Monday, October 31, 2011

Drain Free...Again!

My drains were removed at my appointment today.  Yay!!!

I told the nurse I really wanted them out and she obviously said something to the surgeon because he came in and said "so I hear there will be a rebellion if we don't take these drain out?"  I said "maybe..." so he said we might compromise and checked things out, and thought it looked good so he gave the ok to the nurse to take them out. 

On the down side (and this must be the compromise he mentioned) I have to wear my tightest breast binder (and make it tighter if possible) for another week.  This is to make sure the breast skin firmly "sticks" to the chest wall which will somehow make things better when we go in to replace the expanders, its also important to not have "pockets" because pockets have greater potential to stow away bacteria, which could hang out there until the expander goes in and then cause another infection!  I will do my best to follow his advise.. I did before too, but I am watching like a hawk!  I pointed out a tiny red spot ony incision I've been watching and he said it was fine it's just a little irritated by the stitch that is there.  He said if I have any fluid build up to call and they'll get me in right away and its really easy to just use a needle and draw it out.  Otherwise, I will see him again Friday.  This is 1 week since my surgery to remove my expanders and 4 weeks tomorrow since my mastectomy, this will be the longest I've gone between appointments.   Having the drains out makes me a little nervous, but I'm on major antibiotics and I don't have any foreign body in me we need to hang on to, but man, I just imagine I will be super nervous when I have expanders again.

Anyway.. I should be drain free for a couple months now.   And I am happy to say that removing them this time was no where near as unpleasant as I anticipated it being.  I hardly felt it.  Unfortunately it didn't improve my arm/underarm discomfort as much as I thought it would, but it did help a little.  I guess these are going to be things that take time to resolve.  Once everything is done I will request a referral for physical therapy if It's not fully back to normal by then.

I took a nap on the couch today and got up without much difficulty.  I think tomorrow I will return to sleeping in bed, probably until the next surgery.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trying Really Hard

I am really working on trying to get a grip.  It feels like a nightmare.  I just have to accept that I'm already awake and figure out how to move forward. 

I really think when I get these horrible drains out I will feel a lot better.  I will be able to wear regular clothing, without looking like I'm smuggling something.  Ha! I worry when I go into a store that someone will see my lumpy sweatshirt and think I am trying to steal something.  Wouldn't they be surprised if I showed them!

Once I can wear regular clothes and don't have the drains I hope to go to a local mastectomy apparel store.

Apparently I have to wait like 2 months to get prosthetic breasts, and it seems it is quite the process.  I have to get a prescription from my doctor and then go in for a special fitting appointment.  Both the place that does these and my doctor say I have to be very well healed (about 2 months) before doing this, and by then I really had hoped we would be very soon having the expanders replaced... so I guess we will see.

But anyway, I was somewhat disheartened by this news I would have to wait 2 months when I'm going back to work in 2 weeks!  Right now I'm stuffing a tank top over my breast binder with a combination of surgical dressing and nursing pads which is semi adequate for the casual outing to a store or sitting around in a sweatshirt.. but certainly won't do for professional dress (or anything other than a sweatshirt really).

My understanding is the store I want to go to has post surgical bras and camisoles, that have lightweight "forms" and are suitable to wear while healing.  Hopefully having something like that to wear will help me feel a little better. 

I think one day when this is behind me, I will do some breast binder burning.

While I look forward to the drains being out, I really dread them actually coming out.  I know from last time that it hurts, and with these ones being bigger and seemingly more encased by my skin, and up in my armpits..( me the heebiejeebies - side note - I've never used that phrase before), I just imagine this will be much worse than last time!!  Can't they give me nitrous or something, like at the dentist??  I wonder if they've ever thought of that. 

Anyway, I think I'm doing better each day, very small increments, and I have to remind myself once in while that I did just have my second surgery in a month less than a week is okay to be tired.  I've had a major physical change and its okay to be unhappy about it.  I'm really hoping that soon I will be able to look at this as just a setback.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bigger Tubes and NO Boobs

So I lost my expanders.  I now have no boobs whatsoever.  I just have wrinkled skin and nipples with an incision pressed flat/slightly concave against my chest wall on each side of my chest, covered by my hospital issued breast binder I have to wear 24/7.  To add salt to my wounds I also have drain tubes again. They're bigger this time believe it or not - even more uncomfortable.  The right one goes into my side and then up into my arm pit before looping down to go around my former breast area. Where it sits in my arm pit it pushes against some nerves or muscles in such a way that it causes this dull numbing ache through my whole shoulder, arm and the section of my back there.   The only relief I have from it I find once I lay down and wiggle and adjust pillows and then viola it is gone, until I have to get up again.  This was my better arm after the first surgery.. now I have less mobility in it than the other.  I am fairly numb about my appearance when I look at my naked chest.  I try not to look at it.  I don't have to as much as I did with the expanders so just don't.  Huh, I just realized that I might feel so dehydrated because I'm crying so much.  I'm getting better about holding it in around people.  But I don't know why I didn't prepare myself better for this possibility.  I was so sure reconstruction was going to go smoothly.  The is far more than a bump in the road.  This is like I got car jacked at gun point and I'm left beaten at the side of the road 100 miles off course and forced to hitch hike back to the starting line, knowing well I wont even have a shot now at second prize.

Great I'm thankful that the infection isn't going to kill me, and yay I can get my expanders back in a few months and start again.  But I'm here now with no boobs and it is really not pretty!  And I have these dumb drains that are far more than a small annoyance dangling around my waist creating bulk under my clothes that seems to accentuate that lack of of bulk above them.  I have very little appetite and when I do eat I don't know if its a side effect of the antibiotic but food suddenly tastes weird... both the tacos last night and spaghetti tonight were unbearably salty (though they were prepared the same as always) the bread for my peanut butter toast tasted bitter.  I'm not even enjoying my mini reeces peanut butter cups. 

I am sooooo tired of being in my house, but even though I'm sure my mom would be willing to take me somewhere, I don't know what I would want to do.. I don't want to be seen like this.  There's only 2 weeks left until I am supposed to go back to work, and I just don't know if I will be ready. 

Ok... I feel a little better, getting it out is helpful.  I still know my reason I did this, but it doesn't mean this doesn't hurt me now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

So I Mentioned the Worst Case Scenario?

Over the weekend my infected breast got worse, subtantially bigger.  I also had a negative reaction to one of the antibiotics.. severely itchy and a rash that has now even spread to my face (tiny blisters all over - ICH)

So I got in to see the surgeon today and got the bad news.  We have arrived at the worst case scenario.  We have to remove the expander and delay reconstrution.  I go in to the hospital today at 3, for surgery at five to remove the expanders. and tomorrow I will come home flat chested with drain tubes.  I'm heartbroken.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Big Red Squishy Boob

Argh.  So I apparently have an infection of some sorts.  Yesterday I noticed my right boob looked a little red, so I was keeping an eye on it.  Then both of them started feeling a little squishy compared to how they're normally fairly hard (I never quite understood the hard boob thing until I had hard boobs) 

This morning I woke feeling rather crappy, which isn't so unusual these days.  Figured it might be more than usual because I kept waking up (numerous times) thinking I heard footsteps in the house (which really had me freaked out), so I was pretty tired, but then I had a lightheaded moment in the shower, and then was feeling a little clammy as I watched The Tudors with my mom. 

It was after my mom had left and I got to thinking - It's friday, and going into the weekend, I should probably just give my surgeon a call to see if the squishy boob was a concern.  The nurse recommended I come in and just have the surgeon look at it.  My sister inlaw just happened to stop by and I asked her to take me into the surgeons office.

After examining both of the breasts, SQUISHING them (because they're squishy not hard), he had me lay back on the chair and asked the nurse to recline it so that I was laying at a slant with my head towards the ground (it really felt like I was going to slide off - he laughed and said the nurse would catch me if I did, but he hasn't yet had that happen).  I don't know what all the different feeling from different angles really told him, but he determined I have an infection, and that it looks like I got in early, and so we're going to jump on it and hopefully get it under control with  the antibiotics.  Then he wants to see me again Monday (instead of waiting until my next appointment on Thursday).  He also said that if I end up with an emergency situation over the weekend he would be available.

He said worst case scenario is that we do surgery and I lose the expander and cant replace it right away...(delayed reconstruction) which really seems pretty terrible...  He said there are other potential scenarios between the antibiotics and the worst case, so for now I'm going to just really focus on the antibiotics working.

So right now my left boob is squishy and red and bigger than the other and I have a fever and my back hurts, and I'm a little clammy, and I'm really just not too happy about it all.  Blah.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Drain Free and Filled!

Today is one day after the two week mark.  I got the drains removed today.  It was rather unpleasant.  I think I described previously how these drains were wrapped around the outer edges of my breast under the skin... well as they were pulled out I could feel it moving through that space, and I think my tissues had probably started trying to attach to it, which is probably what caused pain as it was torn away (thats just my theory). 

Prior to that though I got my first fill.  I was a little nervous about that because it seems like my breasts were still sensitive.  I explained to my plastic surgeon that it seemed like I still had painful sensation and that my incisions sometimes had twinges of pain.  And he said that its just the nerves trying to make sense of what we've done to them, but that in reality I shouldn't have any actual feeling.  He had me lay back and suggested that I close my eyes (unless I really wanted to see him come at me with the big needle).  So I closed my eyes and he said, okay here we go, and I braced myself, and... I felt nothing.  He proceeded to inject my breast (the expander implant) with 50ccs of fluid. and then went on to the next.  Same thing.

It was kind of funny to look down and see bigger boobs!  My husband who was in the room was equally amused.  He called them bionic boobies.

The plastic surgeon is comfortable with where my nipples are at in healing, so now that my drains are out he wants me to compress the boobs with either a tight sports bra or my breast binder from the hospital.  Right now I have both, since I'm not sure that either of them are adequately tight (or comfortable) on their own.  We also went to the store and bought a couple bras that I hope will be more comfortable than what I have currently.

I found what he said about wearing a bra interesting.. I asked if I still needed to wear one and he said that yes, considering that what I had before was the equivenlent of 500ccs and what I have now is essentially 300ccs - I have boobs, and they need support.   ok.   I'm learning that I actually had um... not small.. breasts naturally.  I've always been a bra wearer anyway, so no big deal.  I was just a little curious about this world of non bra wearing I read about on the message boards with women who for some reason aren't required to wear them.

I also mentioned early in the blog that he had said I might not even be able to get them the size they were when I had actually wanted them a bit bigger.  Now it seems that as long as we go slow, we'll see how it goes and might be able to get there (or even a bit bigger!)  YAY!

Anyway.. I am worn out today.  Off to bed I go!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I was really worried before the surgery that I would wake up from the surgery and feel deformed and devastated by my "loss". 

I'll admit when I was in the hospital before my plastic surgeon came in, I was afraid to look at my chest.  I didn't want to face what I had done quite yet.  I didn't get a real good look until the plastic surgeon came in and opened it all up and my sister in law snapped some pictures.  It was kind of strange...  I wouldn't say I felt nothing... but pretty close to nothing.  Most of my thought at that moment was about how my sister inlaw probably didn't expect them to look that bad.

I cried once in the hospital.  (well twice, but I'm not counting when I woke up in pain in recovery, I'm talking about afterwards..)  I was just overwhelmed.  It wasn't really even about my boobs.  I was really scared about my arms, I was so afraid that I would be permanently disabled.

But now that my arms are back to almost normal (still lack some feeling in my left arm and some of my finger tips), I really have no regrets.  My right nipple was trying to die off - it turned black and flattened out and was really weird looking, and I was not to happy about that, but I figured I had a back up plan.  If one died, I could just get the other removed and get reconstructed nipples that matched.. lots of women who have mastectomies do that. 

I have to really look at them at least twice a day.  I have to clean the incisions and put burn cream on them, and cover them with bandages.  I do so carefully, like I'm nurturing them somehow.  I am sometimes weirded out by my lack of emotion about it all.  Should I be disturbed by how unpleasant they look?  Should I be crying all the time?  Should I feel a great loss over the beautiful breasts I once had?  I don't know...  Maybe it's because I had so long to plan this and prepare and felt all these emotions before hand?  Maybe I'm still numb... maybe the anesthesia hasn't worn off the emotionall part of my brain.  Maybe once my tummy functions get back on track so will my emotions?? 

As I keep saying - it is what it is.  There is a reason I did this and I still believe in it.  For now I just feel relief that the waiting is over, and relief that I don't feel any of those feelings I dreaded prior to surgery.

Friday, October 14, 2011


So today is 10 days post-op.  I had high hopes for getting my drains out today at my appointment with the plastic surgeon.  On Monday he had said it would be a possibility.  He wanted them filling with 25ccs or less over a 24 hour period.  So yesterday I was pretty sure I wouldn't get them removed today because I had 25 in one and 30 in the other.  I still was hopeful however because on message boards some people talk about getting them out when they're down to 30.  But no such luck.  He told me we'd shoot for next Wednesday.   So that's 5 more days!!!

If you aren't familiar with drains, They are JP Drains. Here is a picture... not mine - don't worry, I'm not posting pictures of my personal boob paraphernalia quite yet.

So the thick white part is "the Drain" and it is inside my body wrapped around the outer edges of my former breast. 

You can actually see it if you look at my chest, the skin is raised up around it, it's kind of creepy.  Then all that tubing hangs out of my body and the fluid build up runs through those tubes into the bulb. 

I have one on each side.  The holes the tubing comes out of are on my sides... if you are a woman and wear a bra it is in line with the back strap of a bra just outside of where an underwire would fall.

At first we had to empty the drains a few times a day, then we shifted to twice a day, and now I'm just doing it once a day.  Fluid and other bodily material sometimes gets backed up in the tubing, so when its time to empty the bulb I must also squeeze out the tubing.  Then we measure and record the fluid and flush it down the toilet!

So the bulbs hang out rather awkwardly around my waist.  They have to be pinned to something (I use a lanyard) to keep the weight of them from pulling at where they're stitched into my body.  I try to keep them concealed by keeping them stuffed under my shirt which makes me look like I have a weird lumpy pregnant belly.  Sometimes if I'm just hanging out at the house, I put a fuzzy sock over the bulbs.  It still looks weird, but I'm trying to protect my family from the grossness of it.  Better to see a weird fuzzy sock hanging out of my shirt than a plastic bulb filled with bodily fluid. 

So as you can imagine, even if I really felt like going somewhere and doing something, I'd kind of prefer to not do so until the drains out.  So far other than going to the plastic surgeon's office, I've only ventured once to grocery store and twice to the pharmacy.


But I am willing to deal with them as long as it takes for my plastic surgeon to think it's ideal to take them out.  I need to look at the big picture.  At this point I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get the best possible outcome.  I'd rather deal with these dumb drains another MONTH if it would mean the best outcome possible.  Luckily I won't have to wait that long for sure!  There comes a point that they become an infection risk, and they'll pull them out no matter what.  So there is an end in sight...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recovering at Home

I came home from the hospital Thursday afternoon.  My husband set up our comfy recliner with a sheet and my blue fuzzy blanket.  With the addition of two pillows for my arms it is quite comfortable!  Up until today I was taking my pain medication every 2 hours.  Last night I switched to 3 hours (or when I woke up),   It seemed to go okay, so I will continue on this schedule for a day or so, continuing to try to decrease the narcotics.

I was allowed to shower right away, which surprised me because I had read many places about not being allowed to shower until the drains were out.  So when I got home I took a shower, and my husband assisted with washing my hair.  It felt wonderful to be CLEAN.  He also took care of the drains up until Sunday night when I felt I could/should take that over.

I'm really looking forward to getting the drains out.  They're kind of annoying and pretty gross.  They are these tubes that are hooked up to something that wraps around my breast (on the inside) and dangled about a foot or so out of my body on each side to these bulbs where the fluid collects.  Twice a day we have to "strip the drains"  where we lotion our fingers and squeeze all the fluid/clots sitting in the tube into the bulb, then we have to empty the bulb and measure and record the fluid that was inside.  UGH.

At my most recent appointment with the plastic surgeon he thought we could get them out maybe on friday.. My husband interpreted things a little different, as in *maybe* on Friday, but more likely on Monday.  I really hope it's Friday.

He also suggested that I wear a bra, but specifically he wanted me to wear something supportive under my breast but loose around the nipple, so like an old bra should work.  Unfortunately I no longer have any good supportive bras that aren't a miraculous bra, but I found a couple old nursing bras, and they're working for now.

My right nipple is struggling to survive.  It's really scary looking, it's all dark red/purple, kind of  blackish... So I have to clean it twice a day and thickly apply a burn cream to the nipple and surrounding skin.  I think it is starting to look slightly better and the plastic surgeon seemed more optimistic about it when he saw it yesterday.

The expanders are strange, each breast has one of these expanders and they're basically the same circumference of my old breasts, but without the filling.  So they're big around but rather flat.  Apparently they had removed 500 grams of breast tissue from my left breast, and 450 from the right (the left was bigger..) then he filled about 200-250 grams into the expanders at the time of surgery, so right now my breasts are about half the mass that they were prior to surgery. 

They are really strange though.  They're HARD, and they don't move.  So it kind of feels like they're in my armpit when I try to lower my arms.  I'm assuming that is only going to get worse as we start filling them up.

I mentioned my arms and the numbness in the last post.  They've improved quite a bit.  I have almost full use of my fingers and thumbs back, but from the pointer finger to the thumb of each hand still have a tingly pain in them and my left arm still won't full extend.  It seems to get better each day, though the improvement seems to have slowed... But I am sooo happy it didn't stay where it was, that would have been life changing, in a very negative way!

Anyway, now that it doesn't make me dizzy to sit at the computer, I'll try to post more frequently.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Recap of Surgery Day and Hospital Stay

Tuesday, October 4th, I woke early to shower with the special hibiclense soap given to me by the plastic surgeon.  I was impressed with how smooth it made my skin feel, despite it's extreme medicinal smell.  We woke up the kids and got the youngest ready and my husband was in the car ready to take her to daycare when my mom pulled in the drive way to take me to the hospital. 

Once we all got to the hospital we went up to the second floor and waited only a few minutes before they called me back to go to the presurgery area around 7 am.  This presurgery area was set up similar to some emergency room areas I've seen, where it's just a little room with the front wall being a curtain.  It seemed really busy and there was not much privacy.  I had to explain to this nurse the whole autoimmune thing, why I'm taking the medication I'm taking and so forth.  Then the anesthesiologist came in and asked similar questions.  They then brought my husband and mom back to the room to hang out with me.  I had already been drawn on by the plastic surgeon so the nurse and anesthesiologist decided I could have some relaxing medicine.

Maybe the best picture of me since Tuesday October 4th!!  Nice huh.

I remembered very little from there.  I know that the breast surgeon stopped in, but I don't remember what we talked about.  I was mentally prepared to go awake into the operating room, but I really don't even remember falling asleep.  I was there with my mom and husband and then suddenly...

I was waking up, having a hard time opening my eyes, and my arms were in excruciating pain.  I was crying and I couldn't move my arms at all.  They were asking me what my pain level was at, and I told them a 10, and tried to explain to them that I couldn't move my arms and it felt like they were being crushed.  They put my glasses on for me which was nice, so I could see who I was talking to and differentiate people who were new from people who had been there continuously.  It was difficult for them to get the pain down. They would feed me icechips.  They finally got me pillows to put my arms on and that started to help.  I felt like they thought of me as needy, but I was really scared about my arms and the pain meds they kept giving me didn't seem to be working well enough.  I was in there awake for about an hour and a half that I remember anyway, until they finally got my pain to a bearable level and moved me to my room.

Once in my room they tried taking my vitals and put the blood pressure cuff on my arm, but as soon as it started filling up it hurt so bad I asked them to stop, and they seemed surprised.  From then on I instisted that they did it on my leg, which I did have to remind them them of a couple times as they approached my arms. 

My mom and husband were in the room waiting for me along with some beautiful flowers from my ex mother inlaw.  My mom and husband filled me in on what they had been told about the surgery - I was on the table for 7 hours, everything had gone well.  The lymph node biopsies were negative, and they didn't see anything abnormal in the breast tissue.  No Cancer!

Later that evening the nurses had called an anesthesiologist to come in and talk to me about my arms.  I was really worried that it was lymphedema or some severed muscle or nerves.  I was scared that it could be permanent and how life changing that would be.  His explanation at the time was that it was likely from the position I was in as they operated.  They had my arms strapped down over my head for the entire 7 hours with out moving them.  Apparently during long surgeries the patients arms are periodically moved to avoid this, but in my case with them operating under my arms and then so closely to them, they didn't move them like they mornally would.  He said they would keep an eye on it and someone would check with me in the morning

I had difficulty pretty much the entire hospital stay with the nurses and pain meds.  For some reason they were having trouble getting drugs from the pharmacy, and had to override something, and it seemed to be a big hassle for them.  Late in the first night I expressed that the demoral (sp) didn't seem to be working enough and asked to try something else.  They said we could try the oral "roxies" and that those should last longer and then they could use demoral for the "breakthrough pain".  They allowed me 1-3 Roxies every 4 hours.  The problem was that they got the pain down maybe only a 4 at best and then wore off after 3 hours and took atleast 30 minutes to kick in, and when I asked the nurses for the demoral they seemed to think it shouldn't be necessary and kept reitterating it was just for "breakthrough pain" and I shouldn't be taking it on a regular schedule.  The night nurse that first night finally came around and we got a system down, plus she finally realized that I couldn't use my arms and would give me the pills one at a time in my mouth as my husband held the water with a straw for me to drink from.

The day after surgery, the new nurse was far worse about the pain meds than the first one.   When the plastic surgeon came in he asked if the breast surgeon had been in to see me and what she said about me leaving.  The nurse then chimed in and said she had talked to her on the phone and she had said I was fine to go home if that was okay with him.  And he was obviously aware enough of my situation to realized I was not ready to go home and quite pointedly told the nurse that they weren't going to kick me out.  We needed to get my pain under control and it clearly wasn't.  He then said I could have as many Roxies as I needed.  If 3 didn't work, I could try 4 and if 4 didn't work I could 5, and if 5 didn't work I could have 6, and so on.  So at that point I was somewhat irritated that they had been so stingy on the meds the first night.  He also reitterated that the arm numbness and pain was probably from the position I was in during surgery, but the fact that I could move my fingers indicated it wasn't a severed nerve, but an overextended one and based on which fingers were numb he exactly which nerve was affected.  He said he didn't think it would take more than a couple days, but could possibly take weeks or even months.

The battle of meds continued with this nurse all day.  We established a schedule of taking 2 pills, then 2 hours later taking 3, then 2 hours later taking 2, and so on so that every 4 hours I was taking 5 without that lapse in time with them wearing off and waiting to kick in.  So seems like it wouldnt be a problem right?  well when it was due at 2, i would wait until like 2:15 and ring the nurses bell and a CNA would stick her head in and ask if I needed something, and I would say yes... my pain meds?  and then she'd say Okay I'll go ask your nurse... and then the nurse would come in like 10 minutes later and ask what I needed and I'd say "it's time for the pain meds". And she'd ask me what my pain level was at, and the day nurse would just put them in a cup and put it in front of me, and my husband had to give me the pills and the water, and she'd look at me like she didn't understand why I was being so pathetic.  (maybe I was a little over sensitive and assuming the worst).  as the day went on I gained a little more mobility in my right hand and was able to shakily pick up a pill between my pinky and thumb if they were placed on a flat surface.

It seemed like the day nurse was finally coming around when the shift change came and my nurse from the previous night was back.. I was happy to see her!

Enough about the nurses and meds - I think you get the picture.

My husband was absolutely amazing while we were in the hospital.  For each meal (the hospital I was at has great food and a huge menu)  he cut up my food, and even fed me the first 2 meals when I couldn't use my hands at all.  He'd help adjust my pillows under my arms.  And bring the straw of my icewater to my mouth so I could drink.  I have to say I was not thrilled about being in a position where this level of care was necessary, but he performed this level of care with out making me feel humiliated by it.  I was really impressed with him. (still am impressed).  He'd scratch when I itched and helped with my first non shower bathing, he really went above and beyond, I really beleive he meant the vows, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.  He's a great guy.

I was happy to have visitors, I enjoyed having people to visit with and it gave my husband opportunities to go home and shower and do things with the kids without leaving me alone (with the crazy nurses).

Initially I had thought it would be a 3 day hospital stay, so when they told me I would leave the next day I was shocked!  And I ended up not leaving the next day because of my numbness in my hands and my uncontrolled pain, but I tell you what - on the second day, once they pain was okay and I could semi use my hands, I was totally ready to get the heck out of there!!

I'll try to post more tomorrow, to bring events up to date.  I'm also going to see about creating a picture diary and attaching it to the blog, but having it separate so that if you don't want to see pictures you can still read the blog.


Friday, October 7, 2011

After surgery quick update

I will post more detailed information soon, but for now I will just say I feel relieved.  Not so much about not having to worry about cancer, but that I had been somewhat concerned about possibly regretting my decision.  The past couple days have been pretty rough, but through it all  (even looking down a seeing my disturbing chest) I've not regretted it.  So I think It must go up from here.

My hands are still partially numb and I got dizzy when I attempted to sit at the computer earlier today, so I will probably wait to do a detailed post until those are resolved.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Surgery morning

It's 3:45 am. I'm not sure that I can get back to sleep... I've been trying for an hour. 

Today is the day!  In a few hours I will be going to hospital to have a bilateral mastectomy.  Eeek!  I don't know, I think I'm okay with it at this point.

Very frustrated with how thirsty I am considering I'm not allowed to drink or eat past midnight. 

I got marked yesterday by the plastic surgeon.  A giant geometric pattern covering my chest.  We have to retrace it after each shower.

The shower stuff is weird.  Very sterile smelling.  But it left my skin surprisingly soft!

The injections of radioactive stuff for the lymph node biopsy went well.  It was far more pleasant than I expected it to be.  4 shots in each breast, the first two in each being lydocane to numb it.  Then 2 of the 4 radioactive injections burned a little but faded quickly.  Then I just had to lay in the giant imaging device for 30 minutes or so.  Then they took me out and used a handheld singing radiation detector to find the one sentinel lymph node on each side.  Then they drew on me on covered their markings with tape.  Viola!

I want to say thank you to all my friends and family who have been so supporting through all of this and demonstrated so much care for me.  I appreciate you and love you. 

Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dear Breasts,

As you already know, We will be having surgery in just a little more than a day to remove the threat you've become to my life.  I am excited and scared and sad all at the same time.  I've been thinking about you alot lately, and focusing on you more than usual.  I've been looking at you more, and paying extra attention to the way you feel now, because I know I will likely never feel you this away again.

We've been together through a lot and shared many intimate moments in my life. Remember how we were teased by boys in 7th grade?  I later found fancy bras and lingerie to adorn you with.  You made me feel sexy.  We shared the most sensual moments for sure.  You gave me the means to feed my babies, which was precious, and provided comfort to them as I held them close when they'd cry.  I'll never forget those things.

I want you to know that this hasn't been an easy decision. I've felt much grief and spent many hours awake late at night tossing and turning about the choices I had to make.  What it really comes down to is that I know that one day if I don't this, you will kill me.  I can't let you do that.  I can't sit back and wait for you to bring us both down.  So this is what I need to do.  I hope you understand.

Goodbye for now, until we meet again.

With Love,