One year

One year…

365 days…

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

No way. No freakin way.

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

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

A lot has happened over the last 12 months.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh what a difference a year can make.

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!

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.