Well I just made what I hope will be the last appointment involved in this “medical” chapter in my life. I will ring in the New Year with a follow-up pelvic ultrasound to check on the complex cyst that was found a few weeks ago. Doesn’t that sound fun? Everyone says “oh no problem” and I hope that is the case. It is none the less nerve racking after a year and a half of appointments, scans, blood work and three surgeries. I can not actually fully wrap my head around the thoughts of it all being over. One can only hope!
I have my follow-up with the plastic surgeon tomorrow. Things have healed nicely since last weeks revision. All new incisions were made on the older scare lines and other than the revision on the left breast, the incisions are almost healed. I do still have some pain from the left breast. After the second surgery, I was not happy with the size of the new breasts. He made incisions all the way under my arms to correct. The left side did not heal well. It left a wedge looking area. That was corrected and looks great but it was probably the largest of the revision areas this round.
I still feel that the newpples are not fully level BUT I am accepting the fact that they probably were not before the surgery. I can’t say that before hand I ever spent much time in front of a mirror staring at them which has become a past time recently. I am sure that it is just something that only I would notice and it is nothing worth undergoing another surgery to correct.
This all started for my family. As it has played out it has changed my life in so many ways. The most important is the way I view my family. I enjoy every minute, every smile and I do not take them for granted.
My baby waiting for the bus this morning in the rain.
Tomorrow is the day. Hopefully the last of the surgeries. So what have I been doing this weekend? What else…cleaning, preparing and making sure everything is taken care of for the next few days without much assistance from me. I have washed, folded and put away 4-5 loads of laundry, changed sheets, cleaned bathrooms and the kitchen and vacuumed every carpet.
The first surgery, the bilateral prophylactic mastectomy was July 2. I did it then because the girls were out of school. I never expected to be preparing to go once again under a knife right before Thanksgiving. I have to be at the hospital tomorrow by 5:30 am. Thankfully we have a wonderful neighbor who will come to my house at 5am so the girls do not have to wake up so early. They will be able to get up at normal time, get dressed and will then head over to the neighbor’s house.
Madison will miss school tomorrow for a few reasons. First our district only has half day Kindergarten. She basically is only there for 3 hours. My neighbors are being nice enough I do not feel right asking them to spend their entire day at bus stops with my kids. Probably more important is my babies fragile state of mind. I put her to bed in tears. She has been through so much with me since such and early age that she worries about me. One of the women she will be spending the day with tomorrow is like and adoptive grandmother to her. I think she will be much calmer even feel safer staying home with her.
Megan on the other hand does not seem worried at all which is good. She goes to school with my neighbor’s little boy so they will go to the bus stop together and she will go about a normal day and if all goes well we will be home before she is from school. If not she will head back to his house until we arrive.
I am not sure what to expect tomorrow. Having already been through the nipple reconstruction and breast revision, this is a revision to that revision. The newpples did not heal the same. From the beginning the surgeon said they had to be large to start with in order to shrink down to size. They did not shrink the same, not even close. So that needs to be addressed. Another issue is the “pitch” of the girls. So one needs to be lifted to match the other. On top of those issues I am pushing to have some of the scares revised a bit but he seems reluctant to do anything there. He says it takes up to a year for scares to heal. We will negotiate that more in the morning.
Barring any major issues…I plan on this being the end of the breast chapter. I guess we just have to stay tuned to see how this chapter ends.
Had a parent teacher meeting with Madison’s teacher today. I was not really sure what to expect. I know that she enjoys school and I know that she is bright. I also know that she is very hyper and never stops moving or talking. Sometimes she reminds me of a kitten who runs from room to room. The meeting went very well. Although her teacher and I agree that she is a “pistol” she assures me that Madison does understand when it is time to play and time to work. I was so proud to sit there! She is doing so well! She has tested in the top 97 percentile, she is helpful and very happy. All great things a mother wants to hear about a child! I am so proud of my baby!
In my “pre-surgery effort to ensure all things are taken care of”, I pulled the pile of holiday dresses out of the closet. I am so thrilled that Megan’s Christmas dress from last year fits just fine and Madison fits into an older dress of Meg’s. Being as these dresses are worn for a few hours, one day a year, I am just so happy that I do not need to spend money on dresses this year! There are layoffs all around, treats of property tax increases due to Superstorm Sandy on top of the already slow economy. Really need to tighten things up this year! Frank’s company has had two rounds just in the last month. Nerves are a bit raw.
Tomorrow some food shopping for Thanksgiving. A few days until surgery…
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, tests and surgery have been normal daily activity for me for a many months now. I have tried to keep a good attitude but there is a stress that hangs over the family since it is on going.
What have I learned? Shit happens and most of it can not be controlled so, relax. I will not say I do not have my moments but as a whole, I am more relaxed. I am enjoying my family and our time together. I am putting “us” first. I am more thankful for what I have!
And with Thanksgiving around the corner, what am I thankful for? These are easy…first although my list looks long and obnoxious, I do not have cancer! I am thankful that I did not wait to take action. I am extremely thankful for my health. I am in the best shape I have been in for years. I am Thankful for my beautiful family. I am also so very thankful for concerned doctors who continue to go the extra effort to ensure that we check everything.
My list is not finished yet. Surgery next week and follow-up appointments after. I will have to repeat the pelvic ultrasound and hope the cyst removed itself, if not it will need to be removed.
So although there is more to go, I sit here so very thankful for a wonderful year. A beautiful family and good health, what more can you ask for right?
With the end of the year quickly approaching I finally have everything scheduled and barring any unforeseen circumstances, it will all be completed before the end of November!
I saw the Gastroenterologist today. She agreed that a colonoscopy would be a wise move. I have stopped fighting it and have scheduled for November 9. I have my instructions and my script and am SOOO looking forward to it, NOT!
I have scheduled the revision surgery for November 19th. I have to go for blood work sometime this week for that. I am hoping the recovery from this one is quick since Thanksgiving will only be a few days later.
Since the rest of the schedule fell into line today, the only other thing I needed to get onto the schedule was the pelvic ultrasound. As soon as I walked through the door I jumped on the phone and scheduled for November 7th. Two and a half weeks in November are looking pretty ugly but if all goes well, by the end of the month it will all be over!
In other interesting news, we on the east coast are preparing for Hurricane Sandy or the more fun name being given to the storm, “Frankenstorm”. They are saying it will be a 1 in 100 year storm. I am not right along the coast so no evacuations for my family but my sister lives on the coast. We may have a visitor over the weekend. If things align the way they think, we could be looking at over 10-12 inches of rain. possibly one heck of a mess! We ran to the store for extra milk, bottled water and batteries and a new lighter for candles.
We have a date for the next round of surgery, November 19th. I am referring to it as either “tieing up loose ends” or “the clean up”. My surgeons scheduler chuckled a little but I don’t think either of us thought it would be a good idea to refer to it in such a way to him. The consent is calling it, “revision of bilateral reconstructed breasts and revision of abdominal scar”. I think it should really say revision to the revision but hey who am I?
It has been over 3 months now since the Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy and DIEP flap surgery and almost 2 months since the nipple reconstruction. This has been a long process.
SO more blood work, another early morning arrival at the hospital, more anesthesia. I wonder if I will miss all of the coordination, tests, scheduling and recovery once all of the procedures are over? (KIDDING!) I am glad that we have this scheduled, one step closer to finished, I hope!
ON a different note, Madison lost another tooth today and it happened at school. She was so excited when she got off the bus wearing the tooth necklace given to her to secure the tooth. It was almost like she knew it was going to be a special day. When she woke up she requested to wear a “pretty” dress and “high heels”. I see a visit from the tooth fairy this evening!
Do you ever have those days? You know the ones where you just want to kick and scream and tell everyone to go to hell? Everyone wants something, pulling this way and that, but your head says, don’t rock the boat, try to keep the peace. In the end, everyone walks on egg shells and my headache grows. Is “the peace” worth it if there is always a set of rules that everyone must play by before a conversation can even start?
I don’t know, maybe it was the mastectomy, maybe the way people acted/reacted to me and the surgery or maybe it was the pathology reports that flashed before my eyes how quickly things can change. I feel like I am looking at things differently, reacting differently. I am not sure if this is good or bad and for a person who has a need to be in control it is definitely a little unsettling.
So I had the appointment with the gynecologist today…always a thrill! It is interesting telling my Prophylactic Mastectomy story to people who are not aware. According to her, records are often not sent until you are released from care. Since I am still officially undergoing treatment my GYN had no update since the mammogram of March 2011 that started it all. She was a very interested audience. The person I see at the office is one of the nurse practitioners. I have gone to her for years, much easier to get an appointment that trying to see one of the doctors. She was the one who was there the day I had my miscarriage and she was the one I saw following the birth of both of my beautiful girls.
She added to the chorus of folks who say how brave I am. She also added to the list of those who want me to have further tests. She agrees with the colonoscopy and not to be out done by other doctors, feels I should also go for a pelvis ultrasound. I feel like I am some pawn in a wired medical game, I se you mastectomy and raise you one colonoscopy and a pelvic ultrasound. So if everything were to go perfect, I have at least 5 more medical appointments minimum before we can close this chapter of my life, and when does life go perfect?
The connection between breast and ovarian cancer is known. Can I say clearly how F-ing tired I am of tests and doctors? Of course I will go but think I am going to hold off making an appointment until next week. I hope to get a date nailed down for the last of the breast procedures before making more appointments. I sure hope it is the last!
So now that we are able to stream with Netflix, I have been watching the show Madmen. I had heard good things about the show but had never seen it. It is so funny to watch, set in the 60′s, everyone smokes, drinks and the women are all in pretty dresses all day long. I feel like I have a cough by the end of an episode with all of the cigarette smoking! The amount of alcohol consumed all day long, at work, after work, at diner, after diner and then into the car they go just blows the mind.
We have come a long way! In New Jersey there is no smoking anywhere in doors. I remember when I was a smoker feeling that my rights were being infringed upon as the world began to crack down on the nasty habit. I have not had a cigarette in 8 years and could not imagine smoking. I dread the cloud that you sometimes have to walk through at doorways of different stores or restaurants.
So, had my follow-up with the Plastic surgeon and indeed we are looking at another procedure. I am frustrated about the entire situation. I told him of the lingering ache especially after wearing a bra. He says don’t wear a bra. I said well sure if things were symmetrical that would be an option but one newpple points north while the other has a southward slant and is twice the size of the other. Makes for an interesting braless image. Now they have to go back to the insurance company to get approval and I wait. This needs to be done before the end of the year!
On a better than expected note, my cholesterol numbers were not too bad. They are elevated but not bad enough to be medicated. Doctors says keep up the exercise, watch what I eat and we will redo blood work after the holidays. Guess that is not too bad.
Gynecologist tomorrow..now that’s something to look forward to!
I started this blog when Frank bought me the MacBook that I have fallen in love with and use daily! I had never been a fan of Apple, that is until I broke down and bought an iPhone. Even after the phone purchase, I was very resistant to leave my comfort level with Windows until the frustration level with viruses boiled over. We had spyware and antivirus programs on every computer yet we killed several in a rather short period of time, the blue screen of death.
So with my love of my laptop and the last of our PC’s crashing last week, the trip to the apple store was inevitable. The newest addition to the house is the iMac which I set up in the family room so I can keep and eye on what the girls are searching. We had a Netflix account where we received the DVD as one was sent back. Now we are streaming…I feel so high tech! My husband and I were like little kids playing with the TV watching you tube videos, the kids looked at us like we old. It is amazing, I watch my 5-year-old and she can work any gadget you put in front of her. I did not even touch a computer until a keyboarding class in high school. In college we all sat in the computer lab fighting over the one crappy dot matrix printer and now we sit streaming personal videos on TV…cool and scary at the same time!
Anyway, busy week of doctors appointments this week. The long awaited follow-up with the plastic surgeon is first followed by the dreaded yearly at the GYN. I am still trying to connect with my doc about the blood work I had done last week. Message was that my cholesterol was high, not unexpected.
Still trying to finish up any and all procedures needed before the end of the year. The window is closing, Guess time flies when you’re having fun….