6.27.2011

The Big Reveal

After five long days I finally got a look at my new chest. And it looks AWESOME! My surgeon Dr. Giuffre did an incredible job and I am stoked about the results so far. I did a lot of research before my top surgery and I have looked at a lot of photos and I gotta say I am super proud of my surgeon and think he is definitely up there with the very best. I was not expecting things to look so good right off the bat and although they still look a bit rough after just five days I can see how great it's going to look once things heal up.

When I arrived at the hospital I checked in and waited only a few minutes before being called into the exam room. I stripped off my t-shirt apologizing for the way I smelled since I hadn't showered for quite a few days. The nurse cut away the binder and tape, removed the dressings, and finally peeled away the steri-strips that covered the incisions. I have dissolving stitches the ends of which hang out where I used to have cleavage and under my arms. Then I was treated to the luxury of a saline wash to clean up the gunk that was trapped under the bandages after surgery. I tell you after five days without water or air my skin felt alive! 

I waited a few more minutes for Dr Giuffre to come in and have a look and remove the dressings that were stitched over my nipple grafts. He clipped the stitches and pulled the dressings off and the nipples stayed put, thank goodness!! Nothing worse than having your brand new nipples ripped off!! Then he made my day by removing the stitches holding my drains in place and finally removing them. What a relief! The majority of the pain I had been experiencing had been from the drain sites where the tubes exited the surgical site.

Ice has been my friend for sure and the relief it offers has been better than any pain medication. I am hoping it will help bring down the swelling under my arms. I started using Arnica ointment in the area around the incision as well which is supposed to be a good topical treatment for pain, swelling and trauma. I have picked up some high potency Vitamin E and will be going to the pharmacy to see if I can find some silicone scar treatment. Taking both of these as soon as possible should help minimize the scars.

The drive back from the hospital was long and hot and tiring and when we finally got home the first thing I did was jump in the shower! It was as good as a shower after a long weekend of camping finally cleaning away all the yuck from my body and giving my skin some life! My hair was also excited to be washed but is looking a little shaggy so I might seek out a barber tomorrow and get myself a new haircut to go with my new body!

I have some serious nerve damage and for now there are large patches of my chest that have no feeling. For right now I am ok with that. Recovery is painful and as nerves and blood supply start to re-establish themselves and things heal up I know that a lot of the sensation will return. I do feel sharp twinges and aches and the itchy feeling is a signal that things are healing up. 

I am confident that once the swelling and bruising go down, the skin tightens up a bit, I put on a little muscle (and chest hair), and the scars fade and smooth out, my chest will look as close to natural as I could ever have wanted. Thanks to the skilled hands of my doctor and the support of my family and friends I am finally moving forward. I am excited to see how things progress over the next year and look forward to sharing my journey.

To see the photos see the top surgery page.

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