Thursday, February 16, 2012

Silicone wins!

Today was a good day.

I felt a little anxious over the past week.  Didn't sleep a lot last night - waking up pretty consistently with a little worry on my mind.  Finally when I do wake up for good at around 5am.  I see a text message from Sarah telling me she was home (at 2am) and that she didn't tell us she was driving late so we wouldn't worry about her.  I also see the power is out.  With no sound or light, I guess my for good wake up time was not 5am but closer to 6:30!!!

I needed to be at the hospital at 7:30am.  Woke up late, jumped in the shower and used the only hot water left, said hello to Sarah, heading out to St. Francis Hospital and get stuck in Arlington HS traffic for 20 minutes!!  We ended up that much late - but to my surprise behind the desk waiting for me was our friend Bonnie!  I was so happy to see someone I knew I forgot about my anxiety of the surgery and being late.  It was just what my day needed - a turn around.

At that point, I was moving.  I went into the prep area where I got to wear a fabulous gown with my butt hanging out.  Compression 'socks' that expand and contract to massage your legs really do feel nice!  Then more of the usual - blood pressure, pulse, temp and, my favorite, an iv line.  The only thing they put in the iv line in the prep room was saline and pepcid for nausea. I had already taken a eMend first thing for nausea too.  That part being done, I was just waiting for Dr. Sepulveda to come see me and the anesthesiologist Dr. Rau.

Dr. S came in and we discussed the size selection that we changed to on Monday.  Bob had a concern about a warning he read for 'larger' implants.  This didn't ultimately become the reason why we selected the smaller implants, but it did cause us to talk about it.  The saline temporary expanders were filled with 450 cc.  The intention was to go down to 425cc when we switched them to the silicon.  But we ended up with 400cc to allow for more movement.  The right breast had shrunk considerably due to the radiation and it was pretty tight and uncomfortable with 450cc in it.  So we chose a smaller implant to allow for space to move and hopefully soften up a bit.

The doctor was also going to make a few incisions to try to loosen it a little.  I honestly don't know if he did that since they put a bra on me and I haven't looked yet!!!  2 days - leave the bra on... I'll find out tomorrow!

They took me in to the O.R. at 9:30am.  I think it was about a 2 hour procedure.  The anesthesiologist was a very sweet man and the nurse was holding my hand as I dropped of to sleep.  I woke up in recovery a little groggy as expected.  Once I was able, they moved me to another location, helped me put my clothes on and sat me in a recliner.  Bob and Sarah came in all smiles and happy to see me - as I was happy and relieved to see them too!  I asked for my phone and did my best to text Alex and the others who asked me to let them know I was done while drinking the needed coffee and talking to the nurse.... technology geek, yup.

We left the hospital at 1pm and headed to Table Talk for breakfast for me.  That's how good I felt!  We ate and talked and finally left so I could nap a little at home.  Not feeling hardly any pain, I didn't take any meds but slept for a few hours before the throw-together dinner that Sarah made and it was delicious!!  We talked and laughed and had a good time - all very normal!!!

Right now - I feel good.  They are softer, smaller and a little sore but nothing to speak of.  I get tired from time to time in waves from the anesthesia but no big deal.  I think I can say that the silicone implants beat out the saline hands down!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

iPhone action

Well here I sit in the plastic surgeon's office! Thanks to my iPhone, I can blog about it from here.

I signed a bunch of forms and will have my pre-op check-up. All the same warnings. Just hoping for no drains.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One of my favorite poems... When I die

When I die
Give what's left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on your eyes
And not on your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting
Bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that's left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

-Merrit Malloy

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The next phase

In a week from today, I'll be having the surgery to finish the job we began in April.

This surgery has been in the works for quite a while.  Much longer than we first anticipated.  The temporary implants were put into place on April 21st - the day of my bi-lateral mastectomy surgery.  Every few weeks, Dr. Sepulveda injected some additional saline into the temporaries to form the breasts that I've been carrying around on my chest for 9 months now. 

Originally, the thought was to replace these with the more natural silicon gel implants within just a few months.  Stretch the skin to support the size of the breast and then swap them out with the gels.  But, we had a little detour when it was determined that I would need radiation.

Dr. S was worried the radiation would damage the work he had already done - needing additional surgery to repair it.  He wanted to wait several months after radiation was done to see what the result would be on the right breast.  Radiation can continue to effect the tissue for this long.  While it didn't damage anything, it was true that there was significant changes to the right breast that were different from the left.

Dr. S filled the 2 breasts with saline to appear equal.  During this time, the left has stretched and softened a bit while the right has pulled in tighter.  The left even hangs quite a bit lower now.  I'm hoping Dr. S will work his magic in surgery to not only replace the implants, but to also make them look a little more similar.  I have confidence he will do a fantastic job - he is a true artist and takes his 'art' seriously.

As much as I am looking forward to a more natural look and feel, I cannot wait to have the ports removed.  They still sit on my ribs on either side of me and easily get irritated when sleeping on my side or wearing a bra.  Bra - not that I need one!!! I wear one if wearing a sheer top or sometimes just because it's a habit! 

The 3rd port on the left side of my chest is also being removed... this port delivered the Chemotherapy drugs to my body 6 times last year.  I will not miss it!!

I am looking forward to sleeping on my stomach.  To stretching in jazz class to my side/gravity stretch without feeling pain.  I'm looking forward to putting on my seat belt without it rubbing and irritating the strange bump that protrudes from my chest.  I'm looking forward to this week of doctor appointments and tests because it means I'm that much closer to it being over with.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's Complicated

Yup, life is complicated.  I've wanted to update this blog for over a month now.  It seemed that as every day passed, the more the task was daunting.  It grew and grew with more things I wanted to say about the fantastic events of December, that it caused me to just stop.  I didn't know how to start.

But that's not right either.  I enjoyed doing this over the past year so why not continue something that makes you happy - just makes you feel good.  Here I am.  New Year's is as good a time as any to start it all up.... keep it short but write often.  I'll look back and reflect - laugh a lot, cry a little - as I recount my days once again.

Today, I stood with Bob in the middle of the Everglades - a beautiful experience.  He turned to me and said 'we really don't matter'.  I call it feeling 'small'.  Feeling like you are just a tiny spec when you consider the size and age of the universe and the history of mankind.  But the more I thought about it, the more I think he's wrong.

As Bob would tell me, pick your relatives!  I matter to Bob and Bob matters to me.  We matter to our kids and to all the people we meet and so on.  It's these relationships that we build that make us feel BIG - bigger than life itself.  Each person builds on each other and they become building blocks for our society - the world we live in.  One block falls out of place and it all comes tumbling down.  No matter how small or big, we all have an important role in each other's lives.

It's this kind of reality I look back on in 2011 and thank all who I know, all who have touched my life.  You build me up each and every day to get stronger and be a better person.  This year, 2012, is the year to pay it forward.

And so on.... Happy New Year!