Genes, Boobies and Other Accessories

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Great post! I am feeling thankful for very similar reasons and want to share her blog with you.

Decisions for my Family

So with my next and hopefully last surgery next week as well as Thanksgiving, I got to thinking about what this year and a half has been like.  A bit of a roller coaster to say the least.

  • March 2011 mammogram and breast ultrasound; lump confirmed
  • June 2011 needle guided biopsy
  • June 2011 surgery to remove the lump due to “abnormal” pathology results
  • August 2011 Breast MRI
  • Doctors appointments with specialists
  • early 2012 abdominal CT to ensure I was  DIEP candidate
  • Blood work
  • more doctors appointments
  • July 2, 2012 Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy and DIEP flap
  • More blood work
  • more appointments
  • August 24, 2012 Breast reconstruction and revision
  • More blood work
  • more doctor appointments
  • November 7, 2012 Pelvic Ultrasound
  • November 9, 2012 Colonoscopy
  • November 19, 2012 Breast revision Pt 2 **Pending**

In between Birthdays, Holidays, back to school nights, summer break and normal daily activity because the reality is, doctors, scans…

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And the saga continues…

I’ve decided that nothing about this process is really going to be easy for me. In fact, I’m hoping that the nightmare that I’ve endured is so that other ladies don’t have to go through the complications. I will just handle them all for you. I hope that’s the way it works, anyways. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone and if for some reason God has put this on me so that others don’t experience it…then I am thankful and hope that I’m learning all that I can from it. It’s definitely been humbling. I can tell there’s a softness happening in my overall outlook on life. I’m thankful for it. I have said that I hoped this would be a life-changing experience for me and that I’d be more tolerant, more loving and more compassionate because of it. I think that’s definitely happening. I just hope I still get the polishing and sense of grace that I hoped for…because I’m struggling with being lady-like right now. I am developing a type of tourrettes that causes me to randomly cuss with a smile on my face just to weather this storm of an experience. At least I’m keeping my sense of humor. Sometimes I think that’s all I have. 🙂

When I wrote last, I was getting ready for another fill. I had two more to go and things were holding steady for me. I had a surgery date of Dec 7 and was starting my 6 week countdown. I had an amazing weekend with the kiddo and was preparing for a week-long conference for work. The week after my last post I had two doctor appointments. One was with my family doc where she just checked on my meds and made sure I was doing well. I showed her a light pink area that had developed on my left expander and she just said to show my other doc. My appt with him was later that afternoon.

I went to my fill and when my doc saw the pink patch he told me to start some antibiotics that day just in case it was an infection. He filled me to 750cc and I went on my way. Nothing out of the norm. Nothing to be alarmed by. In fact, I started the antibiotics and didn’t notice any change in the spot for about 10 days. I even went on to my conference in Baltimore (Yes, I fought Frankenstorm for a work conference…and it was soooo worth it. I had a great week!)

By Friday I noticed that the pink spot was less pink, but a small “bubble” had developed in part of it. Basically it just looked like there was fluid under my skin. It wasn’t a different color or anything and really didn’t seem to be like a boil or anything to be too worried about. After the weekend, I figured I should call my doctor just in case because I also noticed a “soft” spot a few inches away from the bubble. I don’t know another way to describe the soft spot other than…you know when you hold a peach and its ripe and firm but there’s a soft spot that you can feel even though the spot isn’t turning dark or a different color than the rest of the peach? That’s kind of what this feels like. Needless to say, I called and spoke to my nurse and she told me to get in the office immediately. I was like, “ Whaaaa? Why you bein’ so dramatic?!” I even said to Maren, “I think she’s just being a drama queen, but I’ll go anyways.”

As you can guess by now, especially since NOTHING has been easy for me, my appointment didn’t go the way I had expected. My doc looked at the bubble and soft spot and said, “This isn’t a good sign. There’s infection around the expander and your body is starting to reject it. I need to get you into surgery next week.” WTF???? NEXT WEEK???? I’m usually on my best behavior in there, but yesterday my first words were, “Holy shit I need to do laundry.” LOL Yes, of course I wasn’t immediately worried about surgery…I was worried about the amount of laundry I need to do before my parents get here. What am I, 18??? Geez.

Turns out, my body doesn’t like the left expander. (I could’ve told you that 6 months ago.) The best thing to do right now is to get this beast outta here. YAY!!! So here’s the plan. He is going to take out the expanders and clean out any infection he sees. I’ll get my implants and tummy tuck NEXT WEDNESDAY…OMG!!! I’m now on a stronger antibiotic and will stay on it for at least 30 days. He filled me to 800cc yesterday and I’m now done with fills. I can’t tell you how painful it is right now. My left expander is so far into my armpit that it’s sitting on more nerves…and I’m not sure how to put on deodorant. It’s weird. I’ll be glad to have boobs that sit up in front. And the worst case scenario is that the infection doesn’t heal and I reject the implant…in which case I have to start over. Yes. I said it. Start over. More than likely I’ll be fine and just get my implants faster than I expected. That’s what I’m planning on at least.

I’m freaked out that it’s happening so fast, but I really feel a sense of peace about it all. I know that getting the expanders out will make things so much better. My worries right now are around getting my apartment cleaned up, laundry completed, finding a recliner to rent that lifts, mourning the fact that I can’t Black Friday shop this year, and picking out movies/tv series to watch 22 hours a day with my parents. Not bad for a girl with an infected expander and a week to prep for surgery. This will be the first Thanksgiving in years that I didn’t spend with the kiddo…that part SUCKS. I’m sure I’ll make it up to her though in the form of gifts and future trips to see her. I’m soooooo ready to get this next big milestone past me so that I can focus on the next one….nipple tattoos. Yes, I’m still considering stars or maybe the shape of the state of Texas…hmmmm decisions, decisions.

-just kidding, mom…well, maybe 😉

Making progress

This past week has been tough. Chronic pain is a horrible state to live in. I have an unnatural threshold for pain so I’m caught off-guard when I hurt this bad. I can’t imagine what this feels like to most people. I feel bad for even complaining about pain when I know that it’s nothing compared to the pain my brother experienced. (I really miss him right now by the way.) I also know it doesn’t compare to the neuropathy many of my fellow cancer warriors experience. I finally broke down and took pain meds this week because I couldn’t take it anymore…and I felt like a wimp for doing it. I had been off of them for quite some time. My nurses couldn’t believe I’d been functioning without them. I still feel like a wimp…and I know I’m being unreasonably hard on myself. Regardless, I’m thankful for the meds even though they barely scratched the surface of the pain. I’m scared that at least my next two fills are going to hurt like this.

With all of that said, I think I have gotten over the worst part of this past fill. Friday I felt significantly better. In fact, I knew I was feeling better when I got out of bed without crying. I put on makeup and real clothes versus my standard pj pants and zip up hoodie. Happy and I got to babysit my friend Elena’s new puppy, Emmy. Considering I can’t pick Happy up or walk her, I’d say we did really well for the few hours we were here alone. I even got into mom’s SUV without getting tears in my eyes. I have noticed that the bruise on my left side is significantly smaller than it has been and a lot of my swelling is going away. Yay! Independence here I come!

This weekend mom and I continued to veg. I was scared to overdo it since I’d only had one day of feeling good in the last five. Today we went shopping and grabbed some Mother’s Day dinner. It’s nice to feel like I’m returning to my old self while embracing my new self. I am sorta proud to see that I’ve gotten used to my new (transitional) body so quickly. It’s nice to be out in public and not feel self-conscious. I wondered prior to the surgery if I’d be self-conscious. I even found some comfort knowing that I’d leave the hospital with a fake pair of boobs that I could stuff in my bra if I wanted. I really thought I’d need them. I mean, I’ve been a D cup for most of my adult life (and a DD for all the years in-between). What I’ve found is that it just doesn’t feel right for me to wear them unless I have on a shirt that requires them for functional reasons. Right now, that’s not the case since I can’t wear anything that doesn’t button or zip up. I’ve also found that flat-chested Mandy feels more authentic. I’m just going to continue to wear my maxi-padded sports bra like a boss and enjoy the days that are pain-free. My goal this week is to man-up so that I’m more mentally prepared for my appointment on the 21st. Maybe then I can overcome the pain faster after fill #2.

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