brca bullshit

Four Week “Boobie”versary

I’m a day late, but I’m not sure how I feel this week. I went back to work on Thursday of last week and immediately knew that was a mistake. I’m tired, I’m moving slowly, and I sure as hell can’t remember a damn thing anyone says to me… and driving fucking sucks. But, since I was so negative last week, here are some good things:

1) I met a new neighbor who very graciously carried my garbage cans for me last week because they are way too heavy for me to pull.

2) I’ve created a very effective system of taking my robe down with me, stripping in the laundry room and putting my clothes in the washer every day, so that I don’t have to carry a laundry basket… then, when J comes on Friday, all he will have to do is carry the basket up for me! 🙂

3) Even though I didn’t want to go see him, Dr. Ch, my pain management specialist, is awesome. He asked me to relay my story, and when we got to the plastic surgery visit, he blurted out “so, basically, he was an asshole?” and I laughed, agreed, and we continued with the consult. Except it wasn’t a consult… it was a full exam. He agrees that I likely have a pinched nerve as well as a considerable amount of nerve pain around my “divot” in my chest because that sunken spot has forced the nerves together and they are trying to connect harder than they were. He gave me a pain patch and it’s already starting to work – it will reach it’s full efficacy on Friday, so expect a full report then!

4) My BS finally saw me – she couldn’t get the stitch out either, but explained it was because of risk of infection and put a steri strip over it so it would stop catching on everything. Genius. She also (not-so-gently) shoved my implant back where it was supposed to be and said “the space is there, it just needs to be sewn in a different way”. When she did that, I could see how it would look exactly like the other one, and all the loose skin and wrinkles will go away. That made me feel immensely better (even though I did NOT want to have two surgeries), and hopefully it will be quick (both the surgery and the recovery) this time. She likened it to an exchange surgery, so I’m assuming those of you who have gone from expanders to implant can enlighten me more as to the pain and healing time.

5) I have an amazing family and an amazing boyfriend.

6) I have amazing friends.

7) My hand hurts at how many “thank-you” notes I’ve written … everyone was so good to me!

8) The worst is over. [EDIT: Jinxed myself there, didn’t I?!)

I didn’t take pictures yesterday because it was such a long day (I didn’t even get HOME until 9pm), but I’ll take and post them tonight….if I get home any earlier!

brca bullshit

Three Week “Boobie”versary

After my last post, I couldn’t bear to post any more. I will probably go back and retro-actively post from my notes about each day, but for now, I have ONE more day until I go back to work.

Backstory –I had several setbacks:

1) I had my right drain pulled on 4/10/12 and the drain pull was painless and quick. Then, however, the nerve pain began. The first night climbing the stairs I had a searing pain (like a fiery knife) in my back just to the left of my right shoulder blade. My mother gave me a vicodin and a valium and put me in bed, and eventually the pain subsided. This happened again the following day, in the exact same spot. My chest spasms continued (and do to this day – but are usually managed by gritting my teeth or digging my nails in my palm…and occasionally 5mg of valium).

2) On 4/13/12, I went back and had my left drain pulled. Again, no pain, just discomfort, and he acknowledged the implant asymmetry and said that we could not discuss a “revision surgery” for at least 3 months – but, he answered none of my questions about the invasive nature of the procedure, healing time or scarring. I then asked for more pain meds and explained about the searing pain in my back in addition to the continual muscle spasms in my chest and was dismissed. He actually asked me if I was seeing a psychiatrist. Through my gritted teeth and tears of pain I accepted the papers he handed me recommending “pain management specialists” and a referral to see a physical therapist …. but I felt like time was going backwards. I honestly was feeling WORSE physically than I had when I came home from the hospital. What was worse was it was close to 4pm when I was able to call the “pain management specialists” and couldn’t get an appointment. I spent the weekend in bed out of fear of having a spasm and not having medicine to deal with it.

3) On Saturday, I was in horrible pain, and took it out on my boyfriend. I was awful. Then, later I had another back spasm in the parking lot of Harris Teeter and J almost had to carry me inside once we got home. He helped me to bed, gave me my very last vicodin and a valium and laid with me until the spasm subsided. It prevented us from watching any of the three RedBox DVDs we rented and wasted most of the evening with me a whimpering mess. Very pathetic … but somehow, he still made me french toast in the morning. Such a good, good man.

4) On Monday, I called my PCP (whom I affectionately call the “pill pusher” because he offers a lot of pharmaceutical options every time I see him). I got an appointment immediately, he wrote both prescriptions without hesitation, then recommended both a “pain management specialist” and a physical therapist. He was both kind and understanding, palpated (gently) my back and chest, and said it was entirely possible that the drain was placed too close to a nerve cluster and that it will be agitated when I do certain motions. He was very kind, and reassuring, and made me realize how cold and uncaring my PS had been with me. Thank goodness for him and his kindness.

Today, though, I woke up early, took J to the metro so he could go to work, came back, took a nap, watching the landing of the Discovery on TV, and then went to the bakery to reassure them I wasn’t dead (since I’d been sending the men in my life to retrieve delicious gluten-free baked goods for the previous 4 days). Then I came home and cleaned and wrote thank-you notes and I’m pretty sure I was more productive today than I have been for the last 4 days combined. One more day until I have to return to work, and I’m starting to get anxious….

brca bullshit

Post-Op with the BS

Since my breast surgeon also decided to take spring break, I had my follow-up with Dr. Bruce. No drains out, but she did read the pathology report to me: abnormal cells (possible DCIS) but NO malignancy. They even (sorry if this is gross) cored out my nipples and took samples from there too–all clear!

This is wonderful news and I feel much better about the decision I made – it will save my life… I just know it will.

Left breast is slowly drooping more each day and becoming frustrating.

brca bullshit

Post-Op with the PS

Since my PS AND BS are both out of town this week, I met with Dr. N’s Chief Resident Dr. I at the surgery center in McLean this morning. It was there that I learned three things:

1) My boobs look great. They put 500cc silicone implants in they are convinced I’m going to be happy with them.

2) I cannot OD on Valium. If I’m awake and in pain, then I can have more. I’ve been having a LOT of chest pressure and really have been feeling the muscle spasms as my primary complaint, and Dr. I said I’m not taking enough Valium or Vicodin (bless him).

3. It could be a year before my implants settle and my scars fade and all of that is settled …. but I didn’t do this for beauty – I did it for life.

Tomorrow is the post-op with the BS (or her partner Dr. B) because she’s also on spring break. Will updated tomorrow!