I’m back! {Surgery and Recovery Recap}

Surgery, Recovery, and a Giveaway

Hey, hey! Look who’s back posting on her own blog for good! 😉 Friends! I’ve missed you! It’s been a crazy, crazy month, and I am so glad to be back. If you’re new around here, I had surgery about a month ago, so the past few weeks on my blog have been filled with {amazing, incredible} guest posts from some of my favorite blogging buddies! Be sure to pop back to the homepage and check them out because these ladies are seriously talented.

So what have I been up to this past month? I truly feel like I have learned so much during this time– about my faith, my family, friends, and life in general. There’s nothing that will teach you more than being flat on your back and having to rely on others to take care of you. Talk about humbling. I may dig deeper into the lessons I learned in future posts, but today I just wanted to give a little recap of what in the world has been going on around here. Like many of my posts about my health/surgery, I mostly write them to have a record so I can look back or my boys can look back and remember our whole journey, but feel free to come along for the ride!

Surgery

Waaaaaaayyyy back on July 21st, I arrived at Magee Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh at 5:30 in the morning to check in for my surgery {a preventative bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction due to a genetic mutation that was discovered 10 years ago. You can read my full story here}. My parents and Donnie were with me, and I felt like we were all surprisingly relaxed. (It’s not that I’m all that strong. It’s mostly that I had a good, hard “I’m scared and nervous and can’t control this thing and it’s really terrifying” cry the night before, so it was all out of my system. 🙂 ) The day we all had known was coming for the past 10 years was finally here, and there was nothing left to do but to go for it. I was taken back to a room, the nurses had me change into a gown, they placed an IV, and each of my doctors came in to talk to me one last time. Everything felt like it was happening in slow motion. You know how when you anticipate an event for a long time and then it finally comes you can hardly believe it’s actually happening? That’s how I felt as they were prepping me for surgery. The last thing I remember from that morning was the medical staff pushing my hospital bed out of my temporary room, and entering the hallway… then nothing.

I woke up in the recovery room hours later… well I sort of woke up. It was all kind of a blur. I remember that every time I tried to open my eyes I felt like I was carsick– nauseous, dizzy, headache. It was awful. I also remember the nurse coming in and asking me if I was ready to go see my family. I was, but then they made me wait another hour or two until they actually took me, and I remember feeling frustrated in the midst of my delirium that I wasn’t going anywhere. 🙂

It was 5 pm by the time they put me in my permanent room, and Donnie, my parents, and my sister were all waiting when I got there. I know I was glad to see them, but I really don’t remember much about the rest of surgery day. Apparently anesthesia and I don’t play very nicely together, so I was feeling pretty sick and falling in and out of sleep. Eventually my parents and sister left to take care of the Cs (who I was already missing terribly) and Donnie stayed with me overnight.

If you’ve ever had a hospital stay, you know that nights there are not usually very restful. People are coming in all the time to check different things and make sure everything looks the way it should. It seemed that every time I would begin to fall asleep, someone would come to take my vitals or check my drains, or attend to my IV. Despite the somewhat sleepless night, I felt better the next morning, and one of the first things I thought was, “Oh no, I’d better let people know how I’m doing or they’re going to think I died.” (See how much I love you guys? 😉 ) Now, I probably should have made someone take my phone away from me because I was still partially delirious at this point and really didn’t know what I was doing completely. Thankfully I didn’t overshare any information, but if you follow me on Instagram you saw this:

Back from Surgery | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Not the most attractive picture of me for sure, but I figured you all would understand since I just had surgery and all. 😉 Later that day when I was a little more “with it,” I was delighted when the Cs were able to come for a visit.

Back from Surgery | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

I remember seeing a look of surprise on their faces when they walked into the room and saw me lying in bed, hooked up to tubes and crazy machines. I immediately began questioning whether it was a smart decision for me to ask for them to be brought for a visit, but it didn’t take long until they were acting like their silly selves, and seeing them completely brightened my day. They went off to grandma’s house for a few days where they enjoyed being completely spoiled, and I headed home later that night with Donnie.

Recovery

The next several days were kind of foggy– I was tired, had a lot of headaches and nausea, and just felt all around “out of it.” I finally realized that the pain medication was playing a major role in all of those side effects, and once I stopped taking it, I felt SO much better!

Back from Surgery | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Tiredness was still (and continues to be) my biggest side effect. Any little activity– folding a basket of laundry, taking a shower, even focused writing or responding to messages and emails– totally wiped me out. Every time I did one of those things I would spend hours on the couch recovering. It was pretty ridiculous. I don’t know that I have ever spent so much time in my house in my whole life. I now have a small idea of what it might feel like to be a hermit. 🙂 Finally, though, I started getting out little by little, able to do a more and more each week.

Back from Surgery | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

I’m thrilled to say that I’m feeling much, much better these days. I still tire more easily than before, but I’m not spending the majority of my days on the couch anymore, so it’s an improvement! There are still a few things that my doctors will be keeping an eye on, and I’m still going in for check ups periodically, but the toughest part is definitely over.

There is no way that I could have possibly gotten through this last month on my own. I SO felt all of your prayers and know that God was holding me in the palm of his hand throughout this whole thing. Donnie was beyond incredible. He kept up with his full time job during the day, working from home so he could check on me and help me when I needed it. He spent his evenings taking care of the Cs and after they went to bed, he spent time putting the finishing touches on our master bathroom. Have I mentioned that he’s amazing? He’s amazing. Both Donnie’s parents and my parents, and our sisters gave of their time to help out whenever and wherever they could, including caring for the Cs a lot. I literally didn’t cook for 3 1/2 weeks after my surgery because friends blessed us with so many delicious meals. I have never felt so loved and supported– through care packages, flowers, cards, emails, comments, messages, you name it– you guys were so awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Delightful Sign Off

46 Comments

  1. Glad you are doing great Abby! I bet it was great to have lots of help during your recovery period.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It was! I was feeling spoiled, lol. It’s so good to be back, though!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Karen @ a house full of sunshine says:

    YAAAAYYYY Abby, welcome back!! Soooo happy to read this update and hear that you’re doing okay! Take it easy, girl… no tiring yourself out trying to keep up over here! You’ve been through a huge ordeal, so make sure you give yourself some grace to take it slow for a while if you need. Love you! xo

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! It’s good to be back! I feel like I’ve missed a lot and am scrambling to catch up. 🙂 Hope you are doing well! Hugs!

      ~Abby =)

  3. holly @ coconutheadsurvivalguide.com says:

    Hi Abby – WELCOME BACK!!!!!!! So glad to read the update and you know that you have been in my prayers from day 1. The delirium you felt right after surgery… that was God taking over and making some amazing changes in an already amazing person. Trust me girlfriend, there are bigger and better things to come and I know for a fact that HE is working even more miracles in you. Love you bunches and bunches. Holly

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! Your encouragement and prayers mean the world! Hugs!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Katie @ Little House of Four says:

    Welcome back! It’s so nice to hear that your getting back to your usual self. Although, you had some pretty amazing bloggers guest posting, it’s SO nice to have you back. Just take it slow and don’t push yourself 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! You are the sweetest! <3

      ~Abby =)

  5. Indah Nuria savitri says:

    Welcome baaack abby…you know what..I just had my mastectomy on August 14th at NYU hoapital and still in recovery mode :)..and all that dangling wound drainage reservoir :)..I’m still at home with it. But good to hear you’re great now…hope we all will stay healthy for always…cheeers

    1. justagirlabby says:

      How are you doing, Indah?! Yes, those drains are such a pain, right?! I hope you get to have them out soon! I felt so much better once they were gone! Keep me updated on how everything is going. Hugs!!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Glad you are back and feeling well.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Stacey! <3

      ~Abby =)

  7. Welcome back my friend!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Kristi! It’s good to be back!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Rita C at Panoply says:

    Abby, it’s so good to see you back! I don’t follow Instagram, so I was out of the loop somewhat. Take it easy, surgery packs a punch, no matter who it is, what age, what reason. Welcome back.
    Rita C at Panoply

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Rita!! It’s good to be back!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Selene Galindo says:

    Thanks for updating us on your recovery!! I’m so glad to know you are doing well and better everyday! You definitely have a lot of people surrounding you who love you-AWESOME!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Selene! Yes, I definitely have felt so loved through this whole process and am so grateful to everyone for that! It is good to be back!

      ~Abby =)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Shonee! It’s good to be back!

      ~Abby =)

  10. You brought tears to my eyes talking about how blessed you are with your family and friends. So glad to have you back and that you are feeling better. As amazing as your guests posters have been I missed you around here!

    ~Meaghan from DIYfaerie

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you, friend! Yes, I definitely felt blessed for sure! It’s good to be back!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Suzanne J Dean says:

    Welcome back Abby! I’ve been praying & sending lots of well wishes your way. Its a hard recovery and hard journey but know that there are many of us that have walked this path and are willing to hold your hand along the way. Happy you are much better and hallelujah on the days you can wear normal shoes & clothes;)

    hugz,
    Suzanne

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your encouragement, Suzanne! How are you doing? I hope everything is going well. Hugs!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Laura Tarlo says:

    Wow! What a story Abby….you are one tough chick! I’m so glad to hear that you are feeling well and able to get back to life as you knew it. You are a great role model and should be proud of sharing your story with the world. God Bless!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Laura! You are so sweet! It’s good to be back!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Karen Ploransky @ The Decorated Nest says:

    So glad you’re doing so well and getting back to normal. I really admire your strength! God Bless you and your family!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Karen! <3 It's good to be back!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Amy@HomeRemedies says:

    I’m so glad to see you are feeling better and almost back to your everyday routine. What a great attitude you have – such an inspiration! Sending positive thoughts your way as you continue to recover. 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Amy!

      ~Abby =)

  15. Kendra @ www.joyinourhome.com says:

    I was SO happy to see this post, Abby!! So glad you’re feeling better and gaining your strength back! You’re a strong woman and so glad the surgery is behind you! Hugs, friend!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! It feels great to have it over and done with! Hugs!

      ~Abby =)

  16. Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment says:

    So happy to see you back full time, Abby! You’re so strong and an inspiration to us all. Prayers for your continued healing and many healthy years ahead. 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Michelle! <3 It's good to be back!

      ~Abby =)

  17. Glad you’re doing well!
    I’m new to blogging and I love seeing your posts.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Daphne! Congrats on your new blog!

      ~Abby =)

  18. Thank you for candidly posting your story about this. About a year ago I found a lump in my left breast and went through the scary process of finding out if it was cancerous or not. I kept feeling like I was too young to potentially have cancer (I was 26 turning 27 when the screenings started). The anxiety of potentially having breast cancer coupled with a family history of ovarian cancer made me nervous for my future. My Mom, my Grandmas and my aunts have all had historectomys due to overian cancer. I had already decided that after having kids I would have a preventive historectomy, but the thought of potentially having to have a mastectomy terrified me. I still have a lump in my left breast that I keep an eye on. I’ve decided I’ll have the lump removed after I’m done having kids so I don’t have to worry about it becoming cancerous.

    I’m greatful for running across your blog. As awful as it sounds, it’s reassuring to hear stories from a peer who felt compelled to make a similar decision.

  19. I discovered your blog just yesterday and become a huge fan already! I did the banner, and I’m going to do the cupcakes baby gift today and the organized toy bins. I was very sorry to read about your illness, and struggled to finish reading, as my own memories almost didn’t let me continue. But I’m very happy to read about your recovery. Thank you so much for sharing, and for your blog!!!

  20. christa sterken says:

    Thanks for sharing your story! My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer this year and had a double mastectomy. Her sisters both had it young. My mom tested negative last year for the test! Here is the thing, I have mammograms every year and I talked to my doctor about having the test and she didn’t seem to think it was necessary. I am considering a second opinion. I figured why take it, what would I do differently? I didn’t want to live in fear. Esp. since I am 45 now and my aunts (one passed before my age) and the other had it at 50. You give me pause to rethink…thank you

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So sorry to hear about the history in your family! Cancer absolutely stinks. The good news is that since your mom tested negative, it is highly unlikely that you would test positive unless by chance the gene runs on your dad’s side or you are the first generation to have the mutation, which also is unlikely. My uncle (my mom’s brother) tested negative, and they did not test his children for the gene. No matter what, it’s always good to get regular checkups! Thank you so much for sharing your story, Christa! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  21. I know this is 3 years old but getting ready to have my surgery brought me here and I am thankful for it. I hope that everything has continued to go well. Thanks again!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you, Lisa! I am doing well! Sending hugs and prayers your way for a smooth surgery and a quick recovery! <3

      ~Abby =)

  22. Allison Shorter says:

    HI, Abby. I know this is an old post, but I only found you recently as I was starting up my blog. You are an inspiration to so many. I hope and pray you are still well and that no cancer can ever touch your body. 🙂 Thanks for all of your great info on here!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are too sweet! Thank you so much, Allison! <3

      ~Abby =)

  23. I’m new to your site, here. hello! I’m so glad that your past that particular stage of recovery. You children are darling and you sound like you have a terrific husband! I wish you the very best life and God bless you and your family. Thank you for sharing, too. Quite a special lady.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      You are too sweet! Thank you so much for your kind words, Terri! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! <3

      ~Abby =)

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