We went in for my 2nd expansion appointment yesterday and they put in another 50 CCs of saline. I was going to go for the 75 CCs this time around, but once she injected the 50 she paused to put in the additional 25 - and I asked her to hold off. I could feel the actual stretch this time of the additional 50. Last time I didn't feel anything ... well - any of the stretching anyway.
At the first expansion last Tuesday, the right side was not an issue. I didn't feel anything - not any stretching, not the needle poke, not the saline. I thought, OK this should be easy. Then she went over to my left side - my sacrificial lamb side, so to speak - and with her magnetic needle she located the port of the expander, made a depression so she knew where to aim, and then she inserted the needle. My whole body JUMPED and I practically kicked my poor husband in the chest! I'm not suppose to feel anything! They cut so many nerves that I'm not suppose to feel anything at all. Not so ... I could feel that darn needle cross through my skin and enter into the expander and it caught me so off guard that my whole body jerked like someone had walked up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder on a day when I've way too much coffee. Thank goodness the PA was steady with the needle. I could also feel the sensation of the saline swirling around inside the expander as it was filling up. All in all it was just odd and not what I was expecting.
SO - needless to say, the second expansion appointment, I knew what to expect this time around, and I expected everything to go smoothly. Not so ... again! And again, the right side was fine. It was the left side stirring up all the trouble. The expansion process went as expected, feeling the needle, the "pumping up" and what not. It was when the plastic surgeon came in to take a look at the incision that I started being prepped for surgery again! OK OK -- this time it was truly minor ... but it was surgery nonetheless. There was one semi-large spot where my skin had died after surgery that was recovering and healing back up. Well, inside this large spot there was a smaller spot, about the size of a dime, that looked like it had died at a deeper level than the surrounding tissue. Everyday when I cleaned it, I didn't like how it was progressing. It looked like it was getting worse so I reminded myself to ask them about it at the expansion appointment. Well, the plastic surgeon agreed and decided it was best to cut out that section and pull the new skin closed over the top of it with some stitches. AND, since she was cutting things out and stitching them back together, she decided it would be good to semi-revise the original incision, as she wasn't quite happy with the way that had begun healing either.
Long story short -- they prepped the "area" for minor surgery. I had to look away -- there was no way I could watch this. Mike - on the other hand - watched the whole darn thing and told me afterward, it was good that I didn't watch. After kindly numbing me up, she pulled out her scalpel and started trimming away. 10 stitches later, she was finished. I have 3 stitches over that dime sized hole she wanted to close, 3 stitches on the left side of the original semi-circle incision, and 4 on the right. They'll pull them out at my next appointment in two weeks. (2 weeks instead of 1 because both the PA and the plastic surgeon are going on vacation next week.) She told me it will heal better this way and with that hole removed and pulled shut, it increases the chance the skin has to heal over. If they would have left it, she said they would be chancing the skin dying at a depth that would expose the tissue expander and if that were to happen, they'd have to put me back under, remove the expander, fix the hole in my skin, and start again with the expansion. No thanks! I'll pass.
So I now have 200 CCs of saline in each side, and things are looking petite. I think I might try for the 75 next time around. I must admit that fear made me stop her at 50 more than anything. I could feel it -- and I was scared that putting in just a little bit more was going to really make me feel it ... and I'm over the pain. I'm noticing that, despite my initial thoughts on how this would go, instead of being indifferent to the pokes and prods, I'm experiencing a higher level of fear that I didn't have before. I'm more scared now that things are going to hurt. The opposite was expected.
To compensate for yesterday's unexpected appointment, I went shopping today. And I must say, I'm not sure what's more tired - my feet or my credit card. But, when you walk into a store and the first thing you see is "50% off all sale prices" and pretty much everything you're drawn to is on sale -- well, let's just say anyone who says shopping isn't therapy, hasn't shopped with me, at a sale like that. It was beautiful.