Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Surgery 411

The date has been set. Next Friday February 1st is Operation Fix a Heart. I realized I have done a pretty terrible job of explaining what this surgery is all about, so here is the Surgery 411.

I can't say for certain, but I am fairly confident that I am one of the first women who has ever undergone a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and also rocks a robot heart. I might not be the only one ever, but I know I am the only that they have done at Toronto General. Being the first one means that my surgeons used all kinds of cutting edge research, science, and techniques. But it also makes me a bit of a guinea pig. (We are establishing Best Practices here people! <--- thats just a little medical humor for ya!)

I was linked up with some of the best surgeons in the countries and we spent 15 months discussing options, having consults, running tests, and going back and forth about how exactly we were going to make this work. In the end it was decided that we would place my ICD (Internal Cardiac Device, aka my robot heart, aka Penelope) behind the muscle and behind a slightly smaller implant. So in essence my left tata is half robot heart and half silicone implant - but it looks the same as the right one.

What was supposed to happpen:
  • Once you place a foreign object in your body, your body recognizes it as foreign, and then creates a pocket of scar tissue around it to isolate it from the rest of your functioning body and to keep it in place.
  • The scar tissue was meant to form around both the pacemaker and the implant. And then they would both remain secure and happy inside one little pocket.
What actually happened:
  • Having two different sized foreign objects in the same pocket meant that they actually worked against each other.
  • The implant couldn't stick to the metal surface of the ICD.
  • And the ICD is so much smaller than the implant, so it is left floating around inside a pocket that is too big for it. 
  • And finally the scar tissue couldn't form properly because everything was moving around way too much
Make sense? Have I lost you yet?

Obviously hindsight is 20/20 here. We went into my last surgery thinking one thing, but the struggles I have had post-op have revealed another. There was a lot of wishful thinking happening early on in my recovery. Maybe things would just take longer to heal? Maybe we could put off surgery for a while longer? Maybe? Maybe? Maybe?
I knew things were going down hill in December. That pesky wire was sticking out more. My energy levels had dropped. Swelling and irritation at the site was becoming an everyday thing. The signs were all there. But I wanted to live in a blissful world of denial and remain surgery-free. So I chalked up my symptoms to the craziness of the holidays, my own silly paranoia, not enough running, etc. You name it - I probably used it as an excuse. But once I heard that fateful pop - I knew. It was time.

But watch out world, because I am coming for you! This time nothing is going to stop me! This time we are going to get it right! This time I am going to feel strong and healthy! This time I am making a full recovery! And this time I am running a sub-5 marathon! So let's do this!

February 1st I am making genetics my BITCH (*again*)! Bring it on Robot Heart! You don't know who you are messing with!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

42 comments:

  1. Bless you. Your positive, delightful attitude is so inspiring. You are in our prayers.

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  2. You are so positive and I love it! I will be sending lots of love and positive thoughts February 1st!

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  3. Best of luck next week. I'll be praying for you!

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  4. You've got this girl! Im praying for you to kick surgerys butt! Xo

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  5. I am in AWE of you and am SO proud and lucky to call you a friend <3 remember I'm your david's tea bitch <3 I love you

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  6. good luck.. will be thinking about you!!! you are strong!

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  7. XOXOXO...my heart, prayers, and CHUTZPAH are with you!!! Go girl, get your fix, and you'll come back more Darwinian opposed than ever!!!

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  8. You are just friggin amzing! I say it all the time but it is THE TRUTH!

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  9. xoxo Thinking of you and have no doubt that you will come back even stronger.

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  10. you are amazing! praying for a quick recovery and that sub 5 hr PR! <3

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  11. Wow good luck with everything. I had a heart procedure done last year and it was so scary and changed my entire world for more than a year and it was NOTHING like this, so you have all the respect and well wishes possible from me. It IS a very cool bragging right ( ; Let us know how it goes and keep rocking life one way or another.

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  12. You are amazing lady. Such an incredible attitude. You will get your sub-5 hour marathon because your mind is in the right place when tough things happen. You are in my thoughts.

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  13. You have such an amazing attitude! I'll be cheering for you on Feb. 1--go show that heart you mean business!

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  14. Hey there! I just wanted you to know I am in your corner and rooting for you. If you need anything at all--let me know. I am putting this date down in my calendar and will send my best intentions that day! ox ox, Margo

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  15. You are strong...so strong! Thinking of you xoxoxoxo

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  16. You will do awesome girl! praying for you!

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  17. Love your attitude about the whole thing. I'm pretty sure I'd be curled up in a ball crying & asking why me. I'm sending lots of prayers your way.

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  18. You got this! I love your attitude and confidence. Coming from a family with heart conditions, I'm going to be praying for you tons!

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  19. You're such a fighter! I am moved to tears reading how time and time again, you keep fighting, never give up and have the strength of a fierce lion. Penelope Lion Heart, that is YOU! So inspired!

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  20. Hugs and much love to you. I will be praying and thinking about you a lot on February 1st. You are strong! HUGS

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  21. Just like everything else you conquer with that beautiful smile on your fave, this will go down too! *hugs* I'm thinkin' about ya!

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  22. Oh wow, you have quite the story there! You may be a Darwininan Fail but you're also a fighter and I see you emerging from this ready for the next bout! Good luck Feb 1.

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  23. Best wishes for a successful surgery and a SPEEDY recovery!!

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  24. I will be praying for you and a successful surgery and recovery! I KNOW that sub 5 marathon dream will come true! You are such a fighter and so strong!!!

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  25. Wow...that is one unique situation! Best of luck to you. I know you will come out of this stronger than every. Attitude is everything and you've got the best one of anyone!

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  26. Best of luck to you!!! You are going to do great!

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  27. You are amazing...one of the strongest and most positive people I know. I will be thinking about you next week. I know everything will turn out great for you and you will get that sub-5 marathon!!

    You are truly my inspiration to keep working towards my goals. xo

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  28. Your positive attitude continues to amaze, astound, and inspire me. You are Fabulous!

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  29. I really admire your strength, your courage and positive attitude through all of this. Hugs to you woman! Go make genetics your bitch!

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  30. YOU Know how much you inspire me or maybe you don't but you DO! Wishing you a speedy recover.... That marathon goal is waiting for you! :)

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  31. Ahhh I freaking love you. Even Dean the other night was like, "Man, you would NEVER know what that girl has been through. She is SO happy." I told him I have never known of a human being with so much positivity, humour, strength, and just a LOVE FOR LIFE! You are amazing and will be great this Friday. You know who to call if you ever need anything! Even Fresh deliveries ;)

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    1. And this comment made me cry in the car on the way tonight! xox Thank you!

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  32. Your positive attitude motivates so many people {including me}. You are a rockstar! :)

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  33. You never cease to inspire me! Lots of prayers and positive thoughts coming your way on Feb 1st!

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  34. That's right...make it your bitch ;) You're amazing!!

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  35. OMG THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!!! I cannot wait to read how you feel with this robot heart! Medical technology is outstanding! I truly hope for the best for you!!! Kick some serious booty on Feb 1!! :)

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  36. Oh yes, you'll rock it sista.
    You are authentic, real, and let it all hang out (your true self, not the wire, haha). We know your heart is real... definitely NOT robotic <3.

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