January 8, 2016
--How thankful I am that the surgery was on the right side, since I'm left-handed. Turns out, I use my left hand and arm quite a bit, and it would have been much more uncomfortable if the surgery side and the handedness side were the same.
--I have a tendency toward a very low heart rate. In the hospital, the doctor was a little concerned because it was 40. In looking back through my recent medical visits, it ranges from 48-73, but usually around the 60 mark. The doctor tells me that's something to keep an eye on, because 60-80 is normal. When he first brought it to my attention in the hospital, he said people don't usually have a heart rate that low unless there was something a little or abnormal or unless that person was a Olympic, elite-level athlete. I told him I'd certainly never been accused of being an elite level athlete, so perhaps we'll need to keep an eye on it for other possible medical causes.
--That I would lose feeling of about half the surface of my underarm on the right side because of the lymph node removal. The feeling might return somewhat within a year or a year and a half. That makes both shaving and using deodorant half a guessing game, since I can't feel it--it's a strange sensation (or lack thereof).
--Driving made me more sore than I expected. I thought the seat belt would be the biggest issue. It is a bit of an issue, but not as much as turning my head to change lanes or back up. Turning your neck stretches the chest more than you realize until your body makes you pay attention to that particular fact.
--How many different sizes and shapes there are of implants. I thought the choice was just between saline and silicone. Not so.
--How many stitches are involved in this kind of surgery. Actually, I asked my plastic surgeon, and he said he couldn't even estimate. There are the stitches on the outside, of course, but then he explained all the different areas and layers they had to stitch up on the inside first. So how many stitches? A LOT, is the general answer.
--That plastic surgeons measure size in terms of cc's, as opposed to a bra cup size. And 550 cc's, for example, can be a very different cup size for different women, depending on their build and body shape. Try dropping into a Victoria's Secret and ordering a 500 cc bra. I'll bet they don't have one.
--How fortunate it is in terms of timing that my surgery was during the winter months, when it is much easier to cover up a rather marked difference in size between the two sides until the follow-up surgery happens. It would be a lot more difficult to balance my look with scarves and layers if it were summer time.
--That the spacer in my body feels like an out of place, oddly shaped foreign object that doesn't feel or look quite right, mainly because it is an out of place, oddly shaped foreign object that doesn't feel or look quite right. Its replacement is supposed to feel much more natural, but I've got a lot more time to get to know this one first while everything is still healing--somewhere in the neighborhood of at least six months.