Monday, February 22, 2010

Under the Knife While Under the Influence

A collaboration of subjects on several other blogs got me thinking, well more accurately, remembering.

For those of you that may not know, I have breast implants. I had gastric bypass surgery 6 years ago and proceeded to lose 140 lbs in less than a year. I was a hanging, saggy, mess of skin and bones. I wanted and needed reconstructive surgery. I did not need the breast implants, but I wanted them and felt that after everything I had been through, I deserved to get them.

This sounds like a story that just about any person with similar experience could easily tell. My story is different because several weeks before my scheduled surgery, I began using meth. On the day that I went to my surgeon to have my pre-op tests and blood work, I was high on meth. I smoked it within a half hour before the appointment and immediately after. Did the Dr. know? I am not sure. I am not sure if substance testing is routine before plastic surgery.

At my preop appointment I was given some medications to take the day of my surgery and for after my surgery. This included Valium for nervousness and some sort of medication that had to do with blood clotting.
I was snorting and smoking meth all night and day by this point. I was staying up 2-3 days at a time and rarely sleeping. I was terrified that if I went under, the meth would react badly with the general anesthesia and I may have awareness or wakeup during surgery.

Even though I knew it only took 3 days to get meth out of your system, I could not stop using. I also knew that Valium was very effective at easing the withdrawal symptoms of meth, and I just happened to have enough to take for three days so that I could be safe for my surgery. I STILL could not stop using.

I smoked right before going to the hospital for my surgery. I was so high that I believed I could handle if I woke up during surgery. Are you fucking kidding me? I believed I was a good enough actor that my Dr. would not notice my pupils that were dilated nearly to the point of erasing the brown color of my eyes. Either he didn't notice, or he didn't care.

My surgery went on as planned. I was under for 14 hours. I had a complete body lift which removed 16 pounds of skin, reshaped my abdomen and butt, and inflated my deflated love sacks to that of a full C cup. I paid for an extra night of inpatient recovery because I knew I needed it. I imagine that those two nights were so much worse than they would have been, because I was feeling the physical withdrawal of the meth. I had a morphine pump that kept me from feeling the full effects of all the pain.

The first time that I had to get out of bed, it took me 45 minutes, assisted by two nurses just to get to the bathroom. There was one of those toilet extenders on the seat so that I would not have to bend as much or far to sit, as not to rip open the stitches I wore like a belt, fully encircling my waist. I looked at it and started bawling. It looked so faaaar away. I did in fact rupture a few stitches and it took an hour to get back to bed. I almost opted to have the catheter put back in.

I was finally discharged, with a new prescription for Valium and also one for a large bottle of liquid percocet. You would think with all of the legal medication in my possession, I would have been able to reason that it would be a good time to stop using the meth. Except that I hated opiates. I hated the way they made me sleepy and woozy and out of it. I hated that I would doze off midsentence and that I couldn't drive a car or care for my children while on them.

I was also in a new relationship, with a "normal" sized body and womanly curves, instead of rolls, for the first time in my life. I wanted to be amorous, not sleeping and drugged. I used the valium and percocet to sleep the first day. Then Bryson had to go back to work and I was responsible for my kids alone. We lived with my step grandma at the time and since she was unsupportive of the surgery to begin with, she refused to be helpful during my recovery. It didn't take long before I was craving the meth. Wanting to escape the physical and emotional pain, but still be awake so I could take care of the kids. I was calling Bryson asking if he would get some more by the end of that day.

It is quite a reflection for me to see just how deep my addiction ran at that point. Sadly that was at the beginning, and is one of the more modest stories of the amazing feats of Shawna, super-mom-tweaker, master manipulator, and criminal.

I don't think of all of those times very often. I do not see the reflection of my fake breasts in the mirror, and instantly think of the fact that I was high on meth while they were being inserted. I have buried my hatchets and live in now, but sometimes I remember who I used to be.



  1. "I have buried my hatchets and live in now, but sometimes I remember who I used to be."

    That sentence really struck a cord with me.

    Awesome siggy pic btw.

  2. I have implants also - after divorce at the age of 49 - the Doctor and I refer to it as "reconstructive surgery" because I look the way I did before menopause! I was worried about smoking cigarettes - the doctor said he wouldn't perform the surgery on someone that did!

  3. i dont usually comment back to people on here and i havent really been writing on here but i just checked my last post and the things you said to me are finally right on how i feel, its like let me write a blog expressing my every detail of the inner most depths on my private thoughts so that my parents can read it and judge its like the laziest way of snooping, bt fortunately i am 21 and there is not much they can do about my actions or thoughts, but u finally said what i have thought this whole time thank you write back i am excited to see someone gets me not is listenin to me trying to get someone else close to them parents need to realize every situation and person is different

  4. You overcame quite an addIction. It is wonderful that you can see past the person you were to recognize the amazing person you are.

  5. Joan Didion said: “We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4am of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.”
    Thanks for sharing, so deep, so raw, so true.

  6. That is quite a journey and told from your heart. I don't want to forget who I used to be cause I don't want to ever go back there.


  7. I love that Didion quote from The Interventionist

  8. Great post. Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. Isn't it amazing to look back and see the insanity that we accepted as "normal".
    Wow. Thank you for sharing this.
    I always love reading your posts.

  10. Addiction is such a powerful force. Thanks for sharing this to give a glimpse of your experience. I had a friend that had gastric bypass and did not have all the excess skin removed, etc (she could not afford it) and so she keeps herself covered all the time. I have big boobs and actually have thought it would be nice to have them reduced to a C but I'll keep them, I just get tired of lugging them around everywhere :)

  11. Nice post.. thanks for sharing your story once again.. It's amazing how candid you get telling your story..

  12. The most amazing part of this post--you freakin'lived through it. The human body is a wondrous machine!

  13. You are not the same person. Everything moves and changes. You have uplifted your awareness and you are making something beautiful of your life, WRITING.

    lol i MISS YOU!