Reconstruction pigmentation

Reconstruction pigmentation…fancy schmancy term for nip tat.  Yup, I get my nipple tattoos tomorrow.  Tomorrow marks the end of this crazy almost 2 year journey.

I.CANNOT.BELIEVE.IT.

No more going to the doctor once a month, no more using my vacations to have surgery, no more inconveniencing the people in my life to come take care of me, no more worrying that my boobs are ticking time bombs.  AWESOME, but a little strange.  I have really gotten to know the people involved in my journey at the doctors offices that I have visited.  They were an integral part of my recovery and mental health.  They were there and supportive every step of the way, rooting for me when I was struggling and cheering for me when I was overcoming.  They have seen me at my best, and they have seen me at my worst.  It will be a little strange not to see them all of the time.  This is a good thing, I know, just a little weird.  They will probably never have another patient who calls herself a petittle…(see my post about my failed nipple reconstruction of that doesn’t make sense).  I have realized how important compassionate care is, and the teams that have taken care of me exemplify that.  I can only hope that as a nurse I can provide my patients and families with that level of care.

I have no idea how tomorrow is going to go.  I don’t currently have any tattoos so I don’t know what getting one feels like.  I also don’t have normal sensation in that area.  Do any of you have any big scars?  You know that feeling when something touches that scar?  It goes right through you. Not pain, but it gives me the heebie jeebies (sp?).  I’m not sure how a few hours of that sensation will be.  I don’t like it when I have it for a few seconds.  Either way, it’s temporary, and will be over before I know it.

In case you were wondering, I am waiting for the day when some person that doesn’t know me that well asks me if I have any tattoos…oh the ways I could respond. Maybe I should just always wear a button up shirt and no bra so I can just rip my shirt open and say “check out these puppies” bahaha.  I would give some poor soul a heart attack.  Maybe I should get smiley faces or green colored nipple tattoos.  That would really throw people off. You never know…😏

Wish me luck.

Nip, nip hooray!!!

Nip, nip hooray!!!  I got me some nips!  Everything went as planned during the surgery and I am recovering well.  My throat is sore from the stupid ETT and my pee smells (anesthesia pee…yuck!) but other than that things are looking good!  This time they gave me these nipple shields that make me look like I have headlights (I will post a pic on the pic page).  They are funny, Liz thinks they look like mini fish bowls. Bahahaha.  They are a little difficult to hide under clothes, so I am sure I will get a bunch of strange looks when I am out and about.  I may decorate them.  No pain there though!!!! The Dr. Extended my lat scar on the right another 2 inches or so under my arm so that he could revise my muscle flap.  I think it was for cosmetic reasons to take down some of the bulk there, but that’s were I am sore. I will pos a pic of that as well.  I wouldn’t call it pain, more of a deep ache. He must have really manipulated that sucker, and the incision site burns a bit.  Not too bad!  God was looking out for me like he always does.  I am still in awe of the the skills He has blessed people with.  To be able to recreate body parts and make people feel good about themselves in what could be a truly horrible situation is remarkable.  Well done Dr. Greaney.

Lets hope the bad boys take!!! I will keep you all updated!

Addaniptomy

Addaniptomy (add-uh-nip-tah-me):  definition- the surgical procedure of creating a nipple for someone with Barbie boobs.

Or at least that’s what my co-workers came up with when deciding on a new name for my nipple reconstruction.   Sounds so much more medical to me.  So there you have it…my made up name for what is to hopefully be my last surgery in this over year and a half journey.  Yes, we have attempted this before, and the outcome wasn’t stellar (duh, I have Barbie boobs) but if at first you don’t succeed and all that crap. 😜  One more try and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.  No biggie… tattoo city here we come.  This time, instead of just reconstructing from my existing grafts, they will be using a biological mesh under the newly constructed tissue to help add support and projection to my wimpy Casper skin. At first he (the plastics dude) had said he was going to use cadaver skin…uuuummmmm…I could have really given my nips names then…old Frank and Charlie, or whoever the past owners names were…bahhahahahaha.  That kinda weirded me out but he decided a mesh was the way he wanted to go.  Wouldn’t that be some shit if I did have cadaver skin supports and ended up having haunted nipples?!?!  Now there is a phrase I bet you never heard before…haunted nipples.  This is all set to go down next Thursday the 28th, and God willing things will go smoothly.  Yet another experience in this crazy journey.  Hopefully this time next week I will be shouting “nip nip hooray!”

One year

One year…

365 days…

That is the amount of time that has passed since my surgery.  This time last November 13 (it was a Wednesday) I was still under anesthesia while doctors were completing my surgery.  In some ways I can’t believe it has been an entire year, and in other ways it feels like my surgery was decades ago.  I had someone ask me today if looking back I would have changed my mind.

No way. No freakin way.

I would do it again if faced with the same predicament (thank goodness that can’t happen)

The past year was quite an experience.  I have learned a lot about myself and others throughout this entire ordeal.  We are all souls that posses a body and boy oh boy did God do an awesome job when he created it.  I think a lot of the time, we as humans look at our bodies being the main entity that possesses the soul.  This is a tragic flaw of the human race.  Instead of looking at ourselves with the respect and awe that we all deserve we get hung up on the physical aspects of our being “why can’t my legs be smaller, or why can’t my nose be smaller?, Why don’t I have curly hair, I hate my waist,etc…” You get my point.  This year has taught me that God constructed my person to be an extremely tough, durable, resilient piece of artwork and I am thankful that he made me this way.  But he has constructed my soul from something tough like titanium.  I am way stonger than I ever imagined I was.  He has also blessed me by surrounding me with an extremely stong support system.  Family, friends, co-workers, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, even random strangers who reached out along the way.  What an awesome feeling knowing that I have multitudes of people who are there to cheer me on.  It’s unreal.  Hopefully someday I will be able to pay it forward to all of you who have lifted me up.  One can hope.

A lot has happened over the last 12 months.

I made it through my recovery, and I must say while it was a grueling process filled with difficult physical hurdles (did I ever mention that I hated PT bahhahahahaha) I  can look back and surprisingly not remember the pain.  There are a few things I do remember like the first time getting up to go to the bathroom right after surgery (OUCH!!!) the drains, and that stupid seroma a.k.a my third boob.  But, the majority of the pain I experienced I cannot remember.

I made it through the implant exchange with flying colors! I went back to work with full ROM in my arms.  It’s hard for me to explain what a big deal that is for me.  Since my lats are in the front now, I had difficulty doing a lot with my arms.  I went from having T-Rex arms to being stronger than I think I have ever been.

I switched jobs. I loved my PACU job and miss all of my co-workers there a ton, but I had the opportunity to work in the NICU which I have always wanted to do.  How blessed am I to be fortunate enough to help prevent myself from being a statistic of breast cancer and score my dream job in one year?!?!? Extremely.

I had nipple grafting surgery.  Unfortunately this was not successful, but if at first you don’t succeed, try,try again.  And I will.  I have an appointment in December to see when we can go ahead with the next attempt.

The thing that I am most proud of that I have accomplished this year was that I hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim.  My good friend Regina asked me to hike with her and I am so proud of us that we did it.  This truly showed how “recovered” I was.  I spent 3 days carrying a pack that weighed 30 lbs. through the Canyon on a 24 mile hike.  I was worried that my lack of muscles in my back would make this too hard.  It didn’t.  Yet again, another example to the strength God instilled in my body.  AWESOME.

If you would have told me a year ago that I would be where I am now, I would have laughed in your face.  This year was far from rainbows and butterflies, but it has shown me what I am made of.  I am sure there are more hurdles and bumps to come, but that is life.

Oh what a difference a year can make.

FYI

FYI… Incase you all don’t know, I used to work as a nurse in PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit) and have come across many women who have had mastectomies with a latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction. Frequently I hear these patients say that their doctor told them that they would never be able to hold their arms up over their head, swim, play tennis, or start a lawn mower ever again. I find this to be odd. Sure, I had intense physical therapy which is probably the reason that I can do all of these things, but I CAN do all of these things. With ease. In fact, I just finished hiking 24 miles rim-to-rim across the Grand Canyon with a 30 lb pack on my back and didn’t have any issue. I am pleased that my doctor pushed me to go to physical therapy, and thankful that my physical therapist took the time the make sure I was able to function normally. So for all of you out there that are facing the same things that I have, there is hope that things will eventually return to normal. Right now they may seem hopeless and so far away, but as someone who has been through it, you will get there. God is good, and has engineered the human body to be able to endure and overcome. Hang in there!

IMG_3812.JPG

Nip snip?

Wonder if today I will have a nip snip? I don’t think I have posted since I had my surgery on July 17, but some things have been going on in the past month. Everything looked well after my surgery, until about a week and a half after. The right nip formed a fluid pocket on the underside of my nipple graft that eventually broke open on it’s own. I was worried about this, but at my 2 week post op, he seemed to think it was ok. My nipples have changed a variety of colors, and the one I was not worried about, seems to be cause for concern. It has slowly changed from a nice pretty pink to and odd gray to a white. I was told to keep them covered in bacitracin and to prevent friction as much as possible. The left one got a bit gooey (gross I know) and it looked like it was going to slide right off. Bleh. It was too early to tell if the tissue was viable so he asked to see me in another 2 weeks.

That brings us to today. My appointment was at 1015. I am done, and let me tell you, I just had an experience that most people will never have. I had my left nipple cut off. Thank heavens I can’t feel it. He came in and looked at the tissue and trimmed a little off the right nipple but over all he thought it looked good. He moved over to the left and explained that it was not viable and that he needs to take it off to prevent any infection. So he trimmed it off. I had an odd sensation in my clavicle area, but it didn’t hurt. So now I have one nipple. Just call me petittle (thanks Liz)

What’s the plan?!? Keep slathering those suckers in bacitracin and keep them clean. I see him in a month just to check on healing progress and then he will reconstruct a new one on the left in 2-3 months. Not too shabby. Thankful that I didn’t get an infection!!!

I finally have me some nips!!!

I finally have me some nips!!! Woooohoooo!  Everything went well today.  I got taken back to pre-op at 645, had to pee in a cup (oh joy), do a CHG bath, put on my purple sumo gown, answer some questions and sign some papers.  They started my IV, and the transporter came to get me and take it over.

image

Nothing better than a purple paper sumo gown that blows up with hot air when you are cold.  Seriously!  The procedure took ably 1.5 hours, went to PACU, was there for ~25 mins then went to ambulatory.  I wasn’t having much pain but they wanted to give me a Percocet for the ride home so I ate some peanut butter crackers and a ginger ale.  Soon I was ready to go, got dressed and out I went. All before 1300!!!!! AWESOME!  Everyone was so nice, fortunately I had a lot of the same nurses and transporters so they recognized me from the last time.  It couldn’t have gone any better!!  I have posted a pic of what the reconstruction looks like on my pics page!  They did an awesome job.  Never in a million years would I have thought they would look so good!  He must of had to really manipulate my lat flap because I am sore on  the outside and I am a bit bruised, but only on the right…I go back in 2 weeks for a follow up, and then get my tattooing done in 3 or so months!  Thanks for all of the messages, phone calls, and well wishes!  I appreciate all of them!!!

Is this it?


Is this it? Am I finally on my way to my last surgical procedure? Well yes I am! Hopefully this will be the last one!!!  It’s 506 am and right now I am on my way to Jefferson in Philly.  My mom came down last night to take me to my procedure.  What on Earth would I do with out her? Luckily I was scheduled to be the first case and need to be there at 700!  The 415 wake-up was a tit-bit early.  Bahhahahahaha.  Boob humor cracks me up.  So today I am having a bilateral nipple reconstruction.  I can’t believe the rough stuff is over, and I am already at this point.  The doctor said that it should be a 2 hr procedure give or take a little.  That’s a piece of cake compared to the 12.5 hr mastectomy and reconstruction I had. :)

Here is a little diagram from breastreconstruction.org that shows kinda what He will be doing today

 

image

Pretty neat!  I will soon have 2 new body parts! I am so ready to have this be done!!!  Ok, time to get those volcanos 😉

 

Nipple reconstruction

So I am finally onto the last step.  I had an appointment with my plastic surgeon last Friday to re-evaluate my readiness for nipple reconstruction.  The last time I was there, my scars were still too active to be able to proceed with this step.  He wanted me to wait a few months to see if things would settle down and “fall” into place.  Bahahaha.  Literally.  I have noticed that I am not symmetrical, but I didn’t know if it was just me being overly critical because I obsess a bit over this, or if I really was a little “off”.  The appointment went well.  He agreed with me that things were not symmetrical, and said that he could fix that when I go into the OR to have my reconstruction done.  He told me that it’s hard to get the placement correct because you never truly know how the implants are going to settle into the pocket he created.  I can’t say enough how much I like my plastic surgeon.  I really think that’s a large reason why everything has gone so smoothly for me throughout the entire process.  He was very pleased with how things were progressing.  Apparently I scar well.  That sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not.  My lat scars have almost completely disappeared, and none of my scars are raised like a keloid.  That’s ++ for me!  It never fails, during my plastic surgery appointments  I make him laugh (inadvertently) with something “random” as he says.  So as I have shown in a previous picture, my nipple grafts have hair on them.  Eeeeeewwww. Nipple hair.  Say that out loud.  It makes your nose wrinkle in disgust just saying it.  This REALLY bothers me.  The skin grafts were taken from my back, and apparently I have a hairy back.  It’s not like its dark hair, it’s very light and fine like my arm hair and you can barely see it, but I KNOW it’s there and it needs to go.  So, I flat out asked him how to get it to go away.  He laughed and said “I love how you had a major operation and the only thing that has really bothered you throughout the process is a little bit of hair on you grafts”.  He said the only thing that will really get rid of the hair is laser hair removal.  Just the thought of having that part of my body lasered makes my non-existent nipples hurt.  The only stipulation is that I have to have it done at least 2-3 weeks before my nipple reconstruction is done.  Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, it’s scheduled for July 17th.  I finally get my nipples!  Woohooo!  Anyways, I researched some places that do laser hair removal treatments, called around, and luckily I have a consult tomorrow and if I decide to go ahead with it they will do it right then.  I love it when a plan comes together.  😉 Talk about awkward phone call.  “Uh, yes, I am calling because I want the hair removed from my nipples”  I wanted to dig a hole and place my head in it.  Thankfully, they didn’t even seem to think it was odd.  I know they are professionals and do this all the time, but still… So, tomorrow I embark on yet another experience I never in a million years thought I would have…nipple laser hair removal.  Bahahahahaha. Thank the Lord that I still don’t have much sensation, because from what everyone says about laser hair removal, it feels like someone is flicking you with a rubber band over and over.  Great!!!  I will let you all know how it goes!

My Mom

Just wanted to let everyone out there know (if they didn’t already) that this past year would have been MUCH more difficult (maybe impossible) if not for my Mom. She was there for me throughout my entire surgical recovery. She put her life on hold for 2 months to come and take care of me when it was difficult to take care of myself. She stocked my freezer full of food, helped me do the simplest of things (which at the time were the most difficult things) like wash my hair, put socks on, get out of the recliner, brush my hair, heck, you name it, she was there helping me with it. She even emptied my JP drains for me even though she said beforehand that she was sure she wouldn’t be able to do that. She drove me back and forth from Philly 2-3 times a week to get me to the doctor. She cooked for me, cleaned my house, took care of my dogs, shoveled my driveway a billion times (Uuuugh). So if you all didn’t know how awesome my mom was before, you do now. Thank you Mom for everything you have done to help me through this year. It means more than you will ever know. I am blessed to have been given a Mom as wonderful as you. I love you!

It has been a while…

It has been a while…

Which is a good thing in my book.  I am finally falling into a nice rhythm.  The nerve pain seems to have eased up a little.  The muscle spasms are much less frequent (thank goodness). Every day is getting easier.  I’m not gonna lie to you, the first month back to work was EXHAUSTING.  I don’t think I have ever been that tired and worn out continually in my life.  But, for all of you out there, it does get better.  I don’t finish every day blown to smithereens.  When I first returned to work, I couldn’t sit down when I got home until I had completed everything I needed to do.  If I did, I would be toast.  Burnt to a crisp kind of toast. There were days that I made that mistake, only to wake up 2hrs later with my badge, shoes, and winter jacket on with my car keys still in my hand.  Now when I get home, I feel like a “normal” person.  Sure, I am tired, but it’s just the kind of tired you get from standing and working all day.  My scars are feeling better.  Regular bras don’t bother my lat scars even close to as much as they did.  I’m not having any pain and my ROM is very good.  No problems reaching for things for this girl.  I have noticed that I have a hard time doing things like tricep dips.  I have a feeling that has to do with the new position of my lats.  I continue to do my PT. It really isn’t difficult anymore, just an annoyance that I have to do it, but I will continue to do it because no matter how much I hated it, I feel that PT helped me the most. So, if there are any words of advice that I can offer someone having this procedure, having gone through it myself, it is DO THE PHYSICAL THERAPY.  I read a lot of other peoples blogs who are still having lots of pain 6 months, a year, 2 yrs out, and I often wonder if they were offered the extensive PT that I was and if they continually did it.  I am almost 2.5 months out from my last surgery and I must say, I FEEL GOOD!!!!  So ladies that are doing research about possibly having this done, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it does get better!  And if any of you out there have questions, leave me a message on here, I will happily answer!  God is good.

Hakuna your ta-tas

image

Hakuna your ta-tas.  It means calm your tits.  bahahaha.  I saw this shirt online and ordered it instantly.  Remember that song “Hakuna matata” from the Lion King?  What are the words, something like “it means no worries for the rest of your days” ?  Correct me if I am wrong.  But this shirt represents how I feel now.  When I got the BRCA1 results, I felt like I was in a cartoon and someone had an imaginary anvil hanging over my head, waiting to be cut only to drop and flatten me like a pancake.  So, I did something about it.  I don’t expect everyone, or anyone for that matter, to agree with my choice, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  It is well with my soul.  I know that there are still BIG BAD SCARY things out there that can get me, but now I feel like I have run up the hill and am finally reaching the top.  This experience changed me.  In many good ways, and I am thankful for each way.  God is good and protected me throughout this process.  I am blessed, undeservingly blessed, but blessed beyond belief.  So I hope that those in my life who need a little pick me up can look at this shirt and get a chuckle.  I am praying for you all.

Liz-hopefully that little nugget decides to make an appearance today.  Definitely a little boy, knows how to aggravate you already and knows which buttons to push.  You are almost there!!!

Aunt Patty-I hope today brings you a little more relief and you will be feeling better soon!

Bev – hang in there buddy, this will all get sorted out.  Hakuna your ta-tas is appropriate for you as well.  I need to get you this shirt.  Remember I’ve got your back (and your front) bahhahahahaha 😉

La – Glad things seem to be better for you this week.  Hopefully you can stay on the un-eventful train for a while!

I know there are many other people in my life that need prayers and love sent their way that I have not mentioned, trust me, you are on my mind.  The prayers are going up and the good vibes are going out!

Hakuna your ta-tas everyone!!!!

 

6 week post-op recap

So here is the 6 week post-op recap….

Looks like everything is going very smoothly.  The areas around my nipple grafts where I am having some drainage is completely normal.  He said these areas are where the stitches under the surface are trying to poke through the surface.  I should expect to have that happen until my scars settle down.

I talked to him about the difference between my breasts.  He said it could be due to a variety of things, but all in all he thinks things are progressing well and he wants me to wait another 2 months to allow them to fully settle.  We will re-evaluate then.  So I have to go back in 2 months.  My nipple scaring will have settled by then, my implants will be more settled, so we can talk about nipple reconstruction providing everything is to my liking.

He took a look at the scars on my back and thought they were looking a little bit better and didn’t want to do the steroid injections yet, if at all.  Another thing we will re-evaluate in 2 months.

As for the muscle spasms, he said he expected them to increase because of the increase in my activity.  For now, he wants to me to continue to do PT (yippee) .  He thinks it will help with the spasms and take the Valium when I need it, hopefully getting to the point where I don’t need it at all.

Speaking of PT, I was supposed to see Richard per his request today, not sure what for, but at my last appointment he asked me to come early to meet with him.  I ended up seeing Dr. Greaney first, then waited for an hour and twenty minutes to see Richard, but when they finally got his attention, he said he didn’t really need to see me, he wanted to see me in 2 months. Lol.

All in all a pretty good appointment.

After my appointment, I met up with Pinder and saw Noah.  It was a very interesting interpretation of the biblical story, but entertaining none the less.  We had heard the reviews before we went so we knew what we were up for.  Apparently a lady that was in the theatre with us didn’t know that it wasn’t a direct representation of the biblical story and she let us know that she wasn’t happy about it while we were in the bathroom after the movie.

6 week post-op appointment

So I got this Pin from my friend Julie Hamilton yesterday and I couldn’t stop laughing.

image

Apparently I like boob humor.

Tomorrow is my 6 week post-op appointment.  Can you believe it has been 6 weeks?

I CANT.

In one respect it feels like all of this happened so long ago, but on days like today when I’m sore and tired, it feels like it just happened a week ago.  It’s mostly my back that is giving me issues.  Lately even when I lean back against a chair my scars bother me.  It’s uncomfortable, I wouldn’t say it’s pain, just discomfort.  That also causes a problem when I go to wear a “normal” bra.  The part that goes around my torso cuts right across my scars and makes them uncomfortable.  That area also feels tight.  My lats are still connected in the back up near my shoulders, but they wrap under my armpits and are settled at the base of my breasts.  I really only tend to feel this when I am having a muscle spasm or if my boobs lock up.  Gosh, I sound like a car.  Bahhahahahaha.  Sometimes they do Tho.  If I have a particularly strenuous day at work, or if I have been doing a lot of things with my arms, they stay almost in a constant state of contraction and that is not comfortable.  Sure, I have Valium for the muscle spasms, but I can’t take it until I get home, because yes, that whopping 2.5 mg dose still makes me sleepy.  I swear, my body doesn’t build up tolerance to things.  Tomorrow is the day that I am possibly going to be getting the steroid shots in those scars.  Hopefully that helps the situation.

I am interested to see what he has to say about the areas on my breasts that are “leaking” .  I have serous fluid that comes out from around my nipple graft somewhere.  Hopefully it’s nothing. I am starting to get some sensation to my breasts.  I can feel deep sensation.  For example, if you were to press on my breast I would be able to feel it at the base of my breast and the sides and I would feel the pressure.  But I can’t feel surface things.  If I scratch the skin, I can’t feel it yet.  It’s a real pain in the tit when you have a phantom nipple itch and can’t scratch it.  (There is a sentence you don’t read everyday!). Seriously almost caused me to lose my mind one night.  I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose an arm or a leg.

Hopefully tomorrow goes smoothly and the shots don’t hurt too bad because I have to drive myself to meet Pinder so we can see Noah.

New pics

I just posted the newest pics of my knockers on the pictures page.  Wonder who came up with the name “knockers”.  Lol.  Anyways, you will see there is still a bit of difference between the lest and right.  Maybe my lat was more dense on the right because in am right handed? Who knows.  I also have been having some serous drainage from my right nipple graft.  I had noticed it last week, but thought it was just some staining on my bra, but then I paid attention and I noticed that I had some everyday.  There is no odor, no redness, no swelling, and it’s not hot, so I figured I would bring it up at my appointment.  On the left side there is a stitch sticking out that I can feel when I am putting lotion on (NOT aquaphor) and hopefully he can look at that too.   I wonder if the difference in my breasts are because the right hasn’t fully settled yet, or if a bigger implant should have been placed on that side because of being expanded further on the right.  I will be interested to see what he has to say about it all.

Best friends

Ahhhhhhhhhhh (the sound of relaxation)!!!!! I finally got some rest this weekend.  Mind,body,and soul.  On Friday my roommates, G, Jim, and Strano and I traveled up to the Hampton’s to visit our other, very pregnant roommate P.  I know, what a hardship, going to the Hampton’s and staying for free.  It doesn’t sound very relaxing traveling that far for a short weekend, but you need to understand what these people mean to me.

image

 

None of us were able to make it up there (except for G) over the winter, for one reason or another (Snow, surgery, horrific life events (love you Jim), work, etc.).   I missed her baby shower because of my surgery and snow.  I missed a lot due to my surgery.  These people that I mentioned, with the addition of Katy (who couldn’t make it because a little one at home) are the people that feed my soul.  They are the people who have made the biggest impact on my life other than family.  We all met up at Bloomsburg University and ended up living together at the 2.8.7. our senior year.  I must say, best.year.ever.  Wildest year ever.  Probably, the best year of my life thus far. (I love to use the word thus, it makes me feel so smart).  These people are the glue that holds me together when I can’t do it myself.  They center me.  They build me up, not break me down.  They would stop their lives for me if I needed anything.  I can’t even begin to tell you the importance of each of these people in my life, and the depths of our relationships.  G,P, and I were ALWAYS together.  We had all the same classes and did EVERYTHING together. If we were seen without each other, people would ask what was wrong with the missing person.  We were a unit.  I lived at the 2.8.7. for a few years with some other fabulous people, (Miss you Tif – she’s another one of these people who makes my life better), but you would have thought P&G were paying roommates as often as they were there.  We all have our different bonds with each other, but we all are always there for each other through thick and thin.  I still am so sorry Jim, that my surgery prevented me from being there in person through your struggle, but please know I was there in spirit.  We all went to Bloom, and very few of us are actually working in the field that we studied while there, but God put us all there for a reason — to meet each other.  I am truly blessed to have these people in my life.

So, relaxing…..oh my goodness yes.  We surprised P, which was fun, and spent the weekend just hanging out with each other.  They live a stones throw from the beach, so we got to spend some time there ( got some great pics).

image

 

We we got to just be in each other’s presence.  I got to sleep in past 5:30 am!!!  I got to sit around without the pressures of having to do this or that.  I haven’t smiled or laughed that much in a long time.  P looks beautiful.  No doubt she will be a fabulous mother.  This was the most rest I have gotten since I returned back to work.  This weekend was respite that I needed desperately and my tank isn’t on empty anymore.  I am one of those people who is lucky enough to have 5 best friends (+ you Julie Hamilton even though you didn’t go to Bloom) so 6 best friends.  Many people don’t have that many true friends in a lifetime.  Thank you God for blessing me beyond measure.

2.8.7.  I love you all, thank you for being my friends.

 

Sore

PT yesterday was much easier than in the past so I wasn’t expecting to wake up so sore.  As soon as I moved I was aching.  Mostly under my armpits and my “side boob”.   This is where my entire lat muscle was threaded through to be placed at the base of my breast.  It’s all muscular pain, I know that.  It’s like when you go to the gym and workout real hard and really feel it the next day.  It’s just such an odd place to hurt.  My side boobs…bahhahahahaha. I also had my lats massaged out, which is more like deep penetrating pressure on them, so I think a lot of toxins were released just like they are with any massage.  I tried to drink plenty of fluids to flush them out.  I am such a wimp, I know.  But sometimes you just can’t change who you are.  Be it a wimp or a Beast.

I crashed pretty hard when I got home from work today.  Normally I am very careful not to sit down when I get home from work until I get all my stuff done, but today I made the mistake of sitting for a second to pet Vee and Lola.  Well, I woke up 2.5 hrs later with my coat still on and zipped, my sneakers on and my bag still on my shoulder.   oops.   Needless to say I wasn’t Patty productive when I got home from work today.  Oh well, I guess I needed the rest more. I am really looking forward to the day that I am “normal” again and can do simple things without needing a nap.  thursdays are usually my toughest days.  I looI forward to not being constantly exhausted.  I hope this isn’t a permanent state.

One day at a time, one day at a time.

PT no more?

I had PT today.  First time in a little over a month, and I must say it wasn’t that bad.  I do my PT twice daily at home, but I haven’t had to take the time to drive into Philly like I was doing weekly before.  They were really impressed with my ROM, apparently I am better than “normal” and they were impressed with my strength.  2 points for T.  It was the standard appointment, moist heat, manipulation, more manipulation, massage, exercises ( I got bumped up to the blue band, strength level 3) then some stretching.  Then I got my lat scars massaged out.  Now you hear massage and think “ooohhh, i bet that felt good” no. Nope. Negative. Absolutely freakin not.  That crap hurts.  But, in the grand scheme of what I have been through, I feel like a huge weenie complaining about a little scar massage.  He was very pleased with my progress but told me I look tired and was a bit worried about that.  I told him the truth, that I am in a constant state of tired, but it’s tolerable.  and honestly, no matter when I would have returned I would be the same amount of tired.  It’s a conditioning process and I am still “in training”.  I am trying to optimize my diet so that I can ward off all of these colds that are going around (knock on wood), so I can heal faster, lose a few, and be clean inside and out.  So, no processed anything, very limited red meat ingestion, no alcohol, fish at least 2 x a week (none from pacific coast or imported from other countries), natural sugars, only from fruit, whole grains only, at least 2 probiotic servings daily (I <3 kefir), olive oil and flax seed oil, a high quality protein serving at every meal,  at least 90 oz. of water daily, and lots of green tea.  Why am I doing this?  If I did something as radical as prophylactically removing my breasts and reconstructing them, wouldn’t it be stupid to shove crap in my mouth?  What would be the point of all this if i continue to abuse my body in other ways.  It’s kind of a no brainer for me.  This surgery is an eye opening experience.  Surgery is not the end all fix all for everything, so I need to treat my body like the temple that God created and properly nourish it.  Ok, rant over.

So back to the whole title of post.  I didn’t have to make a new appointment for PT.  Dr. Greaney only has office hours on Monday and Friday.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, an outside physical therapy company uses the office for all of the patients that need PT.  The nurses are there, and on Wednesdays the nipple tattoo guy is there, but no docs.  He is going to come in on April 4th (Friday) when I see Dr. Greaney to evaluate me.  He is going above and beyond, coming in to the office on a day that he is not to be there, all to accommodate me.  Wow.  People do nice things all the time.  This helps me so much because I don’t need to make special arrangements with work for another appointment, I can combine the two.  I have a feeling that he will release me from PT then.  You have all read the words that I have put in this blog about hating PT, but in all honesty, it has helped me more than I care to admit.  I am tired daily now, but if I wouldn’t have been put through the vigorous PT,  I would be in super bad shape.  And I would probably still have T-Rex arms.  Apparently most people choose not to do the PT.  I can’t imagine they have had such great results like I have.  I am thankful for it, no matter how much I bitched about it.

Another hurdle jumped….only a few more to go.

Nice

So the last time I posted, I was telling you all how tired I was.  Yes, I am still exhausted, shattered would probably be a better term, but I got a break today.  I work with a very amazing group of people.  Sometimes, when patient census is lower and we have a lot of nurses working we get flexed down (people get the option to go home early, if no one volunteers, we have a list that shows who is next).  Well today, my co-workers were nice enough to let me be the one who got to leave work early. It was so considerate of them because oh my goodness do I need a nap and my body needs a break.

Its amazing what the human body can do when you just tell yourself you have to.  I am amazed with myself everyday at how far I have come.  My body has been through so much, but I did it.  I still have a long way to go, I know this, and I need to keep that in mind, but with people looking out for me at work like they do, I don’t have to stress so much about staying afloat.

Thank you ladies for letting me be the one that was able to leave work to come home and rest.  I appreciate your kindness more than you know.

Long time, no post

It’s been a while since I have posted and there is a reason for that.  This phase of my recovery has easily been the hardest part.  It is hard to to work everyday.  But the hardest part is trying to manage all of the other aspects of my life along with working a full time job.  By the end of the day I am mentally and physically exhausted. There is cooking and cleaning, and bill paying and trying to figure out ways to schedule appointments, sick husbands, emergency vet trips, call, and two time a day PT. I by no means am complaining, I am just trying to adjust.  I am adjusting, s      l                o                      w                                     l                                              y.

Everyday I am exhausted.  Like if I sit down I won’t get back up kind of exhausted.  But I get up and do it because I have to.  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and just do it.  My biggest problem is my back.  Everyday after work it hurts.  Some days are better than others, but today its particularly bad.  Today was my 10th day of work in row.  Two more to go and then I get a break.  When is this back pain gonna end? I don’t know. But I do know it’s temporary and will soon stop.  I’ve been having some pain under my armpits too but it’s all muscular from my lats.  So when I come home I can take the Valium prescribed for the muscle spasms and there is relief.  The muscle spasms are getting better in the front base of my breasts, but still very present in my under arm area.

I don’t think anyone could have prepared me for this transition.  So I am trying very hard to hold it all together and get everything done.  So 530 am wake ups, to get exercises and some chores done before work, then work, then home to cook dinner do some more chores only to pass out as late as I can possibly stand.  Which is usually 10.  Last week I got done with work early one day, came home, napped from 430-800 got up, used the bathroom, and went back to bed.  I don’t even think I really sleep, I think I fall into a coma.

I will get it together,  it’s just taking me a long time, and my body can only heal so fast.  This is all temporary.  That seems to be my mantra lately, I can do it, this is temporary.

Exhausted

I am completely crushed. I mean, one look at me and you can tell I’m shredded. But, I must say that it is a completely satisfying kind of tired. I went to work and helped someone today. I am useful. I am productive. I am needed by someone. I care for people throughout the day and it feels good. Really good. It especially feels good when I work with women who are going through something similar to what I went through. I can offer some insight, and really understand how they may be feeling. This whole journey has been something that I have shared with whoever wanted to read, but the experience is one that is mine alone. No one can jump into my head and really know what it’s like. It would have been nice to have someone that could tell me who really knew that it would get better. What to possibly expect. I had MANY,MANY, MANY people who could tell me what I might be able to expect, or that it will be ok and I may have some discomfort, but they can’t really know because they haven’t experienced it. I appreciate all of the love and support, I am not diminishing that. It would be like me telling another woman what childbirth is like. Sure, I can give you the nursing knowledge behind it and what I have heard other women say, but I myself have never experiences it. I am not claiming to know what these women are feeling on a daily basis, what’s going on in their head, or their level of pain, but I HAVE been there, and I have an understanding ear that can listen and tell them what I experienced if they want to know. Many times patients say they hurt a lot, and a nurses response is sometimes, I understand. This is when I can say I TRULY understand. This is when I feel useful. I feel that I have a purpose. Maybe I can do something with that in the future. So even though going back to work full time is exhausting, it’s good for my soul.

I also feel needed when I walk in the door at night. My dogs are so happy to see me it’s ridiculous! This is the best feeling in the world. They follow me around, sit outside the shower until I’m done, “help” me cook dinner aka sit and wait for something to drop, make it hard to breathe while stretching because they insist on licking my face so much, and then they always need to be within an arms reach of me. Love this part of my life.
So while I am ripped to shreds every night, I’m doing it, and I am glad to be back.

So much for getting any rest…

I was planning on just laying low this weekend and doing a lot of sleeping/ resting/a whole lot of nothing.  Well, that wasn’t the case.  I was woken up at 4:44 on Saturday morning to a puking husband.   So I spent quite a while trying to help him out.  Finally got him back to sleep and on his side and I couldn’t go back to sleep.  So I read, let the dogs out about 60 times, ate breakfast, and made a grocery list all before 8:00.  Well around 9 Vee comes walking in and her back right leg was bleeding.  She has a skin tag on the back of her hock (sp?) the part that bends.  So she’s bleeding all over the white Berber carpet in the basement while I am trying to compres it.  I am yelling up to Eric to bring down the bandage box and some wash cloths.  Finally he comes down gives them to me and hold Vee.  I eventually get it cleaned and wrapped, Eric goes back to bed and I try to clean the carpet.  Yeah, good luck with that.  So I work on that for a while go upstairs and see that she has already bled through the dressing.  Great.  You know how hard it is to clean an 80 lb dogs back leg while she’s trying to horse kick you? It’s hard.  So, I get her dressing changed again, clean myself up and come back down.  The dressing looks ok so I figure I should go to the grocery store now because we are getting snow now and I figured it would be crazy packed today.  Plus, by this point I was so tired that I knew if I would sit down I would fall asleep and never make it to the store.   So I go.  When I get back, Eric is still in bed and he says, Vee’s leg is bleeding pretty good.  Thankfully I had bought more supplies.  So I bring the groceries into the house get out the dressing supplies and change her dressing.  She was saturating these big bulky dressings covered with kling.  I clean myself up, put the groceries away and eat some lunch.  I look at Vee and she is bleeding through her dressing again.  Ok, I think maybe something needs to be done.  So it’s 3:30, my vet closes at 2 on Saturday and I call and they gave me a number for an E-Vet.  I call and they say they are an hour away but she definitely should be seen.  I ask if they know of anywhere around me and give me the number to an E-Vet in Allentown.  So I call, they say to bring her in, and they give me their address. Ok. Here we go.  Vee is very familiar with the E-Vet since she had Parvovirus and both back knees have subluxed and she had to have surgery.  Of course Eric can’t go cause he was too sick, so I am loading Vee into the back, trying to keep Lola out of the car, she loves going for rides, and trying to get everything in order.  We get to the E-Vet and she has completely bled through her dressing.  So everywhere we walk there is a nice blood pool following her.  Poor baby.  I fill out the paperwork, they get us back into the room and they are all a bit scared of Vee because of her eyes.  But the only thing hey need to be scared of when coming in contact with Vee is her trying to give you kisses.  So the doc comes in and takes off the dressing and looks and says “Oh yeah, we need to take this off.  I am going to have to sedate her and cut an ellipse, pull the skin together and stitch it.”  Fine with me, whatever she needs.  Well, by the time he’s done looking at it, Vee has stuck her tongue down his throat 5 times, and it looks like my dog got murdered and chopped into bits in the room.  He puts a temporary dressing on and says they would be back in to give me a quote and they would take care of it.  I wait about 20 mins get the quote and say fine, whatever.  They take Vee and I go sit in the waiting room.

image

image

 

image

 

So, in the mean time a dog comes in who is old and having a constant seizure, so she took priority over Vee.   Totally understandable.  i felt so bad for that family.  They had to put the dog down. :(. So sad.  i am waiting and around 8 they say they are getting started with Vee.  The doc comes out like 30 mins later said everything went well and once she is awake enough they would bring her out and I could take her home.  They brought her out and she was wasted.  Just standing there she was swaying almost fell over a few times.  I couldn’t help but laugh, though I felt bad.  Settle my bill and walk Vee out.  She’s walking like a drunk college student at 3am with a stupid cone on her head.  Well, it’s hard to get a wasted 80 lb dog into the back of your 4 Runner when you can’t really lift yourself. Got her in, and she wouldn’t sit or lay down.  She had no idea what was going on.

image

She kinda wobbled the whole way home, but we made it.  I had to get Eric to get her out of the car.  Poor thing.  She came in, ran into everything with the stupid cone that squishes up all of her fat rolls, and just stopped on her blanket and fell over.  She thankfully slept through the night.

image

 

By this time it’s almost 10, I am tired and hungry and past the point of conversing. I’m covered in random blood, clean myself up, eat, then I realize that I hadn’t done my second set of exercises and stretching for the day.  Well screw that, I didn’t do it.  It’s the first time in this entire journey that I didn’t complete my therapy for the day.  I fell asleep in minutes then.

Today I am still tired, I am sore, irritated and wondering what’s next, because you all know it will be something. That’s life for you.  Just glad my baby is ok.  Back to work tomorrow, hopefully it doesn’t snow too much.

Ahhhhhh…time to relax

I made it through my first week of work!  It went by so fast, I think because I would get up, do my exercises, eat breakfast, shower, go to work, come home do whatever chores I had to do (laundry, etc.), cook dinner, do my exercises, pack my lunch, give my dogs some love then go to bed.  I have to stay on my feet and get everything done that I can when I get home before sitting down or else I won’t get back up.  I have slept like a rock this week.  Thursday was my hardest day.  I was so tired.  I needed a nap ten minutes after I woke up, and I felt that way all day. But TGIF!   I have 2 days of resting ahead of me and that’s what I plan to do.

My rash is starting to clear up.  Unfortunately, one of the side effects I get from the prednisone are lovely roses red cheeks.  I look like a raggedy ann doll.  Everyone kept making comments at work today about how rosy my cheeks were and they were worried I wasn’t feeling well, but I just explained I am on a prednisone burst and they understood.  Everyone artwork was very helpful and understanding this week.  It’s nice to work with people that look out for you.

I am really looking forward to having two days off to relax and do nothing! Well, not nothing, but at least sit down more!

Wednesday

Anyone that knows me well enough knows that Wednesday is my least favorite day of the week.  Why?  Well, you are stuck in the middle.  You have two days behind you, but you still have two days in front of you. Well, this Wednesday was a tough one.  I started off the day by having a dr.’s appointment at 0750.  Remember that rash I was telling you all about? Well, after trying cortisone cream during the day and an antihistamine at night, heck I even tried Pepcid, I had no success in getting rid of my rash.  In fact, it got angrier.  I walk into the office and the nurse takes me to a room and asks what is wrong and I explain and show her my stomach.  She asks me to undress from the waist up and put on a gown.  I do. The doctor comes in and asks to see and she says “wow! That looks like it itches!” Uh…yeah.  The scratch marks must have given me away. Lol.  It was worse on my breasts which is why I was so concerned.  She put me on a prednisone burst and diflucan daily just incase there is a fungus among us.  I highly doubt that though, because you can actually see the streaking where my fingers put the lotion.  I highly doubt it’s fungal but better safe than sorry.  She told me that I needed to call my plastic surgeon to update him on the situation just incase her treatment doesn’t help then I will need to follow up with him.  Ok fine.

Then I headed to work.  And it was a typical Wednesday at work.  CRAZY.  Super busy, the kind where you are running full throttle just to get the basics done. I did get a minute to call and talk to Dr. Greaney’s nurse.  She said she would update my file and let him know.  She hadn’t realized that I had gone back to work and asked how my pain was.  I told her the truth….that my back hurt, my side boobs are achy, and I am starting to get nerve pain which feels like quick little jolts of electricity when nerves are growing back on the sides of my breasts and under my armpits.  She said she would call something in and usually people need some thing for pain at night for a little bit when you work a job like I do.  Lisa is awesome. She is always one step ahead and you never feel like you are being judged.

So work got very busy after lunches passed and I ended up working a little later than I was supposed to because evenings needed the help.  I never mind doing that because we are a team and if I was the evening shift person I would be happy to have that little extra help to provide safer and more efficient care.

So, how was my Wednesday? Exhausting, my back hurts as well as my brain.  But you know what? After one dose of my prednisone and diflucan, my rash is already better and today made me feel like a productive person again.  It’s nice to feel useful.  It’s also really nice to be able to comfort those patients that come through the unit that have had the same procedure that I did.  It’s nice to feel like you are really helping someone and you are making a difference in someone’s life.  That is one thing I have learned about myself.  I need to have a job that makes me feel satisfied and fulfilled.  Yeah, we all need money, I get that, but I need to feel like I am making a difference.  Hopefully one day I will be able to do some medical mission work.  I just need to figure out how to get involved.

Hope everyone has a happy Thursday.  Thanks God for taking care of me.

I made it

Whew! What a day. It was wonderful to see everyone at work and they all were genuinely excited to see me.always makes you feel good when someone is excited to see you. I fell right back into the routine. Just forgot a few stupid things, but all in all it was a great first day back. I wasn’t sure it was going to be all that great when I woke up tho. Apparently I cannot use Aquaphor anymore. I put it on my cheat and torso before bed last night per MD request, and I woke up with A red angry rash all over the places I put the Aquaphor. That stuff is for babies right? What the heck? I took an Allegra hoping that would help and it did somewhat. The rash isn’t as raised now but still is and it’s very itchy, but not looking as angry. Just took a Benadryl, hopefully that helps.

My back is unbelievably sore. I expected this. It’s like when you start going to the gym andyou have teeny weeny muscles and you hurt after every workout until your body is conditioned enough to both yet any more and be used to the load you place on it. Alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Not cutting it completely, but I am so tired it doesn’t really matter. I am sure I will really be feeling it tomorrow, but I just gotta push through it to the other side.

Fortunately I have awesome co-workers that were there to support me and make my day easier in any way they could. Thank you so much everyone!

Had an interesting interaction with a few patients that really got me thinking about things. I love it when someone stimulated my mind.

Enough mind stimulation for now, I’m off to bed, gotta work in the am. Thank you God for getting me through the day.

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go…

I go back to work tomorrow.  It’s hard to believe.  So much has happened in so little time that its hard to really comprehend everything.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, but tomorrow will come, and tomorrow will go and it will all be copacetic.  I just ask that you pray for me to get through the day.  One day at a time, one foot in front of the other.  My scrubs are laid out, my lunch is packed, all my certificates of training modules I had to do while out are in my bag along with lots of Tylenol and ibuprofen.  Oh to be normal again.  Well, I’m not normal, but to be doing normal things again. Lol. Wish me luck!

Cleared

I had my appointment today with Dr. Greaney.   I set out pretty early because the last few times I have traveled to Philly the traffic has been horrible.  Not today.  Sweet, point #1 for thetracinator.  Yes, I just referred myself as thetracinator.  It’s just that kind of day.  I was 45 minutes early.  I walked into the office and thought maybe they had closed it because there was not one other patient in the waiting room.  GREAT!!!!! This day is starting off well!  Tack up #2 for me.  The receptionist yelled “Hey Trace, I’ll let him know you are here!” When I walked in.  I love that they take the time to learn my name.  I sat down for maybe 2.5 seconds and Lisa, my favorite nurse calls me back.  Point #3 for this day.  She talked to me for a while, it has been nice getting to know these people over the past few months.  It really makes me feel that they care.  I get changed and put on my crop top paper gown open in the front, but this time it’s blue.  MUCH better than that ugly mauve color they had before.  As if this matters,  apparently it did to me.  Score point #4 for me.  Dr. Greaney walks in and asks how I have been doing, and I tell him about how my back scars have been bothering me, he takes a look and agrees with the physical therapists opinion.  He explained that right now  (month 3-5 after surgery) is when your scars have the most inflammation and can really be uncomfortable.  He thinks that I may benefit from some steroid injections into the scars, but it’s too early in the healing process for that.  I have a follow up appointment in 6 weeks (my sister Annie’s birthday) and he will do them then if they are still bothering me so much.  He took a look at my breasts and was pleased.  I am now allowed to put lotion on them which was good, cues those suckers were dry.  He went over the implant massaging that I have to do daily.  Then I whipped out my handy dandy iPhone and went down my questions. (Q is me, A is Dr. Greaney)

Q:  You expanded me further in my right side, I would have thought that you would have used a different size implant.  Why didn’t you?

A:  On your left side I only cut into your nipple on the bottom half.  It was very difficult to get the expander out and put the implant in.  That’s why you see more redness on your left side.  This side had more time to settle, and didn’t need any pocket work.  Because we took off your right nipple graft and moved it, I was able to get in their and do more pocket work on that side.  I was able to form almost a perfect pocket where I could give you the same size implants and you will have symmetry on both sides once they settle which can take months.  That’s why the implant massage is so important.  We don’t want the pockets scar tissue to freeze the implant in one place.

Q:  When will they stop aching when I wake up?

A:  Sleeping keeps your body in a position for a while, and they are sore because when you get up and move around so does the implant.  This can take months to go away.  Remember, you are only 2 weeks post-op.  (I forget this all the time)

Q:  How long do I have to wear a bra?

A:  I would like you to wear a compression bra 24/7 for at least another 2 weeks.  It’s going to be more comfortable for you at work if you wear your compression bra.

Q:  When can I begin high impact exercising?

A:  3 weeks after your last surgery, so next Thursday.  You can go running and things like that, wear a very supportive bra.  I don’t suggest lifting heavy weights.  (I guess I wasn’t supposed to shovel the driveway.  Oops!)

Q:  When can I wear a normal bra?

A:  For you, I think it’s going to be a question of when your back scars will feel well enough to wear a normal bra.  You can wear one in 2 weeks if you want and it’s comfortable, but I think you will find that a regular bra is going to cut across your scars. (Looks like I’ll be letting them wild and free more often because I can, score point #5)

Q:  How about nipple reconstruction.  I will be having this done and I know you said at least 3 months, do I have to wait longer for settling? Will this be a problem when I have my implants exchanged out later in life (they don’t last forever)

A:  We can go ahead with nipple reconstruction in 3 or so months, we can talk more about the specifics of that at your next appointment, but no, you don’t have to wait.  It will not be a problem when we go to exchange out your implants in 10 or so years.  (Point #6)

Q:  I can flex my pecs like a dude.  Also, you can really see my breasts clench when I do something like open a bottle.  Will it always be like this?  (I showed him my technique and he thought it was hilarious.  I need to find some sort of competition)

A:  No.  A muscle must have 2 attachment points to function.  When surgeons do this surgery, they can split the nerve in your lat or keep it in one piece.  I keep it in one piece because if you split the nerve you can tend to see the implant more and see more rippling.  Over time this all dies down, and because your muscle does not have two connection points (only one in my shoulders), the muscle will atrophy and you will no longer experience this sensation.

I expressed to him my concerns about the possibility of my back hurting the first few weeks of work and he told me that will be likely until those muscles are built up. Take tylenol.  I was too chicken shit to ask him for pain medicine.  Being a nurse, this hinders me.  I don’t wanna seem like a drug seeker.  So I didn’t ask.  If it gets too bad I guess I can call and see if they can give me something.  Who knows,  maybe I won’t need it.  He signed my form for me to go back to work And that was that.

It was crazy to walk to the receptionist and tell her that I didn’t need an appointment for 6 weeks.  Good feeling, but strange.  I have come to know these people and they, whether they knew it or not, had become a big part of my support system throughout this interesting journey.  (score#7) May God bless them for all of the kindness they have shown.  Thank you Dr. Greaney, Lisa, Amy, Lydia, Richard, Anna, and Josephine.

I do know one thing, if I can show my patient’s one ounce of kindness they have showed me during this process I’m doing something right.  Maybe a plastic surgeon will want me to work with them to help with their breast surgeries from a recovery and emotional level.  A girl can hope!

thetracinator 7, everyone else 0

Get ready PACU people, you better prepare because as of Monday, giggles is back.

Last PT for a month!

I traveled to Philly today for what I was hoping was going to be my last physical therapy session.  Nope. Wrong.  I have to go back in a month.  I will take that.  They were very pleased with my progression.  I have full range of motion back!  My left is still tighter than my right side, but it has always been that way.  If I were guessing I would say that’s because I am right handed and use that arm more.  Who knows.

The physical therapist was looking at my back and I was telling him that my back scars bother me sometimes and sometimes they hurt.  I can’t wear racer back bra’s because they sit funny on my scars.  He felt around and said that’s because apparently my lat scars had adhered so they needed to be massaged out.  In other words, the fibers were set together like this:  image

 

When the ideal situation and most comfortable position of the scar fibers would be like this: image

 

So what did that mean for me???  That meant that I had to have a very painful massage of opposite directional friction with pressure.  It hurt.  It still hurts, and that was done around noon.  anything touching my back around those scars hurts.  I was shown how to perform this massage, and no it’s impossible to do it on yourself, so I have to teach Eric how to do this.  They suggest that I do this every day with a vitamin E lotion.   Oh boy!

i also got my bands back.  No more isometric exercises for me.  I am to go back to all of the old exercises starting with my red band and progressively moving up to green then blue.  I have no problem doing these exercises on my own so I have no doubt they will be pleased when I return.  I have to do them 2 times a day, so I will have to work them in before work and after.  I am going to be exhausted my first few weeks back at work.  Geesh…feeling slightly overwhelmed.  Might as well dive right in.  Monday is approaching quickly…. I see Dr. Greaney Friday so we shall see what he has to say.  I am gonna go just sit for a while. Wish me luck Friday.

Almost there…

Well ladies and gentleman….the time has come!  This is my last week as a lonely shut in.  I have PT on Wednesday and see Dr. Greaney on Friday to hopefully get cleared so I can get  to go back to work the following Monday.  I am still sleeping upright on the chase in the living room.  They recommended that I sleep this way for at least 2 weeks, (Thursday will be 2 weeks post surgery) but I am still pretty sore when I get up in the morning.  Anyone have any thoughts on this?  Is this normal?  When does this go away?

I am actually nervous to go back to work.  Not because I forgot how to do my job, but my unit is very fast paced and we don’t have many chairs to sit, so I am afraid my back is going to be pretty sore.  Goodness I sound like an old maid. Hah.  I wonder if I am more prone to fatigue in my back because my lats are now in my boobs.  Looks like Tylenol is gonna be my best friend for a while.  I am sure I am going to be exhausted for the first few weeks.  But I will get there.

Hah, I just had a funny thought…I wonder if I could actually make my boobs bigger if I did a lot of exercises that isolate my lats.  If they ever start to sag, maybe this will be a way for me to have a non-medical lift!!!!  I showed my physical therapist my pec moving trick and he laughed pretty hard.  It’s way funnier when DD boobs are involved instead of some meatheads pecs.

Nothing has really changed boob wise, but I will continue to post a pic every week so you guys can see the progression and healing process if you choose to do so.

I can’t believe that this is almost over!  God is so good!

Full Circle

This day, February 14 last year was the day I had my mortifying appointment with the Dr., resident, my husband, and my foul hoagie body odor.  Yes, I knew of my BRCA1 mutation, but that appointment is what got me to where I am today.  Last year was a lesson in many thing, patience being at the top of the list.  But it has all paid off.  Although I struggle with other aspects of my life, as we all do, this is one thing that I no longer have to worry about.  I faced this head on and smashed it into the ground.  I punched it in the throat.  See this little nugget?  Today is her 6th birthday. I must say that I love my dogs more than almost anything and they bring me so much joy.  They were there to love, snuggle, comfort, and make me laugh during this entire thing.  Happy birthday Vee!

image

It’s amazing what can happen in a year.  I will be forever changed for the better and am thankful that God has been watching over me.  My journey is far from over, but I can’t wait to see what this year brings.  I have learned so much this year about myself and about other people.  I was surprised at the people in my life that rallied behind me and supported me, and was surprised by some who I thought would step up but didn’t.  Everyone deals with life’s tribulations differently. I get that.  Thank you everyone for all of the help/prayers/love/support.  But thank you most of all to God and my family who were there to pick me up when I was down.

 

Physical therapy way better with silicone

I had PT yesterday.  Thank goodness it was yesterday and not today.  We are getting POUNDED by snow and sleet.  I am also glad that my surgery was last week this time, not today. We never would have made it.  My dad came to take me because I wasn’t sure how I would feel afterwards.  PT feels so much better with nice squishy silicone than it did with hard expanders.  My appointment lasted 2.5 hrs.  I didn’t think I would ever get out of there.  Sure I was sore after, but nothing like when those expanders were in.  Instead of pain, it’s a soreness.  I will take sore over pain any day.  I got some isometric exercises that I have to do along with some stretching.  No problem.  I have one more PT appointment next Wednesday, and see Dr. Greaney next Friday then I should be cleared to go back to work on Monday the 24th.  I am looking forward to it.  I have been feeling pretty lonely lately and am excited to be around people again.  I feel as if my life is just standing still.  I’m ready for it to move.

I saw the nurse at my appointment as well, and she was able to tell me that it looked like I got 550cc moderate profile plus implants on both sides.  That surprised me a little because I had figured that my right implant would have been bigger than my left because of the need for added expansion.  They were originally thinking of using 700’s.  I can’t imagine how big that would be, because they are almost exactly the size I was before but much higher.  It can take up to six months for the implants to settle into the pocket so my breasts will change a little over the next couple of weeks.  She thought they looked great and that in a few weeks they will look even better.

The next step will be nipple reconstruction.  Dr. Greaney said he doesn’t like to do that until at least 3 months after the exchange surgery.  I’m ok with that.  No hurry here.

For anyone out there who is having tissue expanders/in the process of having therm or is considering going this route,  trust me when I say you are so much more comfortable when you get your final implants.  It’s like night and day.  Hang in there.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.

It takes time.

I don’t know if anyone has taken the time to look at the pictures that I have posted, but my sister Annie sent me a text that sums up how I am feeling right now.   She said ” They are probably like a new haircut.  You will like them more and more with time.”  And she’s right.  I by no means think that they look bad, I am just getting used to them and need to wait for them to settle.

I have physical therapy tomorrow so my Dad came down to take me.  I could probably drive myself there but I really have no idea how I am going to feel after.  Better safe than sorry.  Luckily my appointment is early in the morning so hopefully my Dad will be able to make it back home before we get pummeled by this snow we are to get.   I am so fortunate that I have a family that is able to help me so much.

Time.  Waiting.  Patience.  Things I don’t do well with, but I am trying.

Today was a tough day.  I feel like I got hit by a truck.  I must not have slept very well last night because I feel like I have been on the verge of a nap all day and feel as if I could sleep for 7 years. Lol. I fact I feel like I could go to sleep right now and be fine with that.  Maybe I will.

Tissue expander/ implant exchange surgery. Toughest post yet

So I unwrapped myself this morning around 1030, but I was all by myself so I called my sister Amy because I was nervous.  We face timed and she was with me while I took everything off.  Nerve-wracking?  Understatement.  They look good? Maybe? I think?  I’m not real sure how I feel about them yet.  I know it can take a few months for the implants to settle.  I am trying not to be too hard on myself, and keep in mind that they will look different in a few weeks. But I did it, I forced myself to unwrap them.  They look better than I thought they would, but I still just don’t know how I feel yet.  I felt like I was on the urge of a panic attack all day.  I got responses from “they look great! To they look ok.”  Thanks to Erin (one person who told me she thought they looked good) my sister-in-law who talked me through it. I started feeling very insecure and worried that I look deformed.  She listened to all of my worries and helped me so much.  Thank you Erin.  So, I will post pics of the results when I unwrapped today.  This is a very hard thing for me to show you because I don’t know how I feel about them.  But I told you when I started this that I would be as real as I can so I will post pics on my pictures page.

Nervous

Today is the day I am allowed to unwrap myself.  It’s also the first day throughout this process that I have been this nervous.  I was nervous one other time, when I was going to possibly get my drain out, but that doesn’t even hold a candle to how I am feeling right now.  I’m sitting here on the couch by myself contemplating if I should unwrap now or wait until Eric gets home.  I am literally sweating.  This entire experience ends (mostly) with this.  What if they look bad.  I know it takes a few weeks for them to settle, but I really want them to look nice. Who knows, maybe they will be fabulous.  I know it seems silly to be this nervous…but I just can’t seem to help myself.  I have physical therapy  on Wednesday, my dad is coming down to take me.  My next post op appointment isn’t until feb 21st.   Why do I have to be such a wimp.  I know I should just unwrap them and get it over with but I just don’t know if I want to do it while I am alone.  Pathetic, I know.

Waiting

I am wrapped up in this ace bandage and can’t look at my new breasts until Monday. I am actually a bit worried. They seem much smaller to me, but maybe that is just because they aren’t hard like the expanders were. He also was going to move my right nipple up and make it smaller. I am just anxious to see what they look like. I hope they don’t look bad. I know that’s not the whole point of this, but I would still like them to look nice. It’s just hard to tell because they are wrapped. I am still having armpit pain, but it is much better than yesterday. Anyone out there have a procedure like this and have the same worries? I guess I won’t be able to tell until Monday.

Tissue expander exchange surgery

image

That is all over! Whew. Easy easy easy surgery compared to the last time. As soon as I got there they took me back, got me ready and put me in a gown. Like my pretty purple gown? It’s a bair hugger gown. where I work, we don’t have handy dandy robes like this we just have the bair hugger blanket that you lay on top of a person. This robe had the blanket built in. They just hook a tube into an opening in the gown and it pumps hot air into it making you look like a sumo wrestler, but oh my goodness was it wonderful.

image
See, sumo wrestler/Michelin man. Soon after this picture was taken they wheeled me into the holding room. Here I was pretty popular. Apparently they all though I was humorous because we were all laughing.  Apparently they don’t get too many people that get rolled into the operating rooms that are happy.  Well, I was.  I was down right pumped up.  I had about 6 people asking me questions about my decision to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, while asking me about my health history. Got a scopolamine patch to help with Post-op nausea and vomiting, I tend to get sick after anesthesia. Word of advice, if you are having surgery and have gotten sick after be sure to tell them beforehand so they can help prevent you from hurling after. The staff was awesome. Dr. Greaney came in to mark me, we made some adjustments on the right side and he wanted to be sure to mark them. Got 2 of versed as I was being wheeled into the OR, I think I giggled the entire time. They all were teasing me about my funny accent. Apparently I talk funny.  News to me.  I remember the mask and them telling me to take nice deep breaths. Then…BOOM, done! Only took 2 hrs. Definitely better than 12 hrs.

I could tell a difference right away. No more rocks on my chest. Nice squishy boobies!  That was a relief. For some reason after both of my surgeries, my arms ached real bad. This time it was only my right arm. If it was positioning I would figure both arms would have been sore.  Maybe it was the residual effects from the propofol? Who knows.  I was expecting my chest to hurt, not my arm.  Leave it to me to be abnormal.   I woke up pretty quickly this time and only spent about 45 mins in PACU. They weren’t joking when they said this surgery would be easier. I didn’t need any IV pain medicine. My chest didn’t hurt because I still don’t have much feeling there, but I just felt lighter literally.

They wheeled me into the ambulatory room and I started to have some pain in my armpits. This was to be expected. The nurse there took some vitals and got me a drink of ginger ale and some graham crackers.I slowly sipped on that and ate a bite or two of the crackers to be sure I could hold it down.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

image

Like my bird hair.  I know your jealous Jim.  You would expect something to fly out of that nest in the back. They called Eric back in to see me, and we sat a little longer, I walked myself to the bathroom and then changed back into my clothes. This surgery was a cake walk compared to the last. Let’s hope it stays that way. I had 2 Percocet and the sent me on my way.  The drive home was much better. Our my boobillow in place and before I knew it we were at the pharmacy.

I am wrapped up pretty tightly in an ace bandage which I am not allowed to take off until Monday. Still not sure the size of the implants it wasn’t written on my card.  I will have to ask at my post op appointment.

image

Beautiful huh?  My right arm looks like I got a partial spray tan. Hah. I am anxious to see what they look like. I know you can’t judge how they look right away because there is swelling and the implant needs to settle. So glad that is done. Got home and my mom had dinner for me. She left this afternoon and Eric has stepped up to help me out. I’m not supposed to lift anything, push, pull, or raise my arms above my head. So I am pretty limited. Oh well I am content to just relax. I have been getting up and have been moving around. I don’t want a blood clot or anything. Drinking lots of fluids to get rid of the crap in my body, plus it forces me to get up.

Last night was interesting. We had to stop at the pharmacy to get my antibiotic, muscle relaxer, and pain medicine filled. We made it 10 minutes before they closed, they filled them and we went home. No curb jumping this time. When we got home, Eric got my meds out and opens them and mentions that my pain medicine looked low. So he counted them, and I only was given 19 pills instead of the 30 I payed for.   Figures, something had to be difficult. Lol.  But since that was the worst issue I had, I cant complain.  So, I called CVS this morning and told them, they said that they would have to check the inventory and call me back. Well, no one called and Eric was going out to get some dog food, so I called back. The pharmacist put me on hold and counted their inventory and they were 10 pills over stocked, so she got them ready and E picked them up. Not sure where that 1 pill went but I wasn’t gonna argue over 1 pill.

The only complaints I have are that my throat is sore, from the LMA (special breathing tube) I had in during the procedure, and some right arm and armpit pain. Has your armpit ever hurt? Very strange feeling.

Got home and my mom had bought me the most beautiful orchid arrangement.
image

I have never seen them this color. She is so thoughtful.

I wanna end this post with a prayer I had heard from a guy named Phil Cano. It hit home with me.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for allowing me to live each day and thank you for sending the angel that saved me from harms way.  I am eternally grateful to him.  Thank you for the gifts you have given me.  Thank you for letting me enjoy life’s pleasures and to express them with others.  Thank you for my family and the friends I have made.  Please watch over them as you watch over me.  Thank you for any good that I may have done, I’m so sorry about the bad.  Help me to finish the race, help me to keep the faith.  I continue this life for you. Amen.

Thank you everyone for the love and support. It feels like I can breathe again!

 

Here we go

20140206-111614.jpg

So I was getting myself ready to go and the hospital calls and says that Dr. Greaney would like me to be there early, say 1100. Well, the call came in at 1030. I told the hospital that that was impossible because I live an hour and a half away and they said just to leave as soon I could. Stressful is an understatement. I was ready to go but there was car de-icing and other stuff to do. We are on our way now. I just need to get there. That’s all I need to do. My feet are soaked from trying to de-ice the car, but I don’t care. My toes could be falling off but as long as I can get there it doesn’t matter.
I must say the drive is beautiful. There is something absolutely mesmerizing about everything being covered in ice. Saved in its particular state at that period in time. One of the very few times in life when something is completely still, serene and can be seen in it’s beautiful form. A little nature eye candy for my trip.
Am I nervous. No. I am EXCITED. This has been a long journey thus far and this brings me one step closer to the end. Bring it on. I shall punch today in the face and be in the comfort of my phone in a few hours. Just want everyone to know that I am very much aware that all the glory in this situation, the skills of the surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, medical staff, and the sense of calm I have had all belongs to God. No honor should be taken from Him. He is the one masterminding this whole thing. Thank you God.
I shall post when I am able. Next time I post I will be over one more hurdle!

20140206-111558.jpg

Tissue expanders are almost gone…

I got the call today about when my surgery would be tomorrow. I was really hoping they would call and say “you need to be here at 0600″. Not the case. The lady calls and says…”we need you to be here at 1330.”
Crap.
Shoot.
What?
Really?
Seriously? 1330. Bleh. BUT… it’s actually happening tomorrow, so I guess I really don’t care what time it gets done just as long as it does. I CAN’T WAIT to get these rocks out of my chest. Yes, it could be worse, I am very aware of that, but I am WAY over tissue expanders. I would say I was over them about a month ago. But….doot do dooo!!!! Tomorrow is the day. Did I mention this is happening tomorrow? I am more worried about the commute into the city with all this crazy weather we have been having than the procedure. Almost there.

I pray that God blesses the hands of the doctors nurses and medical staff tomorrow. I know he will be with me the entire time. They keep telling me that this procedure is going to be a breeze compared to the last one. Let’s hope so. So please, shoot a prayer up, wish me luck, if you have the time. I would appreciate it!

Snow day

Snow day!!! No appointment today because I woke up to 5 inches of snow and it was still coming down pretty hard. I was up about 0615 and turned on the news and saw the the commute into Philly would be horrible. They were showing the route that we were to take and there were already several accidents. I called the office to cancel my appointment. We ended up getting about a foot of snow. This wasn’t a super important appointment (say that 10 times fast), just to go over the final “tweakings” if I had any. I did ask to speak with the nurse (who is awesome). I was curious as to how long the procedure would take and she said that it should take 2-3 hours. WWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY better than last time, like 10 hrs better. I still can’t believe I endured a 12 hr. surgery. It blows my mind. I also asked if there was a possibility that I would have a drain, and she said usually not, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a possibility. It’s funny when I call in there or go into the office, the entire staff knows me by name and is super friendly. It’s just odd that I have been there so much that they don’t even need to ask my name or when I prefer my appointment times to be.
I will see Dr. Greaney before my surgery on Thursday to go over any last minute requests or concerns. Now I just have to make it until Wednesday to find out what time my surgery will be. Hopefully it will be early, but you never know. We are supposed to get another snow storm on Wednesday, but things should be good for Thursday, and apparently we are getting another big storm on Saturday. Finally get a good year to go boarding and I can’t. Oh well, there is always next year. The end is in sight!

Amazing

image

At some point on my journey, people have showed me that they have these things within them. Just wanted to say thanks for all of the amazing people on my side. People are amazing, and when you are struggling they show you just how amazing they really are. I hope that sometime in all of your lives you will get to experience all the love and support and amazingness (new word) that I have experienced. Sometimes from the most unexpected people.

Dr.’s appointment tomorrow to go over the final details before my exchange on Thursday. I am almost there…

Oh the lack of lats…

My back is so sore today.  I really have been trying not to complain, but the right side of my back under my shoulder blade up to the back of my neck is is a big knot.  I don’t know if I slept funny or if I am feeling the after effects of the physical therapy.  Tried moist heat, no go.  Helped for a few minutes.  Took some Tylenol so hopefully that will kick in.  I can’t take ibuprofen because I have surgery next week.  Right now I have a icy hot patch on the area and its helping.

Today was just one of those days.  I went downstairs to let the dogs out this morning and when I get down there an overwhelming smell of vomit hit me.  Apparently one of the dogs puked all over the futon but it must have been sitting there for a while because it was completely soaked into the cushion.  That is too heavy for me to lift, so it just is  sitting in the basement all vomitty like smelling ripe.  There is no cleaning that cushion so it needs to be thrown out.  Easier said than done.  Eric’s job for the weekend.   Also, our recliner is broken.  My dad and I tried to fix it but it is unfixable. This sucks because after my exchange I have to sleep upright.  Oh well. I can prop myself up on the couch.  I don’t wanna sleep in bed because I will most likely roll on my side and I doubt this would be ideal. I’ll figure it out.  We also had to take the dogs to the vet today.  I helped my dad load them up in the car, take them in and find out Vee needs more antibiotic, needs her leg wrapped and that Lola has an infection in her right paw.  She was really gnawing on her paw this morning and I looked down and between the pads of her right foot it was all red and bloody.  Poor baby.  Our vets gonna think that we don’t take care of our dogs, but they are my kids, and I treat them that way. I spend more money on them than myself.  While we are at the vet, I get a text message from Eric saying that he got his car stuck in the neighbors yard and he had to take my dad’s jeep to work and just left the car sitting in the yard. Awesome.  Which stunk for my dad because he was planning on going home right after the vet appointment.  My dad and I got the car unstuck and he got to go home once Eric got home from work.  So today was an interesting day.  Almost there, almost there…

Today was a win

Had PT today.  It went well.  short sentences seem to be the way this blog is starting. Lol.  My therapist was impressed with all of the hard work I have been putting in.  I now have the ROM that I had prior to surgery.  I am back to normal movement wise!   He was pleased, he said he was happy that I was doing what was asked of me, and it felt like a win.  It was nice to hear someone say good job.  I felt like I was doing something right, so I am proclaiming today a win.  I told him how sore my back has been along my spine, in the center of my back, and under my shoulder blades.  He took a look and felt around and he found the reason my back was sore. Apparently the muscles that remain in my back and wrap around my sides were in knots.  He said this was probably from working and building up these muscles.  Then I got a massage.  I know, you are thinking awesome right?  Yeah, no. Not so awesome. He worked out all those knots and then massaged out my lat scars.  I don’t know how many of you out there have scars on thin skin areas, but that was NOT in any way a pleasant sensation.  It hurt like (insert your favorite 4 letter word here).  But I know that it was to help so I just laid and allowed them to try and help.  My back is now very sore.  All over.  Took some Tylenol and have been drinking lots of fluids to try and flush the toxins out from my EXTREME deep tissue Swedish massage. It felt like I had a 200 lb woman named Helga working on my back.  Hopefully that helps.  Maybe some moist heat would help.  That’s the next step.  No more PT until after my exchange on Feb. 6.  I will be very limited on my range of motion for the first few days after surgery.  No lifting, no raising my arms over my head, no pushing and no pulling.  You know what the difference is this time as compared to last?  This time I will be capable of doing all of those things, they just don’t want me to so I can heal faster.  All of those previous things that I noted I was incapable of doing after my first surgery.  I have come a long way. A really loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way. I am looking forward to this surgery…almost there.

if you wanna see the latest status of my fills, check out my pics page.  I posted the most recent.  Until next time…

Tissue expanders.

Think about it…tissue expansion.  Doesn’t sound pleasant does it? Nope.  It sucks a big one.  I CAN’T WAIT to get these stupid expanders out.  They are very hard and uncomfortable.  My plastic surgeon keeps telling me that it will be sooooooooo much more comfortable once my expanders come out.  I sure hope so because it feels like I have two small bowling balls in my chest.  Ok, maybe I am exaggerating, but it does feel as though I have two very full thick balloons with a hard section at the top.  Here is what they look like and how the expansion happens:

Expanders
image

The first picture depicts what happens when I go and get “pumped up”. I feel like an inflatable doll, except that it’s not air, it’s fluid, so you get that fluid in, and the numbers on the scale go up.  This is depressing, because I can’t do any vigorous exercise, I am really out of shape, feeling mighty plump, and pretty sedentary.  It could be MUCH WORSE, trust me, I know, I could never have had this opportunity, gotten cancer and had to go through all of the horrible things that I have watched many women go through.  I am extremely thankful that I didn’t have to go through that.  So a little bit of discomfort for a lifetime of being worry free with nice boobies I can handle. Ok, so the picture on the right is what an expander looks like.  See how nice and thick they are?  Great for expanding muscle and skin, but not so comfortable sitting in your chest.

I have been having discomfort in my back, I believe from my body building up those other muscles.  As most of you know, I am a nurse, and at the end of February I will be going back to work.  I feel as though I need to have a bra with a little bit of back support so I can be a bit more comfortable while on my feet for 8 hrs.  I asked my plastic surgeon and he just says whatever is most comfortable for me.  He recommends a front closure sports bra but the thing with most of those is that they are racer back and that cuts into my lat scars and causes me some discomfort by the end of the day.  Maybe my physical therapist will be able to point me in the right direction.  I’ll ask at my appointment tomorrow.  Right now I am wearing a Marena Surgical bra and it’s very comfortable but there is no real structure to the back.  Is there anyone out there that has had this kind of surgery or maybe a breast augmentation that can recommend a bra for me?  These things aren’t cheap and I don’t want to waste my money on something uncomfortable.  I would greatly appreciate it if anyone out there could help me out!

And…

Got filled again today. I didn’t really pay attention to how much he put in, but I must say that my breasts are much more symmetrical now.  I will post a picture of them tomorrow.  I would like to tell you that fills get easier as you go, but actually it the opposite.  Now that I have more sensation, I feel like the fills are more uncomfortable.  I can feel more than just the fullness. BUT…hopefully today was my last fill.  I am SUPER PLEASED with how everything is going.  We talked about implant types and I opted for silicone.  I am not a candidate for a  tear drop shaped implant because of the size of my breasts to begin with ( and end with), they are for women with smaller than a C-cup.  Not me.  My bras look like infant hats. Hah.  So, I will have a smooth round silicone implant placed.  We talked about how much my back is aching and he explained that this is normal because your lats are a major muscle group that help with your posture and now that they are relocated to my breast the other muscles in my back have to compensate so he expects me to get sore.  He said just standing or sitting erect in a chair is a workout for me.  I also spoke with him about sleeping.  I have been having trouble lately because I am a side sleeper and when I wake up I have been sore.  So, I remedied  this by sleeping in the broken recliner.  I have been trying to convince Eric to get a new one, but i don’t think that is going to happen.  When I wake up from this position I can feel the soreness behind my nipple graft, but not on the outside because I still have no sensation there.  Dr. Greaney said I should be much alleviated once these hard expanders are out.  Today he filled the right side only.  He then said he was going to send the nurse in with the implant so I could get an idea of what they were like.   I was sitting in my room with the door shut and I hear them talking about sizes of implants.  The supply closet must have been right by my room, and I hear the nurse say, all I can find are 400’s and the other nurse says, well, what size do you need?   My nurse, Lisa, who is awesome by the way, said ” well I have Traci Rocco in there and Greaney wants to show her the implants.”  The other nurse Anna, who is nice as well kind of chuckles and says “you won’t find any of those in there…we don’t have 700’s” lol.  They all know me by name and know how busty I was before this started.  So Lisa comes back in and says ” here is a 400, your smallest implant will be a little over 700.  ( my right breast is larger than my right).  700?!?!?!?!?!?!?  Holy moley!   Best comment of the day…Julie says to me ” well hey if we are ever swimming together and I feel like I may drown, I’ll just swim over to you and you can keep me afloat”.  She is hilarious and witty and keeps me chuckling.  My mouth hit the floor when Lisa told me how big my implants would be and she laughed and reminded me that I do not have any natural tissue left and that the implant has to make up for that.   I asked Dr. Greaney to just fill me enough that I fit into my skin.  I can’t stress again how great this guy is.  He not once made me feel uncomfortable or tried to push me into something I didn’t want.  And for a person who embarrasses easy in situations like these that’s saying a lot.  I am so excited for my implant exchange.   He keeps stressing how much more comfortable I will be once these hard expanders come out. Expanders are no fun, but we’re not the worst part of the process so I must say I am blessed to have had in reality a small amount of pain in comparison to some things other people go through.   For example Lynn Curry’s (my moms best friend) mother,  is in large amount of pain right now and ended up having an amputation.  Please pray for Lynn and her mother and family today.  So, in reality, my pain was pain, but short lived and controllable.  i am thankful for that.  Others aren’t as fortunate.

Now I am at home in Reedsville for my moms birthday weekend.  Should be a nice relaxing weekend.  I can’t wait to see my little nugget nephews tomorrow, we got home tonight after they were in bed.  Hope  everyone has a wonderful day ahead of them and don’t forget to pray for Lynn’s mom, Lynn, and her fMily.  Even if you don’t know them please do.  God listens.

Good day.

Today was a good day.  First off I got to have breakfast with Pinder!  She suggested we go to The Tom Cat Cafe.  Never heard of it, but holy cow it was delicious.  My mom and I met her there around 9, and after reading their 6 page menu of yummy deliciousness we finally ordered.  It was so good to see Pinder.  She made us laugh the entire time.  Laughing is good for the soul.  Breakfast was soooooooo good.  Pinder, as she always does, went out of her way and got me a bag full of goodies.  As most of you know, I like owls, and she got me 2 owl pens, an owl shaped lip gloss, owl shaped hand cream, owl tissues, an Amazon gift card, three little wind up owls, 2 little owl notepads, a pretty glass owl ornament, little owl Dixie cups, and a quilted makeup bag.  All of this came in a cute re-useable owl bag.  AWESOME. Completely unexpected, but extremely nice.  Thank you Pindy!

After breakfast I had an appointment with the doc who referred me to the doctors in Philly.  I will be forever grateful to her for suggesting that I travel down there.  I could not be happier with the results and my doctors in Philly.  Dr. Strieb is the one who gave me the option and names if I chose to go that route.  She deserves some credit for her resources.  Thank you!!

After that appointment I got my hair done.  It felt so good to have my hair scrubbed.  I know I pretty much have full range of motion, but I don’t feel like I have gotten it really clean since my mom washed it in the sink a few days after surgery.  It was wonderful.

Then, a trip to target.  It was so nice to get out and just be able to do something because I wanted to, not because I had to.  It was so nice of my mom to drive my ass around all day!!! Thanks mom!  We had fun today.  And…..we finally finished the round puzzle.  Sorry Jill, it was the round one or the chili pepper one, and the chili pepper one looks hard, so we went the easy route.

i know it doesn’t seem like I did a bunch today, but let me tell you, for me it was a lot and I am sore.  My right side especially because of the extra fluid.  I tend to get sore on the outside of my breast and under my armpit.  It makes pulling things a bit difficult.  I am also just downright tired.  All of the walking around has made my back sore right in the center on either side of my spine down to my lower back.  I no longer have my lats back there for support, so I guess all my other muscles are getting a good workout trying to compensate.

Tomorrow I go back to Philly for another fill. I’m sure to be uncomfortable tomorrow, I’m still not feeling full relief from my fill on Monday.  Hopefully our trip into the city wont be too difficult tomorrow.  Wish us luck!

PT cancelled and no, I’m not upset

We got a ton of snow here last night, 8 or so inches.  Apparently, Philly got over a foot.  Can you imagine central Philly with over a foot of snow in negative degree weather?  It would be like driving down an ice luge.  We weren’t really looking forward to taking that trek, but we got ourselves up and ready to be out of the house by 8 am.  Luckily we were smart enough to snow blow and shovel last night.  Snow blowers are fun, especially when you can manually aim it to blast people. Lol.  Anyways, my appointment was at 11 So we got in the car to head to Philly and I got the brilliant idea to call and see if they were opening today.  Yes, it took me that long to think of this option.  We pull out of the driveway and I call.  5 miles down the road, I finally get through (nice hold music was playing) and a woman answers and says the office is closed for the day.  Winner!  I don’t feel bad, not one bit about this appointment being cancelled.  I loathe going to PT.  The therapist is awesome, but it hurts.  A lot.  I do however know that this is one service that I was provided throughout this entire experience that has done me the most good.  I had an entire muscle group relocated on my body.  I now have almost 98% of my normal range of motion.  The last 2% I feel will be obtained when I have a nice soft implant in instead of the tissue expanders.  I know I say how much I despise PT, but I am very thankful that I was required to do it.  If it didn’t hurt and wasn’t tough then I guess I wouldn’t need it would I?  I am happy that I do not have T-Rex arms for life.  We decided then to go out for breakfast.    At breakfast we found out that my mom has superpowers.  I mean, I always knew she had super powers, but she confirmed it.  She had the power to magnetize her silverware.  If she was one of the X-Men characters she would be Magneto.

Magneto

I am disappointed that I do not obtain this power. Lol.  She had me laughing so hard.  Contact, bounce, repeat. That’s what happens to my chest when I laugh.  It looks odd.  Anyway, I didn’t have PT, I have laughed a lot already, and the day is only half way over!  Hope everyone else is having a good day.

I feel like a water balloon

Yesterday was my session with Dr. Greaney.  Poor guy’s secretary had 45 booked appointments for him.  We had a long discussion about what needed to be done over the next two weeks so that I will be ready for my exchange.  he asked me to tell him what I thought about my breasts and how I was feeling overall up to this point.  I showed him the areas of loose skin and wrinkles on my right side and expressed the concern that my right breast was significantly smaller, and it seems as if the nipple graft that he has place is pointing downward.  I also noticed that I have much more swelling under my armpit  on the right side as well.  He listened to my assessment, re-looked and agreed.  He took a moment to feel the swelling under each arm and explained that when you have expanders in, they like to take the path of least resistance which, in this case is outward.  Because my right needs more filling, you notice the expander (swelling) more than on the other side.  He also explained that because my right breast was larger to start out there is more skin to fill, and that is why it seems that my nipple is pointing downward.  As my breast gets fuller, it will lift a long with the skin.  I told him that I just want my skin to be filled in.  He said I needed some more in my left breast but not much, and that we would be filling the right breast much more aggressively.  I got 60 mL in the left, and 90 mL in the right.  You can notice a difference in the right breast.  This time was a bit more uncomfortable because I have the sensation to the tops of my breast. I felt that needle going in this time. It wasn’t that bad.  The most uncomfortable part was that I could actually feel them expanding. Again overall not painful, just uncomfortable.  The part that you don’t think about is as the front gets bigger it pulls the skin on your back more taught.  This actually makes my scars on my back ache.   It’s hard to explain the sensation after a fill. Yes, you feel like you are wearing an inner tube made for a 3 yr old around your chest, but you also have a strange pain/ache at the insertion site.  The upper parts of your breasts are bulging, they look like water balloons.  The area under your arms and your armpits get sore from the new volume that has suddenly appeared, and you have a muscular constant ache in the front that shoots toward your back.  When you cough/sneeze/laugh/take a deep breath, they move and it’s an odd sensation.  It’s like a muscle contraction with a bounce at the end.  But, the end is in sight!  I have another fill on Friday, and probably next week as well.  but I am almost there and have come a long way.  AWESOME!  Pre admission testing today, if we can get there (it’s snowing like crazy) and PT tomorrow.  One day down, 4more to go… :)

Strap on your seat belt (with boob pillow) because here we go…

Trying to amp myself up for this week already.  I have an appointment every single day this week, and sometimes more than one.  It’s gonna be rough, but I am SUPER excited to get out of the house! I did manage to get the Christmas decorations down yesterday, but the tree is still in the house.  1.) I can’t carry it even with Eric’s help and 2.) it’s still alive and doing well.  I feel guilt that I had a living thing cut down for my aesthetic pleasure and then, while still alive just toss it out on the side of the road.  Plant murder. Hah.  Hippie maybe?  Maybe a little bit, but I would go more with guilt complex/environmentally aware.   It’s probably doing everyone in my house a favor by filtering the air.  If I had my way, I would keep it until it’s no longer kicking, but I have a feeling Eric is going to make me get rid if it soon.   Maybe next year I should go with something like this:

image

 

Then maybe I won’t feel as bad?  Who knows, anyways enough of my rambling.

My mom is on get way here right now.   She was in Pittsburgh visiting my sister and seeing a play.  My sister got her tickets for Christmas.  So now she is driving the whole way across the state to come help me out.  I am still not allowed to drive.  So she will be driving Miss Traci everywhere.  Nice?  Understatement.

Tomorrow we get to trek into Philly to meet with Dr. Greaney and I get expanded.  Because I am not yet filled back into my skin (sounds weird I know) I have a feeling we are going to have to go pretty aggressively this week.  Fun.  But, I all seriousness, it doesn’t hurt, it just feels tight (like a tiger) lol, no really…like I am wearing an inner tube meant for a 3 yr. old.  Trust me, I have felt worse.  But, I now have sensation back to the top side of my breasts where the ports are, so I’m sure it will be a little bit uncomfortable when he puts those needles in.  Nothing worse than an IV I am sure.  Tuesday I have pre-admission testing for my exchange on the 6th.  Thankfully, they are letting me do it here with my primary care physician, so it’s only 5 minutes away and the likelihood of traffic is basically 0 because I live in BFE. (middle of nowhere).  Wednesday I get to go back to PT.  I can’t complain because I got a week break, but I’ve been working hard here everyday.  Thursday is the busiest.  Meeting a friend, Pinder, for breakfast, have my GYN appointment, again so excited I can’t strand it, but I don’t have to have a breast exam so that awkward 5 minutes when someone is feeling you up and you have to make conversation will no longer exist.  I am excited to show my doctor what has been done because she is the one who referred me to these doctors in Philly.  Even though it’s a bit of a hassle to drive down there I am so grateful that she did.  Then I get my hair cut!  I can’t wait.  I know I have good range of motion but I feel like my hair hasn’t been really washed since my mom washed it in the sink. Gross right? I am really excited to get my hair scrubbed.  Then Friday its back to Philly for another expansion session.  Whew! I am tired just typing that.  So pray, keep your fingers crossed, wish me luck, whatever it is you do this week for me!

Punch today in the face.

As I get ready for bed after having a nice dinner with Eric, Jill and Shane, I have decided already decided that I am gonna punch the day in the face when I wake up.  I love this term ” Punch today in the face”. I feel like you should go to bed always thinking that tomorrow is a new day, you have no idea what God has in store for you so you might as well wake up and start strong by punching it in the face. Plus, I am capable of physically punching now. It’s little things like this that make me remember how far I have come.  Oh my, how far I have come in such a short time.  It is truly amazing, but I am not fooled. Yes, I am putting in the work and so are the doctors, but God’s got our back.  Thank you God.  so I hope everyone wakes up and will…

image