Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Final Chapter

I had my follow up appointment with my plastic surgeon this week! I am now about 3 months post exchange. Things are looking good! Everything is pretty much healed up. I had three stitches that had worked their way to the surface so he pulled those out. The incisions look good and are will be fully healed in a couple weeks once the stitch spots heal over. I was lucky enough this time to not need hyperbaric! What a blessing! I am able to come off my cheeseburger diet once the stitch spots heal up (BIG YAY for that!)!! The fat graft sites are tight still so he said to massage those spots and they should loosen up but they took the fat right down to the muscle so that's why I can feel it so much. And then I asked the big question... "Do I need to see you again???" And the answer.... Not for 9 months! 9 MONTHS!!!! So that means almost a full year without an appointment! I'll also see the breast clinic in about 9 months and then they will continue to follow me for twice a year clinical breast exams and an MRI every 3 years. No more mammograms for me! 

And so as this journey comes to a close (and so will this blog), I've taken some time to reflect back on my decision and my current progress. In the past year, I have known a few people who were diagnosed with or relapsed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer. Every time I hear their story, their struggle, it reaffirms that I did the right thing and feel so blessed that I had a choice. I was able to know my risk and make the right decision for me. Having already had bone cancer and going through chemo, radiation, BMT etc. then, I knew what I would be in for if I developed breast cancer and with two little kids I just couldn't take that risk. I've been able to network with others who have had the same surgery as I have and we have helped each other through this process. I've been able to answer the questions of others who have been contemplating this surgery as well and give them insight to my journey (always with the disclaimer that my complicated healing path is not the norm and that it was my previous radiation that caused my issues). I've been able to reassess our life and determine what is most important to US and to use that to guide our life choices.

So where do I go from here..... Well I have a stack of 36 bras that will never be worn again!
I'm sure my cholesterol is through the roof with a year of cheeseburgers and my arms are weak from the surgeries so I'll be working on getting in shape more (I'm not a big work out person so we'll see how that goes). My goal is to do the Dirty Girl Run next August (2013)!

And most importantly I've got two lovely little kids who even though they may fight sometimes,
(photo compliments of Bliss Photography)   they really are best friends.(photo compliments of Bliss Photography) 

They are the loves of my life (along with hubby) and so we will move forward living life Choosing A Future and leaving behind the fear.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Back on Cheeseburgers!

Well I saw my surgeon today for my 6 week follow up visit (its actually 7 weeks right now) and things look good. I am officially his slowest healer! I always seem to be an enigma when it comes to medical things which isn't usually a good thing. The way I see it... Boring, is good!

So the end of one incision still had a tiny scab on it, well he cut that off. The other incision has a thin pink area at the end of it and he wants me to watch that but I am pretty sure it is just the way the scar is healing since its been there the whole time. I asked if it was something to be concerned about, he said, "no, but with you everything is a concern". So if it changes at all I am supposed to go in but I don't anticipate it changing at all since it looks the same as it has!

So I am back on cheeseburgers and high protein for a while until everything is for sure well healed.

Otherwise he was very pleased that we have avoided hyperbaric so far and that things are going well. So I will see him again in 4-6 weeks for a follow up and hopefully by then he will cut me loose!

I did ask about things like can I swim? He said after this corner heals (in a week) he said it would be fine. I did tell him that I want to swim in a lake on the 4th of July and he was totally fine with it and said by then it would be fine so that's good news since we are going up north!

Well, most likely I won't have much for updates over the next few weeks but I will definitely post after my next appointment and hopefully will be signing off!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Bras!

I have always hated bra shopping. I've never been able to find any that fit quite right. Pre-prophlyactic bilateral mastectomy I was very uneven, flat, and just never could find one that was flattering at all. I would try on 20 and find one that was acceptable. So today, now that the swelling is gone and I am at my new size, I decided to brave the mall and hit up Victoria's Secret since I have some gift cards to use!

I lucked out and got the nicest worker! (Insert Relief Here) So I got measured, told her what I was looking for and what my challenge with bras are. My crumpled rib cage is much more square so finding a bra with close enough cups is hard. So I tried on about 12 and found one that was great! So I got a black one and a white one.... pretty awesome I know! Unfortunately they don't stock much in my size so I'll have to go online to order more fun colors! I'm a 32C now! A big improvement from my 32A Petite.

It feels very official to have boughten  real bras that actually fit  (yes I know boughten isn't a real word but I like it!). It feels complete. Like this journey is coming to an end. Like I can move forward. It's interesting, I am 5 weeks out from my exchange surgery and it feels like it was forever ago. Rarely do I even think about my boobs anymore. They seem normal, real, like they have always been there. The incisions are almost closed just a small area on each end still healing. I've got a week left on my cheeseburger diet (Thank God)! And then I can go back to eating real food! I can start lifting things and doing things again in a week so that will be really nice. I will admit I have broken my restrictions a couple of time (eek) to pick a kid up, move a table, carry a box. It's hard when you feel good and don't hurt so that you instinctively do something and then after think, oh crap I shouldn't have done that!

I can't wait until my next appointment! Hopefully they cut me loose and don't need to see me again!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Signing off soon!

Well things are going fantastic! I've got two more weeks on my cheeseburger diet and then I can eat real food again! My incisions are almost healed. My sides are feeling way better, just a little pain when I reach. Work is going well. I get to do 8 hour shifts starting on Friday then in two weeks back to the real world! All of the swelling is gone. No complications to be seen! I've still got a full freezer full of food. Summer is on its way. The kids are doing really good with me not being able to lift (although I have had to cheat a couple times so it will be nice when I am off lifting restrictions).

WOOOOO HOOOOOO! This journey is almost completed!

My next appointment is at the beginning of June and then I will be signing off! There will be no more updates to write, no more complications to keep people posted on, and a healthy long life to live to the fullest!

I will return to my normal (ok as normal as my life can be being me!) life and will return to actually keeping our family blog up to date (hopefully!).

Stay tuned for an update after my next appointment and hopefully some bra shopping soon as well!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Back to work...sort of!

Well I have been back to work now for a week and am doing fairly well. After seeing Employee Health they are letting me go back and do 6 hr shifts for a couple weeks and then 8 hr shifts for a couple weeks then back to my normal 10ish hrs. So at least I am moving forward!

It has been going well. I am a little tired in the evenings but doing good!

On Tuesday I was able to take my abdominal binder off! It was very uncomfortable and restricted my movement some and made it hard to wear real clothes so I was glad to get it off. What I didn't realize is how much it was helping! Now that it is off I am having more pain. Everything isn't being held in tightly so movement hurts some as nothing is stretching quite the same so I'll reach or turn and get a pulling pain. The skin is very sensitive there as the nerves are coming back pretty fast but fabric brushing across my sides hurt. Oh, and I jogged across a street so that I wouldnt have to wait for the next stop walk sign and boy did that hurt. The vibration of my feet hitting the ground made my sides hurt! So note to not run.

We are having fun at home. The kids are super understanding that I cant lift them and are really good helpers! We are still doing our normal things, dance, swimming, parks, nature center, etc. I even took them on a free trolley tour which they had a blast on! We are getting together with friends and doing all things fun!

So at the moment life is pretty normal! 3 more weeks until I am off my lifting restrictions!

I gave hubby my wish list for household chores and he came home and did them all! He wasn't exactly thrilled about it but he did it! So I am sure he will be happy when everything is back to normal!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bye Bye Binder

Well tomorrow I get to remove my abdominal binder! WOOO HOOO! This thing is so uncomfortable! My bruising from my lipo areas has diminished greatly in the past couple days going from dark purple to almost gone!

So far everything is healing very nicely! No complications for me!

I've been back to work now for a few days (half days) and plan to go back to work for 6-8 hour shifts on Wednesday! It will be nice to be back to a more normal life although being home has been nice. I always seem to envision my surgical leaves being productive. I have no idea why but for some reason I think if I am home that I will get things done. I thought I'd be able to relax on the couch, do some digital scrapbooking and get caught up. Well my goofy eyes got in the way of that! And now when I get home I am too tired to do much. I guess that's why you are on leave from work though to recoup, rest, and heal. Healing is hard work and takes a lot of energy!

I've been eating a lot of protein and have broadened my protein horizon by including other high protein foods like cottage cheese, nuts, etc but am still eating cheeseburgers as well. Five Guys is my favorite at the moment!

The kids are doing great and have been very careful around my sides. The hard part is not being able to pick them up, give them piggy back rides, and play hard with them. At least with this one I can still take them to the park and on little outings! Although I have found that since I can't lift them into a cart that some stores are harder to run to with them!

Well tomorrow I will wake up, take off the binder and be FREE!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I made it!

Well I made it through my first day of work! 2 hours of email catching up (and still have 600 left to weed through) and 2 hours of meetings. I wasn't too tired at the end but was ready to go. It will be SO much nicer when I don't have to wear the abdominal binder. Its just uncomfortable and sitting in an office chair just isn't the most comfortable thing in the world. Now if I had a recliner in my office that would be golden! Then I could recline and work on a laptop! I'm guessing my employer won't spring for a lazy boy though! 

The binder comes off next Tuesday so then things will be (hopefully) easier.

I've had this odd dilemma the past couple weeks. These are the things you don't think of when you have surgery. Our two cats are due (overdue) for their shots. We got the notification that they were due a week before surgery and I knew I wouldn't have time to get them in. Then one cat developed a cough (lovely). I had surgery and have been home but the majority of my friends work during the day. Why does this matter you ask? My cats are FAT and over my 10 pound weight limit! So how the heck am I going to get them in their little carry cages and into the car???? Well luckily one of my closest friends does shift work and is going to come over tomorrow to crate up the cats and put them in the car (although she hates cats and would rather just let them loose). When I made the appointment I asked the vet tech if someone there could help me and they said yes. So tomorrow Lindsy will get them ready, the vet tech will help me with them there, and then when we get home I'm going to close the garage, open the crates and hope I can shew them into the house!

It's weird things like this that make restrictions difficult! I'm doing well without lifting the kids and have that figured out but weird random things keep popping up. 4 more weeks of restrictions and then back to a normal life!

It's weird. It all seems so surreal. It feels like the initial surgery was a lifetime ago and that the exchange surgery was months ago. Today marked two weeks since surgery and since I am doing so well it doesn't seem real. My chest has no pain, looks normal, etc. I feel pretty good minus getting tired easily and still have some intermittent pain down my arm. My bruising from the lipo has been improving and that pain is lessening. In a few short weeks I'll be back to life, off restrictions, and moving forward.

I think about all that's happened in my life and realize that I am way stronger than I ever imagined and more than I give myself credit for. I have been through a lot and need to remind myself of that now and again. I try to live life to the fullest. To cherish every moment. To do special things with my kids, my husband, and my family. I am very much aware of the severity of everything I have been through. Beating Ewings Sarcoma twice is a miracle in itself. Then having melanoma insitu and pre-cervical cancer. I still feel blessed. I have had many more close calls that have all turned out benign. Last year I was blessed with the opportunity to reduce my risk and extend my life. I believe that although God will watch over me, he also gives us tools that we have a say in choosing. Anytime he has put a choice for a cure in front of me, I have taken it even knowing there may be risks with the choice. When I had Ewings, he gave me the option of a bone marrow transplant which at that time was experimental for my type of cancer. The doctors talked to me (16 y/o) about living wills, risks of complications including death and my family and I proceeded trusting that I would make it through. Even though I had long term complications and side effects that have impacted my life. I am here. I am healthy. I am living an amazing life. 
Last year he gave me the opportunity to have surgery to prevent breast, ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancer. After knowing my risk there was no way I couldn't take the risk and have surgery. I had to do it not only for myself but for my family, for my kids. 

I feel immensely blessed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Back to work!

Ugh, 2 weeks has gone by really fast! On one hand it feels like surgery was forever ago and on the other hand I can't believe I am already going back to work.

I had talked to many others who have had this surgery (talked to may be a strong word, read blogs, posted on forums, etc), and many were back within a week of having surgery and I didn't know how they did it. What I've figured out though is that the exchange surgery was cake! It was easy, everything was already stretched and ready so it was a quick recovery. I could have gone back right away as well. BUT the liposuction part...eek! Not as quick recovery especially since they had to dig and scrape to get any fat. I'm sure if you had regular lipo and had fat to get rid of that it probably wouldn't be that bad but when you don't have much to get it takes them so elbow work to get some out!

So I'll be heading back to work tomorrow for half days through Tuesday. Tuesday I get my abdominal binder off so then will reassess to see if I am ready to do full days yet or not.

I feel great but also haven't been doing much so we'll see how it goes when I actually have to do something!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Doing Well!

Its been a week and a half since surgery and I am doing great! I can't believe that I feel this good this quickly. I have been having some pain that radiates down my right arm but they think that its being irritated by the stitches that are inside at the top of the implant. The stitches will dissolve so that should take care of that. I am also still having some pain on my right side where the liposuction for fat grafting was done. In one week on next Tuesday I can stop wearing my abdominal binder which will be a HUGE relief. It is tight and uncomfortable and makes wearing real clothes difficult.

Other than that I really have no issues! My endurance is much better and I even went on a little hike with my hubby and kids this weekend! My eyes are pretty much back to normal but being on the computer for long amounts of time seems to strain them and give me headaches from straining so I'll wait another week or two and then possibly go get my eyes checked (I haven't had an eye exam for a long time and used to wear glasses so probably should get them checked anyway).

I talked to employee health and hopefully will be going back to work for half days Thursday and Friday but need to recall tomorrow to make sure I am ready. When the Dr initially told me prior to surgery two weeks off I didn't believe I would be feeling this good! If I over do it I still get tired but am doing really well!

The kids are doing really well. Addy still is a little hesitant that we can't do EVERYTHING that we had been doing so we've done a couple little special outings. The main thing I can't do is lift them so things like being at a playground with monkey bars that she wants me to lift her up to is hard for her.

The house is a disaster! I can't lift or do repetitive motion type things so laundry is out, scrubbing is out, etc. So once I can lift again our house is going to need a deep clean!

Thank you to all of you who have helped out, made a meal, sent a gift card, sent a card or email, and for those who have been checking in. It means the world to me to know that I have so much support!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No Diving!

I had my follow up appointment this morning and the best news is that I don't need to dive! No hyperbaric for me! YAYAYAYAYAY!!!! This means that everything is healing well, must be all those cheeseburgers! So that is amazing wonderful news. As long as nothing else changes I should be good as long as I follow his rules:

  • Eat high animal protein (specifically cheeseburgers) for the next 5 weeks, after that he said I can go back to "vegetables or whatever". Protein enhances healing.
  • No second hand smoke (or me smoking which isn't an issue) for at least 6 months. Smoke causes vasoconstriction which can impede blood flow and reduce blood flow to healing sensitive vessels causing permanent damage and thus impairing healing.
  • Wear abdominal binder for 2 more weeks. Compression to the lipo sucked areas help healing and prevent any seromas from forming (fluid filled areas).
  • No lifting for 4-5 more weeks.
I can stop wearing the breast binder and just wear a bra (preferably an underwire). So as I await the ones I ordered I put on the non-underwire 34C that I had on with the expanders and it fits pretty well. Yay for no binder!

My eyes are WAY better today! Pupils contracting, vision pretty clear but it takes a couple seconds to focus when close up or on the computer and I can't look at the computer for very long before they feel strained.

I still get tired easily too but hopefully the endurance comes back quickly! Its amazing how much surgery takes out of you. I mean, I know my body is trying to heal and all but I'm really not a sit on the couch kind of person and like to be busy!

I can go back to work whenever I feel ready (as long as I follow his rules)! So I'll call employee health tomorrow and see what they think. I'm thinking later next week would be the 2 week mark and I should be pretty good by then.

I go back to see him in a month and then will be DONE!!! Can you believe it!

A big thank you to all of you for support, food, help, and love!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Looking good!

Well my pupils are finally starting to contract so my vision is starting to improve!

So here are the updates!

  • Surgery went fantastic! No real complications so far. Fat harvesting didn't go wonderfully since there wasn't very much to take from. They attempted taking it from my sides/back/flank but only got 22 ccs which ended up being enough for what they wanted. They don't take from the abdomen on mastectomy patients in case that if you get breast cancer, that is where they would need skin and fat from. My doc is a perfectionist and told me he gave me a really nice waist line, Great! (although I didn't have all that bad of a waist line to begin with!)
  • Pain has been minimal. My chest has a big ZERO for pain. My sides (from the attempted liposuction) have more pain but nowhere near as much as my last surgery. I haven't even taken tylenol or anything for pain. Most of the pain is when I sit or get up and am using my side muscles. If I am still then they are fine!
  • Nausea is getting better. I had a TON the day of surgery and even the day after. I had 4 different IV meds and a scopalomine patch and none of it worked. Now my nausea is related to my eye sight and more motion sickness feeling but is finally starting to go away.
  • Scopalomine patch.... NEVER AGAIN! I had horrible side effects, dry mouth was tolerable, blurred vision... not so fun.... First it was mainly near vision was blurry, then it was a combination, then it was far, now it is back to near and is starting to resolve. But it is giving me headaches and nausea and eye strain trying to see things. It made my pupils dilate and just now they are finally starting to constrict back to a normal size but I have been pretty photosensitive. So note to self, the antiemetics didn't help anyway, skip the patch. I would have been feeling MUCH better if I hadn't had the stupid thing!
  • I'm wearing two binders, one for the breasts and one for my lipo, and they aren't the most comfortable things in the world. The goal is to provide enough pressure to prevent seromas (fluid pockets). I'm supposed to wear them for three weeks but he said if I got a good supportive underwire bra that I could wear that instead.
  • So went to Kohls to find a new cheap bra. My new boobs will take a couple months to settle in so I dont want to waste money on a new bra until they are all healed up. Well unfortunately they don't sell 32s in the store (most stores only have 32a's). I even looked in the "teen" bra section and they didnt have any either. So I tried on a bunch of 34s which were all WAY too loose. I found one that I thought fit ok, it was a 34B but now after getting it home, the cups aren't big enough and don't sit in quite the right spot so I'll be returning one of those as well! I went online and ordered two styles of 32C's so hopefully one of those will work. Then once everything is all healed I'll go shopping for nice, fun, pretty bras! I've gotten a couple gift cards for Victorias Secrect so am super excited to go shopping for fun ones (thanks to those of you not afraid to get a boob appropriate gift! HA!)!
  • Meena and Papa were here for the weekend to help with the kids and took a special trip to Chuck-E-Cheese (brave souls I tell ya!). The kids loved having them here, especially having Scooty here (Meenas Dog) since JT really wants a dog. Good thing we got to borrow her for a few days!
  • So things are going pretty good! So far no signs of healing issues. There was a tiny scab at the end of one incision but that is gone. I see the doc tomorrow again to do an incision check but as of now, it doesnt look like I'll need hyperbaric!!! That's the goal! And I'm still on an "eat a ton of cheeseburgers" diet to increase animal protein and improve healing.
  • And as far as how things look, well they look GREAT! I love my new boobs! They are volume wise only a little less than the expanders 275/300 but look much smaller than the expanders looked since they are softer. I thought that they would look more, well, fake but they look really natural. They feel natural. They are great! If you didn't know I had surgery you would never know they weren't real ones. They are very proportionate to my body and they don't have that circular destinct implant look, the fat grafting that they were able to do makes them look just perfect! They are smaller than I thought they would be which is a good thing! Most likely will be a 32C. A big step up from my 32 a/aa petite!
So things are going well! I've been out of the house twice now (made it to the park for an hour tonight but was exhausted when I got home). Hopefully over the next few days I'll have more energy and my eyes will be back to normal!

Say prayers for a good appointment tomorrow, clear eye sight, no healing issues, and energy!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Surgery Update

Well I made it through surgery and was able to come home the same day. Today has been ok as well. The lipo suction spots on my sides hurt way more than may chest (which I have barely any pain there!).

The lipo was kind of a bust! They harvested from both of my sides and still only could get 22cc's (their goal was 30-50) but it worked out to be enough to top fill the left side.

I had MASSIVE nausea after surgery and am still feeling barfy today. And they had given me tons of different anti nausea drugs. I even had a scopalomine patch which has a side effect of blurred vision so my eyes are still all goofy.

I'll update more later when I can see what I am typing!

Monday, April 16, 2012

One more day at work!

Well surgery is coming up pretty quickly!

Tomorrow is my last day at work before surgery. I've got most things wrapped up for now and have a fully packed day of meetings tomorrow which is probably a good thing to keep my mind busy and not focused on everything I'll need to do when I return!

I've got Addy's hair done in a style that will last hopefully 3-3.5 weeks if I can keep her not doing headstands. I did yarn twists this time which seem to get less fuzzy than a regular style and as a bonus she got some beads added at the bottom.

I'll do JTs hair tomorrow or Wednesday night in finger coils which should last 1-2 weeks.

I've got meals frozen.

House is clean...well as clean as its going to get!

Laundry is done. Clothes are folded into outfits in the kids closets to make mornings easier for hubby.

I think we are just about set! I am starting to get a bit nervous! Not really about the exchange part but about the liposuction part. The exchange shouldn't really hurt too much but lipo....eek! Have you seen what they do on TV! It just looks painful.... I'm hoping I am wrong and it will be a breeze!

I've got a fun Addy-Mommy day on Wednesday with a couple things planned but we will mostly go where the wind takes us! I spent some just Tyty and mama time this weekend so both kids should be all loved up! And plus Meena and Papa will be here this weekend so that will be awesome for them (and me too)!

Please keep me (us) in your thoughts an prayers for speeding healing and no hyperbaric!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Non-Boob related post (I know right!)

I've got numerous emails and questions regarding my frozen meals! Mainly how did you spend so little, get 20 meals, and make them so fast!

So here is the short version of how to do this easily, quickly, and cheaply...

1- Plan meals that use similar ingredients this way there is less waste and less time
2- Figure out what is important and what you can give on. For me I still wanted the meals to be healthy but knew that doing everything natural/organic wasn't going to be an option unless I wanted to run all over town to gather ingredients. So I gave in... I got whole wheat pasta but canned sauces, I got tons of fresh fruits and vegis but did use frozen for a couple meals etc.
3- Have a well laid out plan prior to shopping. I dont follow recipes
but I did scour pintrest for ideas and then made my list of about 10 different meals and doubled everything so that I could make two of each.
4- Buy in bulk. I had to give up my organic nicely grown chickens and get regular chicken breast but then you can buy a huge pack for the same price, I got a giant bag of carrots instead of the smaller ones, big thing of sauce instead of small ones etc.

Then when I was ready to cook, I ensured that I had
everything easily accessible.
Step 1- always have a pot of water boiling... I kept making more and more pasta and put it in large bowls, also made the rice. While these things were cooking I was doing lots of prep work. Chicken for numerous recipes was cooking on the George Forman grill, I was chopping ALL the vegis at once and making piles of them on the counter (counter thoroughly cleaned first). I had separate areas for meat vs veggies as to keep everything clean and I washed my hands a lot.

There were 2 meals that were not cooked, Pot Roast (with potatoes, carrots etc) and BBQ Chicken & Veggies were made to be crock pot meals. Everything else is pretty much fully cooked and just needs to either be thrown in the oven to finish heating cooking (lasagna, enchiladas) or can be heated in the microwave or in a skillet (all pasta dishes, fried rice, etc). Oooh and the meatloaf wasn't cooked either.

All of the recipes were packed with veggies to increase the healthiness and to take up space instead of using crap.

I picked the chicken recipes to work on first so as the chicken was cooked I would put together those meals.

A big tip, SKIP CONTAINERS! Use freezer bags for anything that you can. For all of these meals the only ones NOT in freezer bags was the Lasagna, meatloaf, and enchiladas (for obvious reasons). Everything else is in freezer bags. Place the food in the freezer bag, lay the bag on its side, squeeze out excess air and seal. Then flatten the food into the bag and stick it on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Then the next day you will have a flat bag o'food that can easily be stacked or lined up in the freezer and take up less room. As long as the air is mostly out the stuff lasts a long time in the freezer bags. I always clearly label
everything with a permanent marker as well (name and date) so that I know what everything is!

So there you go... a bunch of rambling that hopefully answered your questions (sorry if it doesn't make sense, I got a impromptu Skype call from my sister in the middle of it so lost my train of thought an hour later when I got back to this!)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Check, Check, Check!

Remember this....Well I'm making progress!
To do before surgery list:
  • Make a bunch of meals to freeze: I made 20 tonight! 20 meals that will feed our family of 4! All are made healthy (whole wheat pastas, fresh vegi's (lots!), healthy organic or natural sauces, low fat meats) and it only took about 4 hours and about 100$.

  • 3 spicy pasta
  • 2 lasagna
  • 3 goulash
  • 2 meatloaf
  • 2 chicken alfredo
  • 2 pot roast
  • 2 BBQ chicken n vegis
  • 2 chicken enchilada meals
  • 2 chicken fried rice

  • Go through the kids closets (get out summery clothes, put outfits together so hubby doesn't have to)
  • Get stuff together for garage sale (which also means cleaning out storage bins/piles/areas
  • Get stuff wrapped up and delegated at work
  • Go through living room toys and demote some to the basement or Meena's house
  • Get kitchen counter organized and bills paid (our kitchen counter is a mountain of disaster!) CHECK! I got an organizing system in place and its lasted a few days and the counter is still clean so hopefully we can keep it going at least through surgery!
  • Go through my closet and find all things comfy for after surgery CHECK! All things comfy are folded and put away but now as I type this I realize I should pull them down so that I dont have to reach for them... add that back to the list!
  • Download the trial version of Adobe Lightroom (so I can have some fun while being laid up!)
  • Laundry will need to be caught up, rooms cleaned, calendar of activities updated
  • And plan a special Addy-Mommy day for the day before surgery! IN THE WORKS!
So I am making progress! This weekend will be full of fun and then next weekend will be crunch time! Only 11 days left!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

More Questions!

Just two weeks left and I've been getting a lot of the same questions so I thought I'd answer them all here (you know in case you were wondering!)....

So what size will you really be? Most likely I'll be a Full C! Possibly a small D depending on how they sit, what bra you buy etc. BUT they won't really look that big. Because my rib cage is all bent up and more of a square shape instead of an oval, having a C will balance out the bent-up-ness of my ribcage. Before my PBM my boobs didn't really stick out much further than my bent ribs so now they will!

Recovery time? This is kind of up in the air. Initially they said 1-2 weeks depending on narcotic usage but at my appointment they said restrictions for 2-4 weeks. So if all goes well and I dont need hyperbaric I'm hoping to be back at work in two weeks but if I need hyperbaric or have any issues then it will be toward the 4 week mark. Last time I went back to work way too early so this time I am going to be much more cautious and make sure I am actually ready to go back to work. The bonus of my job is that if I need to I can stay in my office and just work in there and not have to go out to my areas etc. and have the flexiblity that if I come back and think it is too much I could do half days instead as well.

Are you going to go out and buy a bunch of bras? YES! I'm super excited to be able to wear cute bras. Being a 32 A petite limited me to white, off white, and black so now I'll be able to find cute ones! My plastic surgeon does not put any limits on what types of bras he wants you to wear. Some have restrictions like no underwire or only underwire or front closure or sports bra or no sports bra, well mine has great success regardless of what bra so no restrictions there. I will however wait a little bit after surgery before going shopping due to swelling, letting the implants settle into their spot, etc. But then there is a shopping trip in my future. My coworkers even got me a Victoria Secret gift card after my last surgery so that I could have fun after this one!

Do your kids know what you are having done? Not really. Addy is 4 and JT is almost 3 so they are too young to really discuss everything. Addy is very bright and is worried about me having surgery because she doesn't want me to go away again and she wants to be able to do fun stuff this summer. She obviously remembers that last summer sucked! So what she knows right now is that mommy is having surgery again but that it will be much better and faster this time, mommy wont be going away, and she'll be able to do fun stuff. I've got a friend who will take her for ice cream or something the week after surgery, my parents will be in town to help for the weekend so hopefully its nice enough to walk to the park etc. As far as what is being done, we haven't talked about that. Last time she was able to see my drains and see my abdominal incisions where the laproscopic instruments were for the hysterectomy. Last summer she was obsessed with boobies so I didn't want to discuss that half of it with her much. We'll see how it goes this time and what questions she asks. I want to be honest and this time it should be easier since she is a little older and not talking about boobs every day! Eventually when it is age appropriate they will know my whole story. Lucky for them since they don't share my gene pool so this won't be an issue for them (man do I feel blessed about that!).

Will they look real? YES! They will, minus the scar directly above the nipple which no one will see anyway. The expanders are rock hard (literally) and do not move or feel real. The new ones will be silicone gel so they will feel squishy and move much more naturally. They are also doing the fat grafting so that they will look more normal at the top and not be flat then giant implant but will have a gradual slope like they should.

Well that's all for now! Feel free to ask me any questions (I'm obviously not shy!)!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

18 days

18 days before the big day and I have so much to do and so little motivation to do it!

To do before surgery list:
  • Make a bunch of meals to freeze
  • Go through the kids closets (get out summery clothes, put outfits together so hubby doesn't have to)
  • Get stuff together for garage sale (which also means cleaning out storage bins/piles/areas
  • Get stuff wrapped up and delegated at work
  • Go through living room toys and demote some to the basement or Meena's house
  • Get kitchen counter organized and bills paid (our kitchen counter is a mountain of disaster!)
  • Go through my closet and find all things comfy for after surgery
  • Download the trial version of Adobe Lightroom (so I can have some fun while being laid up!)
  • Laundry will need to be caught up, rooms cleaned, calendar of activities updated
  • And plan a special Addy-Mommy day for the day before surgery!
All of this probably means I should get up and go do something!

A lot of people have asked how I feel about having surgery again... Well I knew going into it that I would need a second surgery. I am not a fan of anesthesia and the whole life in someone elses hand thing (I kinda like to be in control:) and the risk of having healing issues again and needing hyperbaric isn't a thrilling thought, but it needs to be done.

Once this is complete I will be able to move on with my life, live my life, and enjoy it. The reason for doing all of this surgery very much outweighs all the pain, incisional healing issues, lost work time, lost family time. The reason for doing the surgeries was to insanely decrease my risk of ovarian, breast, uterine, and cervical cancer. Four less things to worry about and having already been through cancer treatment more than once, it was a no brainer. There was no second guessing this decision. No wondering why me. No decision to be made. Breast cancer risk >108% left the choice of screening and hoping to catch it early or surgery.

And now the end is in sight. I have the ability to rejoin my family as a happy HEALTHY mom who now has the opportunity to live, to be a part of my kids lives, their futures, their dreams.

And as a bonus, I get to be the mom with nice new boobs. You can all be jealous now:)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A little lipo on the side...

Well I had the much anticipated Plastic Surgery Pre-Surgical appointment today! WOO Hoo! One big step toward being done!

So the final verdict.... Surgery April 19th!

After reviewing my current state, he decided that the right side had settled so the left side was bigger (remember the left side was overfilled more due to my crumpled rib cage). So unfortunately I had to get POKED today to take 35 cc's out of the left expander. And can I just say that now that my feeling is back it hurt! It's a good thing when I did the expansion that I didn't have much feeling or I never would have gotten to this size! So after removing some fluid we now have a plan! (And for those of you who haven't figured me out yet, I'm a planner and like to know what is going on!)

So.... Drum roll please...

The BIG Plan:
  • Use a 1-2 inch incision (on the current incision lines) to take out the expanders and replace them with silicone gel implants.
  • The gel implants will be 275-300cc's (based on the size of the right one, the left one will be a bigger implant to match the size and fill the crumpled rib cage issue) {I'm at 325 on the right now so they will be a pretty comparable size but will be more natural looking and soft, unlike the rock hard expanders}.
  • Use fat grafting to fill in the gap above the implant on the left (maybe the right depending how it sits). The right one right now looks fine because I have a normal muscle on that side, the left side is basically flat on top and then the defined expander (not a nice normal slope). Ummm fat grafting? what? I don't exactly have a lot of options for fat collection! So they basically are going to do liposuction on my "flank" (or lower back, you know the back of the muffin top! except that I dont have a muffin top!). And then take that fat and inject it to fill the gap. He did give me the option to do the exchange and do the fat grafting later but I'd rather just do it all at once which is what he recommended as well.
  • Hyperbaric...still up in the air. We'll wait until surgery to decide and will see how everything looks during surgery and the morning after and then will do hyperbaric if anything looks iffy at all to prevent issues from occuring.
  • Surgery will be day surgery with the possibility of staying overnight if he thinks hyperbaric is needed right away otherwise I'll go home and go back the next morning.
So there it is! One month and I'll be hopefully done with most of this!

So now the frenzy begins... I'll be cleaning, organizing, and cooking up a storm to freeze a ton of meals again. That made life so much easier last time. I'll be figuring out Jareds schedule and when we may need a babysitter to help. And getting things at work in order for my coworkers.

This surgery should be much easier. Liposuction is painful and most likely will hurt more than the rest of the surgery so I'm not looking forward to that. I'll be taking 2-4 weeks off work depending how it goes.

On a heartbreaking note, AJ was sitting in the room while I was talking to Jared and she asked why someone would help with the kids and I had told her that I was having surgery and she was near tears and said she doesn't want me to go away again and doesn't want to not be able to do fun stuff since I will hurt... poor thing. We talked about how this would be different than last time and that we would still have the whole summer to do fun things. Who knew a 4 year old would process, remember, and be so worried. So we are working through that. I am going to take the day off before surgery to go do a mommy Addy day like I did last time. She seemed pleased with that.

And so let the frenzi begin!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Still waiting!

Not much going on here! I'm anxiously awaiting my appointment next week with Plastics! Hopefully I'll leave there with a plan and some answers!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Added a counter and other boring things!

I thought it would be fun to add a counter although the one I used is just a free one and I'm not sure it captures google reader pulls (anyone know?)... I wish I would have done this when I started since now I am toward the end of my boob journey I am guessing that my readers are getting bored! Although I still get random emails from readers who are going through a similar journey, looking for advice, or having questions! And really that's what it is all about. 1- keeping my family and friends up to date and 2- hoping to help out others going through a similar journey and decision making process.

On a few other notes....

We took a big family trip to Florida and I got to wear a swim suit... Well that was a little ridiculous. Since I still have the expanders, I was well, very chesty! And very fake looking! Since the expanders are so hard and round, there is no give and they don't look natural at all. Under clothing they look fantastic, in a swim suit well not as much. Part of it too is that I've never had a chest at all (was a 32A petite to start) so not being used to it, it was a little much. But I wasn't going to let that stop me! We went swimming and had a blast!

I'm getting excited for my follow up appointment with plastics in a month. It will be nice to have somewhat of a plan for my next surgery. I'm a planner and like to know whats going to happen and when so being in a weird limbo land waiting for my next surgery is a little challenging. I have a surgical date, now I just need the details!

I've found a few things that are difficult with the expanders in....
Scrubbing. Apparently you use your pecs a lot more than you think! If I am scrubbing the table or counter, I can feel an uncomfortable tightness in my right chest. The expanders don't have any give so basically put a softball under your muscle and see if you can scrub!
Shoveling snow... ok, I knew this one may be more difficult but since I dont have pain I figured I would give it a shot. I've had to shovel a couple times and it doesn't hurt but it makes everything tight and achey (more so than just shoveling normally would). It also makes my arms feel weaker since my pecs can't handle the weight!
Bending over things.... Like leaning over the back of the couch to grab my laptop that I keep back there. I am unaware of where my boobs are in space and due to some remaining numbness can feel the pressure of them pushing on the back of the couch but can't determine how hard they are being squished. And they are hard so have no give. Weird.

So after my next surgery everything will be much more natural! And that will be a good thing.

I do like having boobs though! T-shirts and clothing look great and actually fit! I told my husband that not many people get to upgrade their wife the appropriate way!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines!

Just two months until surgery! I am excited to finally be almost done but not so excited for everthing that comes with surgery: pain, time away from work {which also means tons to do when I return}, but most importantly time not being as present with my kids and family. I am hoping for a speedy recovery this time without complications and hopefully a shorter time away from work. I am surprised at how little the expanders have really impacted my life the past 4 months while I've waited for surgery number 2. I thought my life would be more "on hold" until I was done but life has been moving right along with lots of fun, trips, and family time. Its been 8 months since my initial surgery and although I had hoped to be completed by now, its been ok. The complications, hyperbaric, and super slow expansion slowed the process down but in the end it will all be worth it.

Numerous surgeries, complications, hyperbaric, time down and out...worth it....increased life, decreased worry, increased love, being present for all of those memorable moments in my kids lives....Priceless

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


An upcoming trip to warmer weather led me to Penneys to grab a black bra for our trip... Now you wouldn't think this would be a big deal. I purposely picked JCP since they have super cheap under 20$ bras and seeing as I'll only need it for a couple months I didn't want to make an investment. Typically there, you can wander around, no one bugs you, just shop for what you need and go.

So I arrive and wander through the bras. I only have a little bit of time so wanted to go in and get my shopping done fairly quickly... Now trying to find one that doesn't have an underwire (can't use one with expanders) and that doesn't have a ton of padding (definitely don't need that!) but has at least has some form. Right away an older lady (65-70ish) comes right over, "do you need help finding something"... "nope, just looking"....I wander to a different rack..."looks like you know what you are looking for"... "yep, just looking"..... Wander to a different section of the bra section...."are you sure you don't need help"..... Nope. Seriously, this lady followed me all around the area and wouldn't leave me alone! 1-I will ask for help if I need it, 2- I already shoowed you away numerous times, and 3- I really don't want to be measured or have to explain expanders etc... I just want to try on a couple cheap bras and finish my shopping.

I finally find two different ones that seem like they may work. Of course they don't have the right size, I need a 32D right now and the closest is a 34C.... So I try them both on (after stalking lady followed me over to the dressing rooms). One was ok but the band around was too loose. The other one was good enough for the 15$ I was going to spend on it. Now it happened to actually be a maternity bra but it was underwireless and who cares, it worked. Then yelled into the dressing room, "are you doing ok? Do they fit?".... umm is that the lady now yelling into me in the dressing room? Really?

I make it to the check out and she comments on how more people are buying the maternity bras instead of regular ones since they are so much more comfortable. Can I please just buy my bra and get out of here. Plus how would she know that I wasn't pregnant or breast feeding... She then followed me out of the department.

Weird and uncomfortable. Maybe next time paying more and going to a less annoying place would be worth it.

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for offering help and seeing if I need anything but after repeatedly saying no and her stalking me behind every rack, escorting me out of the department.... a little much.

Unless she thought that I looked like a creepy bra theif!

Monday, January 16, 2012

New boobs are in my future!

I called today to see if the April calendars were open yet and low and behold they were! My nurse called me and I've got a date to have my exchange surgery... APRIL 19th... Almost exactly 10 months from my initial surgery! The expanders are not the most comfortable things in the world so it will be nice to feel more normal!

My pre-surgery appointment is mid-March so I'll know more then! What I know right now is that it will be day surgery (no overnight stay). She said I could go back to work in 1-2 weeks.... WHAT!!! That doesn't seem quite right especially since I had complications and may (or may not) need hyperbaric afterwards. After talking to a couple people who had similar surgery they were out for 2-6 weeks depending on their job, recovery, etc. So for now, I'll block my work calendar for 3 weeks until I have my appointment and can find out more. Either way, sounds like I will be ready for bikini season... HAHAHA minus the pastey whiteness and not so tone mid section!

It will be nice to be done and ready to go on with life and not live in limbo land!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Been a while!

Well its been quite a while since my last post which means not much to report! Its been almost 7 months since my initial surgery...7 MONTHS! I guess the past 7 months have gone quicker than I thought!

I'm basically just in a holding pattern until I have my second surgery. I get to call next week and see if the calendars for April are open yet so that I can get it scheduled! It will be so nice to finally be done and be able to move on with my life. This isn't something that is going to define me or even be at the forefront of my mind or my life. I chose this path for one reason, to be able to live. To live without the constant fear of getting breast, ovarian, uterine, or cervical cancer. To live for my family. And most importantly to Live for my kids. They change everything. Everyone says once you have kids your life changes but I never knew how deeply my cancer history and medical issues would impact my decisions as a mom. Every cancer scare, scan, or unknown issue led to increased stress and anxiety, a fear that there was a possibility of me not being here for them, not being here able to watch them grow, not being present as a foundation, a rock, in their lives. With this surgery I have decreased my risk of many cancers and have decreased the need for many of the yearly screening tests which were very stressful for me. Something happens once you have cancer. Every screening test invokes a primal fear for what they may find. A simple blood test leads to a fear of secondary leukemia or decreasing blood counts. Every CT scan even if for a completely benign reason, leads you to think of the possibilities of finding some random tumor. I heard the term today when a patients mother spoke to our staff about her sons journey in our department..."Scanziety"... I HAVE THAT! I thought to myself. Nothing is routine or just checking to make sure. Every minor medical symptom or complaint leads to a myriad of tests and scans. There is this underlying thought in the doctors head that well there is this tiny chance it could be something. And afterwards they almost always say, oh I feel so much better now that we checked it out.

Once I am completed with my surgeries and all healed up. Life will go back to a new normal. A normal with peace knowing I did everything I could to prevent everything I could. May be unconventional or not the choice that is right for everyone but never once did I hesitate when I made this decision. I have two amazing wonderful little kiddos and they are worth living for.