Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Take THAT Cancer!

I know I've been out of touch for a while, but it's definitely not due to bad news. I had my surgery last Tuesday, an exact week from today. My nurse said the results came back quite quickly and that no other cancer was found! She congratulated me on being officially cancer free! So guess I can't use that whole "I have Cancer" excuse anymore... 

Surgery...well it's surgery. I was in for about 7 hours, having a bilateral mastectomy with expanders put in. I am actually more sore today than I was the day after surgery due to the lack of high quality drugs...don't get me wrong, I still have Oxycontin, vicodine, Valium, diazepam, lorazepam, and a handful of others to take, but I sometimes miss the push button morphine!
On top of the surgery I decided it would be fun to get a bit of poison ivy as well, so the itchiness of the ivy has really drowned out the pain of the boob-loss. My dad has been by my side to help with the little things that used to be easy-sitting up, pouring juice, etc. Though he has a problem with the gross stuff, so my mom gets to empty my drains and re-apply my bandages. The true surgery Nazi is Kari-if she wasn't a teacher she would've (and should have) been a nurse! If I fart the wrong way, Kari is on her feet to see if I'm okay. She threatened once to tie socks on my hands so that I'd stop itching my poison ivy, which scared me enough to call the doc for some steroids-the girl seriously has eyes in the back of her head! Kari probably would've been upset to hear that about 20 minutes after she left the lake, I did get hit pretty hard in the chest (doing something Kari definitely would not have approved of); I was pretty scared, thank goodness Don, my calm and collected fireman brother-in-law was here, he checked me all out and everything still looks good (well as good as it can look)! Honestly, my whole family has been the best! We were all down at the lake this Memorial Day and even though I spent most of it on the recliner, it was great!

I am hoping to get back to work soon, as soon as I can drive that is. I have been doing some exercises trying to stretch out the muscles. I have a couple more appointments this week so will keep you updated! I don't know when the "expanding" actually begins or when I'm going to have surgery again to replace the expanders for implants. Right now it's just a lot of deformity and scarring, it looks like a surgery site! So while I'll be under construction for a while, that is fine, because I am done with this cancer shit. No more mammograms, or worrying, or chemo...done. In less than 7 months my life has been turned upside down, in less than 7 months I learned the selflessness of everyone that surrounds me.
Thank you all for all the support. More to come! I promise to quit slacking on the updates! XOXO

P.S. For those of you not on facebook, wanted to share the following link, I'm famous! ;)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Have to get this off my chest...

Well, surgery is set for the 24th of May. This week will be my last week of work. The docs said to take about 6 weeks, but feel I will be going stir crazy by then...so hoping to get back to work in 3, but I won't push it! I am nervous for this one. I've spoken to many people, and have about 4 more people that I should talk with, but ultimately, the decision is mine-no one can make up my mind for me. I have to trust the surgeon in this case and honestly, if I never had to go through chemo again, it'd be too soon. So I'm trading in bi-annual MRIs for expanders and implants...once these are in I won't even have to have mammograms for monitoring! So guess after the 24th I'll have more than just the stress off my chest! I know I'll get through just fine, just a bit more scared/anxious on this one. I can't complain though, just this step and hopefully this will be behind me. I recently went to a benefit with Kari, my little sis. It was this wonderful "wigging out" event (see pictures below)! It was for her teacher friend, Tasha, who has cancer, 30's, healthy, non-smoker - lung cancer. Beautiful woman, beautiful family, I am sure the unknown for her is quite scary. I can't speak for her, but I'm sure if all she had to do for survival is remove some balls of fat, she wouldn't think twice. I don't know when this epidemic of cancer started, but my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who is touched by it. More to come before surgery...thank you all so much for your incredible support, the long conversations, and my back and forth discussions!! Time to go watch a curl up on my couch with my WONDERFUL quilt and watch a couple rented movies...always nice to have a distraction from your thoughts (thanks to Reese Witherspoon)!! :)  XOXO

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

Ever have those fantastic shoe shopping days where every shoe is cute AND fits AND you find exactly what your looking for? Yeah...boob "shopping" is so not the same. Black pumps, strappy sandals, and platform heals versus tug flap, expanders, and implants - where do I start? Do I pick something for comfort or something that looks good with the new summer dress I have? Something that'll last, but looks a bit harsh or something that I may need to replace after a few miles? Oh the decisions...and they're all mine! Thankfully I have all weekend to think about it!! ;)

The plastic surgeon I met with was very nice and had a fun personality, so at least I feel confident in that! My dad came with me to the appointment today, as he does with every appointment. Needless to say, if there was one he should have missed, it was probably this one...nothing like feeling implants with you dad and deciding which ones would feel more real. But it is always nice to have his support (no bra pun intended)!

So...decisions. Plastic surgeon said she can do an implant, which would be easier to heal from. If I go this route, I can do saline or silicone. Silicone must be replaced every 10 years, while saline, you can let go until it ruptures, but will eventually have to go in for a refill. She said they would look nice, but require some maintenance and more surgery. She said if I wanted to go bigger than my A (yes A) cup, she would have to put in expanders. If I was looking for something more permanent, then I could go the tug flap route where they take tissue and muscle from my thigh. So I'll have some scarring, but the boobs will look real, I'll be able to sleep on them and they'll be maintenance free, but it requires a lot more work up front. I won't even get into nipple sparing versus removing all of it, since that will be a decision for my breast cancer surgeon (not to be confused with my plastic surgeon). There was a ton of information, and to be honest, I think I am still digesting it.

The plastic surgeon did guarantee me that I wouldn't be a very happy person for the first month, with the first week being the worst of it. Thankfully, my pectoral muscle will have it's own little "Dr. Conrad" built right in, giving it local anesthetic whenever she gets sore!! So that's that for right now...I meet with Dr. Conner (my breast cancer surgeon) on Monday and will hopefully have an answer for both of them by that time. Instead of reading and thinking this evening, I had mexican food with my dad, mowed my lawn, and took a nap...not too productive, but you all know how I love to procrastinate!