Yesterday was my second expansion from Dr. Kang. I was a little more prepared this time (I was not in any way expecting the first expansion last Friday) so I came with questions for the doctor. He’s not great at small talk, but he’s very good at answering questions I might have.
The procedure goes as follows: I change into the vest (I’ll have to take a picture next time I go) and lay flat on the table, with my arms at my sides (which is surprisingly hard to do. I actually tucked my hands under my body just to keep them where they belonged). Dr. Kang searches out the fill port on my expander using a little magnetic dousing rod suspended on a circular device. The needle goes in my skin (I feel just a little prick – apparently I still have pain receptors in that part of my skin, even if I don’t have touch receptors) and he pumps 100ccs of saline into the expander.
The first time, I didn’t really feel anything until Dr. Kang was at the second half of the expansion. This time, I noticed the fill much sooner. Good thing he warned me each subsequent fill is more uncomfortable or I would have worried something was wrong. As it was, I decided it was time to fill the Valium prescription he’d given me last week. I needed all the muscle relaxation I could get. As it is, any time I cough or sneeze, I really wish I hadn’t.
I did ask why the expander is put under the chest muscle, since it causes so much of the pain. There are two reasons. The first is just to provide more coverage over the expander. If there’s a problem with the skin healing, at least there’s a layer of muscle between the expander and the outside world still. The other reason is that muscle has a better blood supply than skin, which reduces the chance of infection, which is always a worry when you add something to the body.
It’s 24 hours out from the expansion and I feel much better than I did last night. The giant grapefruit under my skin isn’t exactly pleasant, but at least I don’t have constant chest pain because of it. I’ve got one more expansion scheduled for next Thursday. I may take the Valium before I even get to the doctor’s office this time so I’m a bit better prepared for the pain.