Saturday, February 25, 2012

Giving them a break.

My first week back at work was exhausting.  The work isn't physical, it just can be a lot of stress. 

This was the big Friday we have at work in my department every month and had to leave before it was done for my appointment with the PS.  I was hopeful that we would be far enough along that if my appointment ran long or if I was really sore after the fill I could just go home, luckily my appointment was quick because I still had almost 2 hours of work once I got back. Unfortunately the reason it was quick was because we didn't do a fill (and not a long wait)

He was concerned about some redness I had on each breast. He thought it was most likely just stretching and didn't think it was infection, but he wanted to take a break from fills and reassess in another week and keep close eye on the redness.

So I'm bummed of course, and mildly freaked out about the redness. But maybe it will be good to work next week with out the discomfort of a recent fill. that

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Updated Pictures Page

I added pictures after the 2nd fill last Friday.  I've moved the pages from the side bar to tabs above the posts/below the header.  If you're viewing this on mobile format and can't figure out how to view the pictures, just below my header on the top of the page about the blog there is a little bar that says main blog (it should be just above this post) and at the end of the bar is a little drop down arrow that you can select to view the pictures page.

I'm still not thrilled with the size.  I really want to go bigger, but unfortunately I think with 300 cc expanders, at 200 ccs, I'm 2/3 of the way there, and I didn't really notice that big of a difference between 100 and 200, so I think I may just have to to accept that I won't be much bigger than this.  We'll see.  I've read on a message board about someone else who was filled to 350 ccs and then had a 500 cc implant placed at the exchange.  I'll see what my surgeon says about that.

My scars are still not very nice looking.  I'm somewhat bothered by how red my drain scars are considering I didn't even have drains with this last surgery.  But they're all improving.  I'm not too concerned about the breast incision scars at this point since there is still going to be another surgery.

You can't really tell by these pictures either, but the right one is lower than the left.  that and the space between them is what is currently bothering me most about them.  I want them level and closer together!

I need to go buy a supportive bra, but I'm undecided as to whether I should do that now, as I really want to, or wait until the last fill so I ensure the best fit possible for the longest period of time prior to the exchange.  Hmmm...  we'll see I guess.

Monday, February 20, 2012

4 surgeries in less than a year...?

So I'm back to work again. Last week I worked from and today was my first day back in the office.  It really wore me out!  I was actually a little surprised how achey I was at the end of the day, not just my boobs, but my entire body!

I think that having had so many surgeries (4 actual surgeries this year, plus 2 needle biopsies, one of which was to drain fluid from my lung!), with the general anesthesia, and recoveries, and medications, and  everything else that went along with them, on top of the stress I've had this year (though I feel my sister really helped me get a good handle on my stress management) is really starting to take a toll on me.

So for an update - I had another fill on Friday.  I was still worried about infection, but I limited my questions to what I should do if something happens while he's out of town and who would be handling my care.  His answer was that I would still contact his office and we would be able to communicate with him still and if I had to see a surgeon, he has relationships other plastic surgeons in the area that can jump in and see me when he can't.  Unfortunately (for me) my breast surgeon has moved from the area to pursue specialization.

This time the fill hurt some.  I still didn't feel the needle pierce the skin, but i felt some kind of dull pain like in the muscle as the needle went in.  It was fine as he was filling though, so I don't think it has to do with being too full.  50 ccs in each again, which puts us at 200 (equivalent of a 250 implant).  I noticed a difference this time in the size and shape...

Also I had my free microdermabrasion treatment.  OUCH!  It's a metal sander with a vacuum they scrub your face with.  I looked horrible immediately after.  I was all red and my skin was bruised and spotty and I was told I shouldn't wear make up that day - so I went straight home!  By Sunday my skin was much better and today it actually looked pretty good!  I'm happy with the results and considering looking into doing it again for a better improvement of my acne scarring (though I'm really not too excited about going through the procedure again!!)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A reminder..

I'm laying in bed catching up on the FORCE message board, while my husband and daughters watch a movie on the couch - daddy/daughter slumber party (they have the day off tomorrow for presidents day and its my first day back to work - bleh!)

I'm full on crying right now because I came across an updated post that started about a year ago, saying that one of the members needed prayers right now because her 6 year old son had just passed away yesterday from cancer, as if that's not enough I read on from prior posts after they'd first had the diagnosis that she had lost her first child to cancer too. 

Meanwhile I can hear my 5 year old giggling at the movie, and my heart aches.

It's a reminder to me how lucky I am, regardless of what I've gone through with finding out my BRCA status and having this surgery, I am blessed by the health of my family, I am so lucky. 
It's also a reminder that BRCA isn't just about me, and my surgeries - its about the rest of my family too and while I don't do a lot of praying in general, I think I will pray that my family never has to experience something so heartbreaking, and I will pray for her and her family that they have the strength to get through this unfathomable tragedy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

1st fill! (in round 2)

I got my first post surgical fill in these expanders on Friday.

I'm sure the surgeon thought I was totally paranoid about infection, but he assured me it was understandable considering what I've been through. I had lots of questions about the probability of getting an infection from the fills and how long I should keep the band aids on and should I wash the area in any special way, and was he SURE I shouldn't take antibiotics just to be safe??...

There is a risk of infection from the fill since the port is under the nipple, and if you didn't know this - every natural nipple contains staph bacteria.  So everytime they have to inject through the area around the nipple (the areola).. there is a risk of that bacteria getting into the breast and causing an infection. 

He did do a double swipe of the alcohol on each site to try to make me feel a little better.

He still doesn't want to have me take antibiotics because he feels like when I"m already so limited on what I can take, we should reserve those for when we really need them.

I meant to take a picture of these needles.  They're CRAZY.  And it's even crazier that I can't feel it at all!

We injected 50ccs into each side, so with the 100 injected at the time of surgery and the implant counting for about 50, it is equal to a 200cc implant on each side. 

Due to the extra trauma it's been subjected to, the skin on my left breast is MUCH tighter than the right.  Strangely the left one is currently nicer looking than the right.  But so if you can imagine they're both the same size technically, but they look different.  The right one is kind of spreadout and oddly shaped, and due to the tightness of skin the left one is a nice little dome.    I'll get a new picture up soon!

I definitely was set back a little in my level of discomfort.  I was/am more achey and have had trouble sleeping. 

Today I worked from home (I'm working from home this week and going back onsite next week).  I woke up at about 330 and struggled to fall back to sleep until about 5, when I got up, and decided to start working, and then couldn't because I had to wait to receive my new IT access info.  Once I got it I locked myself out of my laptop trying the password (long story...) I was finally able to log in on my desktop computer about 11 am.  and about 1 I was sooo tired, I desparately wanted a nap but then only had half an hour until I needed to get dressed again to pick up my daughter from school for a meeting.  Then I came back and worked while she prepared for the meeting, then the meeting took over 2 hours and I had to stop on my home to drop off my laptop to get unlocked, so I got home shortly before 7  at which point I really needed to take some pain medication and then spent almost 2 hours preparing valentines for my younger daughter to take to school and then got her to bed and THEN realized that I forgot to wash her Valentines day outfit - which is why I am still awake (waiting to put clothes in the dryer)  

I'm working from home again tomorrow, and I need to do my valentines day shopping (on valentines day... urgh) and pick up my laptop... but I hope it will be a little more restful than today!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I had my appointment yesterday, but still no fills!  It seems I was right that I was getting a little bigger, and the surgeon confirmed it.  I have accumated fluid under the skin that has caused the skin to stretch (which makes it shiny).  He says there is nothing that looks infected so we're okay with that fluid being there, and it is kind of to be expected since we didn't do drains.  So since, as he put it, I "autofilled", he didn't want to do an actual fill just yet.  So I have another appointment on Friday... hopefully I'll get a fill then!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Published Pictures Page

So I've put together the pictures to date and posted them on another page, you should find the link to the the "Pictures" page on the right side of the screen.  Please be warned, these are graphic pictures, and if you don't want to see my breasts in various stages of mastectomy and reconstruction - don't look!!  But if you do, go ahead, thats what they're there for.  I've allowed some room at the top with another warning so you can click on the page and then change your mind with out seeing anything.  If you do decide to look, it goes from the bottom up so oldest at the bottom, newest at the top.  Each picture has a caption to explain the picture.  I'm open to feedback here, let me know if you want more information on particular pictures.  Also as I add new pictures I'll mention it in a new post here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Am I delusional?

So I'm 5 days post op now.  Today is my husbands birthday and my daughters 5th birthday is tomorrow.  I thought I was crazy doing the surgery right before going into this week, but really it has been okay.  I'm really lucky to not have had needed drains.  I think that has made a huge difference in this recovery. 

It has started catching up with me though, yesterday and today I was extremely tired.  I went out and did some shopping with my mom today, to get some last minute stuff for the birthdays, and after just about 2 hours out of the house, I started feeling a little light headed and like I really needed to lay down.  I made it home and rested for a few hours before starting to cook the big dinner.  Then as I was changing into my pajamas I noticed the pec muscles were kind of spasming.  It was rather odd.  So I think I probably over did it today.  Tomorrow I just need to get the cupcakes from the store to my daughters school (with my mom driving and carrying of course *because she's really awesome and helping me out alot through my recoveries*) then I'll dedicate my entire day to resting.

So the title of my post is "Am I delusional?"  Partly because as I mentioned above I have felt so good, relative to how I felt with the previous surgeries, and also because just a couple days ago I was sooo distressed about where my breasts are currently at size wize, but then last night and today I was looking at my new expander breasts and going back and looking at pictures of my natural pre mastectomy breasts and thinking maybe there isn't that much of a difference....?  Sure these ones are hard and somewhat oddly shapped and have long incisions across them and my nipples are definitely disfigured, however I can "see" them being normal again, and really I think if these ones could be squished into a push up bra... maybe they'd be close to same size, they just don't squish, so there is no way to push them up like I could with my old ones... they're just stuck at the projection they're at, which is really not much.

This is good though I think... as long as this isn't some kind of false hope.  I think that when I get the expanders exchanged for silicone implants, aka "squishies", I can get more projection, and may even be able to do push up bras (although ultimately I would really like to appear pushed up without the push up bra...) If I can get even a little bigger than I am now, with more projection AND squishiness... I should be pretty happy!