wide-eyed at 4am

Pump Me Up

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I was reminded of Hans and Franz – stars of Saturday Night Live – today.

I had my first expansion session! For those who don’t know what this means, this is simply an appointment with my plastic surgeon to have additional saline injected into the expander that was put in place during the reconstruction portion of my mastectomy surgery.

Yes. It pumps me up!

This is a slow process but one that should produce natural results.

I have several of these sessions in my future so that I can get back as much symmetry as possible in my torso.

I really didn’t know what to expect. Until recently, the expander was causing pain and discomfort. But as the internal tissue healed it seemed that the expander was only uncomfortable because it is slowly expanding a space between my rib-cage and pectoral muscle where a permanent implant will one day live.

The entire appointment only lasted 30 minutes – well actually only about 20 minutes since I did not go back to the examination room promptly on the 1/2 hour. My surgeon’s partner, a very pleasant French gentleman, came in with a nurse assisting him, to take care of the injection.

My pain expectations were sent soaring when I saw the size of the syringe that was brought in for use – on me.

Ouch! It held 60 ccs of saline and was quite long and stout.

First, the doctor located the “port” in my expander. The saline must go directly into the port or the expander could be compromised. So I really want him to be sure and find the port. After a few minutes with two different “finders” he’s located the right point. Then the cleaning process begins. He rubbed all around the general port area with alcohol towelettes – twice. And then applied betadine. Next came the needle. (The locating and cleaning process took much longer than the injection.)

My brain engages – remembering that my regular surgeon had said he would numb me for this. Yikes! I had had no numbing!

As he approached with the huge syringe, he noted that the area was probably numb from the previous 2 surgeries.


I didn’t have time to protest. He quickly inserted the needle into the port and began injecting. I felt the tiniest needle prick but hardly felt anything as the saline went in.

Since I’ve already been having trouble sleeping because of the “weighty” feeling of the expander on my chest, I wondered exactly how significantly more “uncomfortable” more saline was going to be.

I expressed this concern so the doctor made a deal with me. He would stop injecting when I gave him the signal.

Surprisingly enough, he noted each time 10 ccs more were added, and I felt nothing.

Finally, I felt a more “full” feeling at about 45 ccs. So he stopped at 50. We could see how this amount felt over the next few days and when I meet with my regular guy next Friday, we can use this first experience as a guide.

So I was pleasantly surprised that the process went very quickly and was not painful…. at all.

And according to Dennis – who watched the entire process – the change is noticeable. 🙂

As we await the start of tonight’s preseason football game, I just feel slightly less “comfortable”. It will be interesting to see what the first night has in store. I have a feeling that I will be using my secret weapon (a newly prescribed sleep aid).

Thanks to nice French doctor, maybe I will finally get a few good nights of sleep!


Author: jillpurdy

A few months ago I wasn't but now I'm a statistic. That doesn't define me. I'm a daughter, a sister, a wife, a step mom, a grandmother, a friend and a Christian. I will continue to love exercise, music, cooking and food, and my family and friends. I'm stubborn, energetic, giving and too OCD for my own good sometimes. And I'm going to stay this way - despite cancer and the treatments that it takes to give it the royal beatdown.

One thought on “Pump Me Up

  1. Thoughts and prayers for you to rest well and not be in pain in the night .


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