Well, I am now 48+ hours post-op and to say I have a bit of a headache is an understatement.
The surgery went really well though. They ended up taking 8 lymph nodes out of my neck, from behind and in from in front of my ears. Apparently the oncologist said it was a "lymph node wild goose chase" to find them all. I like to make people really earn their money, ya know? ;-)Results from the biopsy will be in either tomorrow or Monday.
He then cut out another 3x5cm section from my scalp which hopefully will turn out clean margins, meaning all the melanoma is out of my head. Then it was the plastic surgeon's turn to sweat and earn his money. He said he was worried about closing me, that the hole might be too big and might need a skin graft. eek!! Luckily, he is a genius and was able to do this thing called a pinwheel flap or advanced rotation flap where he makes a lot of incisions all over my head, cutting and stretching little pieces together until they finally cover the hole completely. So yay to no skin graft! Boo to major MAJOR headache. I definitely do NOT recommend scalp resonstructive surgery, so please avoid it if you can. ;-)
So they sent me home Monday night covered in gauze and compression bandages. Mom said I looked like a nun, being wrapped around my head, chin and forehead. I think "nun" was the nicest thing she could think of and I really looked more like the Mummy.
The first couple days have been rough (as all post-op days are for anyone!) but I got my bandages off yesterday and can move my jaw again and I slept in the bed last night instead of on the recliner! Yay for small victories! Everything feels really tight and swollen. My face is pretty swollen and bruised which it may be for a while. Overall though, I believe I have traded my Mummy look for that of Frankenstein. Truthfully, I have not looked at my head. I am choosing not to until it looks a bit better. With all the physical trauma who needs the extra emotional trauma of forever having those images burned onto your retinas? I sure don't. However, Chris described it a bit and it involves a bunch of staples and stitches and incisions and I am fairly certain I would give Frankenstein a run for his money.
Luckily, I am related to 2 of the best dressed women on the planet (my Mom and Grandmother) and they have loaned me a zillion fabulous scarves, which may be part of my wardrobe for a while as my head heals, and hair figures out which way it is going and the parts they shaved grow back in. Luckily they didn't have to shave too much. It could be a lot worse! I also have several new hats thanks to Grandmother, my mother-in-law Barbara and my friends Lyn & Jen. It will be a new style era of fabulous headwear for sure.
Anyhow, I wanted to put an update out for everyone to see. I am not lying when I tell people I have the best support system of anyone in the world. Thank you for all the emails to make me laugh, the sweet voicemails and awesome cards. (Once I feel a little better I will take pictures of my kitchen and post them - it's amazing to see all the cards!! I think I am single-handedly keeping Hallmark in business!) We have a few more rough days ahead as we endure the healing process, but at least we are in the healing process thank the Lord.
Will post the biopsy results as soon as I have them!