Monday, December 27, 2010
i can't believe it's been 3 weeks! it feels so long ago.
all of the scabs have officially come off of my incisions as of yesterday. i had to trim some of the ends off the stitches though, because they were causing irritation and redness. i had a pretty good post-op kit set up from the initial mastectomy that i received through o.h.i.p. when i was having nursing care. it came with these nifty little surgical scissors made just for the job. (i made sure to sterilize them.)
since i am still up north and snow bound i have not been able to have my post-op appointment. it will be on january 13th when i am living back in the city. i am looking forward to getting the go ahead to start working out as i have accumulated some flab and lost a whole lot of muscle definition since the mastectomy in april. i am still a skinny mini, but i am missing my muscles - particularly the abs and firm butt;)
i went apartment hunting last week in the city and found a to die for 2 bedroom apartment right in my price range. i am so excited to be moving back to Hamilton. Nursing starts in only 2 weeks.
i am completely off the percosets (oxycodone). i am not in any pain. sometimes some stiffness and the odd twinge, but nothing that warrants any analgesics. i had strong worries about coming off of the oxy's as i had been taking them daily since april (that's almost 8 months), but decided to just go cold turkey. i had some withdrawal symptoms but mostly bearable. i had some pretty crazy night sweats for a week and some pretty major panic attacks, but i have suffered panic attacks since i was a teen and know how to over come them. i decided for me, it was best to get them out of my system right away because i want to be as alert and focused as possible for school. i think it is safe to say, that after a week and a half, they are mostly out of my system.
if however, you should find it difficult or find yourself dependent, it is important that you contact your plastic surgeon/prescribing physician so that he/she can provide a tapering program. opiate dependence is a real risk with this type of surgery and i have read about some woman on FORCE who needed extra care in coming off of them.
i am totally excited for the future. i think 2011 is going to be my year! happy new year everyone and thanks for following my blog.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
i will make this short and sweet so you can check out the pictures. again, i am more than 100% satisfied and in my opinion healing perfectly.
also, a shout out to my amazing plastic surgeon - dr. ronen avram. he sometimes checks my blog out. i have all the pbm/exchange pictures from my blog (plus more) on a jump drive for you. merry christmas! see you in the new year.
anterior view of both breasts #1
Sunday, December 19, 2010
the bottom halves of my nipples all scabbed over and it looks kind of creepy. fortunately, i am not freaked out as i know for others, this is par for the course.
my family had our christmas get together today. i was surprised when my aunt requested to see the new boobs in front of everyone and i ended up flashing pretty much my whole family. not then and there, but some one on one, and then near the end of the evening as people were leaving, i flashed a whole slew. they asked permission and i reassured them all that it was not creepy.
i think part of me flashing them was to reassure them that i am not marred. also, since there are so many females in my family, some of them may encounter a similar journey with their breasts and i wanted to show them that you can come out the other end still feeling and looking whole. all their responses were positive--some of them were in awe.
it will probably be another week or so before the scabs fall off, but everything still pretty much looks the same, so i won't be posting more pics until the scabs do fall off. i will still blog though, so stay tuned:)
Monday, December 13, 2010
you can see the potential in these photos despite the ugly drains (which are now out), scars, and bruising. i am so excited to see how the breasts will improve over the next few months as the healing and settling continues. in fact, these pics are already 4 days old, and there is already a remarkable improvement!!!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
since i have the drains, i am not allowed to shower...so...it's been 7 days since i've showered. yuck! i have been having below the belt baths to stay clean, and i got my hair washed at the salon the other day. can you believe it only costs $3.00 to get your hair washed at first choice hair salon? very awesome and they blew dried my hair and put it back up in a ponytail for me.
even though i haven't been able to shower, i have felt relatively clean this week. however, i have started sweating the last 24 hours and am getting sticky. ewww. i thought it would be a good solution to wipe my armpits down with baby wipes, but this isn't working as well as i hoped.
oh well. it will make the first shower all the more glorious...and probably blog worthy:)
i had a wonderful friend stay with me for a few day but he is gone now and i am starting to go bat crazy! I AM SO BORED. i don't really know what to do with myself. i've watched enough movies and tv shows...and i don't have an attention span to read very long. i've gone for a few walks. i guess i am really looking forward to the holiday festivities that are going to start happening next week to keep me occupied. i can only take so much of facebook. lol.
i suppose i will see if i can get out of the house in the next day or too, but i am still trying my best to stay healthy. no colds for me! maybe i will see if i can go over to my friend kim's house tomorrow and see if she can braid my hair.
signing off for now.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
the consensus with the home care nurse and myself was to remove all the dressings and to let my wounds dry out over a few hours. i locked my kitties out of my room for a few hours and snoozed while they dried out. afterwards, i was able to put regular gauze dressings over the wounds and keep them in place with a bra. no more tapes to hold it all in place.
this has worked, but not soon enough to ward off the itchiness. my torso and back are really itchy and sort of driving me crazy.
on another note, muscles not cut during the surgery are very sore. i have been compensating with other muscle groups like the muscles in my neck and stomach to get myself into upright or reclining positions. these muscles are now very sore, adding to my discomfort.
i am able to go 8 hours between meds though. i am only doing this so i can have a bowel movement. the drugs are making me all bummed up and i feel gross. hopefully cutting down on the oxy's will help things move along. i went for a walk around the neighborhood too and took in the beautiful crisp winter air.
i think this blog post is a little disjointed and rambly. i think i have most of my bearings though. i have some easy things planned for tomorrow, like going to the salon and getting my hair washed, and running some errands.
i also have a friend staying with me till friday who is graciously cooking all my meals, taking me around town for errands, and providing entertainment and just general love and support. this recovery is so much better because of the extra care and attention compared to the initial pbm and i am so grateful.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
the home care nurse came by today and we changed up my dressings. much more tidier. i have a small amount of dressings held in place by a bit more tape, but the bra is doing most of the work. i am glad to be rid of the itchy stocking that was holding all the bandaging in place. i also had a small amount of tape holding it on too, and as we peeled it off, it took a layer or two of skin with it. ouch. i hate that i am so sensitive to adhesives and band-aides. hope this doesn't happen again tomorrow. so far, no water blisters are forming...which sometimes happen with the surgical tape.
here is how i am wrapped now. and look out for the surprise peak show below. i am already impressed with my results.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
exchange surgery was so easy.
i was able to have it done in Hamilton and still survive the 2 hour trip home immediately after. it was so good to get home and relax in my own bed and couch. i think i went to bed around 9:30pm, and was up and puttering around this morning at 6:30am...then a lovely nap at 8:15am...and up again at noon. such a great excuse to lounge and be lazy. in fact, doctors orders!
i am in more pain today than yesterday, but that is to be expected as the area the was flooded with marcaine is wearing off. still completely manageable. i just have to take it easy. the pain comes as little stabs through out but more so in the lower left breast.
here is a short can do/can't do list for yesterday and today:
Same Day Can Do:
- open fridge
- open doors (carefully, but can't hold them open for others. sorry guy at tim hortons with coffee in both hands)
- make dinner (pre-packaged pizza from the freezer)
- eat a normal size meal
- do a small amount of dishes (2 plates, pans from the pizza and pizza cutter)
- empty my own drains
- play with my iPhone, facebook, check my gmail:) (you know you breezed through surgery when you are checking and posting on social media within 1 hour of being discharged from the hospital)
- urinate without straining (gosh i hate this one. so difficult to go pee. still is, but getting better)
- be alone (doctors orders that i have care for the first 24 hours since i had day surgery. my awesome sister stayed with me for the night, and my Oma kept me company for a few hours too, before my sister was able to arrive from work)
- my hair
- scratch my back (i needed my back scratcher to reach)
- get a good look at my foobs
- keep my eyes open during a conversation past 9pm
- tie my hair up in a ponytail
- scratch my back and shoulders without using the back scratcher
- enjoy looking out the window at all the snow we've gotten
- enjoy the company of my kitties
- sleep, sleep, sleep
- bowel movement (it's been 2 days.)
- play with the kitties (they like to play fetch. no can do.)
- stand up quickly (i am still light headed from the anesthetic)
- bathe (i won't be able to bathe or shower until at least 24 hours after my last drain pull. i might plan a trip to the hair salon at the end of the week to get my hair washed, and i can still have shallow sitting baths. i just have to make sure i don't get the incision or drain sites wet. these instructions vary from surgeon to surgeon.)
- put a loose t-shirt on over my head
i got my mentor card upon discharge. i had to go to the mentor site to see what the codes look like, but if i am correct these are the sizes of my implants:
left: 350 11,7 4,9 324-4350 RSZ-3504 (350 cc's in the left)
right: 400 12,3 5,1 324-4400 RSZ-4004 (400 cc's in the right)
This is normal to have 2 different sizes in each breast. It's about appearances. In the bigger picture, 50 cc's is not that much of a difference.
i'll share a couple of pics now of my bandaging, and some of my kitties and the snowfall we've received in the last 3 days. i feel so toasty warm in my apartment and enjoy looking out the window to see the snow blowing and collecting on the trees.
oliver might be the funniest cat i've every had, but lucy is clearly the prettiest cat i have ever had.
oliver going in for the big stretch.
oliver sticking his tongue out at me. cute.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Thanks Angela, for allowing me to share your thoughts on my blog!
On to her guest post:
1.First and foremost, no longer having boobs has literally saved my life...Who knows.....If I still had my god-given breasts right now, those cysts and "benign" densities that I had in my breasts could be forming into cancer...Considering that my mom was only 32 when she discovered her breast cancer, who is not to say that it could have happened to me as well? My boobs are gone, and I don't have to worry about breast cancer any longer.....Take THAT, breast cancer!
1. How many people, without going through this type of situation, make a blog completely devoted to their boobs? Uh, like none....I started this blog to vent, to be able to educate others, and to make light of the situation, but still...It is all pretty much about my boobs/foobs....I think that is kind of weird. But it works, and it helps others, so whatever...
2. Before going through surgery to have my breasts removed and crap, there is no way in hell that I would have ever posted pictures of my boobs on the internet for all to look at and stare at and share with their friends.......But because I have no breasts now, and I want people to see what the whole process of mastectomies to expanders to filling looks like, I post pictures.....Weird....I guess I've no real attachment to these foobs like I did to my real breasts of the past, and that's why I can post pictures of them all over the internet for people to look at....(And probably laugh at...) And yes, there will be lots more with my next surgery coming up in a week...STAY TUNED!!! (I'm advertising pictures of my foobs....I'm a freak.)
3. I have flashed my new boobs to so many people, I can't even remember who all has seen them.....People I work with, friends, friends of friends, friends boyfriends (with their approval, and because they asked....), family, etc......Now don't misunderstand me, I don't go around in a drunken state of mind flashing my weird looking boobs....NO.......That would be beyond weird....But like at work......You've got to understand...I'm a nurse...I work with other nurses.....Seeing things like funky looking foobs is nothing for us.. And for a lot of them, they've never seen reconstructed breasts with tissue expanders, so I am totally open to showing them, and explaining the whole process of surgery/the fills, etc.....I think just about all of my close friends have seen my foobs....By request..(And for crying out loud, I'm not shy, I post pics of them on the internet!)
|I know I don't flash my butt, but I saw this, and thought it was hilarious...|
4. Along with letting people oogle over my new foobs visually, to let them get the whole experience, I'll let them feel me up....You know how I'm always saying "These damn tissue expanders are like rocks, blah, blah, blah..." Well, you don't really understand (and even then, you don't completely), until you feel them with your own two hands..So in order to do that, I will allow you to touch my boob or boobs.....I don' t feel any of it, so it's not like you are violating me, and I give you permission to do so.....And even if I didn't give you permission and you touched them without me looking, I wouldn't be able to feel it, so I probably would never know....But yea....So many random people have touched my foobs and then say, "OH MY GOD! THOSE ARE LIKE SOLID STEEL!" Yeah.....Told ya. I am not lying...Not in the least bit.
5. My hands are always on my foobs....Always....It's either because they hurt and I am trying to manipulate one of the expanders to get out of my ribcage, or trying to push my left expander down to be even with the other side (orders from my plastic surgeon) or something......Or it's because the nerves are trying to regenerate and they itch and burn internally, but I can do absolutely nothing about it.....So I feel myself up....(Or it looks like that)...I'm sure my friends at work are used to seeing me always fondling my foobs, but at other places....Yea...Not so much.....And I need to be a little bit more aware of when I am fondling my breast area....
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
i guess the x-ray tech didn't really read the requisition for the x-ray because when she took the shot she said, "what the heck". lol. i laughed, then told her i had expanders in my breasts. she then said, "ooooooh". afterwards, she let me see the front and side profiles of my chest x-ray and it looked pretty funny.
i find this time around with stage 2 surgery, i am not freaked out at all. in fact, i am barely thinking about the date approaching. i only just checked now to see how many days away i am from exchange and it is only 12 days. the fear of cancer is gone since the first surgery and this wait all seems like a walk in the park in comparison.
i also returned home today after spending 11 days in the city. it was so great to get away and really helped boost my mood. it was a bit of a whirlwind with stuff to do everyday. it is nice to get back home to my kitties, but i find i am already homesick for the city again. it's where i want to be.
i'll be returning to the city again on dec. 2 so i can write my biology exam, and stay the rest of the weekend because my surgery will be on the 6th. i will miss my cats again, but next time i return to hamilton, it will be to move there...and my cats will be coming with me. january can't come soon enough:)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
i decided to get away from my environment...my depressing, depressing environment, and spend a week and a half in hamilton...the place i will be attending school and my home town.
my best friend and her boyfriend have been very gracious in letting me stay the week and half at their place and have a spare room. the bed is so comfortable, along with their pillows, and i find i am sleeping more comfortable here than in my own bed at home.
many things are coming to a head this week and in the next coming months and i am so looking forward to getting major issues in my life dealt with. some of these trials have been going on for the past 2 years like the decision to have a pbm.
court is in 2 days, and today i met with the crown who is representing me and he is confident that he can arrange a peace bond for both myself and the person who assaulted me. i have very mixed emotions about this because it means he gets off scott free for what he did to me, but i am just at a point in my life where i no longer want to deal with it, and need to move forward so i can continue with my plans for college. i know it's not fair to me that he gets barely any consequences for his brutal actions, but i am putting all my faith in God with this, and the guy who assaulted me can answer to God.
i am overwhelmed with everything happening all at once, but i am doing my best to look to the future when these things will be resolved and i can focus on my schooling and future career as a nurse. as things are ticked of the list and dealt with, i know i will begin to feel lighter.
despite this week being a challenge, my best friend and i visited the college campus for a tour, have done some geocaching and shopping. i am so excited for the future. excited for my new boobs. excited for school. excited to be back home with close friends and family. excited for so many possibilities!
this get away has been so good for me and is just a taste of how life will be in a few months when i am back home:)
Friday, November 12, 2010
i am so fricking excited! pre-op is on november 22.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
my situation is so bad at the moment. i'm not one for whining and crying, but a hard look at my reality even has me shocked. i don't even know what is worse at this point.
i am sure some of this is tmi and some people i know (people i have cut out from my life for their unsupportiveness...if you are reading this you can leave now) (oh and the people that say i am to blame for all my troubles...you can leave now too and go eff yourself) would roll their eyes at me.
but here is how it is...
i am not getting by financially. i am so broke that it is heartbreaking. i am on financial assistance and i have a job to try and make ends meet and my grandparents graciously give me a $100 each month, but with that combined i am lucky if it equals to $850.00 a month. my expenses out way this and i have been having to cut corners or prioritize my bills and it is all getting me down. last month, my jerk ass landlords issued me with an eviction notice because i was 3 days late with the rent. they also know my situation!
the thought of getting away on a holiday brings me to tears because this is not even a possibility for me but it is so what i need. i got all the paperwork for my passport just in case, and realized that i have to get a new citizenship card because mine is missing. the citizenship card can take up to a year to get.
lately, i have to deal with a whole court matter coming up in the next few weeks that has been ongoing since last september 2009. i have been subpoena'd as a witness in an assault case...except the clincher is i am the victim. yes, while i was going through all of this breast cancer shit and scheduling the removal of my pre-malignant breast tissue, my boss /landlord decided it would be cool to beat the shit out of me...while i was driving. he claimed i had an attitude problem and didn't like the tone of my voice. (i am pretty sure my mood was attributed to the loss of my lady parts, and not that that matters, because i recall the conversation we were having and i was very respectful in offering advice on a client.)
to add insult to injury, (and you can read more about the details of the assault in one of my first posts), he claimed i started it and hit him first. forensics and defense wounds show that i was pushing him off of me when he grabbed my arm (nice big bruise with his nail scratches all the way down my arm) to try and regain control of the vehicle (and in the process i accidentally nicked his chin...the only mark on him) but because it was my word against his, and the police department was a complete failure (right down to not providing me with medical care i needed after the assault, i had a head concussion and ligament damage to my shoulder, and the bridge of my nose was split open), they instead charged me and threw me in jail...even though there was a witness to the event.
i don't know which hurts worse, being betrayed by my employer/landlord of 1.5 years or by the police for treating me like a criminal when in fact i was a victim. anyone who knows the situation and has read the statements of all involved just shake their heads and balk at the idea that i was ever even remotely blamed for what happened.
as many of you know, it is my dream to go to college and major in nursing. that dream came true after much hard work by receiving an acceptance letter this past september to mohawk college in my home town. i was ecstatic with the new prospects of my future and returning 'home'...a place i had to flee after the assault.
my dreams have now been marred when my funding requested i provide a criminal record check before they considered approving me for tuition and living expenses. i figured it would be no big deal. i am not guilty of a criminal offense. however, the charges show up on the report (so much for innocent until proven guilty) and it is putting a halt to all my plans. in addition, i need this criminal check for school.
so all my joy has been shattered and i don't know what to do. i feel like i don't have a future. i try not to get carried away on this pattern of thinking but it so hard to do when so much is against me. i am trying to put on a strong face as much as possible, and i am still moving forward towards school with the hopes that the court stuff can all be resolved before that and that i will still get approved for funding but i won't lie to you that i am experiencing suicidal thoughts and intense anxiety.
all of this has led to a pretty dark depression. to be honest, i haven't left the house for 3 days or even bathed for that matter. i feel like i am stuck in limbo just waiting for the day for something to go my way.
as you can see by my finances, it's not like i can afford a lawyer to help me out. i can’t get another job to help pay for one because if i do, it will put me in a higher income bracket and i will no longer qualify for my school funding. i did seek out a lawyer this past summer when i had a bit of money and was able to give her $600 but i still owe her $400 to be able to render her services. it's so not fair because the guy that assaulted me makes a $100,000/ year and my fear is that he will be able to buy his way out of his charges with a good lawyer and make me look bad.
i do want to note though, that HE HAS done this before and been to jail and the reason i was working for him in the first place was because he had a DUI and lost his license. (another reason to add insult to injury with the police even remotely suspecting i had anything to do with the assault.)
this coming monday is a big day too. i will be traveling with my grandmother to get her results for her brca testing. she is the first one to test in our family. although the court stuff mostly dominates my thoughts, i am plagued with anxiety whenever i think of the outcome should we be positive. i will post separately on this topic when we find out our results.
anyways, this is my rant. i don't know if i was strong these past months keeping this all in while going through my reconstruction or not. maybe i appear weak and pathetic now. oh well. life can't get much worse and if you think negatively of me now it couldn't get me any more in the dumps then i already am.
and maybe this would all be more easier to deal with if i didn't have these rock hard boulders still in my chest.
to be fair, i do have some positives in my life. i do my best to focus on them to get me through. i am not all doom and gloom. please don't send me messages telling me to look on the bright side. i am already looking and leaning on God for strength and comfort. i just needed to rant. i also think antidepressants are in order when i see my family physician November 22nd. like that will solve my money problems, but hey...anything that helps.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
it is almost 7 months since my mastectomy. reconstruction is done and i am eagerly checking my mailbox every day for that letter that tells me my pre-op and exchange surgery is schedule. i really hope it is before christmas. that would be the best christmas present ever!
i took a looooong time to start feeling ok after my last and final fill this past sept. 29th. it was a real struggle and i thought the pain was never going to let up. but it has. i still notice tightness through out the day and a mild twinge of pain all the time but it is hundreds of times better than about 3 weeks ago.
the most pain is at night when i am trying to sleep. it feels like i have a ton of bricks on my chest when i lie on my back. switching from side to side is agonizing and i make many grunts, groans, yelps, cries of pain in the middle of the night as i switch positions. when i roll over to a different position, i cup my foobs with each hand as it eases the pain ever so slightly. i can't explain why this is so painful other than maybe it is the saline in the expanders shifting causing the shape to change which affects the muscles and all the nerve endings.
lets talk about dead skin. noooooo...not necrotic skin, but the body's natural way of sloughing off dead skin. it seems that my foobs have an excess of dead skin and because of this, my foobs and chest area are breaking out! yuck! it's not too pretty to say the least.
i try to keep up with exfoliating and moisturizing but it seems to be getting the better of me. i wonder if this is because the skin is being stretched and growing additional epithelial cells (skin cells) to keep up. lol. look at me. putting my biology vocabulary to work!
i so can't wait till exchange. did i mention that. i am looking forward to the day when i can re-build my strength back up. and my fitness level too. i have been mostly sedentary for the past 7 months and it is really getting to me. there is no sense building my muscles up right now when i still have these rock hard boulders in my chest and a second surgery would undo all of it anyways. also, i think i am still restricted from doing those types of activities.
i guess that is all for now. this doesn't seem like my average blog post, but rather a rambling, but hopefully you found some of it useful.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
i have been following the scar project on facebook and have been completely touched in profound ways with the photography of david jay. many of the photos have brought tears to my eyes and drawn out emotions i did not know existed. i have also been given this sense of empowerment through the photos. his photos are another reminder that i am not alone.
i was feeling envious the other day, wishing i could be part of the scar project when i spontaneously decided to do a self shoot. i have been feeling extremely self conscious of the way my foobs look now since my final fill this past sept. 29th, but wanted to change that perception and embrace my journey. this struggle and rock hard foobs won't last forever and i wanted to take pictures to honor this time and to be able to reflect on it when it becomes the past and far distant memory.
i would like to share some of my favourite shots that i took.
if you are wondering how the photos were taken, i started by placing my camera on a tripod and changing the settings to shoot a picture on a 10 second timer. i turned on my bedroom light and brought in 2 additional lamps - one for each side of the bed. i also pinned up a white sheet on the wall behind me.
i would like to do another shoot sometime where a friend is shooting so we can pay closer attention to composition, poses, and facial expressions. it was hard having to press the shutter release button, get back on the bed, think of a pose, do the pose, and get a good facial expression all in 10 seconds.
i hope you enjoy the pictures. they are meant to be artsy and not pornographic or sleazy.
the last picture is my absolute favourite.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
i wanted to share what my breast surgeon gave me as post mastectomy exercises. they won't apply to everyone and you need to check with your surgeon before you do these. some of you have had necrotic tissue from your surgeries, and these exercises may be a big no, no.
in posting these i want to state that i take no responsibility if you incur injury or complication due to doing these exercises. CHECK WITH YOUR SURGEON FIRST!
ok, now that all the legal stuff is out of the way, i want to say that i did my exercises everyday except once until i got full range back after about a month or so. the one day that i did not do the exercises, i just laid around and slept. i felt like complete shit the next day and extra sore and tight...so for me, these were key in my recovery.
i am also sharing the exercises i was given that i was to start doing immediately following surgery. they are to help prevent blood clots after surgery.
you can click on each image below to enlarge.