Appointments went well. Started with Dr. M, the plastic surgeon who reminds be a bit of Woody Allen. Woody checks me out and measures the width of my boobs and their "droop." Measures from my Adam's apple (if I had one) to my cleavage. I have no clue why he does that. Then nurse takes my boob "mugshot"--I take a card with about 7 numbers on it and hold it over my belly button while she takes front views and side views. Thank god no face or name!
My boobs are now out there for all to see--I even had to sign a release that says I won't sue them if my photos are distributed in public--egads, that would be very scary. Woody then takes us to a different room and tells me my best option, which is a simple mastectomy (Dr. Nancy does that) and then Woody does his thing. This will occur on September 7th, a Friday.Ok, so what happens is this: While Dr. Nancy is cutting off the saggy very bad bad boob, Woody works on "reducing" my left boob. When she is done getting out the very very bad bad boob, he should be done reducing and perking up the left side.(yes, they will send in any tissue from the good boob to check for anything bad. This is always done) He then moves over to the right side and inserts a thing called a "tissue expander" under my chest muscle. The tissue expander looks like a deflated ball and has an insert area that he will gradually, over about 3 months, fill with a liquid to "expand the chest area" so that in 3 months, a silicone implant will have room to be inserted. Each week, post op, I will head to Woody's office and he will "pump me up" with more fluid to continue to expand the chest wall. (You can't just place an implant up against skin as the skin "eats" the implant, so it has to go under something. If you had a regular boob job, your regular breast tissue would be there, but since mine is cancerous, they have to use my chest muscle to protect the implant. Just in case you were wondering.) Towards the end of the expansion process, they do this thing called OVER expansion, where they pump in 50 percent more fluid than I need, just to make putting the implant in easier. (Can you imagine what this will look like????) Then, when all the expanding is done, they remove the expander, place the insert and stitch me up. I am guessing this will be done around Christmas time. Sometime, I will also have to decide if I want a tattoo nipple (PK, you know your stuff!) but I could always go without one, since it will be fake anyway. I will only be a "piddiddle" if any of you know what that means! : )
I was not a candidate for the surgery where they use your belly fat to make your breast. Go figure. It certainly wasn't because there wasn't enough, but in fact, probably too much boob area to replace and it wouldn't even make a dent anyway, so the implant is it! Less recovery time, but the pumping up aspect takes time so that is a negative.
After meeting with Woody, Crazy Mil and I head to see Dr. Nancy. I am always nervous with her because she has pathology reports. The negative of the day was the estimated size of the tumor--6.1 cm. That is pretty damn big. (I have read of bigger with no less successful results so I am not that worried about it, but it does put me in Stage III, although Dr. Nancy didn't even seem to care about that) Dr. Nancy was still almost hesitant about the mastectomy, just kept hemming and hawing but said "I would just feel better". Of course there is no doubt I want it all out so she just explained the procedure a bit. My first question was if there was tumor in my chest wall since the part she took out came from that area, and she was quite sure it was ok. I was also concerned that even after the mastectomy there wouldn't be clean margins and she said that is when radiation would come in. That is still the unanswered question, as radiation isn't necessarily proven to help this. In my mind, that is the next really scary thing after the mastectomy--waiting to see about margins. But I have no other options and this is the best thing, so what's a girl to do?
So. September 7th is it. Surgery at 7:30 a.m.. Takes about 3 hours total. Woody and Dr. Nancy work at the same time, and then he finishes up. I spend at least one night at Bronson. Dr. Nancy says most of the pain is from the tissue expander, to which Woody said he can prescribe muscle relaxers if needed. I also come home with boob drains--those are a pain I hear but necessary. 4-6 weeks off of work from that day. But I am going back this Monday and will be there thru the first three days of school, thank goodness. I will feel like I can get a lot accomplished in that time and leave things in place before I go.
I have to tell you that knowing you are out there reading this helps me write it. Don't worry about making comments (although I love them!) if you can't. Just knowing that someone cares makes me love doing this. Also, I am so behind on my thank you notes but so many of you have given me the best things! Kim, Josh also thanks you for all the candy--we are fighting over the sugar babies--and Becky, the turtles are almost all gone. And Lonnie, you are too smart--Josh is downloading the CD's onto my new IPOD and I can't wait to listen. Vikki J. said these types of CD's got her through treatments so I know they will be helpful. I just can't tell you how lucky I am to have all of you. I sometimes feel so selfish and almost guilty for having such great friends and family.
I am sad to say that Crazy Mil (Ginger) is leaving for the UP tomorrow. Jim and I will miss her help so much. She and I have had the best time one could expect when going through this crap. We have some logistical things to figure out with my appointments, but will get through it. Ginger will be home in late September, just in time for my first post-op appointment with Dr. Ansari.
Need to go to bed. Missing Andrew like crazy but loving my little Joshie. He is the sweetest thing on earth!!!