It’s TWINS

4-4-2021

WARNING ~ There WILL BE pictures!  If you don’t want to see them, close your eyes and turn back now. ~ Additional Warning ~ I am still medicated and this may not be the best grammatical post I have done!

Here we go……

At the hotel right before walking to the hospital. You could see the hospital from our room.
3rd Floor. Here I come!

And, just like that, surgery is over!  I want to say THANK YOU to every person that has called, texted, messaged, sent something, cooked a meal etc.  You have walked this entire journey with me and now I am excited to introduce you to the twins!!!  I felt it only appropriate to name them, since I have pretty much dealt with their arrival much like I dealt with delivering my son.  Tons of emotions and uncertainty have surrounded me, and yet here I am looking at updated body as I glance in the mirror.  I certainly am NOT the same gal that walked into Magee 48 hours ago. 

Am I in pain, you bet your ass I am.  Pain/nerve blocks were a good choice for me.  I believe they helped the initial shock of waking up.  I spent the first night in the hospital.  Jim was allowed to stay with me, but since I was awake and alert, I urged him to go to the hotel and sleep.  In the end, I think that was the best solution for us.  I was up pretty much all night.  If one totaled the cat naps I took, it would probably add up to approximately 90 minutes.  Had he have been in the room, he wouldn’t have gotten any sleep and I needed him to drive me and my precious cargo home safely. 

I simply can not say enough good things about Magee Women’s Hospital.  From the cleaning crew to the head surgeons.  I was treated with kindness, knowledge, grace and dignity the entire time. Some hospitals sure could learn a thing or two if they followed the example of Magee. 

I am about 46 hours out of surgery.  The groups I have followed have prepared me well for what I could expect.  I will write a future post about items that are handy and ones I may not need.  I imagine the pain will ebb and flow over the next six weeks.  Please send good vibes that the two pesky drains they inserted will be pulled on Thursday when I see the plastic surgeon.

I will try to document the healing process frequently.  This is in hopes of helping ladies that are preparing for their own surgeries.

Here it goes:

Day 1 – Surgery Day

  • Surgery was initially scheduled for a 2pm start.  However, they called and asked if I could check in at 10am (an hour earlier than the original time). Since we stayed close to the hotel on Thursday, a bump up in the schedule was a welcome surprise. Better to get it over with.
  • I was asked to wash everything the morning of with antibacterial soap.
  • Once I filled out some necessary paperwork, I was called back to a prep area.
  • They had me wash my breast and underarm area with antibacterial wipes, gave me a gown to change into, slippy socks and a sticky cushion to place on the base of my back.  This would save me from having a backache from hours on the hard surgical table.
It looks weird, but ask for one if you ever have to head into the O. R. Your back will thank you.
  • I got situated in my little pre-surgical area and it was an open curtain routine for about an hour and a half.  Nurses, physicians, radiologists, pain assessment team.  You name it, they were there. The surgeons even got to use me for as a canvas.
I guess this drawing is to remind them that they are working on my chest, not my backside. How nice, the plastic surgeon even initialed his work.
  • The woman from the anesthesia department was phenomenal and gave the best overview ever!!! 
  • It was then time to go.  I kissed my masked crusader goodbye and headed to the next stop.
  • There are so many cautious protocols when it comes to surgery. Take this, don’t take that ya da da da da.  The days of getting something to calm your nerves before surgery are over!  If anything, some doctor in the underworld MIGHT give you something for the night before, but until your permission waivers are ALL SIGNED you get nada.  Meditation is all I had….and I used it!  Shout out to the Calm App right here!
  • Back in the bay where the Prosecco flows.  Well, not exactly, but 2 of the girls in this pain management/anesthesia area were fans of Prosecco, so they made my heart happy when they said that is what would go into my IV.  The only guy in the bay asked what Prosecco even was.  He got schooled by three women in less than 2 seconds. The one girl shared a tip with me…. Apparently adding a little (like a drop or two) of vanilla takes your mimosa and or Bellini to a new level.  Since we were sharing secrets, I told her that Trader Joe’s has the best vanilla, hands down.  This conversation turned quickly to the best things in Trader Joe’s.  Her go to was some kind of cheese with caramelized onions.  Mine was TJ’s actual French Onion Dip.  Oh, and let’s not forget my telling her, that if she wanted to make the BEST EVER French Onions, all she had to do was…Chop 2 – 3 onions finely, put them in a low casserole dish, add 1 stick of butter, 3 or so teaspoons of beef base, cover with foil and bake in the oven at 350ish for an hour or until the onions were tender. This combination pairs well with burgers OR when enough gets added to sour cream and mixed, she’ll never want to buy French Onion Dip again. 
  • They must have slipped some good bubbly into the IV shortly after this conversation, possibly to shut me up, but I remember zero until I came to a state of alertness in my room hours later.
  • Surgery itself took about 4 hours.  Both physicians spoke with Jim after.  All went according to plan.  Both breasts were removed, nipples sparred and implants inserted. The only concern was, the tissue left on the right side did not have as good of a blood flow as the left.  They were still able to proceed with the implant placement.  We just need to keep a good eye on it as I recover.
  • I was not in severe pain when I awoke, what I was though is ITCHY!!!  I had to have had some kind of reaction to one of the meds, because Benadryl barely took the edge off of the itch.  The desire to scratch myself from head to toe contributed to my sleeplessness.  Another reason I’m glad Jim wasn’t there.
All done!!!
First glance!

Day 2 – Time to start recovering

  • Much like the darkness outside my window, the nerve block began to fade.  In it’s place was a heaviness in my chest that I had never experienced.  My boobs felt like engorged kettle bells in my chest. 
  • The plastic surgeon made his rounds and confirmed I could go home
  • The discharge process was typical and what I expected.  In other words, long.  I had to meet with Physical Therapy, Jim needed to be trained on how to care for the drains, a counselor had to find a visiting nurse to come to our home.  All of this takes time and at this point, I got plenty of it. 
Ready to go home. Am so appreciative of this shirt. It was part of a package from the Blessing Box Project. I will write more about this later. But, this shirt has inside pockets sewn in to hold the drains. It is awesome!
  • Since we live two hours from the hospital and the roads in PA are well worn, they gave me my pain meds and an Ativan.  I think they worked, but I’ll never be a fan of recovery car rides
  • Jacob hid my poor Grand dog when I walked in and Jim escorted me straight to my bed   Once tucked under, I got new meds and drifted off to a glorious four hour nap.
  • Waking up in a fog, I was quickly reminded that I just had surgery.  How was I reminded of this?  Well, it seems as though Auntie Em’s house has pinned the wrong witch in this version of the tale.  Literally, it feels like a house is on my chest, yet my legs are free to flap around.  Sure hope the magical shoes stay glued to my feet.
  • After ringing the bell, alerting my staff of my recent awakening, Jim appeared outside the door.  He wasted no time assisting me from my bed (which sits so high, I need a step stool to escape from), escorted me to the restroom, then promptly shoved more meds in my mouth, much like a mother bird feeds her baby.  I can actually do more than I thought I would be able to, but the action of putting the medicine into my own mouth is temporarily out if the question.
Oh, the beloved…..i mean dreaded drains. These need to be emptied and measured regularly. Their filling up with minimal fluid is my ticket to removal.
  • I got settled back into my bed and was served my dinner rations.  A little while later, a lovely dessert concoction, complete with a chocolate surprise helped me drift back to a drug induced sleep for the night.

Day 3 – Second full day of recovery

  • I slept better last night than I did in the hospital
  • While the pain is undeniably there, I’m handling it with a Tylenol/Ibuprofen rotation.
  • Weird sensations of stabbing pains, tightness of chest, dull throbs and itchy skin seem to be taking turns.  It’s as though they all have their own set time to enter stage right or left.
  • When I get up and walk around, I feel like “The Hulk”.  The best way to describe it is…it feels as though someone took a Super Hero costume and placed it directly under my chest muscles. If you see me on the street with a cape, pay no attention to me.    It’s just me practicing my recovering super powers. 
  • On a scale of 1-10, the pain at its worst is an 8, at it’s best a 5.  I know everyone experiences pain differently and this kind of surgery is not what everyone ends up having, but I hope these numbers help set a realistic expectation for anyone with an upcoming surgery of their own.
  • Oooohhh!  The BEST outcome of the surgery I had done is I get to shower and use deodorant tonight!!!!  The smallest of things are often worthy of the biggest celebrations!!!
Up and out. Beautiful day to walk the driveway.
I didn’t make it far, BUT….I DID walk a little. Easter 2021.

Now that the update is over, I would like to announce the arrival of my Twin Girls.  From now until the end of time, I will be calling them by their insertion names.  Please help me welcome Penny and Clover to the Burris household! 

Penny and Clover arrived into this strange new world on Friday, April 2nd. Their size at the moment equates to too big and their weight is too much. We will have to wait to see how things are at their one week check up.

Where do I come up with such things?  Well, the minute I heard this song, I knew what their names would be.  Please give Starting Over by Chris Stapleton a listen.  It is filled with absolutely perfect lyrics and will forever be a reminder of this challenging time in our lives.

Jim and Jacob…we did it!   We have crossed the rivers and climbed the hills.  Together we made it through the nights that were cold and dark and chose the hardest road offered to us.  I can’t wait to look back on these days in time and smile, but for now, please know I love you both with all I am and am grateful to have you by my (six weeks in bed) side. 😘

Thanks for tuning it to the first Road to Recovery post.  I will return soon with more photos and healing insights.

Happy Easter, friends!  May joy be found in every egg you encounter.

Peace,

Gina

10 thoughts on “It’s TWINS

  1. Happy Easter Gina to you and your family. A very inspirational writing describing your surgery and your two new guests Penny and Clover. God willing all will go great for your recovery. Take care, Pat

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  2. Happy Easter Gina! So glad to hear everything went well. You are a super hero! I love reading your blog. You are amazing. Sending prayers and love for you to continue to recover.

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  3. Love you!!! Glad your doing good …praying for a fast recovery and I can’t wait to meet penny and clover…hopefully soon🥰

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  4. I am so humbled to read about your experiences. I am the anesthesia fellow that did the pain blocks for you, and I am happy that you found then helpful. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your experiences so openly with such fierce honesty. It was such a delight to meet you and speak with you, though under regrettable circumstances. Additionally, thank you for the french onion recipe, now I have it in writing! 💖 I hope you continue to take this journey in stride, you are immensely strong and it shows. This is so hard, and I am so sorry this is happening to you, but I am so proud of how you are getting through this. Best wishes for your recovery, I enjoyed reading this and your other posts. Big hugs and I hope you take care.

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    1. HI!! I apologize for taking so long to respond. You and your entire team were AMAZING!! I am fortunate to have had such an incredible team taking care of me. I have added a new post today. PLEASE feel free to share it and any other posts with anyone in a similar situation.
      I hope you make and enjoy the french onion recipe. Keep being awesome! XOXO Gina

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