I’ve been Sharpie’d

Surgery’s tomorrow.

I feel comfortable in my decisions. I fully trust my medical team. B will be there for me tomorrow. I feel pretty good going into the day. I just need to get through the surgery to keep on track with the treatment plan (radiation next, then reconstruction).

Today was filled with doctor appointments and pre-surgery stuff. In between the stuff relating to my surgery, Ethan had a cardiologist appointment in the afternoon. He was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, and he’s monitored every few years to make sure the valve isn’t leaking. Good news: he’s good to go for another two years.

My big appointment today was the “marking” visit with the plastic surgeon. I figured there’d be a couple of lines, like where the incision would be, but…

This was a “no pomp and circumstance” kind of appointment. Just right to the point. Change into a gown. Doc in the room right away carrying a large bin of Sharpies.

He sat on a chair, face level with my breasts and started with a thick black marker making a vertical line directly down the middle of my chest – collarbone to half way to the belly button. Then the underboob, both sides. He lifted my breast, made the line, tracing the natural curve, then dropped the breast. Flop! I’m not as perky as I was 20 years ago, but I’ve never felt so “floppy” in my life.

Next a bullseye sort of pattern on the right side. Four rings from mid-breast to nipple. He drew another vertical line from collarbone to the center of my right breast. And a vertical line from the nipple to the outside of the breast.

The doc then switched Sharpies. He picked up a red one and drew a two-inch line in between the lines making the bullseye. “This is where the surgeon can make her incision,” he said. “There’s plenty of room to work within the length of this line.”

A few more lines completed the design, then he unwrapped a sterile, orange-capped marker. With surgical scissors, he pulled out the felt tip of the marker and used the tip to retrace all the black and red lines. He labeled a few things, then we were off to the photography room again.

Seeing the image of the lines on the computer screen next to the images taken during my last appointment was weird. I hadn’t realized just how many lines he drew, and how some of them were already “running” ink across my skin.

I was ushered back to the exam room, told to change back into my clothes, and waited for the nurse to conduct the patient education session.

We talked drain maintenance, pain meds, bra requirements (24-hours a day for the surgical bra until my follow-up visit) and physical restrictions (lifting nothing over 10 pounds and not engaging in any activity that will raise my blood pressure for a month).

I had two pre-op calls to clarify my medical records and reiterate restrictions before surgery. Now I wait for 6:30 a.m., when I need to be at the hospital. Whew!

4 thoughts on “I’ve been Sharpie’d

  1. JLT, I am sending SO much love and luck and healing energy up north. You’re incredibly brave and have kept such good humor about yourself throughout this process (e.g. “Flop!”). If anyone’s earned new boobs, it’s you, darlin’!!! Enjoy anesthesia. 💗

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