Eric and I drove early Thursday morning to Maricopa Hospital. My anxiety level was pretty high until Dr. Lettieri showed up. He’s always so reassuring, comforting and confident. Dr. Lettieri is a genius in his field, he travels around the world teaching new cutting edge techniques and helping the medical world to learn more about properly treating trauma patients. I simply adore him, he is the only person who can come close to understanding what I am feeling. He’s seen a lot of horrific things in his career. Many times I have cried in his office, trying to process all that has happened to me. From the perspective of a trauma surgeon who deals with life changing medical situations, I appreciate his straight forward approach with me; I need to hear the truth. The truth is medicine and procedures are constantly changing…when Dr. Barr’s told me my face would never be the same again he was right–it won’t; but being told I would never smile again was far from truth–I defied medical doctors and taught myself to connect my heart with my head awkward as it is I did teach myself to smile.
My husband Eric, who I like to refer to as ‘Frenchie’ has been by my side through each and every surgery-He see’s the tears, he’s heard the sickness, he’s held me in his arms knowing that there are no human words that can possibly explain what I’m feeling. On days when I said I couldn’t face another day he’s never questioned me, his words soothe me when my soul is aching for relief and I’m able to make it through one more night. We’ve carried a heavy load on our shoulders these past few years, but we also realize we’ve done all we can do–I live with no regrets and know that when my Heavenly Father is ready for me to be released from this earth and live with Him once again it will be a beautiful reunion.
Eric kissed my forehead looked me in the eyes and said “I love you, see you in Paris.” Oh how many times this scene has been played out. I gave a half-smile and said “Yes, I’ll be in Porte Jaune meet me there” It took a few needle pokes before my anesthesiologist came in and decided for now on I would need an ultra sound lead catheter, and within a seconds they had the vein they needed. The last thing I remember is saying “Dr. Lettieri I love you” I’m pretty sure it embarrassed him, but I am very grateful being blessed with him as my surgeon is not something I take lightly. He is a world renown trauma surgeon his brain in constant motion, he is teachable which in my opinion is a very difficult attribute for some surgeons to have. I love when he tells me he was in another country scrubbing in on a new cutting edge surgery and had me in mind. Which is how this surgery came to be.
I’m very excited to say the anesthesiologist did an excellent job at keeping me asleep. During this surgery Dr. Lettieri literally cut through my scalp from one side to the other and pulled my face off. Scar tissue was removed, then he took muscle from my head and re-connected it to a nerve in my cheek. In technical terms he did a muscle flap. While all this slicing and dicing was happening I was eating a crepe with Nutella, Bananas and fresh shaved coconut. Other than that I really can’t remember anything else. I don’t even remember being in recovery. The surgery was long, while Eric waited he said he heard a code for all trauma surgeons to report to the ER to assist a motorcyclist. Soon Dr. Lettieri visited Eric and told him he was leaving me with very well-trained doctors who would finish up the stitching.
It’s always so strange when I wake from a surgery, where did the time go? Dr. Lettieri told me he would need to shave a portion of my hair off, I immediately put my hand to my head to feel the damage, the right side of my head was numb to the touch and all I could feel was bandages. I asked “Did he shave my head?” His residents assured me he used scissors and cut my hair instead of shaving it. This made me happy because we had discussed if it would be better to shave the entire head or have a partially shaved head-I now have about half an inch of hair cut off all the way across the front part of my head and a drain just under the skin from my right temple up through the hair-line of the top of my head. It’s estimated the drain will stay in place for 2 weeks then will be removed in Dr. Lettieri’s office. Normally when I am on such heavy dosages of sedation it takes hours or days for me to go pee, but that night I asked Frenchie to help me to the bathroom. I was pleased that I was able to go, but when I stood up I fainted in Eric’s arms. When I came to consciousness I was being held up by a two male nurses trying to get me back in bed. It was decided a commode would be brought in next to my bed-no walking to the restroom. It was simply too soon for me to be up and walking and my blood pressure was too low 97/43.
I was not expecting to spend the night, but the internal specialists said my Creatine was at 0.6 and GFR was 22, also I was very low on potassium. I recently started a new regime with supplements that have actually worked miracles on me, so I was very disappointed but then I remembered I was asked to stop taking any supplements 5 days prior to surgery. They told me to continue with my regular medications but because I have the MTHFR gene it proved to me even more that the nutrition I should have been getting from my medicine was not being absorbed as it should be. We spent the next day trying to get those levels up-I drank something that tasted much like chalk but was not allowed to take my supplements, this was frustrating because I knew if I was able to take Prime (a delivery supplement) I’d be able to go home. This picture was taken the day after surgery, does it hurt…….? It feels like I was hit by a MAC truck. I told Dr. Lettieri “You sure know how to show a girl a good time” his answer “Oh bruising is normal, we did a lot of work on you” I’m not sure Dr. Lettieri really understands my humor, he is all business. With that being said, don’t judge me on this post, it’s taken me all day to write. I always like to write asap so I don’t forget anything but to be honest I’ve been in a lot of pain writing this, I despise pain medication but know when enough is enough and I need to take it. I’ll end by saying this, my life has been spared so many times, sometimes we forget in the heat of an argument or when we disagree with other’s that in the blink of an eye everything can change. I’ve learned to forgive and love with every bit of my heart, I try not to take people for granted even when I feel I have been wronged or hurt, because in my experience tomorrow may not come. XOXO Monya Bonbon