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 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.


I was looking over my site and was checking out all of my pics, and realized under all of these pictures of gruesome drains, incisions, secretions and swelling is my niece. I think she deserves her own post, not one with a bunch of boobs!

I’m not the only one experiencing wonderfulness today though. My sweet little niece Emma Kate got a pony, which she named McDonald, who has Tina Turner hair. Here is a pic of her riding McDonald.
Now there my friends, is some wonderfulness!


I will no longer accept the excuse of “I don’t know how to cook” from my husband. Eric woke me up this morning to make sure that I had taken my medicine, which I hadn’t because for the first time since my surgery I slept in until 0945. It was awesome. Anyways….he asked what I wanted for breakfast and since I need to push the protein I said eggs. He made me an egg sandwich and didn’t ask me once how to do something. It was delicious. And nice. But, poor Eric, the excuse of “I don’t know how to cook” will never work again.

Christmas Sausage

I seriously feel like an over stuffed sausage. This seroma is out of control and now I have a second one on my lower left side making my love handles look even larger.
Seroma 1
Seroma 2

I feel like an over stuffed sausage. I feel horrible. My back hurts, my skin feels tight, my ROM is limited, it hurts under my armpits, and I feel like someone stuck a tube in me and filled me up with water. I look like the hunchback of Notre Dame!!! Right now I feel lucky that my sensations are dulled because I am EXTREMELY uncomfortable so I can only imagine how horrible this would be if I had all my feeling. Seromas are very common after this surgery, but this one on my upper right side is HUGE. Of course it has to happen when the office is closed, but it’s been a few days so what are a few more? Patience is a virtue. Hopefully I will be able to get an appointment on Monday. I worry about all the pressure on my back incisions. I don’t know if my body is absorbing any of the fluid adding to the additional all over body discomfort or what, but I feel like a punching bag that’s been repeatedly punched. I have PT on Tuesday, but I have a sinking feeling they are gonna have to put the drain back in. If it makes me feel better, I really don’t care. Oh well, could be worse! I could have full sensation!

Seroma city

I wake up this morning and my right side and arm are feeling a little odd, thought nothing of it, I just thought that maybe I slept funny. Went about my day and eventually get around to taking a shower, take my clothes off and happen to glance in the mirror.
Left side
This is my left side, looks pretty normal, no problems there.
Right side
This is my right side. Very different as you can see. It’s larger now. Pretty sure I have a seroma. So I just kinda did my exercises hoping it was just some swelling and would go away. It just keeps getting bigger and it’s tight. So at this point I think maybe I should call the Dr. to see if I should do anything about this. Did I mention I am a genius? The office is closed and I get the answering service and apparently Dr. Greaney likes to talk to his patients directly so they call the poor guy at home and I got to talk to him. I bet he was pumped! I mean, who wouldn’t want to talk to me the day after Christmas on one of only times you get off all year. What a lucky guy. He confirmed that yes it was probably a seroma and it’s completely normal, happens frequently, and it’s nothing to worry about. He said it would most likely get bigger, oh joy! And that there is no need for me to go to the emergency room or drive to Philly. It can wait until my PT appointment on Tuesday. Made me feel better mentally, but didn’t make my back feel much better. Apparently there is nothing you can do to help alleviate a seroma except to have a large needle stuck into your back and have the fluid sucked out. I seriously can’t wait for that. I don’t think I will be able to sleep for the next few nights out of excitement!!!! Uh, no. Part of the deal, I get it, I just gotta suck it up, put on my big girl panties, and let them poke me. I guess the other day when I said I was feeling like an over stuffed sausage being slowly baked, I was closer to the actual thing than I thought. You poke me and warm fluid comes out. Awesome.

Merry Titmas to all and to all good breast health

This morning was TOUGH. So I got my drain out yesterday, all wonderful news, buy it was in for 7 weeks. Felt fine after they pulled the drain, then got in the car, drove home, did my exercises, packed up all the gifts, said goodbye to my babies Vee and Lola (really hate that they have to be kenneled) then got the hermit crabs all setted in the car (Gabe got hermit crabs all set up in a habitat that I have been caring for all week) got back in the car, went to the pharmacy, got prescriptions filled, and then got in the car to drive home. Well the hermit crabs need to stay very warm so my dad and I have the heat blasting, it’s literally about 97 degrees in the car and we drive to Reedsville (2 hr 10 min drive). I got expanded at the dr.’s so at this point I feel like an over packed sausage that is being slowly baked. We made it home fine and by the time I went to bed, my back, the side where they pulled the drain was hurting. So I go to bed, prop myself up and fall asleep, i was exhausted. I wake up this morning in horrible pain on the side where I got the drain out. I don’t know if it’s because I have more sensation there now or what , but the whole right side of my body from my hip to my shoulder hurt badly. I am pretty good with pain, and honestly this was the most uncomfortable that I had been since 1st day post op. I am assuming when you have an 18 inch drain in your back and it gets taken out, there will be some stiffness and muscle aches . Well, let me tell you what. It hurt until about 3:30, pain medicine is a wonderful thing. I was able then to enjoy my family at our annual Christmas party and was able to go to church at 1100 . Hopefully tomorrow will be even better. Tonight I got to see most of my family and some wonderful old friends! Merry Christmas (Titmas) everyone ! Hope you have a great holiday!


I am on the way to the plastic surgeon (my dad is driving) and for the first time I am nervous. I really want this drain out, the numbers look good (>30cc over 24 hrs) but it’s still cloudy. I want this drain out so bad but I’m trying not to get my hopes up. I’m sure there will be another expansion today, but that’s no biggie, tomorrow is when I will feel that, but one Percocet helps with that feeling. Doesn’t take it away but makes it tolerable. Keep your fingers crossed. I’m feeling like I could poop my pants/vomit I am that anxious. Not rational I know, but whew lets get this over with. If it doesn’t come out, no big deal, I have had it this long what’s another week? In the grand scheme of things it’s nothing. Send some prayers/ keep your fingers crossed for me!

Cloudy drains and fire throwing turtles

Today was a pretty good day. I woke up with a headache, stupid sinuses. I wanted to sleep in, but of course I was up at 7:45. Came out on the couch and just laid there. Took some meds for my headache, and vegged out. My Dad made me some of his delicious waffles again. If that doesn’t start your day off right then I don’t know what will.

I am a little worried because since the last PT appointment, my JP drainage has been cloudy. I am on an antibiotic, have been since November 13. Yes, I am taking a probiotic. I DO NOT want C-Diff. This one stupid drain…
Cloudy JP

I have an appointment Monday so we shall see what he says. I have a feeling that my Christmas wish of getting that drain out is not gonna happen. Oh well.

We completed the fire throwing turtle today. I drew it and colored the letters and fireball, but my Dad had to color the rest of the turtle because I couldn’t keep my arms up that long and they were getting tired. Hopefully he looks at it.

I had to miss my best friend Pam’s baby sex revealing party tonight. She lives on Long Island, and I wanted to be there so bad, but I have a hard time just traveling to Philly and I knew it would be too much. P, I am so sorry I missed your big day, but I am super pumped that G video taped it for me!!!! Congrats on the soon to be little lady Furey! Love her already!

Merry Titmas!

I got home from the madness of Target with my Dad today and there were many many packages on my doorstep. Only one was addressed to me (I LOVE ANY KIND OF MAIL) so of course I ripped right into it! This is what it was:
For those of you who don’t know, Sharies Berries are fist sized chocolate covered strawberries and they are delicious!!!! Between me, my Dad and Eric we are rationing them. They are delicious. You know what the best part of it was? That the card said “Merry Titmas love Aunt Kim, Uncle Mark, Jordan, Taylor and Zane”. I love my family! Thanks guys!


Ever since last Sunday when that stuff happened with my drain, I have been feeling blah. I don’t feel good, but I don’t feel horrible. I just feel blah.

Today was my appointment with my breast surgeon who did my mastectomy. I would recommend her to anyone who is thinking about having this done. I didn’t ask her permission to state her name on my blog but if anyone out there would like her information, please let me know and I will be more than happy to give you the info. Same with the plastic surgeon. Anyways, she took a look and think things are healing very nicely. She doesn’t need to see me for another 6 months so that’s cool! One less trip to Philly so frequently.

I think that I have been out and about more this week, drove to Philly 3 days this week for three different appointments, one being PT, and it really tired me out. That’s why I think I’m feeling blah. Plus I got expanded. That adds to it to. I think the following is something people don’t understand or don’t realize. I may look put together and have a smile on my face when you see me, but I don’t always feel that way. It takes so long to get your body into shape, but takes such a short time to recondition. Waking up, getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, taking care of your drains, getting dressed, brushing your hair, drying your hair, putting on your shoes, eating breakfast, taking your medicine, and getting out the door to go to the dr. is something that most people do daily with no problem. They don’t even think about it. But for me it’s like running a mile and doing an arm workout. I need a nap after that. Three days of that where you leave at 8 and don’t get home til 6 took its toll on me this week. I am recovering, and I am recovering very quickly and well, but it’s still a bit of a struggle every day. And each day will get better, this I know. But some days just suck.

If it weren’t for my Mom, my Dad, my husband, my sister Annie, my daily calls from my brother Michael, and the daily cards from GiGi, and all of the love,support,cards,happy thoughts and prayers from all of you this would have been sooooooooooooooooo much worse. Thank you. I don’t think I will ever be able to thank you all enough.

Rubber band

So PT was rough. It always will be, I get this, and when it’s not, that means that I don’t need it anymore. Traffic to Philly was horrendous. We were only 20 mins late, no big deal. So this time they put moist heat on both shoulders for about 20 minutes. Then Richard (Mr. PT who is awesome) came in and stretched and poked and pinched and pulled and lifted for about 25 minutes. Then I did all of my exercises with my stretching in front of the tech. Apparently I am doing them all correctly. Point for me! Then, Richard came in and reworked both sides of my arms, pecs, and back again for another 30 mins. When I leave there my upper body feels like a rubber band that was stretched to far. By the time I get home, and traffic was bad, I felt like a stretched rubber band who was placed in a cup of water and shrunk tighter than it was to start. This is temporary I know, and it will prevent me from being the hunchback of Mertztown who can’t lift her arms past her chin. Sometimes you just have to focus on the end goal and forget all the crap in the middle and that’s what it is, crap. I will get there. I can put on a T-shirt, blow dry my hair and shower myself. I’m getting there.


Have another PT appointment tomorrow. Can’t wait. Hopefully this will be my last PT in Philly, there is someone they recommend here in Reading so hopefully that will cut down one trip to Philly weekly. This week we get to go 3 times. I have an appointment with the breast surgeon on Thursday. It can never work out where they all happen on the same day. Trust me, I have tried. I’m tired. Physically and mentally. Just tired. I was really sore today just like the Dr. said I would be. Nothing horrible, just discomfort. I’ve been working my PT like a machine this week so hopefully this week won’t be so bad. I do it like crazy every week, but I have lots to do now as compared to the first week. We shall see tomorrow…

I got another drain out

Had an appointment today with the plastic surgeon and got my left lat drain out. I was so happy I almost cried. 5 weeks to have a drain is a long time in my world. I told the nurse I was nervous that it was gonna hurt and she said I really should only feel a little pinch when she cut the stitch. All I felt was like someone plucked a hair out. The next thing I know she is showing me my drain. I didn’t feel her pull it out at all. That thing was long. It really was 18 inches long. I was expecting it to be really gunky and gross but it wasn’t. I can’t wait to sleep on my side tonight!

So I was telling you about the pain and puffiness in the right side of my body around my drain. Well apparently when I did my PT exercises yesterday I loosened it up and it put out 260 mL of fluid. I talked to the Dr. About it, and it was still a little bit puffy, but he wasn’t concerned. He said it was most likely an area of fluid that hadn’t been reached and moved around while I was laying a certain way or did a certain exercise. He said the fluid looked normal, no foul odor, and the drain is draining well so he is not concerned and hopefully it can come out next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I had my first expansion today. It was an interesting experience. They use a little tool that is magnetic to find the port and made a mark where they are on both sides. Then they primed a 250 cc bag of saline, at the leur-lock he put in a 60 cc syringe. He pushed in my boob on the area where he was going to place the needle, and asked if I could feel pressure. I could but had no sensation. He put the needle in, felt nothing, and slowly pushed in the 60 cc. Did the same thing with my left side. I could feel the tightness, but not uncomfortable. The Dr. said tomorrow will be the day that I will be the most uncomfortable.

I posted pics under the Pictures page if you would like to see the results. If you don’t want to see my boobs, don’t look. There are parts that look like chicken skin because of some of the swelling, but he assured me that would go away when I am expanded to the right level.

PT on Wednesday….oh Joy! I wonder what wonderful ess they will have for me this time.

Sight and sound

Yesterday we traveled to Lancaster to the Sight and Sound Theatre to see the Miracle of Christmas. It was me, Gabriel, Annie, GiGi, Auma(my mom) and Pop (my dad). It started to snow a little bit on the way there, but nothing big. The show was awesome, which is funny to me because I HATE MUSICALS. I’m talking I have a serious issue with them. But this was really spectacular. The sets were amazing, the actors were good ( a little over the top, but I know it’s for little kids) and we had awesome seats. The show lasted about 3 hrs with an intermission.

Sight and sound

When we left it had snowed about 5 inches and the roads were horrible. We stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat on the way home, but it took us forever to get home safely. We all did though.

I woke up this morning in a bad way. Doing things like taking day trips like that are still too tough for me. My right drain was really bothering me, so I went into the bathroom to check it out and it had put out 100 mL and I had a large puffy area above the insertion site. It is definitely not right. I hurt like heck, especially when I took a deep breath. My dad, who is staying with me this week made me some jelly toast and Eric got me some fruit cocktail so I could eat something to take pain meds. I did not want to eat, but I know I needed to in order to take pain medicine. Thank goodness for pain medicine. It got me to the point where I could get up, brush my teeth, get changed and do my exercises. Well sometime while I was doing my exercises, something must have broken loose in my drain because it started to pour out fluid. The puffy spot has gone way down and it doesn’t hurt to take a deep breath my more. So far my drain has put out another 60 ml, so it doesn’t look like I am getting it out at my appointment tomorrow, but there is a chance I may get my left drain out. Fingers crossed.

Eric just went out to get us lunch :). I have to pack down the protein, but it was nice of him to offer to run out to get food on a football Sunday.

Have a dr.’s appointment tomorrow morning with the plastics guy, he was hoping to start to expand, we shall see,I don’t know if they do that when you still have drains.

I will keep you posted.

So my mom had to go home on Thursday because she had to work, so Eric got to take care of me. He cooked some rice, heated up some peas, and cooked a turkey breast for dinner. It was delicious, but honestly if I never see another piece of turkey again I will be happy. Turkey is good when it is first made, but when it’s reheated, it tastes totally different. And I hate it.

I sleep in the recliner every night because it’s easier for me to get comfy. I am a side sleeper, so rolling over onto those drains is pretty painful. So, if I sleep in the recliner, there is little possibility that I will roll over. So anyways, Eric slept on the couch next to the recliner all night incase I needed anything during the night. I set all of my alarms for my med times and got all my medicine ready, and he woke up when the alarms went off to remind me take my meds. He rearranged his meetings so he could take stay with me til noon. So I would only have to be alone a few hours before my sister Annie got here.

I passed my time drawing a pink teenage mutant ninja turtle that throws fire on my nephews Christmas present box. Apparently Greyson’s favorite color right now is pink and he keeps talking about a fire throwing turtle (they do not exist) but he is going to get a drawing of one!!!!
But then Jenn got to come and visit and she brought me lunch!!!! Awesome! It was so nice to see a familiar face! I still can’t drive anywhere so it is so nice when someone comes to visit!

Annie and Gabe got here and it was very nice to spend time with just Gabe. Such a cool,kid. He beat me at chutes and ladders. That made him pretty happy.

Tomorrow we are all to go to the Sight and Sound Theatre to see the Christmas Story but we are,to get bad weather so hopefully we still can! I am looking forward to it. I have never been there, but I hear it’s awesome!!!! Can’t wait.

Today sucks

Every day after physical therapy is usually a hard day for me, but today is especially bad. I got worked over twice yesterday, got new exercises, and moved up a step in band strength from red to green. My physical therapy totaled 2 hrs and 15 minutes yesterday. That’s a lot of arm and boob manipulation. I didn’t particularly feel good when I got up this morning but I figured if I drank a cup of coffee and just got up and moving I would feel better. So I get up, get myself together, and decide to just go ahead and get my therapy over with. Dude. the regular exercises went ok with the tougher band, but then the 4 other new exercises added to my routine really were difficult. It hurt, and was no fun. BUT I DID IT. ALL OF IT. I had to sit down at one point because I thought I was gonna pass out, but I did it. Then we have all the new stretching exercises. Stretching feels good, but after doing these exercises stretching is no fun. I really had a hard time. I was mad at my self because I couldn’t just do this and be done with it, I had to struggle. And yes, I struggled. After I was all done I just had to sit there for a while. My armpits were quivering. Have you ever had your armpits quiver? It’s a weird sensation. Trust me. Once my body relaxed and I calmed down I decided to take a pain pill. Good idea. But bad idea because I didn’t eat anything with it. I know better than to do that. Sometimes i really am a dumbass, but I was hurting and not thinking. Guess what happened? About 20 minutes later I feel like I am gonna scream daisies. So I make some lemon ginger tea (thanks Casey) sniff on an alcohol pad (the tricks you learn in PACU) and force myself to eat something. The thought of eating something made me wanna yak, but I knew if I could just get something down I would feel better. You should have seen me, I’m sure it was hilarious….sniffing an alcohol pad cramming ritz crackers down my throat as fast as I could because if I didn’t do it fast there was no way I would be able to get them down.
I am sweating at this point. I DO NOT WANNA PUKE. I was saying this over and over, it was my mantra, my mom was laughing cause I kept saying “I’m not gonna puke, I’m not gonna puke,I’m not gonna puke”
Well, so far I haven’t puked, my mom made me some rice, and I’m feeling less nauseated.

My drain holes hurt. These things are a pain in the ass. It’s been a month. I know there are millions of people out there that have way worse things going on with them than two stupid drains and I shouldn’t complain, but today I just can’t help it. I have them taped so they don’t move around. I am a side sleeper, and I haven’t been able to sleep on my side for a whole month. Blah. I want you all to see that this sucks sometimes and I have bad days. And today sucks a big one. But……it’s only 1251 and it can only get better from here, so here is to a better rest of the day.

I hope everyone out there is having a good day, and if not, that sucks and I feel your pain, and I hope your day gets better.


I am by no means any kind of expert in this area, don’t claim to be, but if there is anyone out there that reads this and has any questions or comments, please ask away. I’ll do my best to give you an honest answer or the answer that I know from my experience. I realize it’s different for all, but if I can help anyone in any way, please don’t hesitate. I’ll do my best to answer ASAP

PT double time and a little nugget named Kennedy

so today I got to do double the PT. First I met with a woman who worked the crap out of my arms. Apparently, my range of motion is 160. This is great, but HOLY CRAP IT HURTS! She taught me some new wonderful exercises that make me feel as though my arms are gonna pop out of the sockets like Barbies can. It was GREAT! She also gave me a green band. Wooohhhhooooo. I had red before. I liked the red better. It was easier. Lol.

Then they send in the PT tech who gives me more exercises with names like the seatbelt and the sword.


Gotta love the images. That’s some super quality, but for simpletons like me that works! We did all of these exercises (7) 10x each. Yay! It was sooo much fun. Then the other PT guy comes in.

His big focus for me is protein. I eat more on the vegetarian side of things so he has really been stressing my need for protein. I have been eating tons! Eggs, beans, meat, cottage cheese. You name it, if it has protein I’m shoving it down the gullet.

Well then I had the pleasure of getting reworked by him. Yes, he was super dooper impressed with my progress, but WOW it hurt. He did a lot of lat massage. The plastic surgeon had to take my entire lat to use and they are laying on top of my chest wall. So my lats, still connected to my shoulders are now the base (the bottom part of my boob) I had the pleasure of having these roughly massaged today. It’s like having a really bad cramp in your back, the grissle kind and having someone continually place very firm pressure on it for about 15 minutes. Each side. Fun, fun. Fun fun fun fun fun FUN. it was so much fun I whistled zippity do dah out my butthole!

Ok, so enough about me, I want to tell everyone that my beautiful friend Stacy Anderson and her husband Travis had a beautiful baby girl Kennedy Grace on December 3rd. She was 5 weeks early, but mom, baby, and dad are all doing well. They have made it home, but she is recovering from a c-section which I can imagine is much harder than what I am doing. Please pray for them, this is their first child and they need all the love, prayers, and positive thoughts that they can get. Stacy is a good friend of mine, one of the best, so please, take a minute to celebrate another wonderful little person that made it into this world. Congrats Stacy and Travis!!!! God is good.

Hair talk

Yesterday I had my second post-op appointment. I was really excited about maybe getting my drains out because the numbers had dropped under 30 (just once) so I knew it was too good to be true. The nurse stripped the drains and apparently there were clots clogging off both, and once loosened, the fluid started pouring out. Apparently I was really puffy around the drains, it’s just hard for me to notice because of the chub. Lol. Sooooooo, looks like the drains will still be in for a while. It’s been a month, hopefully not much longer.

I had my discussion with my doctor about my hair loss. It was not pulled out, I had a pressure ulcer. It had rubbed my hair completely off, but didn’t progress to skin breakdown. He looked at it, and boy was he pissed. He apologized profusely and said that should never happen, and got on the phone with anesthesia and had a nice discussion.

I got prescribed more antibiotics YAY!!!!!!! So I will be on them for the next 48 days.

So the doc takes a look at my boobs and he says “we did such a good job. They are gonna look awesome!” Yes, I was pretty excited about that. I am still molting like a reptile using aquaphor and all so I’m gonna take the loofah to the girls and slough it all off.

I have PT again tomorrow, yippee. I wonder what kind of fabulousness I will encounter tomorrow. It sucks, but I must say, the range of motion I have in my upper extremities is amazing. I am struggling with a decision about my PT. I will need to have it throughout the entire expansion process. The man who does my PT in Philly is awesome, but there is an option for me to have it here in Reading. I just worry that I will not get the awesome work done on my body that this man does. That’s a discussion I will have with him tomorrow.

So I see my doc next Monday and hopefully the drains come out and there is a possibility that the expansion process can be started. We shall see.

Oh yeah, I can wear deodorant now!!!!! I was anyway, but if got the official OK from the doc on Monday.

And…for all of you who have been asking, I will be posting pics of my tatas so you can see but I wanna wait until the expansion process starts so you can see the gradual differences. So I will post them under the picture page so if you don’t want to see it don’t look on the pic page;)

Rainbows and butterflies

I don’t want to give anyone the impression that this surgery/recovery is all rainbows and butterflies. It sucks, it hurts, a lot of the times it feels like I have beach balls underneath my armpits. Mornings are the worst time for me. I have a hard time getting going in the morning. My body is tight from laying in one position (I still can’t lay on my side because of these stupid drains.)
I have to do PT everyday, and it hurts, I can’t do simple things for myself like lift up a grocery bag. But, I chose this and I wouldn’t have made a different decision. So to some it seems like this is easy for me because maybe someone has done my hair and I have normal clothes on and a smile on my face, but this IS HARD. So please, if this is something you are contemplating having done realize that it is difficult.

But…I am a believer in mind over matter. Your mind is WAY stronger than any part of your body. If you tell yourself you can do something and remind yourself that pain and recovery are temporary all will be fine and soon be normal.

My appointment with my plastic surgeon is tomorrow. We will be having a discussion about my boobs, hair, and the fact that the hospital had my weight as 350 some odd pounds. Hopefully these stupid drains come out, but I am pretty sure they will be in a little longer. They are still putting out too much fluid. Better to get that fluid out than keep it in right?

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Oh and I can’t wait till Tuesday. Love you ladies.


Sometimes people ask me why it seems that my recovery is “easier” than other peoples, and I wouldn’t say that it is, but I am surrounded by some of the most wonderful people that a person could have in their life. I wanna share an email I received from a very good friend of mine who lives far away with his wife and children and if I am lucky, I get to see them maybe twice a year. (I miss your guts Marya) These people were in my wedding, and I am lucky to be able to call them friends. The other night I was sitting on the couch having a really, really crappy day and get an email from Brock. The title is “dude”. He said he has been trying to post a comment on my site, but has not been able to for some reason, so I feel comfortable sharing this with you all.  Here is the email:

dude I have visited your wordpress page for 3 days straight wanting to leave you a comment and my  computer won’t let me. So call me old fashion but I am gonna go all email on you because I just have to say this.

You are amazing. i have always loved your company and thought you were an awesome person and I am not trying to be all sentimental or patronizing here but I find this journey you are traveling to be so daunting and you are persevering better then anyone I have ever known. Who knew one could look at such adversity in the eye and smile? That strength is inspiring. You Traci, inspire me, to be a better me. 

That is the nicest email I have ever received from a person, and Brock, I am blessed to be able to say you are my friend.  Anytime I am having a bad day, I will look at this email and read it to remind myself that I have someone out there (lots of people actually) that love me and are rooting for me.  This is why I think my recovery is “easier” than others.  God has blessed me beyond belief.  Thank you God.


Just some thoughts….

So I was thinking about taking a picture of my boobs and putting them on a Christmas card with a message that says “Merry Tittmas!” I think it would be awesome, but I am not so sure the USPS would…

So I had physical therapy again today. holy crap does that stuff hurt. But, it’s for the greater good. Apparently PT with mastectomies and reconstructions are a new thing. Glad to know I will have normal function with the added bonus of nice looking boobies when this is all done. We stopped at McDonalds to get a nice nutritious breakfast and apparently I left a bunch behind. As I am sitting in the office waiting to be seen, I look down and stuck on my button is a large hunk of biscuit. Then I got to take my shirt off for the PT guy. The skin across my chest and under my armpits are so dry and flaky because of the stretching. I put aquaphor on that stuff religiously, but I still look like a molting reptile. Oh my goodness I am one sexy beast! I got some new exercises to do today. They gave me an exercise band. Yippee!!!!! Oh so much fun. I mean really, does it get much better than this? I think not. But I will do them religiously everyday.

I am also taking Diazepam (Valium) for muscle cramping and apparently my dosage was too high so I have been slurring like a drunk for the past week. Needless to say, they decreased the dosage. Unfortunately I did not get these stupid drains out. But, I have found out that the pieces of tissues that get stuck in them really make my mom gag. That’s payback for her chasing me around the house with her mole when I was little. Oh Karma!

Hopefully these drains will come out on Monday at my next appointment. They are each 18 inches inside my back on each side and really are irritating. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I will also be speaking with my doc about the whole hair thing then. Should prove to be an eventful visit.

Hopefully my mom won’t fall off the couch in the middle of the night tonight and wake me up. If you know me at all, I didn’t ask her if she was ok, I just laughed for about 45 mins. I still laugh thinking about it. Don’t worry, she was ok and she laughed just as hard.


This post is for me to thank ALL of the people who made this horrible day I hAd so nice. I had a really really bad day. I have started physical therapy, it sucked the first day the guy manipulated my arms. I’m talking the kind of pain where no sound comes out of your mouth. Well, he gave me these exercises to do at home 2x daily. And yes, I do them. What would be the point of all of this if I’m not gonna do what’s necessary to get better. Well, it hurts, and I have no pain medicine. So I do the exercises in the morning, take some Tylenol and take a nap. When I wake up, this is what my house looks like:
My mom decorated my entire house for Christmas. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? Pretty freaking awesome.

So then I do my second set of exercises before dinner and my mom went out to get the mail and in the mail is a card from my Grandma. She has sent me a card every single day since my surgery. THIS IS AWESOME. I love that she takes time every day to think of me and send me love. Also in the mail was a package from the WOCN team at the hospital. Liz and Kersten sent me a card and in this card was this years Sabika breast cancer awareness necklace with a card. HOW UNBELIEVABLY NICE WAS THAT?
Also, my brother Michael calls me on the phone every single day, sometimes once, sometimes twice, sometimes 3 times. I LOVE this. I count on his calls every day and it just makes my days that much better.

So thank you Mom, Grandma, Liz, Kersten, and Michael. You made a really shitty day a pretty good one

Chunk of hair

So one of the few things I remember directly after surgery was feeling like someone ripped a huge chunk of hair out of my head.  You know that feeling that you get that burns when your hair gets pulled out?  Well I remember saying this over and over again to everyone that came into the room (apparently I told Eric about 60 million times) well everyone just blew it off I guess they just chalked it up to me still being heavily sedated.  Ok fine.  So I told my nurse the next day that my head burned and that my arms hurt and she said that my arms hurt from the positioning, and just blew off the fact that my head hurt.  Told my night nurse that night along with every person I talked to.  Told the dr.’s still, no response to the head thing. Ok I figure I must just be being a big wimp and that must have been where my head was laying on my braid during surgery. Ok.  Suck it up trace.  So my sister was blow drying my hair on Saturday and she turns off the blow dryer and says “OH MY GOSH”. I couldn’t imagine what was wrong, did I have a tick in my head, was there some nasty zit back there and she grabs my camera and tells me to hold on.  She takes a pic and this is what it is.


That’s right people…it’s a large 3 inch section of my hair that got ripped out at some point during my surgery. I went in with my hair in a French braid and came out with my head hurting and my hair down. This next talk with my dr. Should be an interesting one.


This day way was AWESOME!!!!! My mom says to me that for some reasoN they delivered us a paper today so she was going out to get it  (this was 830 am) I am still laying in the recliner trying to open my eyes and mom comes back into the house and but it wasn’t my mom.  It was my little brother Patrick whom I haven’t seen since June. happy can’t even begin to describe my feelings. That little butthole drove all through the night from Tennessee just to come see me!!!!!!!!!! Feeling. Ever. Made my year.

Thanksgiving was awesome this year and it’s just gonna get better tomorrow.   I ate so much I almost puked and it was fabulous.  I had homemade cherry crumb pie and that was heavenly.  But………it only gets better tomorrow.  My sister Annie, brother – in law Jared, my nephew Gabe ( apparently we now call him beeb), my other cute little nugget nephew Greyson, and my dad are coming. Soopa dooopa pumped.  Now only if Michael, Amy , Emma, and Amy could be here it would be perfect.

I am thankful for so many things this year.  I DONT have cancer, I have a beautiful family, God loves me! I have two awesome dogs, THE BEST FRIENDS A PERSON COULD HAVE, ihave a nice house with heat filled with food to eat,  have clothes to wear and clean water to drink.   But most of all, people have sent me many pairs of fuzzy socks that I am gonna hide from my sister Annie so that she can’t steal them like she likes to do.

thank you everyone for the love and support.  I hope you all had as great of a day as I did.

Physical therapy

Ouch. O.U.C.H.

Well, the day didn’t start out so well.  We left the house 2 hrs early for my 4pm appointment, thinking we had plenty of time to get there seeing as how it only takes us an hour to get the Office. Nope.




We were approximately 45 minutes late.  I called, at 3:45 trying to be nice to tell them that there was an accident and that we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.  that was fine.  About 20 minutes later I get a call from one of the  ladies at the office and I got a not so pleasant response from (we will call her Mrs. Happy Pants). Let me tell you this has not been my first fun phone call with Mrs. Happy Pants. Anyways… She says “you know the dr. Has to leave in 20 minutes.” um, yeah, thank you Captain Obvious.

So I get there and my anxiety level is at about a 20.  I didn’t get nervous when they were gonna cut my boobs off, but being late for an appointment made me have that not so lovely hoagie sweat.  Anything that I do that inconveniences another person or makes them upset tends to cause me high anxiety. yet another tragic flaw.

I wait in the lobby for 5 minutes before anyone comes to check me in.  The physical therapy tech calls me back and I start apologizing, almost in tears cause I probably ruined his evening, but he was nice and told me not to sweat it cuz shit happens.

The physical therapist came in and he was WONDERFUL.  So nice and happy.  I love happy people.  He asked me the normal questions and asked when I had my procedure and then I had to lay on the table. This was when the real fun began.  NOT.  He pulled my arm up over my head, ok that hurt but nothing crazy, then he rotates my arm out and begins lifting the muscles under my armpits.  Holy crap if you could have seen in my head it probably looked like this (AAAAAHHHHH MOTHER F$&/%*#, bleep, $&@/%^*******+}>.%,€}. )  then he moves to my other arm and same thing .  I was sweating, and I mean like beads of sweat on my lip sweating at this point.  Then….he begins to pinch under my pectoral muscles to lift the expander.  My toes were curled and not in a good way.  Those drains that I was hoping to have removed are now pouring out blood.  Apparently this is normal.  I guess we are at the point were I should name them.  Suggestions anyone?????

So physical therapy sucked, but apparently I am way ahead of the game and the physical therapist was very impressed.  He gave me some exercises to do at home and gave me 5 instuctions that I must follow.

  1. Do my exercises 2 times a day increasing by one set each day
  2. deep breathe
  3. inspect my boobies every day with a mirror and report ANY changes
  4. eat more protein
  5. rest and let myself heal

Luckily I am a really good at eating and my mom is a fabulous cook.  And I am really good at resting.

The last thing that my physical therapist asked me before I left (and he has been the first medical professional to ask me this) was how my head was.  Of course me being a bit dense said ” it’s good, I don’t have any headaches” and he laughs and says “no funny, how are you emotionally.” I told him “honestly it’s great.  I was not attached to my boobs, they were attached to me.  I guess you could say that I believe that I am greater than the sum of my parts.” He just kinda looked at me and said “wow.  How mature ( if he really knew me and knew that i at I can’t help but laugh when anyone farts he may think differently!)

Even though therapy sucked and it was no fun, I will go willingly and with a smile on my face because of the kindness and genuine empathy that my physical therapist showed me.  There are really good people out there and in all the crap you see on TV and read in the newspaper, remember that the good people are out there and they will hopefully cross your path when you need them the most.

This ain’t candyland people

So today I have been having problems with muscle cramps in my back.  I am not real sure where they harvested the muscle flaps from but I seem to only really have issues on my lower right side.  They give you Valium for this sort of thing but sometimes it’s just not enough to cut it.  You can see it move and cramp and ripple on my back almost like I have a tiny human moving around back there like you would see on a pregnant ladies belly.  Wouldn’t that be some shit, “lady goes in to have a bilateral mastectomy and has first ever back baby” hahahahahahahaha.

On the upside of things, I CAN SHOWER!!!!!I no longer smell like a trash compactor! I mean, come on people, there is only so much a sink bath can do for a person. Really.

So, my mom and I were talking the other day and we were discussing the topic of my modesty.  I for the most part am a modest person.  But after having this procedure done, I really have no modesty when it comes to showing people my chest.  Now, if you said to me, “hey, pull your pants down let me see your butt cheeks” I would probably faint.  So I have been thinking about why I have had this change of heart when it comes to my chest and it boils down to this — my chest is no longer my chest.  It is in the sense that it is on my body, and my skin does cover it, but the tissue inside is no longer my own ( implant), my nipples are no longer mine, reconstructed from other areas, so I guess that I now feel as though my chest is a work of art.  To me it is not different than taking a plain blob of clay and constructing it into a beautiful sculpture.  I now see my chest as an amazing piece of art that keeps getting reworked to be made more beautiful.  And I am very thankful to God that he blessed people on this earth to be able to have the mind and talent to make my body back into that beautiful piece of art that He constructed in the first place.  And, in this instance, maybe even a little more aesthetically pleasing.  So, even though this situation may not be optimal, and it may hurt, and may not be easy, there are many blessings along the way and there is so much for me to be thankful for.


Like  the fact that I can kick my moms ass at Dr. Mario.

Good times, good times

My sister Annie came to visit me this weekend.  Such a good time. We spent most of our time playing Dr. Mario and putting a puzzle together, but it was the most fun I have had in a while.  She kicked my ass most of the time but I still had fun. She made me laugh so hard.  Had lots and lots of visitors this weekend.  It was so nice to see familiar faces and see that everyone cares. But holy crap did I need a nap. Hahaha poet….


She did ask me a question that I hadn’t really thought too much about.  She asked me if I felt sad or upset.  The answer, no.  I don’t feel a sense of loss, I don’t feel sad that I no longer have my boobs. I just don’t.  I understand where for some women it may be completely different, but for me this is not the case.  I prayed about it, and waited to get nervous, but I did not.  I think that was Gods way of reassuring me that I was making the right decision for me.  I have no regrets.  Well, maybe one…taking senna,colace, and MiraLax. My colon is in tip top shape. Lol.


1st post-op appointment

Had my first appointment today with the plastic surgeon and the general surgeon.  First was the plastics guy.  My doctor got called away for an emergency, so I saw one of his partners which was fine.  I got 2 of my drains out!!!!!! The ones under the armpit. I was a little bit nervous about getting them out because I thought it would hurt, but I didn’t feel a thing! The drains in my back are still putting out too much drainage so they have to wait until next week.  In order for the drains to be able to be pulled they have to put out less than 30 cc of fluid over a 24 hr period.  So keep our fingers crossed for next time. The Dr. was asking me about the ulceration on the corner of my mouth and I had explained to him that it was from the ET tube during surgery and that my lip was numb still.  He was not happy about this and got on the phone with the head of anesthesia.  Talk about advocating for your patients!  Wow.   I go back on Tuesday for my first physical therapy appointment and hopefully to get the drains out.

Next was to the general surgeon.  Let me just say that she was at another hospital today and drove across town at the end of the day just to accommodate me so that I wouldn’t have to make another trip.  Wow.  I still get flabbergasted by the kindness oF this woman.  I would recommend my MD’s to anyone who is thinking of having this done so if you need any info, let me know.   So my mom came into this appointment with me because she wanted to meet my doc.   Because I am having nipple reconstruction they took a graft from somewhere so it looks as though I have skin colored nipples.  In order to check that the skin is still viable, the dr. Has to poke it to make sure that the capillary refill is appropriate (the color returns to the skin quickly). I knew what the Dr. was gonna do, so she poked my boob/nipple and we both start laughing bc we looked over at my mom and she looked like she was about to pass out.  It was hilarious.  We were also going over some of the paperwork from the hospital and apparently they had charted that I weighed 341.5 lbs, and my BMI was 53.5.  Uh, no. She called to change that right away, thank goodness none of my medications are weight based!  I am definitely not the most slender person in the world, but I assure you I don’t weigh anywhere close to 341.5 lbs!!!


I get a lot of people that ask me why I did this.

Why would you just go and have major surgery when you don’t have breast cancer?”  

Well, unfortunately my genes don’t really swing in my favor when it comes to breast cancer.  I have been seeing breast cancer ravish those that I love for a long time.  In elementary school my very best friend Lindsay lost her mom to breast cancer.  What a young age to lose someone as important as your mom.   Patty was like my second mom.  I have the opportunity to prevent this from ever happening to my future kids (if I ever have them) or to my loved ones.  I’d like to think that Patty is proud of me for making this decision.  Then there was my Aunt Joyce.  She was diagnosed, and eventually went into remission.  With breast cancer though, if you opt not to have a mastectomy, the incidence of the recurrence of breast cancer in the next 5 years following the first is high. This is what happened in her case.  She lost that battle and we all watched her suffer through the trials and tribulations of trying to balance a life while feeling like you got hit by a truck.  My Aunt Patty and my Aunt Marlana, both diagnosed with breast cancer had mastectomies.  They are doing wonderfully.  So, I guess you can say that I got my strength and drive to have this procedure from my Aunt Patty and Aunt Mar.  They set a good example for me.  Thank you ladies. I love you both.

“Aren’t you attached to your breasts? Are you still gonna feel like a woman?”

Well technically my boobs are attached to me and no, I don’t feel a special “connection” with my boobs.  two fat sacks sitting on my chest…nope no connection.  I have never nursed a child so maybe if I had I would feel differently.  You can’t miss something you never had.   My boobs, to me, are not something that define me as a woman.  Last time I checked I still have other woman parts so I’m good to go there. ;).

“Just because you are BRCA1 positive doesn’t mean you will get breast cancer”

This is true.  But, for me, it was like a ticking time bomb hanging over my head. It was always in the back of my mind.  Sure, there are mammograms and MRI’s and all that happy crap to screen, but in someone my age with dense breasts, mammograms are not a good detector of breast cancer.

“Aren’t you sad that you will never be able to breast feed a child”

Uh, nope.  I would much rather be around to have a child than risk the possibility of getting cancer and not being able to have a kid.  I know plenty of women with normal breasts that have tried to breast feed and it didn’t work out.

“Aren’t you worried your boobs are gonna look funny after the surgery?”

No.  I took a while to research doctors in the area.  This was not a quick decision for me.  Sure, I could have had the procedure near my house with doctors in the area, but if I was going to do this, I wanted it to be done by doctors that specialize in this area and do these surgeries all day every day.  I could not be happier with the doctors that I chose.  My boobs are going to look better after all this then they did before.


Hopefully this gives everyone a little bit of insight into why I did what I did.  Feel free to ask me questions or give me input, even if you don’t agree with my choice.  Hopefully I can help people understand my choice.

A tale of two titties

I think that’s what I should have named my blog.  Cause boy oh boy have these two titties been on a journey.  They have been cut open, removed, stuffed with muscle and had a hard expander put in them. Whew! That’s a lot of boob manipulation. Right now because of the lack of tissue I have left they feel like rocks! There are ripples in my boobs because I am not expanded yet, and I have opted to have nipple reconstruction so I just have two skin grafts where the nipples will be.  My mother Eric and I have been having conversations about where they took those grafts from and we can’t figure it out.

I am still pretty swollen underneath my armpits.  They get pretty sore.  Pretty glad I waxed my pits before surgery because I guarantee I would smell like an Italian hoagie right now.

Through all of this there are people here that keep me smiling and laughing.  my mom sets her alarm clock to go off in the middle of the night when I need to take my medications.  Shes pretty funny when she wakes up.  Well the alarm goes off at 3 am (her alarm ring is different than her call ring) she sits up, answers her phone and says “hello, hello?  Aww shit they hung up!” So she lays back down and I say “hey mom? That was your alarm” and she just looks at me and say “oh ” and starts laughing.  I laughed so hard my boobs hurt.  It’s the little things that make my day.  Thank goodness for those little things.