My Explant Journey- Recovery

Recovery was rough. I won’t even sugarcoat it. I was violently vomiting for hours despite everything they gave me to avoid the post anesthesia nausea. I felt so incredibly out of it and even experienced what felt like reactivation of that post anesthesia grogginess for several hours following surgery.

Pain wasn’t too bad. I only took pain medication to sleep on the second night (I opted for lighter stuff instead of Percocet). In comparison to getting my original implants, I’d say that pain from putting them in was worse than this. Everyone is different though, so always take that into consideration. I felt burning and stinging, more than anything post explant. Overall, I made a little progress and felt a little better each day. By day three, I could sit up and down from the couch on my own, but I still needed help with things like lying up and down, using the bathroom, etc. for the first five days. I chose to sleep on the couch because my bed was too high.  A recliner would have been ideal, but I didn’t have one and didn’t think it was worth it to buy one for this surgery. I was able to shower on my own around day seven (one week post op), but it turned out to be more strenuous than I thought, since my left drain was bothering me more than the right one and my left breast was healing much slower than my right breast. Despite the discomfort, I could still do the basics; brush my teeth, wash my face, brush my hair, and get dressed in loose fitting clothing. However, I had a consistent low grade fever (99.9) mostly at night, but was able to get it down by drinking water and icing the back of my neck, so no one was worried about it.

Fast forward to day 10, I noticed slight increased swelling and some additional discomfort in my left breast. I didn’t think anything of it since I had gone to get my hair washed and blow dried at a salon earlier, so I thought I had just overdone it. I rested all day the following day. As the day progressed, I developed a feeling of trapped air under my left breast, which was preventing me from moving freely, so I called my surgeon and went to the ER. By day 11, I was in an emergency surgery to remove a 200cc hematoma and flush out the left breast cavity, which was also tainted with bacteria. Woke up with 2 new drains in my left breast for a grand total of three drains (no nausea this time). Thankfully, all was well with my right breast. Luckily, I caught it so early that it didn’t compromise the initial work that Dr. Lampert had done on Oct 8th. I was released from the hospital two days later (day 14)(two weeks post op). This set me back a couple of weeks in the recovery department.

I was able to remove two of the three drains on day 17. Per Dr. Lampert, I needed at least two more weeks before I was back to normal and still required rest and restriction on all lifting.

On day 18, I was finally able to take my own shower and wash my own hair with some restrictions on mobility, but I ultimately got the job done. I even shaved my own legs (knee down). However, later that evening, I ended up back at the ER (precautionary measure) due to some pain near my IV site that wasn’t improving. It turned out to be a little superficial clot (superficial thrombosis) from one of my many IV locations. Thank goodness I was sent home with some RX strength naproxen.

By day 21 (3 weeks post op), I finally started to feel myself again. Feeling less weak and tired and also gaining more range of motion.  By day 24, I was 100% drain free and it felt SO GOOD!!! My left breast was still pretty sore, but overall I was feeling so much better. Those drains were probably the worst part for me.

By day 28 (four weeks post op), I developed mild Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) from the complications. I don’t think it was actually a result of the complications, I think the complications were just the icing on the cake for me. Looking back, I realized that the PTSD manifested as a result of everything I had endured throughout this process. I believe that this was part of my mental recovery. At that point in time, with the whirlwind of emotions and hormone surges I had endured over the last 10 years, I believe my body needed to finally process all of that and come to terms with everything that happened in order to appreciate how far I have come. With the exception of the anxiety attacks that lasted days at a time, the insomnia, and the fear of being alone, I was feeling great (physically).  It took me about two months to get the PTSD under control, but I was still living in fear. Mentally, I was still struggling, but physically, I was thriving. By December, I was no longer living in a constant brain fog. I was also sleeping better, no longer restricted due to discomfort. I was wearing bras again and I was driving! Getting back on a routine helped me regain trust in my body again, which has ultimately helped with my anxiety and mental recovery!