My Little Bs Have the Big C

A Breast Cancer Blog For Young Women


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Affirmations That Are Pissing Me Off (Or Am I Just a Bitch?)

Ok.  I admit it.  Since being home from the hospital, I’ve been spending a little too much time on Facebook.  Not that I didn’t before but I’ve taken it to a whole new level.  It’s not healthy.  But it’s been good because I don’t have a huge attention span right now.  I’m super tired all the time so it’s been great entertainment.   That is, until the other day.

I was scrolling through the different posts and I came upon this aphorism from The Breast Cancer Site and it pissed me off.  It got me really angry.aphorism 1

Now, before you decide that I’m a total bitch…and hypocrite, for that matter, let me explain myself.  I love affirmations as much as the next person.  I’ll “Keep Calm and whatever” all over my Facebook page.  There are certain affirmations that help me lift my spirits, remind me of what is important or help me focus on a goal.  Like this one.

aphorism 3

A quote like this, by the glorious Dr. Maya Angelou, reminds me that my struggles are real but I have to keep going.  I can get thrown down but I must get up again.  Why?  Because what other choice do I have?  Maya Angelou, Ghandi, Nelson Madela and many others knew that.

But some of these other affirmations, that have been posted recently on The Breast Cancer Site’s Facebook page have been angering me.  As affirmations alone, they’re fine, I guess. Not overwhelmingly inspiring.  But in the context of breast cancer (or any cancer/illness, for that matter), I find them offensive.  In recent days, they have posted these as well.

aphorism 2aphorism 4

Let’s break this down a bit, starting with the first affirmation.  “Obstacles are put in your way to help you determine if what you want is worth fighting for.”  I think this would be a great thing to say to yourself if you were running the Tough Mudder.  If I had to run through ice cold water while getting electric shocks, this saying would be really fucking helpful!  I’d say it over and over!  But for breast cancer?  Was breast cancer given to me so that I would really know that my life is worth fighting for?  My family?  My child?  My dreams?  I needed cancer for this?  So, I should tell all my friends, “You know, it wasn’t until breast cancer that I really knew that my life was worth fighting for.  I hope you all have this get to experience this as well so you can fight as hard as I have so you realize what you really want in life.”  Fuck no!!!!!!!!!

“It’s time that you realize you’re worth a hell of a lot more than you think.”  Because, my self worth before cancer (BC) was so low, so shoddy, that I didn’t think I was worthy of the good things in my life?  I needed cancer to teach me that, of course.  Thank you so much, breast cancer!!!  I now realize that I’m so fucking awesome and everyone should love me and great things should happen to me all the time because I’m AMAZING!!!!!!  This could never have happened without YOU!

“Once I overcame breast cancer, I wasn’t afraid of anything anymore.”  Shall I make a list of things I’m still afraid of, or even more afraid of because of breast cancer?  Why not?  Let’s have some fun here.

  1. Dying
  2. Needles (yep, still afraid of those)
  3. Surgery (yep, still afraid of that)
  4. Infections
  5. Recurrence
  6. Recurrence with metastasis
  7. Mammograms
  8. MRI’s
  9. Any scan that can show that something is wrong with me
  10. Life long lymphedema
  11. Not being around to see my son grow up, get married and have his own children
  12. Cockroaches (the big ones)
  13. Most insects, for that matter
  14. Falling (not to be confused with heights.  Heights are fine, falling from them is not.)
  15. Skydiving
  16. Dogs that bark too loud
  17. Dark, empty allies
  18. Dying before I change the world
  19. Dying before I see the world
  20. Torture
  21. Racism
  22. Donald Trump
  23. Putin
  24. ISIS
  25. Drowning
  26. Ignorance
  27. Lack of Education
  28. The people who run the NYC Department of Education
  29. The people who run the NYC MTA who keep hiking up fares but cutting service
  30. The rich people who are pricing me out of the city I love

I could go on but, I think 30 is a fair start.  Breast cancer is scary.  It’s really scary and I think I was brave as I underwent (undergo?) treatment.  But that suit of armor that we all put on to get through all of the tough shit that accompanies a cancer diagnosis, comes off.  It gets taken away and suddenly we’re left to fend for ourselves without any protection.  Is breast cancer scary?  Yes.  But I’ll be damned if beating cancer for now means I’m not supposed to be scared anymore.  That I’m some fucking Xena Warrior Princess who walks down Broadway screaming “Get out of my way, motherfuckers!  I beat breast cancer!  What have you done lately?”  I’m scared.  I’m scared every day of my life and I can’t imagine that a day will come where I won’t be frightened.

When you put these affirmations on a website or Facebook page for people with breast cancer or those who have survived it, I think you need to be careful.  The intentions are good.  But it alienates us that don’t fit into the “my cancer was a gift” or “my cancer made me stronger” or “my cancer made me a better person” model.  I will never be that spokesperson.

Maybe since my body had been ripped apart again, I’m feeling a little bit cranky.  I don’t know.  But this has really upset me.  Am I overreacting?  Am I being a total killjoy, a complete bitch?  Or are they forgetting those of us who are forever destroyed, in some way, because of this assault on our bodies?  I think it is the latter.

 

**I shared this post on the Visitor Post portion of The Breast Cancer Sites Facebook page, asking them to consider my point of view and to please share it for those who are experiencing breast cancer like myself and many of you.  I checked back this morning and it looks like they removed it from their page.  I find this hurtful.  Simply because I do not have the same cheery point of view, I don’t fit in there.  What a shame.  Sometimes their silly puppy videos gave me a smile.**


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Bits Of Happiness #18, #19 and #20 Rolled Into One

I have a lot to be happy about recently.  I’m on the other side of the surgery I’ve been dreading and am beginning to heal.  It’s not easy but each day is better.  But that’s not where the joy is.  Here are the three I couldn’t choose between so, I thought I’d list them all.  Why not, right?

#18

All of my drains are out.  The two drains in my breast came our very quickly.  The one in my right abdomen (which I nicknamed “Leaky”) came out a few days later.  The one in my left abdomen (which I nicknamed “Ouchy” because it felt like I was being stabbed with needles all day long) took much longer.  Two weeks to the day of my surgery, it finally came out.  Bye-bye drain!  I’ll never see you again!!!!

#19

Because the drain finally came out, I got to hold Oliver in my lap again.  We have been hugging, snuggling and kissing constantly for the last two days.  He’s missed his Mommy.  “Kiss me on my neck again, Mommy!”  Your wish is my command!!!!

#20

Oliver has been very curious about my scars.  If he asks, I show them to him.  If he wants to touch them, I let him feel them gently.  I have nothing to hide.  The other day he asked to look at the scar on my breast.  The scar is in the shape of a circle over the top of my breast.  When I showed it to him he gasped, opened his mouth wide with a smile and squealed “It’s an O!!!!  For Oliver!!!!!”  That’s right.  I have an O for Oliver on my breast.  Best. Scar. Ever!!!!!!!!!!


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Mommy Mondays: Preparing a Toddler For Mommy Having Surgery

mother child

Painting by Gustav Klimt

It seems at every stage of the breast cancer experience, I’ve come upon a time where I have had to prepare Oliver for a major physical change due to surgery or treatment or side effect.  When I was diagnosed, Oliver was only 19 months old.  There was no way he could understand cancer but he did understand that something was different when I came back from my mastectomy.  His intuition let him know that I needed to be treated carefully and he was sweet and gentle with me.  When it came time for me to lose my hair, I had to find a creative way of explaining to him that my hair was going away.  I had no idea how to do it and, evidently, neither did anyone else.  There’s no information out there on how to speak to a child so young about these issues.  We had to invent the wheel.

Now Oliver is 3 years old and much more aware about his world.  He’s curious about everything and is very verbal.  His favorite thing to ask is, “What would happen if…” and asks the funniest questions.  Here’s our latest “what if..” conversation.

Oliver:  What would happen if I didn’t have any feet to walk on?

Me:  Then you’d have to walk on your hands.

Oliver:  What would happen if I didn’t have any hands?

Me:  Then you’d need to scoot on your tush.

Oliver: What would happen if I did have a tush?

Me: Then you’d have to spin on your head.

Oliver: What if I didn’t have a  head?

Me:  Then you’d have to roll on your belly.

Oliver:  What would happen if I had no body?

Me: I don’t know….

As you can see, Oliver wants to know about how the world works, about action and reaction and consequences.  Along with that, he studies everything.  He’s always been an observer and this is what fuels his curiosity.  I knew that the trauma and changes that I experienced from surgery could not be hidden from him.  My parenting philosophy is also that I should treat Oliver as an intelligent human being who deserves honesty and respect.  The challenge for me was how could I possibly explain surgery, especially one that is so extreme in a way that wouldn’t frighten him.  I thought it over for a very long time.  This is what I came up with.

About a month before my surgery, Oliver asked to be picked up, which was always hard because of my cording and lymphedema.  But that day, I picked him up and I said, “You know, Oliver, soon I won’t be able to pick you up anymore because I’m having a surgery.”  “What is surgery,” he asked?   “Do you remember how mommy has a boo-boo on her breast?  And you know how my arm sometimes hurts?  Well, a doctor has to give me a new boo-boo that will help me with my arm and the boo-boo on my breast.”  I saw the wheels turning in his head.  He asked some more questions, which I do not remember and then changed the subject.

I kept doing this and having similar conversations.  Not every single time I picked him up but as time got closer to the surgery, more and more often.  Or sometimes I would say to Oliver, after he asked me to pick him up?  “Will mommy be able to pick you up when she has surgery?”  He would say, “no.”

I know that he had no concept of what surgery really was but he did know the word and he did know some of the consequences.  Soon he began to ask if the boo-boo will hurt.  I said that it would hurt at first but like all boo-boos, it would get better.  I started to show him where the incisions would be so he wouldn’t be surprised when he saw them on me.

Then, the week before my surgery, we discussed the topic every day.  I prepared him for the fact that he wouldn’t be seeing me for several days and that I would be spending time in the hospital.  Every day he’d ask me, “Mommy, did you have your surgery already?”  “No,” I said.  “I’m having my surgery on Friday.”  We also counted down the days.

I also tried to get him excited about his time away from me.  I told him he could bring all of his favorite toys with him to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and he loved that.  Also, his uncle Jesse was coming up from D.C. to help out my parents and Oliver was over the moon about that.  So each day, he was reminded of the upcoming surgery, what changes he would see in me, where my boo-boo would be and who would be taking care of him.  He never showed too much concern.

Two days after my surgery, I was ready to talk to Oliver on FaceTime.  I hoped to do it the day after my surgery but I was in too much pain and couldn’t muster the strength to even hold up my iPhone.  But on day two, I called.  He looked at me over the phone.  “Mommy, is that you?”  “Yes, it’s me.  It’s Mommy,” I said.  “Mommy, is that you?”  He seemed confused.  I guess I looked a little different.  Battered.  “Yes, it’s me baby.”  “Did you have your surgery,” he asked?  I explained that I did.  I explained that I had a boo-boo but I was getting better.  Then he saw the IV in my hand.  “You have a big band-aid?”  “Yes, I do.  It’s how the doctors give me medicine to make me feel better.”  “I want to see it,” he said. He was really curious about the band-aid.  Then he was done talking.

The next day when I called to talk to him, he didn’t want to speak to me.  We tried to get him to the phone but he refused.  We didn’t push him.

When I came home from the hospital, he came back home to sleep over because he had school the next morning.  At first, all I could hear was, “I don’t want to see Mommy!  I don’t want to see Mommy!”  He sounded scared and nervous.  But then he agreed to let my husband pick him up and he came into my bedroom.  He didn’t want to be put down at first but I told him that I’d show him where he could sit so he wouldn’t hurt me.  I had him sit on my husband’s side of the bed.  He looked so scared and nervous.  I’ve never seen his face like that.  It broke my heart.  “I don’t want to hurt you,” he said.  “You won’t hurt me,” I said.  “Just take my hand.  Hold my hand.”  He did.  “Oh, that feels so nice,” I exclaimed!!!!  He began to smile.  Then he said, “I’m going to hug you.”  He took his two hands and wrapped them around my cheeks and rubbed them gently.  And then he leaned into me and began kissing me gently around my face.

This is what heaven feels like.

Each day since has had it’s ups and downs.  He definitely tries to take care of me.  He insists on holding my hand as I walk to and from the bathroom and he reminds me to walk slowly.  Other times he says to me, “I don’t like your boo-boos.”  I don’t like them either.  He’s suddenly dropped his naps.  It can be because of a growth or cognitive spurt.  It could be the stress and changes.  Who knows?

It seems that we’re getting through it all.  I was so afraid of traumatizing Oliver, especially at this critical time when memories are being made.  I know he’ll remember some of this.  How can he not?  But I hope the thing he remembers the most is the love.  There has been so much love.

 

 


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Bits of Happiness #17

Today, I put my socks on by myself.  Now, that might not seem like much to some, but just a few days ago, I couldn’t get my feet up by myself while in a seated position.  So, just one week and two days post surgery, I’m putting my socks on!!!!!  I think that’s cause for celebration!!!!!!!  More ice cream, please!!!!


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Reality Bites…Or Cuts…Or…You Know What I Mean

Ladies and gentlemen, curious people of all ages, here is the post where I tell you all about my DIEP Flap reconstruction surgery.  I WILL BE POSTING PICTURES.  IF THE POWERS THAT BE AT FACEBOOK DON’T LIKE IT, FACEBOOK CAN SUCK MY C&*%@!!!!!!!!!!!!  IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, I PROMISE TO POST THEM AT THE VERY END SO YOU CAN READ BUT NOT LOOK AT THE PHOTOS.  I just think it’s important to share because one of my goals for this blog is advocacy and education.  My hope is that it will help you make your own choices about what surgery you should get, give you questions to ask your surgeon so that you can make the best decision for you or, if you have already had your reconstruction, to share what aspects were similar or different for you.  Sound good?  Then here we go.

Let’s start with the basics. (All my information here is coming from breastcancer.org)  What exactly is the DIEP Flap reconstruction surgery?  DIEP stands for the deep inferior epigastric perforator artery, which runs through the abdomen.  It is a muscle sparing flap surgery unlike the the TRAM Flap, which utilizes the muscle in the abdomen.  In the DIEP Flap surgery, fat, tissue and vessels are removed from the belly area and used to reconstruct the breast.  Through the use of microsurgery, the surgeon attaches the vessels from the belly area and transplants it into the breast.

Because fat, tissues and vessels are being removed from the belly area, the belly will be tighter and flatter post surgery, kind of like a tummy tuck.  That is a major plus.  However, an incision is made from one side of the abdomen to the other, from hip bone to hip bone,  leaving a scar.  The result of the breast is that eventually it can feel more like a normal breast, and that it will lose and gain weight with you as your body changes, unlike an implant which can feel less natural, look less natural and does not change with your body.

I chose this surgery after months and months of research and meeting with several doctors, all who agreed unanimously that it was the best choice for me.  The reason being that I amassed so much scar tissue from my mastectomy and radiation that it was likely making my axillary web syndrome (cording) and lymphedma worse as well as my range of motion.  Your own tissue is regenerative and the hope was/is that with this surgery, some of the problems caused by treatment would at least partially be resolved.

Reconstruction day began at 6:00 am on January 8.  I arrived at the hospital at 6:07 and was very swiftly registered and ushered into the private hospital area where I was prepped.  During this period, Ken was asked to remain in the waiting room.  I was given a gown to wear, given a pregnancy test (really people?  didn’t you put me in menopause?) and told to brush my teeth.  My vitals were taken and I was asked basic health questions.  This process took about 20-30 minutes.  After this, they allowed my husband to join me.  I first met the medical resident who asked me what surgery I was getting.  “Shouldn’t you know?” I asked nervously, as I slid to the edge of my seat so I could run the fuck out of there.  He told me that it’s important that know what I’m there for and they confirm it.  Well, it’s a good thing I did.  “I’m here for a DIEP Flap reconstruction and to get my mediport removed,” I said.   He looked perplexed. “You’re getting your mediport removed,” he asked?  “Yes, yes I am,” I said.  “You discussed this with your doctor?  You verbally agreed on this,” he asked?  “Yes, we did,” I said.  “And if you don’t take it out and make me go through another surgery, I promise to hunt all of you down,” I said sternly.

He said removing my mediport was not a problem and adjusted my surgical sheet (I forgot what they call it but it’s like a contract).  A few minutes later, he came back with the contract to sign and was very clear that I was getting the DIEP Flap plus mediport removal.  I signed that copy.

Next, I met the anesthesiologist, who is not the warmest person in the world.  But it seems like she means business, so I figured that’s all I really needed.  It’s not like we were going to be having deep conversation during the procedure or anything.  She asked me all the same questions as everyone else, checked me out and explained her job and asked if I had any questions for her.  “Can you give me something now?  For the anxiety,” I asked?  You’ll get the good stuff soon enough.  “You have my full permission to put me under THE MOMENT I get into the OR.  I have no interest in being conscious right now, ok?”  She seemed perplexed but agreed and left.

Then my plastic surgeon, Dr. Saadeh came in with another doctor that I have never met.  He reminded me that there would be many teams working on me at once, some on my abdomen area while others were working on the breast.  This ensured that I would be under anesthesia for as short a time as possible.  He asked me all the same questions (everyone asks you the same questions over and over).  He then asked me to open my robe and began to mark up my body with a green sharpie.  I wish I got a picture of this because….holy shit…that was frightening.  I have to say, they were careful and thorough and took their time to make sure they were marking me to perfection.  I think you want that quality in a plastic surgeon.  A perfectionist.  So that was fine with me.

But you should of seen Ken’s face.  His mouth was covered, his eyes were wide and his pupils were the smallest I’ve ever seen.  “Ken!!!!  Get it together!!!!  You’re freaking me out!!!!”  “I’m sorry,” he said, as he resumed the exact same facial expression.  “Seriously, if you can’t wipe that look off your face, turn the fuck around!!!!!”  I wasn’t feeling particularly sensitive at the moment.  Dr. Saadeh looked at my husband and said, “Hey, man, maybe you should turn around for now.”  And snickered.

After that, I think a few more people came in and asked me the same questions.  Then someone came with a wheelchair to take me away.  That’s when it hit me.  I began to cry.  This was really happening.  This surgery I didn’t want but knew I needed to have was going to happen.  After months, and months, and months of asking, learning and educating myself, it seemed so far away and now,  the moment was here.  Ken and I hugged for a long time.  I promised that I’d be ok.  He teared up and they whisked me away.

I went into the elevator two floors up to the OR.  I was left outside the OR for a few minutes alone while the completed prepping.  This was strange to me.  I could hear all of the doctors talking to their residents about what their jobs would be in each of the other rooms.  I was still crying at this point and I think the nurses inside my OR noticed because when they brought me in, the anesthesiologist’s assistant came right up to me and gave the warmest hug.  “I am so happy to see you,” she said!  She introduced herself and said, “I know you’re nervous but we are here to take very good care of you.”  And suddenly, I was calming down.  She asked about my life.  She asked about my son and let me talk and talk.  Suddenly, I wasn’t crying anymore.

But I’ll tell you what else wasn’t happening.  They weren’t finding a vein.  Fun Carrie fact: when I get scared and nervous, my veins retreat deep inside my body where they can not be found.  We tried every trick in the book and they would not come out.  Finally, she found a baby vein in my wrist (cue squirming in absolute horror and grossness) but it’s what we had to do.  She promised that the moment she got that needle in, she’d begin giving me “my champagne.”  She inserted the needle, put some gas(?), oxygen(?) over my mouth.  I felt my eyes get heavy.  That’s the last thing I remember.

My surgeon predicted that my surgery would last somewhere between 4 and 6 hours.  My surgery ended up being on the longer side because there was so much scar tissue from my mastectomy and radiation.  He also said that my cording was visible.  He tried to snap them with his hands and nothing happened.  He believes that no matter how hard any physical therapist tried, they never would have gotten to them.  He ended up cutting them himself.  With the removal of all the extra scar tissue, the surgery took an hour longer than expected.

When I woke up, I spent about 5 hours in recovery.  They were checking the vessels that were implanted in breast about every 15 minutes.  The nurses who took care of me were amazing.  They were attentive, sweet and caring.  And as I looked around, I noticed that everyone was getting the same care.  I mostly slept but my mouth and throat were so dry from the breathing tube during surgery that rest was uncomfortable.

After about five hours, my recovery nurses bid me adieu and sent me to my room.  I spent most of the day sleeping but was woken every hour for the next 48 hours to check on the implanted vessels in my reconstructed breast.  On the first day, I wasn’t allowed to have anything.  Not even liquids.  That was one of the hardest things for me because my mouth was so unbearably dry.  The pain was manageable, mostly because I was still under the magic of the anesthesia.

The next day….WHOA!!!!!!   PAIN!!!!  That was one of the hardest days of my life.  My nurses were great about keeping me on schedule with my pain medication, at my request.  But, if they came to check on me and my pain level was at a 3-4, with 5 minutes it would escalate to a 5-7.  Then it would take 30 minutes for the pain medication to kick in.  That was very difficult.  They also wanted me to sit in a chair.  The idea sounded terrible but once I sat up (not fun at all), being in a chair was actually a physical relief.  I could breathe easier and my muscles felt looser.  They also removed the catheter that day so I had to walk to the bathroom.  The first time I did that, the pain was so bad, my whole body was trembling and I was unable to urinate.   I tried again later after my next dose of valium and that seemed to do the trick.  AH!  Sweet relief!

The following day was much more manageable.  I was able to take a lap around the hospital floor and sit in the chair several times.  I was also allowed to move on to solid food.  Thank goodness for this because it was my birthday and I had birthday cupcakes to eat.  I didn’t have much of a taste for them but I had a little.  I’ll have to make up for  it another time and have a proper cake.

Since I did so well day one and day two post surgery, Dr. Saadeh said he was giving me the boot and sent me home on day three, which was my goal.

Since being home, I have mostly slept.  My body has been through a major trauma and my body is not giving me any choice but to let it heal.  I’ve also been keeping up with my pain meds, mostly the oxyocdon and valium (my best friend), which also knock me out about 20 minutes after taking them.

I take several laps around the apartment each day to keep the blood moving and eat meals at my table when I can.  My appetite is coming back slowly but seems to be back to normal when it comes to ice cream.

My husband has been amazing.  He’s basically my man-slave.  He changes my drains, helps me dress, tucks me into bed, fixes my pillows, fluffs my pillows, helps me out of bed,  cleans the dishes, makes me food, keeps my pill schedule and much, much more.  Please send Ken a shoutout in the comment section below!!!!

Here’s what I’ve learned so far, one week out from surgery:

  1. This surgery is not easy.  Make sure it’s what you want and it’s what will make you happy or physically comfortable in the long run.
  2. Keep on schedule with your pain meds.  You don’t want to mess with that or try to be a hero.  They are there to help you and help you heal.  You’ll wean off them soon enough.  Take them.
  3. Take colace.  Lot’s of it.  By the time you are able to poop (oxy and anesthesia are constipating), it makes going much easier.  Believe me, you don’t need to struggle here.
  4. Set up a plan for when friends can bring you meals.  If you have them all at once, you won’t have room in your fridge.  It also helps your caregiver so all that he or she has to do is heat up a meal rather than cook it.
  5. There is no right answer when it comes to reconstruction surgery.  I think all of the options suck.  You just have to make the best choice with the information you have at the time and hope it works out for the best.  We can only do our best in the here and now.
  6. Don’t do too much post surgery.  Get up and move to avoid blood clots and to get the blood flowing but you don’t need to do much or go far.  A little bit goes a long way.
  7. Eat what you can and what appeals to you.  Of course eating healthy is best but if all that sounds good to you is Ben and Jerry’s, then that is what you should have.  Now is not the time to worry about calories.  Just get some energy into you and worry about the rest later.
  8. Be vigilant about following your doctor’s directions for medication.  It can help prevent complications later.
  9. Love yourself.  Binge watch terrible television.  Sleep all day.  Get a foot massage from your partner.  Whatever makes you feel special.

What questions do you still have about reconstruction surgery?

What choices have you made about reconstruction and why?

What was your experience with reconstruction, if you’ve had it already?  Share in the comment section so that we can share experiences.

 

OK, NOW HERE COME THE PHOTOS

THEY ARE GRAPHIC AND SHOW INCISION SCARS, DRAINS AND BREASTS

IF YOU ARE WEAK OF STOMACH OR THIS TYPE OF THING TENDS TO OFFEND YOU, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY STOP HERE.

MORE WARNING

 

MORE WARNING

 

SERIOUSLY, LAST CHANCE!!!!!!!

 

 

 


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A Quick Update

I think some of you might have warned me that the first week after getting the DIEP Flap would be hard.  You are the tellers of truth.  Holy Shit!  This pain is real.  The tightness, the discomfort.  THE DRAINS!!!!!!!  The first day post-op was really the worst.  I didn’t think I was going to make it through.  But each day is getting better.  I do at least 3 laps around the apartment every few hours, which is good but mostly, I sleep.  I sleep a lot.  I get pretty loopy from the drugs but I’m already weaning off the oxyocdon, which I only take at night to help me sleep.  I take valium twice a day because, why not?  But that seriously knocks me out.

I guess, all in all, I’m doing as well or even better than expected.  That doesn’t feel like much right now.  I’ll update you all on the full story of my reconstruction experience shortly.  As soon as I can keep my eyes open for more than ten minutes.

This is the last step, right?


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The Whatifs

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song.

-Shel Silverstein

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I might be freaking out a little bit.  Just a tad.  My DIEP Flap is in just a few short hours and well…I want to run away.  Far, far away.  I’m questioning every decision I have made, every bit of research I have amassed over the last three months and every piece of advice I have gotten from numerous doctors.  They mean nothing to me right now.  Fear is the supreme ruler and I have a serious case of the Whatifs.

What if I can’t walk into the O.R.?

What if my knees give out?

What if I throw up?

What if I wake up in the middle of the surgery?

What if I never wake up from the surgery?

What if it hurts so, so, so, so, so much?

What if there are complications?

What if I have to stay in the hospital longer than expected?

What if I get an infection?

What if my surgeon fucks up?

What if I don’t like my new breast?

What if it takes months or years to heal and get back to normal again?

What if I can’t hold my son for a long period of time?

What if my son throws temper tantrums and I can’t do anything about it because I can’t lift him?

What if my son hurts himself and I can’t do anything about it because I can’t lift him?

What if my son forgets about my “boo-boos” and jumps on me and tears my scars?

What if my son is afraid to hurt me and then doesn’t let me snuggle him?

What if I don’t see my son for days and I miss him so much it hurts?  There’s no pain medication for that.

What if I can’t get back to work when I planned?

What if I physically can’t work the way I hope to in a few weeks?

What if this surgery doesn’t help my lymphedema?

What if the surgery makes my lymphedema worse?

What if I die?

What if I regret it all?

What if I made the wrong decision?

What if, what if, what if, what if, what if?

 

Everything seems swell, and then
The nighttime Whatifs strike again!

-Shel Silverstein

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