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The “other” Cancer

When I was little, we used to drive the 9 hours to Bluefield, WV to see my Great-Grandmother in her little log cabin built into the side of the mountain. A lot of those years, I remember my Great Uncle Johnny and his wife Sally coming along to spend time with us – especially at the family reunion.

Aunt Sally was small and slender (like my Grandmother) and she always had a long cigarette dangling from her fingers (when we were outside). That is actually one of the things I remember about her best: she would look at me watching her smoke and say “this is for grownups”.

Aunt Sally passed away on Monday from lung cancer… I never knew she was sick, but I could hardly act surprised, because all of my memories with her are with a cigarette in her dainty hands. This makes me absolutely crazy, because I just can’t stand the thought of J having to suffer like that, but when he says “I have to quit when I’m ready”, I can hardly argue.

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J smokes 3-4 a day–nothing like Aunt Sally’s chain smoking–and yet I am filled with worry every time I see him pick up that lighter. How can I make this a supportive environment in which he can feel safe quitting without pushing too hard?

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My Orioles

I grew up in the heyday of the Orioles. Shortly after I was born, they won the World Series, and their lineup boasted some of the best baseball players ever to play the game.
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I grew up with the glory of Eddie Murray – in fact, one of my first words was Ed-die! I wore my Oriole jacket over my easter dress on several occasions, and lord help you of you tried to take my hat off my head.

I grew up listening to WBAL instead of pop music, and in order for me to sleep in the winter, I had to listen to a pre-recorded game from the previous season…over and over and over again.

I grew up basking in the glory of Cal Ripken. I had the pleasure of being a fan during some of his most productive years, and the sheer joy to see him break a record (that will likely never be broken again) the night the Orioles unrolled the numbers “2131” on the warehouse and the roar of the crowd left me deaf for hours afterward. I don’t really remember much of the game, but I do remember him – his humility, gratefulness and the amazing patience oozing out of him as he took the time to sign autographs, shake hands and make his special day about us. I may have shed a tear or two. I know my Dad did.

These, and many other wonderful baseball experiences, were how I got what other people call “the baseball bug”. I love stats, I love pitching duels and small-ball games. When my Dad taught me to keep score at a very young age, I honed that skill as often as possible, eventually proving myself worthy of managing my high school baseball team. You can hear me yelling right alongside my Dad often, encouraging players to hit “just a little bingle baby!” and “hit it in the cheap seats!” (not that they’re cheap anymore!) if the mood strikes us right. We occasionally get that *feeling* that a player is “due” and have called more homeruns than I’d care to admit. To this day, my favorite game was on May 17, 1996. My Dad got box seats, and it was just the two of us. We were down by 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth against the Seattle Mariners (who still had Ken Griffey Jr.!) when I jokingly called a Chris Hoiles “ultimate” grand slam as he ran the count up to 3-2. He ended up hitting the most beautiful shot to the left field bleachers, and is the only player ever to do that in major league history (23 other players have hit “ultimate” grand slams – where the bases are loaded in the bottom of the 9th and you’re down by three runs … a walk-off grand-slam, if you will).

Now, as I get older, my baseball focus, especially in score keeping has holes, and I finally left a game early for the first time this year, much to my dismay, but the seats were just so damn uncomfortable after my surgery, and I get tired so easily. I still remain a dedicated fan, thought, watching games at home and listening to them on a snowy DC affiliate of WBAL. I believe in Orioles magic… even when they break my heart year after year.
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This season, though, something about the Orioles’ perseverance despite constant criticism and that drive that they had to become a cohesive team, it affected me as I continued to struggle “up hill”. Getting home in time to watch the Orioles play because a shining silver lining to my 29th year – a year otherwise full of pain, the sacrifice of my family and friends, and the growing love I have for my “cohabitant” (he’s filling out his clearance forms for his TC…).

“My Orioles,” I used to call them: when everyone else was giving up, going to the ballpark was (and still is) one of my favorite things to do to sooth my nerves. I am that annoying fan whistling and cheering and painting my face. One time I was so frazzled I skipped out on a test in college to go to the Orioles game. There with my scorebook and my Orioles hat, wouldn’t you know it, but it was the first time I’ve ever been on TV. I’m just thankful my professor was administering the test and not watching the game!

Baseball is like ballet – it is an art that can never be perfect. You can study the pitchers, but you’ll never know what they’ll throw. You can run 6-4-3 double play drills, but you don’t know when the second baseman is going to trip, or his throw will be wild. For a kid with severe attention issues, baseball was (and still is) my coping mechanism. It was something I ate, slept and breathed when I was a child, and it is something that feeds my enthusiasm, my positive outlook and, sadly, often my fatalistic attitude.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the first time I’ve been down this road. I’ve felt the playoff magic one other time, when, under Davey Johnson’s watchful eye, the fellas headed for the playoffs in 1997. I was 14 years old, but I remember being IRATE when Angelos fired Johnson after losing in a playoff series, and so my Dad took us out of school one day so we could “Picket” on Eutaw Street. I even drew Davey Johnson’s face on a giant piece of poster board (I wish I had kept it, since now he’s gone and coached the NL’s last-place team to a division title in one season!). It eased a little of the pain, but it’s been a rough going for the last 6 years watching team after team falter.
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While sometimes it irks me that these fans come out of the woodworks when the team is  winning, I’m happy that Camden Yards is once again full of cheering O’s fans, and not every-other-team-on-the-east-coast fans. I, however, will always be a true Orioles fan – win or lose – because it’s part of who I am. I mean, I yell “O” during the national anthem – even when I’m not at the ballpark! I just bought new orange-and-black glasses for goodness sakes!
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The deeper thing is, though, that they are now a part of me in a way that has become glue – filling in my holes and helping me stay together. I don’t know what I will do when baseball season is over, but I know they did for me: exactly what I wanted them to do. I desperately wanted them to surprise people, and end the season over .500. They have done both of those things, so I will be proud of whatever the outcome-tonight, tomorrow (if necessary) and Friday if they play in the wildcard duel to the death (even if I have to watch the game at work!).

I am PROUD, so proud of MY Orioles. I stuck with you for better or worse, and you showed me how to struggle in an uphill battle and come out on top. Thank you for that – your part in my healing process is a big one, so I will continue to hold you (and Vicodin) in my heart forever for the strength you’ve taught me – just like a TRUE fan always should.

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New doctor, new style, new outcome?

I saw Dr W on a whim. They could fit me in today and I would have what they called an “initial consult”. I had always been afraid of Chiropractors, but they were covered under my insurance, and at this point, I’ll pretty much try anything to relieve the pain without painkillers.

After I started seeing him, I felt positive, but not any better. The massage portion was necessary (albeit excruciating), but laying on my stomach for that long was very painful and put a lot of pressure on my already frazzled nerves.

I stuck with it until last week – despite having to run to the bus, take time off of work, *rent a car* one day… But last week my pain skyrocketed again after a particularly rigorous massage involving my jaw. Pain in my boobs is one thing, but pain in my jaw is absolutely NOT bearable.

It is at this point that I have said goodbye to the chiropractor, and once again reached out to my pain doctor for help. His PA wants me to come in for “medication re-evaluation” and more trigger point shots, but where it hurts is where they’re fearful of injecting because of the implants. Again, I feel sad that I had reconstruction at all.

Nothing new except my wonderful boyfriend’s extremely stressful job…now neither of us have the energy to cook/clean/do laundry/etc. We have become a pile of lazy, whiny mush…

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The ass-kicking the ocean gave me.

My wonderful Aunt and Uncle lent us their beach house for the weekend, and we decided to invite my cousin and her husband (who got J the interview for the new job he just got!) and my parents.

Now, let me remind you that I am a pale Irish lass and am not terribly fond of the sun (it gives you things like cancer and whatnot…), so J and I only planned one beach day, and weren’t even sure we were going to wear our suits. Still, the waves were rough and heavy just like I love them, and the dolphins were everywhere showing off with their flips and turns, so after making a rather expensive run to Sunsations, we decided to go play in the ocean.

Facts you need to know about me: I am an extremely strong swimmer. I swam in the same division as Michael Phelps as a kid (even if he was/is the biggest douchebag alive) and I even swam club team in college until the pool closed on campus. I was a lifeguard, for goodness sakes!

So, when I saw the need to dive under a particularly menacing wave, I instinctually threw my hands up and sprang forward… but my body didn’t work the way it was supposed to. I couldn’t propel myself with my arms because I had lost all strength and my pectoral muscles were screaming as I tried to tread water. Eventually, I was able to stand up, but a current that normally wouldn’t concern me felt like it was dragging me back to that swirly darkness, so I zig-zagged out of the water as quickly as I could, and, panting, told my family there would be no ocean for me anymore.

I couldn’t believe it: first the tits, then the running and now my ability to swim?! To flip in and out of the waves like a high-powered mermaid? My ability to swim is probably the athletic talent I’m most proud of, so I am particularly sad that my body is unable to do it at this time. Still, we have to hope for the best, right?

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brca bullshit

Holding a fat baby & carrying a laundry basket – all in one weekend!

I don’t think things are getting *better*, per se, but I think I’m getting much more used to how things are. It helps a lot to have J around every day to help, even if he’s been pretty exhausted and sore himself these last few days.

New coping mechanisms:

  • If I keep moving, often times I can force myself past the fatigue – but God help me if I sit down!
  • If I take my adderrall later in the morning at work, then I am often able to sustain my brain and most times find myself working until the bitter end.
  • I can drag heavy things if I get down low and push them, then sit down on a step and pull them into my lap… thus, the laundry baskets.

Still, though, the sharp pains and lumps and bumps and stitches remind me that things are not really much better … and since next Tuesday is the 5-month anniversary of this stupid surgery, I feel a little depressed that I don’t have an answer by now. My pain doc ordered a chest x-ray, and I’ve kind of been putting it off, because it likely won’t show anything (I know my mother is secretly hoping that they left a pair of scissors in there or something), since x-rays can’t pick up nerve damage or other possible causes of this frequent pain. I’m really trying to hang in there, I really am, but some days are very, very hard.

Now, on to the fat (by fat, I mean heavy, healthy and beautiful!) baby!:

It felt so good to be the baby hog again!


I also had the pleasure of snuggling with his older brother–going to be a heartbreaker, eh ladies?

All-in-all, it was a crazy weekend full of moving/cleaning stuff, potato chips & french onion dip, hogging babies, doing laundry and even some Dogfishead gluten-free beer! Woo!

Occasionally, it is the better strategy to smile and go along with the tide rather than fight the current.

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Chicago Milestone

 My J and I on the plane. While flying, I had to wear crazy-ass compression hosiery on my legs, and these silly sock-like homemade lymphodema sleeves on my arms… just in case. I hate that there’s so much “just in case” in my life, but what am I going to do?

 

Some of my favorite shots from the weekend… lots of fun, lots of laughing, and my first major (well, to me) milestone post-surgery: I got to hold J’s niece B. That was my favorite part of all:

I realized that if someone hands me something heavier, then I can hold it – I just can’t dead-lift from the ground. She was happy to climb into my lap and I was happy to have her… it’s hard to leave such a sweet, supportive, loving group of smiling faces — with any luck, one day, they will be my family too.

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Inching towards an answer…but screeching to a halt. Again.

I got a text from my Mom’s friend – the one who set up the semi-clandestine meeting with Dr. F in his hotel room when he was in town lecturing last Saturday (where I learned that my continued upward climb on this journey might get rockier still) – with the information for the surgeon he recommended I call. He recommended him so highly, in fact, that he called him “his clone” – and everything I’ve read about him so far leads me to believe that he will be as kind and gentle as Dr. F.

So, oozing with anticipation, I called first thing on Monday morning and had to give almost my entire medical history to the nurse? receptionist? random lady answering the phone? – but after mentioning the phrase “possible infection” a few times, she managed to squeeze me in at 8:30am on Friday. This Friday. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself, and my boss seemed to be especially flexible telling me to “see what time I made it in” before requesting time off.

This was all fine and dandy until about an hour ago when that same lady called me back to tell me that she had to cancel my appointment. I was rescheduled to see him on 7/24 – two days before I leave for Chicago – so my anxiety started build. Again, another lesson about remembering that when things seem too good to be true, they usually are…

BUT, then a few days later she called to let me know he could squeeze me in on 7/13 instead! So, things could be worse, but I guess I’ll find out when I find out.

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Breakdown

Pile of Bras

On Wednesday J asked me to get things ready for GoodWill. So, I went through bags and boxes and drawers and then I came to it: my little basket of bras, tucked away for when everything was healed and I could go back to normal. My Victoria’s Secret bras, my Nordstroms bras, my designer bras, my designer-knock-off bras… my sexy ones, my comfy ones, my rainbow-colored ones and my faded gray-ish white ones. First I lovingly stacked them (the picture to the left isn’t an actual photo, but I did it almost exactly like that), remembering when I had bought them, with what I had worn them, how fashionable I had felt… then I shoved all of them, angrily, into one heap in the bag, and started to sob. And sob. And sob. And sob.

Despite a few similar outbursts having occurred like this, I’m still not sure J knew quite what to do, so he took the bags of clothes to the car, and then came back and hugged me for a while. After that, I felt paralyzed. I said, out loud, “I wasn’t depressed before, but I am now” and I curled up in bed and stared at the wall clutching my duvet and rejecting any and all attempts he made to get me up and moving and doing something fun. My parents called, I ignored them for a while, then answered the phone and said something morose, probably leaving them in a panic, and went back to my semi-comatose state. The cats wandered up after a bit, but didn’t lay against me as they normally do – they kept to the edges of the bed, and seemed unsure of how to react.

Really, I just kept thinking over and over “why would I do this to myself AGAIN?” Why would I put myself through the SAME pain, the same recovery, the same emotional rollercoaster – with no guarantee that it would be any better, that it would decrease the pain or even  worsen it — or even that I would survive another surgery. Surgeries are scary. I did it once. I was brave. I was doing it for my future family. As I laid there I though… “maybe I could live with this pain for the rest of my life.” I’d never be able to pick up my kids. I’d never be able to run. I’d have to diet obsessively to maintain the weight I’ve already put on since the surgery and the absence of physical activity. This pain affects everyone around me as much as it affects me — I can’t do a whole lot on my own anymore.

Still, I’d rather not have another surgery. I’ve said this out loud a few times, but people brush me off and think that I’m silly – of course I’ll have the surgery, of course it will ease the pain, of course the recovery will be easier, of course I won’t lose my job…. of course it won’t cost thousands of dollars to RE-do the surgery that has already been done. But I might not. It might not. It might not be. I just might. It just might. No one can know the what/when/why/where/how of the future. Is it worth the risk?

That being said, my reality line has been a bit blurred lately, and I have trouble making decisions (can you blame me after over 3 straight months of Vicodin and Valium and Wellbutrin and Pristiq as well as nearly a month of Neurontin and other mind-melting drugs…). I find myself standing in a supermarket aisle sometimes staring at the label and I look in my cart and don’t remember putting any of the things in it. So, maybe I’m not qualified to make big decisions like this, but I can’t help asking myself whether I really want to go through all that again? Worse, do I want to put my family through that again? J is moving in with me in 3 weeks — I should be over the moon ecstatic that he is making this commitment and we are taking that next step in our relationship, but all I can think is “is he prepared for all of this?”

More about my thoughts on J: I don’t want him to suffer during our first year “together”. We have had a whirlwind relationship to begin with, and the surgery put a lot of pressure for it to be serious, so I want to enjoy getting to know him even more and spending my days waking up with him and going to sleep with him and laughing and joking and fighting and making up – he deserves that, more than anyone. WE deserve that.

Not: Drains and vomit and expensive prescriptions and bland meals and giant pillows that push him out of bed.
Not: sponge baths and shower chairs and helping me in and out of everything (the car, the bed, the couch, the shower, etc.).
NOT: Feeling responsibility to take care of every little thing and rush home everyday and worry and wish he were at home taking care of me. And, although we both adore them dearly…
NOT: Having my mother and/or father living with us to take care of me all of the time.

He is, without a doubt, the man I want to marry. I have been sure of that since before we even started dating “seriously” and his desire to be with me even DESPITE all of the chaos and the horrible things he’s had to help me through and witness and the pain he’s had to endure watching me go through this — he is an incredible man. He will be a wonderful father to our precious children, and he will be a supportive husband to me, no matter what stage of this health process I may be in. Sure, we have our “squabbles”, but it’s because we’re both very stubborn, and knowing that we are both able to walk away from them feeling the love and respect of the other person is a mark of a great relationship. To be very honest, I do worry (a lot) that he stays with me because he wants to take care of me, but know that he does love me, and with the support that he gives without my even asking for it, I can’t help believe it – even if I feel sometimes that he’s not quite as “sure” as I’ve always been.

Anyone who reads XKCD knows that the author’s (young, I think…) fiancee has been struggling with breast cancer. I think this graphic, is probably what’s going on not only in my head, but probably J’s head as well (although J’s purple would be larger, and my green/pink would be larger, etc.). He wants me to be cancer-free… that’s all he’s concerned about, and the questions he asks are all centered around that idea. But the thing that he said to me off-handedly the other night was what stuck with me: “I’ll support whatever decision you make. We will make it work, one way or another. We are a team.”

That’s something I’ve been saying to him about his job search, and to me, that reaffirms that we are supposed to be together. My angels sent me an angel, and whether I can never wear a cute halter top again, or whether this second surgery really does turn out to be the answer to my prayers, I will be forever grateful for him, and for my family and all of their support. I couldn’t ask for a better safety-net as I walk this tight rope above the unknown.

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Eight Week “Boobie” Versary

Today was my first *real* physical therapy session, and it was amazing. Like…the most painful massage in the world, but I felt looser and I learned a lot, which are two good goals.

That is… until I woke up the next morning and couldn’t move. Everything was right back to the way that it was while on the patch and I was MISERABLE. Plus, the physical therapy place keeps screwing up my appointments, and I’m having what leave I have earned slowly dripping away.

I hate this. I hate 100% of this, and sometimes I question whether I doing this to myself was a mistake. Everyone who’s been through chemo and radiation and much worse pain would scoff at my selfishness… but in some ways, I imagine my pain compares some to their own.

Work is, however, getting better and while my boss and I are at odds over leave and hours, she’s trying to be flexible with me and has noticed the EXTREME improvement in my work – both ethic and productivity. This is a pace I’m not sure I can keep up, but at least I’m not staring at the wall anymore.

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Seven Week “Boobie” Versary

Finally getting my way!

After 4 weeks of my breast care navigator (A) “trying” to get me an appointment, my BS had her main nurse (C) get me one for the very next day. A’s response: “I wish I could be as tenacious as C”. What the fuck does she think her job is?

Also, Dr. Ch has finally relented and let me go back to vicodin and valium (and gabapentin at night – yay!), and I can manage the pain much better this way (although I have to take lower doses at work…).

In an attempt to be social, on Saturday we went to visit J’s friends (originally from OH) that live in Reston (about 25-30min from my house). The saddest part was realizing that I couldn’t hold the baby because he was too heavy and I was afraid I’d drop him! Still the older boy (just about 2) was very gentle with me and kept pointing to me and saying “Mommy?” and I’d have to repeat “Not yet, little one, but sometime soon I hope!” making J all blush-y and cute.

A nice surprise was that when we got home, the whole house was cleaned from top to bottom by my awesome Mom and Dad. What a wonderful gift, and one that really helped me feel a little bit better about still feeling bad. We all went out to Rockland’s BBQ afterwards and it was a really great time.

The next day J had his softball game at a new field (Potomac Park) and we had to walk 1/2 a mile just from where we parked… then on the way back we had to stop and walk through the MLK memorial (which is beautiful, but c’mon, ladies, asking me to walk that far with the girls just a-bouncin’ away is asking just a little too much)!

[EDIT: At least the Orioles are playing awesomely!]

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Six Week “Boobie” Versary

Pain is all there is. I go to work like a zombie and just pray I can make it home … at which point I don’t eat and I just lay in bed and hug my brookstone nap pillow (to which I was going to link but apparently they don’t make them anymore?) I’m really glad I have my Mom’s larger one and the smaller one that my “family away from family” bought for me… I’d be sad to hear they discontinued the line, because they bring so much comfort and conformity.

Week 3 on the Butrans patch and I am miserable. I’m taking Vicodin on top of it, have constant muscle spasms and still have not been able to get approval from insurance for PT. In general, I’m feeling tired and weak and work is getting harder and harder to drag myself to…but since I have no leave, I have no choice.

Now if I could just rev up my hormones enough to keep J happy once and a while… How do you ladies handle sex when you’re so tired and sore?

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Five Week “Boobie”versary

I can’t believe it’s been five weeks already.

More importantly, I can’t believe I still feel this awful after 5 weeks.

I know everyone was hoping I’d be feeling better, but apparently most people were expecting that I would be feeling better by now…and thus, they are frustrated with me, and I am frustrated with myself and around and around it goes.

I started week 2 of the Butrans pain patch last night after spending most of day 7 with the week 1 patch in complete agony. My back was on fire an both breasts felt heavy and sore and, well, damaged…it was like week 2 and 3 all over again! I put the new patch on (and promptly was covered in a rash all over the arm where patch 1 was…) and took Vicodin and Valium and went to bed.

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I’m supposed to smile and pretend that I’m recovering and moving on with my life and that things are getting better, but really, I’m in constant pain, and my brain feels like Swiss Cheese. I can’t blame chemo…I can’t blame old age…but my memory is just…gone. Slowly I’m accomplishing tasks and checking off items on my list, but it’s taking forever-way too long, and thus, the frustration.

Also, as a side note,…who the fuck can get themselves and their necessary items to work and back without carrying more than 5lbs?! My CATS weigh more than 5lbs! I really have tried, but that is not a realistic expectation for patients who have to go back to work. Especially if that patient works in IT.

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Bright Side:
My pain management doctor (Dr Ch) responds to emails on Saturdays and is constantly on top of things, offering suggestions to lessen the pain, unlike any of the doctors who were involved in the actual surgery. I would recommend him to anyone…when I see his emails checking in with me, I instantly feel heard and not ignored. Other than him, I’m done with all doctors associated with this surgery…although I’m not looking forward to finding new ones.

AND, my poor wonderful boyfriend (and wonderful parents!) continues to be supportive, and I believe with all my heart that he is the man I want to marry and spend the rest of my life with — even a few days apart from him make me so sad, and after that initial 3-month “honeymoon” period (which was so rushed because of the surgery, the poor man), he’s settled into a less physical and more loving, supporting role. I’m so grateful that a) he came back into my life b) he wasn’t scared away by the intense pace of all the crazy pre-surgery nonsense (family meet-and-greets, etc.) and c) that he is a “doer” – he just can’t sit and be lazy like I do, so he encourages me to be a tiny bit more productive and a tiny bit less “I’ll get to it tomorrow”. I’m sorry for the mush, but he’s just so amazingly wonderful that he balances out my complete and utter miserableness regarding the pain and the lack of energy.

[EDIT: I won my court case against my former employer for *ahem* a lot of money]

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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!

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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.

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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!