Sunday, September 26, 2010

54. at a loss and sooo done.

the past few days have been very emotional as i mourn the loss of my beloved pet Gunther. he was put to rest on Thursday and buried later that evening. it was a heart breaking time, but i am so grateful he was able to go in peace at home with me holding him. he also had a beautiful burial (just me and him) under a maple tree at my friend Kristen's farm. as i recall these events i am overcome with sadness and tears.

this coming wednesday is the first annual national previvor day. although i am not sure that it completely applies to me, i find it fitting that i will be having my last expansion on the same day. that is cause for celebration!

i find myself looking forward more and more to my expander-swap out-to-final-implants surgery. i am soooo done with reconstruction.

soooo done!

Monday, September 20, 2010

53. sick

i have a wicked head cold.

i've set up camp in my living room and semi-permanently planted myself in front of my laptop which also moonlights as my television. today has been completely unproductive since i have spent the entire day watching season 5 of nip/tuck.

i don't know if i am a big baby or just forget how crummy surgery recovery was, but this feels way worse than when i was recovering from my mastectomy (minus the c-diff experience). my entire body hurts-my skin and bones hurt and my face feels like it is going to explode from the sinus congestion.

hopefully, i will feel better soon. it is inevitable of course. i just want to get back to my school work and writing my intro to a book i am doing with Dr. Jonathan Herman and Teri, but this cold has made me completely unambitious.

on another note, i have had to make the agonizing decision to put my beloved pet Gunther down. it will most likely be in the next week or so when i can afford to have him put down humanely in my home. Gunther is my 14 year old feline. he was diagnosed with diabetes about 3 years ago and has been insulin dependent ever since. he requires an injection of insulin once in the morning and once in the evening.

in the past 6 months he has gone down hill, and become mostly blind. this past week had been tough as it seems he is losing more and more function over his bodily functions, so it appears his kidneys are starting to give up the fight.

i am sure this is going to be a really difficult time for me to let him go and grieve his absence. he's been a good friend for a long time and cuddled with me through all of the changes in my life and the trials. we had a scare a few years ago, right around the time i was going for my first biopsy and i cried and cuddled with him and told him that he had to be around to comfort me through the cancer scares. after 2 weeks of syringe feedings and getting him regulated again with the insulin he graciously stuck around for 2 1/2 more years. what a trooper to be there for me. i gonna miss him so much.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

52. fill #6 photos - 5 months post-op

everything can change in an instant!

i just got accepted to college today!!! i totally wasn't expecting it. i am still working on upgrading biology and i figured i had missed the cut off date for my grades to be in, but apparently, my average is already good enough. i am totally ecstatic! it also feels a little surreal, and like a miracle just happened. i really didn't expect to be going to school so soon...i thought i was going to have to reapply for september 2011. now, i will be going this january 2011!!! i am taking nursing.

i will also be moving back to my home city! i am so excited. i miss living in the city and my friends...and also a lot of the great people i was just cultivating friendships with. i am so excited to see these new friendships have a chance to blossom. i am so excited to surround myself with positive people who are encouraging and have their 'shit' together. i feel that i am at an exciting point in my life and it is taking shape and direction.

this is such a drastic change from my last couple of posts. i was feeling really down with my situation...being stuck 'up north' in back country with minimal interaction with people. the friendships i did try to make turned sour and were a real let down. i am glad for some great opportunities that i did experience up here though. it wasn't all bad. i really got to connect with family here and realized that they are really loving and supporting. i also met some great families with even greater children and it was such a joy to be able to tend to the children by babysitting them. this really reinforced something i had forgotten: i really love children!!!

this past tuesday, i had a fill. fill #6. i bit the bullet and said to myself that i would try to go for 60 cc's in each foob. i did. it has been extremely painful and for the first day, i had to take percoset every four hours around the clock. i am taking them now, intermittently, and always at night before i go to bed. i didn't take any all day today, but have still been in a lot of pain. however, i was still able to fix my grandmother's computer, go to the dollar store, and have dinner with my sister. so i am still able to function.

here are the stats with the 60 cc's added to both sides:

Left Side: 400 cc's
Right side: 420 cc's

so next fill i will only need 40 cc's in each side because this past fill was the first part of the 100 cc overfill. only one fill left to go, then i get the expanders swapped out for the final implant. phew. i am so looking forward to this.

can do:as i am more fully expanded i am experiencing more pain, depression, an anxiety. this is normal. i mentioned it to my plastic surgeon and he said this is typical with his patients. i already assumed this too, but i wanted him to be aware of what i was experiencing.

  • still sleep on my sides
  • run regular errands
  • drive a car
  • still experience a regular libido
  • be intimate with my partner

can't do:

  • sleep on my stomach.
  • hug. this has become extremely uncomfortable. people now notice how 'hard' my chest is. i hugged my sister and she was super surprised...we did have a laugh about it though.
  • pick up kids. i will be babysitting in the morning and if i am feeling the same level of pain i am now, i will not be able to pick the youngest one up. we'll still have lots of fun though!
  • roll over in bed from one side to the other side with out pain. actually, it is quite excruciating changing positions in bed. and getting up from the couch. dressing into clothes isn't a problem though.
so where am i pain wise:
i will demonstrate some of it in pictures...but right now, i feel like i have permanent bruising in my armpits going down to my ribs...but there are no bruises there. the skin hurts to touch.

my skin is so tight, that my nipples feel like they are going to rip open at any moment. of course they look just fine so i know this won't happen but they are probably what hurt the most right now. i know this sucks, but the fact that i can feel my nipples is perhaps a good thing. it means nerve regeneration and possible return of sensation.

the expanders are so 'rock hard' now that when i am sitting they rest on my rib cage, dig in, and leave read marks on my skin as if i were wearing a bra.

i feel like i have indigestion because of the pressure on my lungs. deep breathes aggravate the sensation.

my back also hurts because of how the muscles in front are being stretched and pulled.

on with the pics...

things are starting to look a little funny with the expanders. less and less symmetry. this is completely normal and will not be the final result.

notice the red marks the expanders leave on my skin. it looks like i was wearing a bra, when in fact, i don't wear bras anymore. just tank tops.
i like the projection. you can barely see the scar from the drain now. they are both fading nicely.

the area in red is wear the skin feels like it is bruised. it is tender to the touch. i have been experiencing this since my last fill.

as you can see the incision directly in the areola are healing up nicely. you almost cannot see them. the scarring that is more prominent will be minimized during the second surgery and will hopefully be just as thin as the areola incisions.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

51. a sea of shitty emotions

i feel like shit. emotionally.

i am so bummed out and spend many nights crying. life just sucks. i have so many god damn emotions and thoughts i am dealing with.

lets be frank. dealing with pbm and reconstruction ALONE is really fucking hard. and no, i won't apologize for the language. i need it for the emphasis. i feel so alone. and really, I AM ALONE. there are some days i seethe with jealousy at the support that so many women have while going through this and it brings me to despair. and then the flood gates come.

i am not angry that people are so blessed, but it leaves me wondering 'what the hell is wrong with me' to not have someone solid by my side, supporting me and encouraging me along life's path. and not just this surgery/reconstruction path, but through out my other endeavors. i know we are suppose to make choices for ourselves, but when there is no one else to share those choices, joys, and lows with, life just seems so pointless. so empty.

i can't even find the words to adequately convey what i am feeling. i have never been one to be good with words.

i feel like i am stuck in a rut. not sure if there is a way out of it where i am living right now. life is so boring living in a small town. everyone is either married, or from what i can see, drinks too much, or is trashy. i don't know how on earth i am suppose to meet anyone living up here. this is such a depressing thought. i am so sick of being alone. how the hell do you cope with that? it's not like i 'can get myself out there." there is no 'out there' up here.

meh. i am feeling further alienated by terminology from my online support group and the links that are shared. i hate that so much of this is connected to the brca gene. you hear the word previvor, and then it is soon followed by brca mutation. how am i suppose to connect with that world when i don't have a known mutation. or at least i don't think i do. it makes me feel that i am in a box all my own and navigating this all on my own. i cannot completely relate with other women going through this. i don't feel like i am part of their 'sisterhood'. in fact, i feel like a total outcast...sometimes, even from society. also, i seem to be the only 'single girl' from my interactions with the other ladies.

hopefully, tuesday will cheer me up a little bit. i have a scheduled fill. i am hoping to tolerate 60 cc's and will be spending time in the city overnight at my best friend's place. i haven't seen her for a few months and i miss her so the point that i go numb because it is so hard to miss someone.

i am physically achy.sore on a consistent basis, so i am not expecting the pain to get any easier to deal with. in fact, i am sure it is about to get mixed emotions about tuesday. i am also driving to and from the appointment on my own and i am hoping this is not going to be a big mistake as i usually have my friend greg or my grandparents take me to these appointments and do all the driving.