the leftovers from tropical storm Bonnie (that hit while we were camping in the Outer Banks) made it rain for another week and a half straight, so it was mid June before the hard top came off.

Then, there was some bimini top drama. I had ordered a new safari style bimini top for this year because I wanted more shade in the back of the jeep, and better protection from rain blowback because I always keep the windjammer at least halfway down. (For those who don’t know but want to, the bimini is the roof panel, made of cloth. It’s only the roof and nothing but the roof. The windjammer is the “rear window” like panel.)

I spent the extra money to get the nicer Besttop Bimini top, and then it was on backorder, and then it got here, but it didn’t fit the jeep quite right and I didn’t understand why. I had read up on the top, I know I got the right version, etc. etc. (Jeep Wranglers are like Lego for adults. Just as pricey, and certain sets don’t work with other sets.) It turns out, what they don’t tell you is that they designed this for soft-top users, and soft tops have a door surround. And this fancier top hooks into the door surround. You don’t have to have the door surround, but if you don’t, it allows all the water ever right into the jeep. So I went back to my old bimini top (that only covered the front seat) while we figured out what we wanted to do. I had to decide whether to sink more money into the surrounds and knobs for this top, or if I just wanted to send it back and get the cheaper Quadratop safari bimini that would be like my current 2 seater one, but longer.

jeeprear2016

After some discussion, shmoo convinced me I wanted the door surrounds. He really liked the way the Besttop fit into the channels of the door surrounds and felt like that would be better water protection. It was a hard sell for him. I resisted for several weeks. I figure if you are going to take the top off, you’re going to have to deal with some water problems, that’s just part of owning a jeep and making choices like having no top. But I also like having a dry ass when I arrive at work, so he managed to talk me around.

While waiting on the surrounds to arrive, we also did some spot painting on the jeep’s rack where it had rusted. We scraped, rust-primed, and then painted the spots that needed it and finally, Finally, FINALLY took off that wooden valence. Upon removal, I promptly notified Bruce it had been removed. :)

nomorewood

The jeep has also had some other work done on it since last summer as well. New bumpers with a wench. New wheels & tires. The old rusty rock rails removed and new side steps put on, and it’s been lifted, so it’s SUPER TALL now as well. I’ll be honest, I could do without the super-tallness, but it was required for the wheels I wanted, which remind me of daisies, but in a subtle way.

I’m very happy with it now (not that I was unhappy…). I still don’t have the spray on bedliner, but there’s always next year.

Topless, The Official Welcome of Summer

I know the calender disagrees, but we officially consider it summer once the top comes off the jeep.

I have hard top and I didn’t start taking it off until last summer, which was the first summer we had a garage. Last year it was difficult, took forever, made us cranky and sun-burnt, and took several days. This year it was easy. I did everything we did last year in less than 3 hours, and that includes cleaning it all before putting it on, and then cleaning out the inside of the jeep. Some of that was just having done it before and knowing how to do it now without having to read pages of instructions, and some of that was just better prep and wiser decisions.

It’s relatively easy and affordable (in jeep terms, because after-market stuff is pricey) to get your jeep to look this way, so I am listing everything I’ve put on it/done to it here. Basically, everything we’ve done is available on quadratec.com, and that’s where we’ve gotten it all from, but it’s been over a period of years, not all at once.

Bimini, Windstopper, and Bed Cover set:
If I had this to do over again, I’d pay the extra twenty bucks for the Bimini Plus top, and it’s possible that in the future I’d buy the plus top alone, but this is a great set. When I originally priced this out not long after getting the jeep several years ago, it came up to around 600 bucks, and this “QuadraPac” is $230.00 and includes all the little geegaws and windshield and tailgate channel crap you need because you don’t have it if you have a hard top.

SunScreen:
Even when I take the bimini off, I like a little shelter from the sun. We are pale people who work inside with computers and sometimes extended trips in the sun can hurt you if you forget sunscreen. The jeep might be moving, but it’s like you’re sitting still in the sun.
I have layered this sunscreen under the bimini top so it’s already in place if I take the bimini off. All I have to do is fast the side wraps and snap the two out front snaps and I am good to go.

The Rack:
We got this rack used from a friend who had a 3rd kid and traded their 2 door in for a 4 door. As much as I like having a rack and I like this one in particular, I think it’s insanely priced and it wasn’t super easy to install.
The friend we got it from is the source of the wood on it also, because his wrangler was a soft top and said the wind noise was an issue, but the wind deflector for these garvin wilderness racks doesn’t come with the super expensive rack and it also is rather pricey for what it is.
He did however spend the money on the hi-lift jack mount for the rack (also stupid high for what is two brackets and some bolts):

Hi-Lift Jack:
Because you want to be able to change a tire if you need to and wranglers are pretty tall for normal jacks.
And the handle keeper helps keep vibrations and rattling down once it’s mounted.

A hardtop and door storage rack:
Seriously, it’s pricey, and shmoo said the assembly was a bit of a bitch, but it’s so worth it because you don’t end up shoving your top and doors around the garage and constantly fighting with them when they are in the way. This was easy to put the hard top onto, it holds the freedom panels and the doors securely so they don’t bump and rub each other, and the two rolling racks are designed to slide together to take of less foot-print. The only real problem I have with this rack is that it didn’t come with the cover it’s pictured with, and that’s another $165.00 if I decide to get it. But, when I ordered this back in early March, Quadratec did throw in some quick release mirrors with it, which work better than the old cheapie “I took the doors off and just need mirrors to be legal” mirrors, and they fit over the rack side mounts, which was a concern.

Future plans? Oh yes, I have them!

I need a tire cover, and I’ll probably crack and just order one that I am OK with, since the one I feel in love with is someone else’s custom wheel cover and I am not sure I could get our cat to co-operate.

Larger plans include having the carpet ripped out and spray-on bed-liner put in, so that when the rains happen, it’s just not a big deal and any water that gets in the jeep will just roll right on out the drain holes and there won’t be stinky carpet afterwards. It’s ideal having this done in the summer after I’ve already taken off ALL THE THINGS so I don’t have to pay someone else to remove/put back ALL THE THINGS.
I’ll pull off my soft-top stuff and remove my E-kit and tools before we take it to the bedliner place, and then all they should have to do is remove the seats and rip out the carpet before tackling doing the liner, which will save me some money.

After that I feel like I’ll be done until next year, when I’ll try to convince myself that I NEED this cargo netting somehow.

Who’s down with UPP….P? (yeah, you know me!) – Tonsillectomy at 40.

So, I meant to post this in April, but it’s better I did not, as I’ve needed a bit of distance on this one not to make it a crazy person post, and honestly it still might be.

On April 20th, I had a UPPP and tonsillectomy. I don’t recommend getting a tonsillectomy as an adult. At all. That being said, I’d do it again.
This post is about my experience thus far, and you may want to stop here. Also, it’s REALLY long (I mean REALLY!!). And probably has typos I haven’t found yet because it’s too damn long.

——-

Still reading? Let’s begin!

Why?
I have sleep apnea. For those of you with sleep apnea, my last sleep study number was 109.
CPAP was not working for me, despite a year of trying off and on. I could tolerate the CPAP up until the full pressure came on (so around 45 minutes, an hour if I was pushing and trying really hard to not give up) and then it was just a mess of coughing and sputtering and misery. Additionally, along with the usual adjustment crap of a sore chest and face acne and blah blah blah, I’d start getting sick almost every time I went back to trying CPAP. It got really old really fast. The trying to use it during the day when relaxed tricks didn’t work, aromatherapy didn’t work, it got to the point where just thinking about CPAP stressed me out and kept me awake all night.
Shmoo was having none of this. He loves me, he wants to have a long life with me, and me dying of sleep apnea induced heart failure or complications thereof were not something he was going to tolerate, so I went to the ENT.

Who?
I love my ENT. He’s a practical man who has innately understood how to communicate effectively with me, which I’ve found is a rare thing with doctors, so I am totally going to keep him. (If you live near me and need an ENT recommendation, hit me up, I’m happy to pass along his info.) Even without looking at my sleep study (but I did tell him it was bad and that the records would confirm it when he requested them….) he told me what my options were if I wasn’t going to do CPAP and didn’t try to talk me into or out of my choices. He was upfront about how absolutely shitty it is to have a tonsillectomy at 40, how much pain I was going to be in, and negotiated effectively with me about how much time I was going to need off afterwards. (He was totally right too!)

What?
The procedures I had done were a UPPP and Tonsillectomy. So basically, he removed some of the turbinates (or nasal concha according to google) in my nose, my adenoids, a good chuck of my soft palette including my uvula, and my ginormous tonsils. This is normally done as outpatient. Because I have sleep apnea, and apnea patients are prone to bleed and have more issues after this surgery, I got a one night stay in the hospital as well.

And here’s how it went down as I remember it…

I showed up at the hospital on Monday morning April 20, at 7:30 AM. My surgery was scheduled for 8:40. I got to put on a fabulous hospital gown and sit on a stretcher while they prepped me. I got an IV. They took my blood pressure and it was stupid high. People came and talked to me and wandered off. My IV had to be changed because it was the wrong kind because I was staying over-night. The girl did it in a hurry because the surgery team was waiting to haul me off. They popped some shit into my IV with warning to kiss my people bye quick, because I wasn’t going to remember anything else after this. I don’t remember shmoo kissing me on the forehead and leaving.

I woke up at some point later hearing people talk around me. I did not open my eyes, so everything was black, but they were talking about my blood-pressure and how stupid high it was and how it needed to go down. I am almost positive this was after the surgery, but I wouldn’t put money on it. I was pretty out of my head. I woke up in recovery and opened my eyes to see family there waiting on me to come around. I told them my blood pressure was a thing and dosed back off. Then I’d wake up, and doze back off. This went on for a while, possibly several hours.

Around noon? or so, maybe later, they got me to my hospital room. I was very happy about this new hospital bed because the stretcher was making my butt sore.
I remember being asked about my pain levels a few times. I know I answered 7 once. Then 4 or 5. Then I remember another 7. Then it was evening, and I was more alert. I started eating ice to help numb my throat. I tried an orange sherbert but it was too thick so I went back to ice. I got pissed off at the hospital gown and no one answering if I could take it off, so I took matters into my own hands and changed into shorts and a tank top I had brought with me. This made going to pee with all my attached accoutrement SO MUCH EASIER. Wrestling with that huge (because I am a fatty) hospital gown was a fucking disaster when trying to pee and not piss off the IV monitor.

When the night nurse came on, I asked her if my IV was supposed to hurt. She said it was not, and that meant she’d need to remove it but she needed to put a new one in first before removing the old one, but first she’d try flushing the one that hurt. It didn’t flush. It turns out, that fucker was bent. So IV number 3 was put in, and IV number 2 removed. And then, because my blood-pressure was still an issue and she really couldn’t see why (I looked comfortable and relaxed, I wasn’t distressed, etc etc), they gave me additional pain meds, and took me off of the IV. An hour later, my blood pressure was fine.

During this time I also had a heart monitor on a finger, and some compression sleeve things on my calves that were supposed to simulate walking around and prevent blood clots which they were incredibly worried about for whatever reason. I took the compression sleeves off after a while because I found them irritating and stupid, and they interfered with me going to pee, which I had to do constantly from all the IV fluids and the ice I was consuming. When the night nurse came in and found me standing up stretching my calves by doing lunges and walking around dragging my IV pole around, she agreed it was fine to quit doing those if I really wanted to, and I did. She also brought me orange jello and it was FUCKING DELICIOUS. It had a flavor and slid right down my throat without bothering it. It was heaven. As it turns out, I was also supposed to be on some oxygen cone thing on my face, and should have been all along but had removed it when I got transferred to the room. So I cooperated and put that back on since I didn’t have an IV drip anymore and finally went to sleep around 3 AM. Poor shmoo slept on the little couch in the room.

The next day I finally got cut loose to go home, the only hiccup being that my doc had done the paperwork already the previous day so while we thought we were waiting on something, we were not. We finally got that sorted and I got the hell out of there around noon. My doc had thoughtfully prescribed my meds the week before so I got them filled before the surgery and they were at home waiting on me. I promptly took them and slept, eating/drinking only cold, icy things or cool things for several days. That whole week is basically one day in my memory. Then there was the weekend, which I also mostly slept through, and then I did a week of WFH. That Friday (May 1st) I had my post-op follow up and was cut lose to go back to work, start eating more things, but no orange juice, no scratchy dry foods like chips, and no gym for another week. (My healing was a bit slower than it should have been, but we expected this due to my arthritis issues.)

The next Monday saw me back in the office, but not talking as much or as loudly as normal, and then early Wednesday morning(day 15) I had some bleeding that I could not get stopped, and had to call the ENT office’s emergency line. My doc was the one on call (thank goodness!) and he had me go on in, because apparently bleeding at day 15 just isn’t common and he wanted to go ahead and cauterize.

So 6 hours and 3 IVs later, that’s what had happened. I remember a bit more about the 2nd surgery, and while it wasn’t a horror story, I am still a bit too close to it to want to rehash it here. (As of writing this, it was only 5 days ago, so… yeah.)

I went home and both shmoo and I slept it off. When leaving the hospital Wednesday morning, I really thought I’d be back at work the next day. I was an idiot. Thursday morning I quickly saw I was fucked because just the thought of trying to get dressed was overwhelming, and called in. I slept the rest the day. I think I spent a total of 6 hours awake on that Thursday, and had no trouble sleeping that night. The overall result of the 2nd surgery was that I had to be careful with foods again for a few days, and it extending my no heavy lifting and gym time for 2 more weeks.

It was a lot of pain, and a lot of discomfort.
I am still tired/weakened, but I can tell I am getting better each day.
I have no uvula (it will grow back/be replaced by my soft palette at some point).
While I have found that anesthesia and common post surgery meds don’t cause me problems, it appears that IVs do not get along with me at all. That’s ok, I don’t like them much either.

————-

If you’ve made it this far, you either really interested in this experience or you are thinking about having this surgery as an adult, so I want to list some observations and food tips below that might be found helpful.

Thoughts.
It was totally worth it. It might not be for you, but for me it was, despite all the shit I’ve talked about above.

The day of the surgery, even with all the internal swelling from said surgery, I could already breathe better through my nose. I immediately saw an improvement in my snoring and most likely my apnea (I’ll do a study again in 3 months, so this is all anecdotal right now). Before, if you slept in our house, you heard me snore. Now, you have to be in the same room, and that’s IF I am snoring. I am still so fucking tired all the time, and odd things trigger coughing fits right now, which hurt. Yawning hurts like a bitch. Sneezing is surprisingly not the most painful thing. In fact, it’s a bit easier post surgery than it was before. I still sneeze super fast and hard, but it doesn’t seem to be tearing out of me near as much.

Advice.

1. Sleep in a recliner. Seriously, if you don’t have one, beg/borrow/steal one before this surgery, you are going to want it. I am still sleeping in it half the time now. It really makes a huge difference to be sleeping more upright and a huge stack of pillows just doesn’t help you do this as effectively.

2. Listen to your doctor when he tells you it’s going to suck, be painful, and be much harder to recover than you think. He’s telling you the truth. Take your meds on time. Set timers if you have to, even for the middle of the night. It’s much easier and more effective to stay ahead of your pain level than to get stuck behind it.

3. Foodwise, have some things prepared for post surgery.

  • Be sure you have access to ice chips/crushed ice.
  • Buy a shit-ton of popsicles. I bought about 5 boxes of the Outshine fruit ones. I have one box left right now. (You don’t want ice cream. I was told that modern ice creams are too thick so they just irritate your throat instead. Also dairy makes your mucous thicker, and that was something I personally did not want.)
  • Go ahead and make up some jello. Several different flavors.
  • Coconut Water. shmoo picked some up for me just because, and it was wonderful for the first week.
  • Instant mashed potatoes. Get a few bags/packs, and then mix them up with extra water when you are ready for something not straight liquid. I also added jarred gravy for flavor and extra fluid.
  • I got a juicer, but it was too strong/thick that first week, so it didn’t work like I planned. I also did gazpacho around day 5, and that was pretty good because I was still on cold only foods.
  • Humidifier. I had a cool mist one, but I ended up buying a warm vapor/mist one week 2. The cool mist bothered my throat week 2 and just agitated me.
  • Lots of tea varieties that you really really like.
    -Week two when the scabs started coming off, my throat was a lot more raw and cold things stopped being OK.
    -Coconut water also burned my throat for several days around that time, and I had quit eating again.
    I lived on luke-warm tea and a shit ton of honey for about 3 days that second week.
  • Once warm is ok, I found taking a hot shower helped with my throat pain levels substantially. Specifically if I had just woken up. In the mornings I’d wake up, take my meds, start tea, and then go take a steamy shower and let the warm water hit on my throat on all sides and breathe the steam in deep. HUGE DIFFERENCE.
  • This list is of course not comprehensive. You might have different instructions than I did, and you’ll probably heal differently.

    I was told liquid diet the first week, so I ate jello, popsicles, italian ices, coconut water, and beef consume/broths (once I was ok with any heat in my food, which took almost all of that first week). Then very soft foods were ok as time went on, but I was not supposed to eat things that encouraged my scabs to fall off. I’ve heard that other people are told to do horrible things like eat dry toast and potato chips. I think I would have killed someone about that sort of shit.

    4. Timeline wise… Day 1 hurts. Day 2 is a little better, but you are going to hurt for several days and it will suck balls. Seriously. Then you’ll start getting better, and then your scabs start falling off (day 5-6-7) and it’s super fucking painful all over again, then it’ll be better, and you can likely come off your pain meds.

    5. Try not to freak out about the shit you go read on the internet for what other people are experiencing for the same day you are on. Everyone’s experience is different and generally the only people who post on those forums are horror stories. People who have good experiences don’t generally stop to bitch about it on the internet, they just go on about their lives.

    6. Don’t think you are going to do jack shit while recovering. You won’t. You are going to sleep. You might try to watch TV, or read, or futz around on you-tube or whatever, but you won’t, you’ll just fall asleep in the middle of whatever you thought you were going to do. It’s probably for the best, so don’t fight it, you need sleep to heal, so sleep.

    Also, don’t think you are going to be able to recover from this surgery and do something important like watch your kids (if you have them). That’s not going to happen unless you just like to make your life a living hell. It’s not good for you, or the kids. Don’t do it.

    7. Finally, set up someone to be your communications agent. Let everyone know before-hand that X person is who any information will be coming from and that’s who all questions should be sent to, because you aren’t going to give one flying fuck what anyone has to say or what they want to know, you are just going to be resentful that these people who care about you won’t leave you the fuck alone for a few fucking days and FUCK THEM YOU JUST WANT SOME SLEEP AND PEACE.

    I know this sounds hostile, but seriously. You’ll be drugged, in pain, and cranky as all get out. Make it easier on yourself and everyone who cares for you by appointing the poor bastard who is going to be around you most as your communications agent, and let them deal with all that while you rest. (I totally did this for my second/emergency surgery and don’t regret it a bit. I wish I had thought to do it for the first one.)

    And that’s all I got. Personally, I feel this is more than enough, so I am stopping now.
    ~Laura

    Housekeeping has informed me your room is ready.

    I never drink water; that is the stuff that rusts pipes.
    ~W. C. Fields

    Tuesday, February 17th, seemed pretty normal for most of the day. Shmoo got home about 15 minutes before me, grabbed the dog and took her out back to potty. When he got downstairs, there was water EVERYWHERE. So when I got home a few minutes later at 5:30, he was walking out to meet me, and everything was suddenly chaos and crap.

    By the time an hour had passed the leak had been found, the plumbers had cut and repaired the pipe, and an insurance claim had been opened.
    (Forgive the photo blurriness. They were taken with our phones cause it’s easy.)

    The pipe that burst was nestled in between the two floors, so when it realized it was really upset about being frozen and fucked right off, the water just poured down the wall and flooded the entire guest room, out into the laundry room and was making it’s way towards the rest of downstairs when we got home.
    water flowing the down in the walls

    This is our souvenir.
    the pipe
    That tear that looks like a smiling mouth is not much wider across than a quarter. There was so much water and it was coming so fast into the other rooms, near as we can figure, the frozen spot only thawed shortly before we got home.

    And here’s where the plumbers ripped out our friend the angry pipe…
    the scene of the crime
    Did you know that when you have a leak in your walls, they just start cutting holes in shit until they find where it is? Yeah.

    I’m going to stop for a moment now, and show you a photo of our ceiling, just in case you missed the disaster it was all on it’s very own.
    the most awesomest ceiling ever
    Why yes, that is basically 1x12s around the edge of the room, with vinyl lattice work over black landscape fabric. And yes, it was totally awful and made everyone who looked at it state “what the hell? I don’t even know how to write this down…” and look at us all confused for an explanation. To which our reply was “We just bought this a little over a year ago, and it came like this. I’m sorry.”

    So, back to the train-wreck… Basically everyone who has ever had pipes had one freeze the same week we did. So the water mitigation folks who normally would have been out that night or next day couldn’t come until Friday, and there were no other available companies in the area. We know this because we called a bunch of them. After 3 days of standing water, the carpet was certainly a loss and they ended up taking out one whole wall, one half wall, the rest of the walls to one foot up from the floor, and half the fabulous custom ceiling.
    And this is what that looks like:
    look ma, no walls!
    and no ceiling too
    Now, you’ve noticed that they took the walls, but not the insulation, which also got wet and had to be removed before repairs could actually start. This is because it was so damned cold while the water removal was happening that they were afraid it would lead to all the pipes in the house freezing if they took it out.

    So if you’ve made it this far, I’m just going wrap this up by saying that we had a bit of back and forth with the insurance company and the restoration folks, and while I am not really happy with the restoration people, I’ll live. The repair work started on Friday, March 20th and they had guys out here for 4.5 days, and the last day was Friday, March 27th. It’s done. We’ve cleaned and gotten everything back into the room and all fixed up and now it’s ready for guests!

    panorama from the doorway
    panorama from the corner opposite the doorway

    We love the room and are happy with the final result, which is good, because shmoo’s family is due in this week. They had planned to come out for Cherry Blossom Festival before the pipe incident and we’ve been feeling a bit of stress about getting everything done. But it is. The guest room is restored, my craft room is now also a secondary guest room, and later this week our new furniture we ordered several months ago will finally be here as well, which means the current sofa will finally make it’s long awaited move to the den/bar where it too can be an ad hoc bedroom.

    It’s like we’re grown-ups or something…

    2014 Wrap Up

    Hi!

    It’s the end of another year where I haven’t managed to post at least once a month, and when I realize that I haven’t posted here since May I feel a bit ashamed and depressed about that.
    I’ve spent more time in the past year updating my site than I have posting.

    I’d talk about my knitting but I haven’t finished anything since around May, and if you really care you probably already follow me on Ravelry anyway and can see the numerous things I have in progress that I haven’t finished.

    Between Ravelry and Twitter, most of the things I have to say are on the internet without me posting here. I did do a post back at the end of September while we were at Derbycon but I didn’t actually finish or publish it and don’t much see the point now, so I won’t go back and do anything about it. I’m obviously going to have to find other things to blog about than my crafting since I am not crafting much anymore with any measurable progress. That’s ok, I can find other things to post about, I just haven’t done so because I didn’t want to change the nature of the blog. It’s obvious to me now however that either the blog changes or it’s going to die because I am not adding content I feel isn’t in line with crafting stuff.

    2014 has been a good year for us. Shmoo and I are both happy and relatively healthy for the most part, even though we’ve officially hit middle age now. I was expecting to stress about that some, but it hasn’t happened. I am content, and I am not going to worry about it. Life is about getting older, it’s what happens in the natural progression of things. I can’t change physics, so if I am unhappy with the state of things, I can only change myself and my reaction to the things that bother me. Right now I am fortunate enough that not much really bothers me.

    Daisy is still kicking around, despite being blind, mostly deaf, nerve damaged, and some days suffering from dementia. She can be extremely frustrating if she’s having a bad day, but I know that the time I have with her now is limited so even when it sucks, I need to appreciate that she’s still here and giving it all she’s got. I don’t think she’ll have another New Year’s Eve with me, and in fact both shmoo and I congratulated her at making it another Christmas this year, because we weren’t sure she would.

    The cat is still an asshole, who occasionally gets pissy and tries to beat on the dog. And then is terribly upset with us for us yelling at him and running him off and blaming him entirely. It would be pretty comedic if we aren’t worried he’ll actually hurt her.

    So, expect more posts I guess, about non-crafty things. I am going to try to post about things I would normally comment about on Twitter that I have to trim down to that format and see if that provides more content. We shall see.

    Regardless, Happy New Year! I wish a safe and happy 2015 to you all.

    ~Laura

    Where is this year going?

    How is it March already? And been that way for over a week at that!

    Craft-wise I have completed nothing. I’ve got a few things going on though, so there’s that.
    The days are just flying by right now. It’s probably because I am so busy at work, and then I am trying to do more in the evenings. Be more social, go to more events/meetups, that sort of thing.

    We were slated to have family from both sides here for the Cherry Blossom Festival so we went out and made sure we had furniture for the guest room and it was nice enough that we’d be OK staying in it, and now no one is coming. So that’s frustrating, but at least it’s all ready now with nothing more to do to it. I still want to get a daybed for the craft room once I finish getting it all sorted, so that there’s another place for people to sleep if needed, but it’s on the back burner for now.

    Spring is slowing coming and we’ve got patio furniture just waiting on it. I made shmoo grill for our dinner Sunday night and it was awesome. I can’t wait until he’s grilling most every night as it’s tasty, and for a bonus, I don’t have to cook everything.

    I need to order my herb garden seeds and find a bird bath and feeders I like sometime soon. I plan to set up a little bird area in our back yard far enough away from the porch and herb garden that it’s not an issue so I can take photos of the birds again. Even though we only moved 8 miles away, there seems to be a lot more variety in the birds that hang out, so it should be interesting to see what turns up.

    I’ve also got two trees in the backyard picked out for a hammock. All homes need a hammock out back for lazy reading days and naps in my view, and so it must be done.

    That’s pretty much it right now, see ya next time!

    Are we there yet?

    This has been a busy and eventful year for us.
    Back in March, shmoo’s father was diagnosed with Leukemia, and we spent 3 weeks in Arizona.
    Then in July, two ER docs said he had less than a week to live, so we went back and and spent 2 weeks in Arizona again.
    Our jobs were very flexible during this time by allowing us to just drop everything and go because we needed to do so, regardless of the PTO we had available, however, it did use up all PTO we had for the rest of the year. We don’t regret the time we spent there with his Dad, because he died about 2 weeks after we left. Our time in Arizona with the family allowed everyone a chance to say what they needed to and when we left it was with a heavy heart, but it was also with a measure of peace.

    Which was good because our lives outside of the family sadness has been a bit crazy as well. My job changed. I still work for the same company but now I run a team and we are forging the paths for this team as we go at the moment, so it’s interesting and exhausting but in a different way than the previous role I had which was a huge brain drain. We also bought a house. Which is an insane crazy long super stressful process, or at least it was for us, and no one else involved in the process seemed to feel like anything we had trouble with was a problem. We signed on Wednesday, Sept. 18th, and then moved in on Saturday, Sept. 21. And during all this, we’ve had no time off work, because we have no PTO left. So all the packing and planning and house stuff has all been squeezed into whatever time we could find. Now we are on the home stretch. We are in our new house, with boxes everywhere, and we are still cleaning out the old place of all the tiny odds and ends but at this time next week, we’ll be done with the old place for good.

    I. Cannot. Wait.

    Arizona part 2

    We just got home from another two weeks in Arizona.
    Still no Coyotes (now referred to as Coyoticorns) or anything else of interest.
    I did buy some yarn from Jessica Knits and we ate at Fate Brewing Company (again for both!). Both places are bright spots in our visit to the shitty area that is Phoenix Arizona and the valley.
    It’s really hot out there. But, it is indeed a dry heat. But still hotter than blazes, especially when there isn’t a cool ACed house to go into afterwards.
    After spending time outside in the direct hotter than hell sun however, you learn to appreciate the not cool enough house.

    I haven’t knit a damn thing, though I did have knitting with me, and my spinning stayed home, so while I spun a ton last year for Tour de Fleece, this year, I didn’t even complete a full 4 oz.
    Ah well, life happens, and sometimes you just have to accept it.