Sunday, February 22, 2009

Surgeon Update/Les Update

I didn't mean to concern some friends when I explained that I was having a follow-up with the DIEP flap surgeon. I had developed two lumps and wasn't sure what they were. My oncologist's PA also wasn't sure, so she suggested I go back to Dr. Cutter, who is local, to have them checked. No way, no one but Dr. Chang is going to do any procedures on these flaps.

So on Friday Jim and I took a drive down to Baltimore. Dr. Chang and his surgical assistant reassured me that the lump in my left flap is fat necrosis, and relatively small. He will be able to do a little liposuction on it during my revision surgery if it hasn't reabsorbed by then.

The other lump, between my right flap and my armpit, is not fat necrosis. They speculate that it is scar tissue. That makes sense to me because it is the spot that keep me from having complete range of motion in my right arm. Too much stretching there (as with yoga) leaves my right side pretty sore for the rest of the day. I have started a massage routine on the suspected scar tissue to try to soften it up.

We also talked about why I continue to have discomfort in spots about one inch above my abdominal incision. Turns out that's where they cut through the muscle to harvest the feeder blood vessels. Dr. Chang said it could be up to a year for that soreness to go away.

Dr. Chang and his surgical assistant spent some time "planning the project" on my chest. "We can lift this up a little bit here." "We can pull this in." "We can fill those scar lines with fat from the abdominal liposuction." It was a little uncomfortable being looked at as a canvas.

As the visit was ending, we complimented the surgical assistant on her new hair-do. Dr. Chang said "show them," and she whipped off a wig. She has alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes her to lose her hair in round patches. And, where she has the balding/thin spots, her hair has turned pure white. She must feel pretty comfortable with her patients, or lack vanity, to just whip off her wig like that.

So the surgery is going to be April 27 at 12:30. We are to arrive at 10:30. Dr. Chang said I would likely be released from recovery about 4 or 4:30. Just in case we happen to run longer, or we are whipped by the procedure, I'm making an overnight reservation at the hotel across the street from the hospital.

I've talked with Les a couple of times since he's been home. He's taking some work phone call already, and doing some walking for exercise. He will see someone at the surgeon's office, maybe it's this week, to have the staples removed and to get the pathology report. He has appointments with medical and radiation oncologists in early March.

No comments: