Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Little Christmas Surgery

So...Danelle didn't want to be the one to post this as it is a bit of a sensitive subject to share so here's a rare post from Ben. This Christmas we have laid a little lower than normal because I underwent surgery. It was an elective procedure I have been wanting to have done for a very long time. In my family, an inherited trait from my mother's side of the family is passed down to some of the male offspring called gynecomastia. (Read more here) This condition causes an increased amount of tissue in the chest that made life as a teenager very difficult, and life as an adult uncomfortable in certain social situation s (at the pool, the beach, etc.) I brought it up with my doctor at Kaiser a couple of years ago and...low and behold...removing the gynecomastia is actually a procedure that is covered by my insurance. I've scheduled the surgery twice before, and because of scheduling issues have had to cancel. This Christmas, we bit the bullet and did it. It really comes down to Danelle biting the bullet as she has to do the "heavy lifting" for the next 6 weeks as I can't lift more than 5 lbs. Having 5 kids at home doesn't make this an easy task for her, but she has been so understanding and supportive, as she knows the emotional scars that can linger from the condition. I NEVER talk about it except with her and it took years for me to even bring it up to my doctor. While I still feel like the surgery is frivilous and silly, I hope that it will close some of those wounds, and allow me to move forward in this part of my life.

This is a picture of me in the prep room. Notice that I don't fit on the bed at all...head off the top and feet off at the bottom. They had to find an extention for the table in the surgery room, and it was quite comical when they tried to wheel me in the hallways on this bed with my feet sticking out so far. I wasn't to nervous or scared, as I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. I'm told the surgery lasted a little over 2 hours, and that they took over 400ml out of the left side and over 350ml out of the right side! Coming out of surgery was painful for the first couple of hours, but as soon as the pain meds kicked in I did OK. Christmas Eve and Christmas are pretty much a blur, but I'm off the meds now, and just icing the wounds when they feel painful. Pretty much feels like I worked out too hard and my pecs are sore. I still have the bandages on, and will have them removed tomorrow. I'll have to wear a compression shirt for the next 5 weeks, but after that, I should be good as new. I'm glad that all went well, and that my recovery has been easy thus far. Danelle continues to be a trooper even though I know that she is working harder this holiday season than she ever has. I don't know what I'd do without her. Meilani and Eli have been great helpers as well, helping take care of Seth when I can't. Even Sariah went to get Seth out of bed the other morning, and the kids have all been careful not to jump on me as they usually do.

In all, it's been an ordeal that I'm sure Danelle will have her own comments to share, and now she can feel free to do so. Thanks to my parents for coming the day of and the day after surgery, to my mother-in-law who offered and took the kids for 2 days and 2 nights, and to the rest of my family for understanding how important this was to me. Most of all to my beautiful wife who not only has supported me through this, but has been so understanding and supportive.


Melinda (farleysmiles) said...

It was fun to here from Ben this time and it was a very sweet post to Danelle! Ben, thanks for sharing your family with me, I hope we weren't in the way for you, but I love them too!

Corinne P. said...

Way to go, I'm glad you got to do what you always wanted to do and tell about it. It's funny that we feel silly about these things but really, how different is it than getting braces for our teeth? If it helps us live our lives with more confidence than it's worth it.