Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's quite the process

My visit with my plastic surgeon on Friday went okay.

Here is a very brief explanation of the process of reconstruction.

First I will have a surgery where on my right side they will do a preventative mastectomy, then use some special skin stuff (technical term of course) to create more space and insert a spacer. On the left side, where I've already had a mastectomy and radiation, they will have to take muscle from my back, flip it around to the front and insert a spacer.

A few weeks after the surgery (which will be very painful by the way), I will return to the doctor's office to start getting "filled up." Every couple weeks or so, I will have saline injections into my spacers, which will stretch the skin. I will keep doing this until I'm the size I want to be...or until my body can't take it anymore. (I don't have to tell them a size from the beginning. I can decide when I get to where I want to be).

When I'm all enhanced, I will have the filled up spacers in for a few months. Then I'll have another surgery where they'll replace the spacers with implants.

Then I have to have nipples made and tattoos put on.

Now doesn't that all sound like so much fun?

So the good news is, I'm not a hopeless cause.

The bad news is, the soonest I can have the surgery is the first week in November! And considering the recovery period, the doctor was encouraging me to wait until after the holidays.

That seems SO LONG away!

Plus, I was uneasy about some other issues they brought up as well. For one, I'm not going to look symmetrical. They said the goal is to look symetrical under my clothing. But because I'll have the muscle flap on my left side, and some skin flap thing on my right side, my actual breasts will not look the same. And on my left side, I'll have some huge football-shaped scar across my breast. I didn't realize this.

If I had known this before, I might have opted to have the complete mastectomy and spacers put in from my initial surgery back in September. At the time, my general surgeon and my plastic surgeon both advised me not to have the spacers put in until after radiation...as there can be risks with the radiation negatively affecting the spacer. I was so spooked and naive about the entire experience that I just did whatever they advised. However, I've heard of several people recently who had all of it done immediately, and then had radiation after. Thus, there was no need for any muscle flaps to be used, and they'd look symetrical, without any football-shaped or lopsided scaring.

So I left the doctor's office a little uneasy.

But hey, at least they can do something.

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At 6:47 AM, Blogger Jaye said...

Man, that's a LOT of work! Definitely pray about the situation - God could make you the exception to the rule and your recovery period could be quicker and less painful than anyone else's in history (why not - it's available!). Praying with you in this.

On a different note: Happy birthday to Cameron & Keiko today!

At 4:46 PM, Blogger mi said...

My aunt had a preventative mastectomy done several years ago, with reconstruction at the same time. They took tissue from her butt so she had a couple recovery sites. Despite that, she had a VERY easy recovery. Of course, every situation is different, and it sounds like yours is more involved, but hopefully, the docs just want to scare you so it doesn't seem so bad at the time. Maybe, just maybe... it will be easier and more aesthetically pleasing than they are describing.

I know you appreciate the gift of life you have been given, but it must be rather intimidating to still be facing such a huge process. No matter what you look like when all is said and done, you are still the same woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend, etc... that is much loved and cherished. Please remember to cherish yourself as you get through each step. From someone who has never even met you, each post I read is an inspiration.


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