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:


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!


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.


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:



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…


Resources page

I have finally posted a resources page!!! It took me forever to get everything together and it is by no means even close to all of the millions of resources there are, but these are ones I looked at frequently before my surgery.  If you are on the home page of my blog, the resources are in their own page.  It is listed as as a Resources tab at the top of the page.

If anybody out there has questions about the sites, just post and I will get back to you.  If you have questions as to why I chose the route that I did or anything about my surgery or recovery, please don’t hesitate to ask.  You will not offend me or make me feel bad, every question is valid.  I would love to tell you everything that’s in this head! Post!!! I just hope all of this helps somebody out there.

I had better rest up this weekend, next week is going to be a doozy!

It’s been a little

I haven’t posted in a few days because I have nothing really to tell you about.  I have this week off, my doctor is on vacation.  It’s hard because I have to see a plastic surgeon, and they are only in the office 2 days a week, Monday and Friday, the other days are operating days.  See, the breast surgeon only removed the breast tissue, the reconstructions are only done by plastic surgeons and they manage all of your drains/scars/expansions/medical management.  Sure, I could have seen one of the other two doctors in the office, but I am comfortable with Dr. Greaney.  That is important to me.  So I opted for the double pump.  Whew, a double fill next week, should be an interesting week.  I have been getting my resources page ready, I just want to make sure it is correct and legit before I post it.

I have been trying to get some things done around the house.  It takes me a while and I have to take breaks, but I feel productive.  I’m still not able to drive so I am home bound.  Erin got me the first three seasons of Dexter to watch while recovering and I’m not gonna lie, I get sucked into them.  I really need to take down the Christmas decorations… Cant do anything about the tree, a little over my lifting limit.

I have been having some trouble with muscle spasms.  My entire lat is now in the base of my breast, but they still function like they would if they were in their proper position. I think I may have already told you this.  When they cramp up, it’s like my boobs turn to rocks.  It sucks when it happens in the grocery store when you are with your dad and you have to go stand in the corner and work the knot out under your coat. People must think I’m nuts/ creepy.  They gave me Valium for this, but it messes with my head.  Hopefully on Monday I can talk about trying something different.  It hasn’t been as bad today, not sure why, maybe I didn’t do as much reaching above my head.

Sleeping is a bit difficult as well.  Gravity isn’t really your friend.  You can lay on your back, there is no flopping of anything, but I think my muscles work so hard to keep the expanders in place that I usually wake up sore.  It’s easier to lay at a 45 degree angle, but to prop yourself up like that hurts my lower back.  Last night I just said screw it and went down and slept on the recliner.  I am a side sleeper and sleeping at 45 degrees on your side isn’t very comfy.  The breast side you lay on feels uncomfortable and the opposite breast is fighting gravity. I just roll up a hand towel or wash cloth and place it between my breasts, or hug a body pillow.  That’s the best I can do.

And there are the dogs.  Vee is doing great!  Poor Lola.  Her ears are still hurting her.  The she has itched them so much that the tips of her ears have scabs on them, but dogs ears are so pliable that when she shakes her head, they crack and bleed.  I was walking down the stairs to the basement the other day and there was blood splatter all over the lower wall.  It looked like Dexter in my house! Poor baby….Eric is taking them to the vet tomorrow so maybe I will be able to tag along and get out of the house!

It’s the little things

It’s the little things.

It’s amazing how it’s the little thing that really make your day.  These are the things you tend to remember.  It’s that person going out of their way because the wanted to, it’s that person who took a moment to send a prayer because they wanted to, it’s that person who picked up the phone just to say hi because they were thinking about you, and it’s that person who posted something nice on your Facebook wall or sent you a nice pin on Pinterest.  I never really paid attention to the little things.  Well not consciously anyways.  This entire experience has proved to me that the little things matter.  The little things make up the big things.  I have really gotten to take a step back and pay attention to the little things…

a phone call from my brother Michael everyday

a second card in the mail this weekend from my co-workers in PACU just telling me to heal because they miss me at work

countless amount of cards from countless numbers of people

its the wonderfully beautiful pin that Julie Hamilton sent me on Pinterest that made me smile.

its the pictures from my brothers and sisters showing me the funny things that my nephews and nieces are doing, like fake tattoos and an elephant named earplugs

image     image   image     image

it’s the message on Facebook from my Aunt Kim telling me a funny story that explains no matter how silly the question, it’s been asked before and is valid.

its the card sent every single day from my Grandma that makes me smile

its Brock Stine who sent me the nicest email anyone has ever sent me

its my sister Annie who came to take care of me one weekend, and who always answers the phone when I need someone to talk to

its Lois Atwood who is my moms friend that doesn’t know me very well but came to visit me and see how I was doing just because she wanted to and prays for me always.

its my brother Patrick surprising me on Thanksgiving by driving up from Nashville

its my sister Amy, her boyfriend Mychal, and my brother Patrick coming to spend New Years Eve with me even though we weren’t doing anything special, just so I could have a fun night

its the many people who left encouraging messages on my blog cheering me on!   I love them

its the super fluffy robe from my Aunt Judy that made pinning my drains after a shower so much easier

its Julie Lurwick who continues to visit me even though I am really no fun

its the people like Kris Armstrong that have offered help and support from afar

its my sister-in-law Erin South who researched bras for me and recommended some

its people like Liz McElroy who has passed my blog on to her plastic surgeon friends so that they can experience from a patients perspective, who also with her other WOCN nurse Kersten sent me a beautiful Sabika breast cancer awareness necklace.

its the phone calls from La at work just checking in even though she’s going through a major health issue herself

its the very thoughtful gifts of things from Bev, Keri, and Julie to help me through my recovery

its the people who took the time to drive here to visit just because they wanted to see me

its all of the people who prayed for me because they loved me enough to do that

its people like Keri Sowers whom I haven’t seen since high school that follows my progress and leaves me wonderful uplifting messages on my blog.

its people like Vera who make little notes on my blog frequently that let me know she is reading and she cares

its my husband Eric that cheers me on everyday while I am doing my exercises, is patient with me because I am still slow, cooks dinner even though he doesn’t really know how and has been known to burn things (it was good),takes the time to talk to me when I am feeling anxious and reassures me that it will be ok, sucking it up and doing all the things I normally do because I can’t yet.  These are little things that to me Are BIG things.

its my Dad who came and spent countless hours doing nothing with me and driving me back to Philly (this is a BIG thing), who cooks dinner for me, who has breakfast and coffee waiting every morning when I get up,  who uses the snowblower to clear my driveway and sidewalks when we get 6 inches of snow

and it’s my mom.  This is a BIG thing and a bunch of little things all wrapped into one.  She was there every step of the way, taking care of me when I had a hard time taking care of myself, taking care of my dogs, sleeping on the couch for weeks because I had to sleep on the recliner just so she could wake up in the middle of the night to give me my medicine, the many,many trips to Philly even though it stressed her out, she cooked a month worth of meals to put in my freezer so dinner would be easy, the phone calls on a random day just to see how I am doing, and the prayers.

And it’s God.  He blessed the hands of the doctors and nurses that took care of me, he heals my body and soul, he is listening to the countless prayers that I have sent up even though I don’t deserve his Grace.  He listened to all of those who prayed for me.  He showed me that people are good and people take the time to show his Grace by doing the “little things”.

See, these are all little things, things that people have done, not thinking twice about doing them that mean so much to me.  It’s these “little things” that helped me get through this.  So, you see, the little things aren’t little things at all.  They are H.   U.   G.   E.  

Thank you everyone.  There are many,many other people who have done “little things” for me that I have not mentioned, but please know I know who you are and I appreciate your love and support and am thankful.  Oh so very thankful.




This made me chuckle

I did NOTHING today.  Ok, so I woke up laid on the couch, took a 4 hr nap, did my exercises, and then cleaned the blood splatter off the wall that I somehow totally overlooked for the past week after Vee cut her leg. Oh, I put together a 500 piece puzzle and was on Pinterest.  This made me chuckle and I wanted to share.  I love clever hilariousness.



A lot of people that I have talked to say that they haven’t seen any pictures on my site.   When you get to the home page, where you are now, you will see different hyperlinks at the top.  One says home, one says about me, one says my story, and the last says Pictures (very graphic, if you have a weak stomach maybe you shouldn’t look).  That is where I post all of the surgical pictures.  Some people may not want to see my anatomy, I respect and understand that, therefore I put them in their own space.  I add to that page frequently, so just keep checking and scrolling down.

Speaking of questions, I always have a multitude of questions for Dr. Greaney when I go see him.  I see him once or twice a week.  How can one person have so many questions?  Who the hell knows, but I sure do.  I even surprise myself with the amount of questions I have, but I have always been that way I guess.  I like to learn and understand even if most of it seems like commom sense to others.  I type them as I think of them on my iPhone notepad and when I walk into his office before he does an exam or an expansion he asks to see “the notepad”.  He chuckles at some of my questions,  but takes me seriously and answers all of them, no matter how silly they may be.  I wish I would have saved all of them but I can remember a few…

1.  I have metal ports with a squishy center ( like a Port-A-Cath) in each breast.  I asked ” If I have to go through a metal detector, am I going to set of the alarms?”  He just kinda looked at me odd and said “In all of my years of working as a plastic surgeon, no one has ever asked me that question, but it’s a valid one.  And no, you won’t need a card to carry, if you go through a full body scanner they will see them, but when they pull you into the room all you have to do is pull up your shirt and they won’t ask anymore questions.” I thought that was funny.  So I’m either stupid for coming up with that question, taking this waaaaaay to seriously, or am a superior question asker.  I like to think the latter.

2.  As most of you who follow my blog already know I had a 3 inch section of hair missing from the back of my head after the surgery.  For those of you reading for the first time, it was the start of a pressure ulcer, check it out on my pics page.  So, one of my questions that day was “Dr. Greaney, did you have to shave my head for neuro-monitoring during the procedure? I have a three inch section of hair missing and I am a little bit curious why.”  He laughed at me and said no, I think he thought I was losing my shit, but I pull out my handy dandy iPhone and show him the picture.  I took (and take) pictures of EVERYTHING.  His face got red, like he was angry, gets his gloves on and looks at my head.  He said “Holy Crap, that is the start of a pressure ulcer! This is ridiculous, this should have never happened!”  He turned around, picked up the phone and called head of anesthesiology and had a few words with them.

3.  I ask the vain questions like “Will there always be hair on my nipples?”,  “Why is my right boob smaller than my left?”   “How many mL’s are in them now?”  “What can I do to help with my scaring?”  Yeah, I totally ask the vain questions. LOTS OF THEM.

4.  But then I ask questions like “Can I cut my Valium dose down? It’s not making me feel great emotionally and I don’t think I need this big of a dose.  Can I strictly use it as a PRN if I have a spasm.”  He advised me to cut my dose in half for 2 weeks, then use it as a PRN.

5.  L.      O.    T.     S.    AND.   L.       O.        T.        S.        AND.          L.          O.          T.           S.    of questions.

Dr. Greaney is awesome.  Never once has he rushed me, he takes me seriously, and he can joke around and just have a person to person conversation with me.  Never ever in my wildest dreams would I ever have thought I could have a normal conversation, feeling comfortable, with a complete stranger (well not now) with no shirt on.  Boobies hanging in the wind (well they don’t really hang, but you get my point) Heck, he knows more about my boobs than I do, he made them!  I AM SO HAPPY HE IS MY DOCTOR.  I can’t say it enough.  He is good stuff, a good soul that God blessed with some crazy good surgical skills.  Same goes for Dr. Lazar who was the breast surgeon.   Top notch.

One of these days that I have a little time, I’ll post a resources page for all of those who are interested to learn more.  I should have done that by now, but recovery is hard.

But, I stumbled across this picture today, has nothing to do with boobs or surgery or reconstructions, or cancer, it just made me smile.  My nephews, and G would think this is awesome.



Yup, had the wonderful PT today.  My left arm feels like gumby.  You know when a part of your body falls asleep and you have a hard time lifting it up?   That’s how my left arm feels. Like gumby.  All wobbly and stuff.  It’s very strange.  It makes me half crazy.  Like I wanna bang my arm against the wall until it works right.  I don’t know if my muscles on that side are tight, or if I was over stretched, or if my arm is that fatigued. Who knows.  All I know is that it’s a strange feeling. I moved up a color on my band.  I now have blue.  Woooooohhhooooooooo!!!!!!!!

image This is what they do to me before they stretch me out.

 PT just keeps getting more exciting. The best part of PT was that I don’t have to go back next week.  I get to start spreading them out!!! Hopefully we will stick to every other week.  I can handle that. I also got shown how to massage my lat muscles that make up the base of my chest. Thank goodness my dad wasn’t back there with me.  Can you say awkward.  Apparently I have to massage the base and lateral sides of my breasts as often as I can.  Kinda weird to do when your dad is sitting across the room from you.  Lol.  I also have to lightly massage down the expanders at the top of my chest. It’s a strange feeling because I can feel the pressure, but I can’t feel any sensation. Let me tell you this whole process has been a strange one, but the end is in sight.   The final exchange takes place on Feb 6th and then it will be over.  Sure, I will have my nipple reconstruction, but that is an outpatient procedure and can wait.  I’ll post a new pic of my chest after the double fill and see if anyone can tell a difference.  November 14, it sure didn’t feel like I was ever gonna get to this point.  Thanks God for watching over me always.

I feel like a inner tube, calm your tits

I got double pumped yesterday.   I had a conversation with my plastic surgeon about my fears of not being able make it back to work when my FMLA runs out on Feb 4th.  It seemed far fetched to me that we could get me completely expanded, have an implant exchange, recover, and get back to work by that time.  My gut was correct.  He said that realistically, he would be able to get me back to work 2 weeks after that feb. 4th date.  In order to do this he needs to be more aggressive with my expansions.  See, we are behind in the first place because my right lat drain kept dumping out fluid.   Normally a drain is in for 3-4 weeks, (All of my other 3 drains were removed in that time frame) but my right lat drain didn’t want to cooperate.  It stayed in for 7 weeks.  Then, after that was removed I developed a large “boob” on my back (seroma).  Who knew I would go in and pay for two boobs, but come home with 3! Hah. having that drained was interesting. Boy oh boy am I glad I couldn’t feel anything because you could see through that needle end to end. Bleh.  Eric almost passed out and he was on the opposite side,  it made me chuckle.   Anyways…that whole ordeal delayed my expansions which is what has delayed my retune to work.  So, yesterday instead of getting expanded with 60 mL’s in each side, I got 100 mL’s on each side.  I felt like I was squeezed into an inner tube.  It felt like if you threw me in the river I would float.  But, that surely isn’t the case because right now I am carrying over 400 mL on each side.  I would sink.  I am walking around with almost a full liter on my chest.  I know, i know, that seems like a huge amount, but trust me, I am not going Pam Anderson’s first boob job size.  Remember, they took all of my breast tissue, so unlike a normal breast augmentation, I have to make up for that tissue that normally sits on top with fluid.  I am only being expanded out to where they fit in my skin where there are no more wrinkles or loose skin.  For me, that will probably end up being 600-650.  Remember, I was a 36 D before.  So from here on out, we are being as aggressive as my body will allow.  I have a week break to allow my body to adjust to the extra volume and see how I do, then I will be expanded on Monday and Friday of the next week.  Sounds like fun right?

So I was nervous about this while being over my FMLA time because of my job.  FMLA protects my job and holds it for me.  I was worried that work would be upset with me for going over my time.  I am an idiot for thinking that.  I luckily have the 2 great managers and a whole team of coworkers who are so supportive.  I spoke with my managers today and their only concern was that I was taking care of myself and would recover fully and appropriately.  Whew! Weight off my shoulders.  God is good.

My implant exchange is on February 6th.  I can’t wait!   These expanders are super hard.  I am almost there.  I just can’t wait to get these rocks out and have some nice squishy silicone put in.

i have PT tomorrow.  Woooooohooooooo!  Yet again I am so excited.

imageThis is how excited I am.


I have been reading a lot

I have lots of time in between the exciting schedule I have that I explained in my last post, and my current topic of interest is clean eating. It seems many people lately have this form of cancer or that form of cancer and it’s happening to people younger and younger. I was watching an article on a girl who is 23 and had breast cancer, had a mastectomy reconstruction, radiation, and chemotherapy. 23 Holy crap! That is seriously young. Apparently she had kept her cell phone in her bra and it was precisely that area where the tumor was. They can’t confirm that the cellphone did or did not cause the tumor, but it really got me thinking about my everyday activities and things that I could do to make myself healthier. This poor girls cancer has spread and now she is fighting another battle, my prayers go out to her and her family. I can’t even begin to imagine. As a lot of you know, I work in the PACU (post anesthesia care unit) and I work with people who are just emerging from the anesthesia after surgery. This year I cannot tell you the number of 30 something women who came in and had to have surgery/chemo/radiation for breast cancer. That is me! I am 30 something. What are we doing as a society that is causing cancer to ravage us? I was listening to Howard Stern (I know, very controversial, but he is an intelligent man with a lot of intelligent things to say if you weed through the rest) and his co-host to his radio show, Robin Quivers just had a year from hell. She had a form of uterine cancer that produced a large tumor. We have listened to Howard Stern for years and have heard of all the “new fad” things that Robin does to try and make herself healthier. She became a vegetarian, but she talks about her clean healthy eating style and says that the doctors told her that the rest of her body was in such good health that it helped her pull through and attributed to her recovery. It really got me thinking about all the crap we dump into our bodies. Margarine? One molecule away from plastic? That can’t be good. Using plastic bottles and containers that aren’t BPA free. That can’t be good. Meat and dairy that have been fed hormones and genetically modified diets? Do you know how much pus is in you dairy because of the vigorous milking procedures? Gross. Aspartame? I have read NOTHING good about it. NOTHING. We are what we eat, and holy crap, I need an overhaul on my dietary habits. So this is a goal for me this year. I will not become a vegetarian, I like to eat meat now and then, but I will be trying to eat clean. I am gonna try and remove processed, enriched, chemically altered foods from my diet. It’s gonna take a while to get there, and will need to be a thought in my mind all the time. Hopefully this time next year I will be able to say I am a clean eater. I have been reading a lot from a fellow word press writer, her site is cleaneatingintexas.worpress.com She is very knowledgable and if you wanna check it out its a good place to start. That ends my rant for the day.

My Dad is on his way here to be here with me this week to take me to my Dr.’s appointments. I got a call from him a little bit ago that said he had to pull over because his windshield wipers froze. We are getting freezing rain here now so pray that he makes it safely. I LOVE it that my parents come to help me out. It is AWESOME. They are AWESOME. I am truly blessed.

I am currently reading a book (yes,you read that right, it’s not on my kindle) that my grandmother gave me for Christmas. It’s called Grace Happens Here by Max Lucado.  Very nice, easy read, but there was a little blurb I read today that made me remember that this recovery process is gradual and it’s not gonna happen all at once like I sometimes seem to want it to.  This is the blurb:

You are a trophy of God’s kindness, a partaker of his mission.  Not perfect by any means but closer to perfection than you’ve ever been.  Steadily stronger, gradually better.  This happens when grace happens.

I know this is talking about ones spiritual strength but I took it literally and applied it to my current situation.  Hopefully both spiritually and physically I will be steadily stronger and gradually better.  Thank you for the book Grandma! I love you!

p.s. the boobs are doing great!

Wake up, breakfast, PT,lunch, nap, PT,dinner, TV, repeat.

Yes my friends, that seems to be my everyday. I repeat that cycle over and over and over again. I don’t really go out to much, because frankly there is no need, I can’t drive, and I DONT WANT TO GET SICK. I am NOT a germaphobe, but I feel like if I got sick right now it would delay my progress. I go out when I need to, Dr.’s appointments, pharmacy, grocery, etc…but I choose to stay in. I want to recover and get back to “normal” (not so sure I was ever “normal”) but normal for me. I can feel it. I am getting stronger and stronger every day. The PT (even though I hate it and it’s hard) is really working. I do it religiously. I don’t know if all of you out there who know me know this or not, but I have a HUGE guilt complex. I don’t like to let anyone down, especially myself. I am bound and determined to get better and to do it by working hard. Call it a middle child syndrome or whatever you want to call it, but I hate it when I feel like I am letting someone down. For example: last week at PT my left shoulder was really tight and it was painful when he was manipulating it (more so than normal). Funny enough, this is NOT the side that I had the seroma on. He told me that I wasn’t stretching aggressively enough. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to, but apparently I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. So, what do I do? I push myself harder ( not too hard, trust me, I am doing it all within my capabilities). I now stretch 3x daily and do it with more vigor. I will be damned if the Physical Therapist says that to me again. Sometimes you need that, a kick in the butt to get you back on track. I don’t think I ever fell off the track but I needed to push a little harder. Complacency makes one lazy.
So today I had an appointment and then Eric and I had lunch at Plaza Azteca. It was nice to get out for a little and feel like a normal part of the society. Then, our friends Shane and Jill came over to hang out for the Eagles game. I haven’t seen them since the surgery so it was good to get to spend some quality time with them. Good friends are good for the soul.
So even though today was just a random Saturday in January, it was a win for me. My mom is coming back tomorrow to take me to my appointments this week. Excited to see her. It’s always nice when you have someone to hang out with.

Fight like a girl

I was worried about today and staying home by myself for the first time (I am very capable) but Eric rearranged his schedule so he could work from home. Thank goodness he did. Thank you so much Eric. Vee cut her leg and we couldn’t get it to stop bleeding, I eventually had to wrap a hand towel around her leg and wrap it tight with tape) and apparently Lola has a raging ear infection. We spend a large chunk of our day at the vet. Vee has to wear this stupid collar and take an antibiotic and Lola has to have a medication put in her ear 2x a day And she is quite the diva. You put that stuff in her ear and she runs a circle around the downstairs of the house, stops in front of you, snorts, then flops herself down on the couch and rolls around grunting for a few minutes. This happens about 3 times and then she’s ok. It’s super funny, hopefully I can catch it on video. Poor baby Vee. This collar she has to wear is ridiculous.
Poor vee
I’m glad they didn’t have to put a collar like that on me after my surgery.

I am feeling more settled now today, my anxieties are relieving. God is good. I am able to do a lot more, and I am feeling pretty good. Sure, there are those days when I am sore, but this is to be expected. I am still taking Valium for my muscle spasms but I cut my dose in half (2.5 2 times daily) because I think the side effects are causing me some emotional issues. I don’t struggle with anxiety and depression on a normal basis so those chemicals and pathways in my brain aren’t mixed up. Yes, Valium is used for muscle spasms, but it is mainly used for anxiety and depression. I think it was having the opposite effect on me. I spoke with Dr. Greaney about my need for this medicine and he told me to continue for a few dats after my seroma drainage but if I felt ok to take half for a few days and then none. Unless I was having spasms. I am doing great so far with half the dose. It’s those little things that make you see how you are improving.
I did discover a new talent today. Apparently even though my lat muscles are no longer located in the normal place (they make up the base of my breast) they still function in the same way that they normally would. For example, when I twist off the cap to a water bottle, my boobs flex. It’s the weirdest sensation, but it’s hilarious at the same time. I feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger very time I open a bottle. Lol. I can beat any man in a pec flexing competition any day of the week. Hah.
Thank you to all of you who prayed for me for being overwhelmed, and thank you to all of you who pray for me just because you do. If means more to me than any gift or treat anyone could give me. Thank you all.


3.2.1….Happy New Year! It’s a time to start fresh and get to write page 1 of your 365 page book. After my family left today, my New year started with feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I was feeling lonely because everyone left, and also just plain worried. Most people would think I would be feeling bad or anxious because I have had a large area of my body removed and replaced, and that I would be having body image issues or feeling a sense of loss. That’s not it at all. I don’t feel any loss other than the loss of the weight of breast cancer hanging over my head, I don’t have body image issues, I think the plastic surgeon is doing a excellent job, and I do not feel like less of a woman, in fact if anything I feel empowered that I took control of something that could hurt me and beat it into the ground. So why am I feeling overwhelmed? I have 5 weeks left of my FMLA and I am still being expanded and have to have an implant exchange as well. That is a short amount of time to get all of that done. I don’t know what the plastic surgeons time frames or expectations are, but I have an appointment Monday so we will have to find out. It just hit me today and I started to become very anxious. FMLA protects my job, and if I am not cleared (I can’t return on light duty) what will happen to my job? Will I lose it? Will they get rid of it? When I go back to work I will have used up all of my FMLA allotted for this rolling year, will have no IPA (medical time off) or PTO (paid time off) left. Don’t get me wrong here, I am not complaining, it’s just added to my anxiety. And all of these thoughts, piled ontop of feeling lonely, feeling like I am going a bit backwards because of my seroma, and the fact that tomorrow will be my first day alone all day made me go into a slight panic mode. (How lucky am I that the first seven weeks of my recovery were spent being taken care of by my husband and family!). I am worried and just overwhelmed. Unknowns are tough. I just need to keep focusing on God and know that he has his plan for me and that’s what will happen. So I am gonna pray and pray hard because right now my stomach is in my throat. I told you all I would try to be honest in this blog, and unfortunately you have days like this where it all just feels like it’s piling on top of you. So if you get a second and feeling like shooting a few words up to THE BIG GUY, please do. I would really appreciate it. Hope you all started your New Year off a little better than me. This too shall pass…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I am excited that 2013 is over, it was a very tough year for me in many ways. Leave the past behind…onward. So yesterday was Eric and I’s 4th anniversary! Yay us. We had an exciting day of PT in Philly, a trip to the grocery store (sorry, no Bed Bath and Beyond, we didn’t have the time hah), then I came home and took a nice 4.5 hr nap. It was awesome! I had to get up because my sister Amy, her boyfriend Mychal, and my brother Patrick came to celebrate the New Year with us. I have seen Pat more in the past 2 months than I have in the past 2 years! I am not very exciting the day of PT or the day after but it was nice of them to come and entertain Eric and I for the holiday! Eric and I rang in the New Year talking about how we didn’t think we would be celebrating the New Year attending Dr.’s appointments. We we’re hoping to wait to have to to that until we are old and grey, but hey, it is what it is. We have decided we will celebrate our anniversary when I’m feeling better. So to everyone out there who is reading this, Happy New Year and I hope that this year allows your wildest dreams to come true. Thank you God for getting me through 2013.