experiencing a low level of pain all day takes its toll. i am not normally a weepy person. i think this process is starting to take its toll on me and i know i have been putting on my game face for the past 4 months. i know there are emotions to deal with, but i think subconsciously, i am holding off until i am complete with my final exchange.
i find myself thinking about different things and i am surprised. it's strange that i won't (or most likely won't) get breast cancer. i've lived my entire teen and adult life figuring i would get it. it's almost scary that i won't get it because breast cancer is all i've known and i had braced myself for it. but, it's exciting to hope that i will live to be an old lady.
i am starting to think about exchange surgery. there are fears that go along with it. i have fears that i won't be satisfied, or that my implants will flip around in my body. i mention the latter because my left expander has rotated counter clockwise quite a bit. the port used to be located at the 12 o'clock postion in my left areola, and is now located at the 9 o'clock position, just outside of my areola.
i am glad my fills are now spaced 4 weeks apart. i think the end is going to be difficult, and i have to prepare myself for that. the expanders are digging into my ribs, and when i get up from a laying down or reclining position and inspect the foobies, i have marks on my chest like i am wearing a bra...but i'm not wearing one! it also feels like i have the too tight bra on again that i experienced the first few weeks post surgery.
i hope my body will adjust quickly to this new increase in size. i have almost been set back to the point that it is difficult to open my pill containers, so i have transferred them to the easy off lids again at the pharmacy.
this process is also taking it's financial toll. i tried to go back to my regular job last week as a cosmetic merchandiser, but i couldn't handle the demanding hours, long travel times, and moderate lifting. i had to disclose my medical situation to my company and apologise for not being able to be dependable during our busy time. fortunately, they understood. hopefully, they won't replace me for this contract, but instead, lighten my load and keep me close to home.
i am currently relying on the government for assistance, but all they offer is $36.00 per month for living expenses after my rent. that doesn't even cover my monthly hydro bill, let alone groceries. i have been doing a bit of babysitting on the side to make a bit of extra cash to make ends meet, but i am starting to fall behind and want for certain things like fresh vegetables. i have gone to the food bank twice now and it's not a fun place to go...plus they don't cater to my lifestyle of whole foods and high intake of fruits and vegetables.
fortunately, the government assistance covers all my extra medical needs, like prescriptions, and travel reimbursements to appointments. i asked yesterday about a clothing allowance since i am starting to outgrow all my shirts and of course bras, and they said they would cover that.
my grandparents have also been really supportive by giving me a $100.00 allowance each month to help out, and they have me over for dinner often. oma also dropped of a delicious potato salad the other day, and after my appointment on tuesday which they took me to, they took me out to dinner.
things are really difficult, but i also see that God has helped me make all my ends meet even when things have been tight and felt desperate. i just wanted to mention that as a single person, mastectomy does take a financial toll and you need to be prepared for this. you need to ask for help. you need to rely on resources that are available. you need to financially prepare before hand and try to get a bit of savings going into it.
if you get stuck, don't be afraid to ask for help. i live in Canada, and i have received support from several local churches where i live, the food bank, and the YMCA. if i hadn't asked, i would have no electricity, and at times, no food. the united way and the salvation army has paid for my hydro for the past 6 months. i also received grocery vouchers from the catholic church and the YMCA helped me partially furnish my apartment making sure i had a bed in my spare room leading up to surgery in case i needed family to stay with me. (if you read my first or second post, you will see why i was in financial crisis going into my surgery.)
wow...the past 2 years have been the toughest 2 years of my life - except for the year and a few years after when my mom died. i am really happy that i am over most of the hurdles i have been trying to overcome. i really had too much to deal with and wonder how i managed.
i am in a good place now, and despite the pain and tough day emotionally, i can honestly say, i am happy. this is something i have noticed recently in the past few months, and not something i have ever been able to say and experience before. life is good.
i want to share my procedure with you from this past tuesday. my best friend elaine met up with me and my grandparents and accompanied me to my appointment. i brought my professional camera along and she expertly took pictures and they turned out fantastic.
she remarked at how accommodating my plastic surgeon was and also how friendly the nurse and 2 residents were. i feel blessed to have come in contact with such great people who are so genuine and interested. i would like to dedicate a post to my plastic surgeon at some point because he has made this whole journey more enjoyable than not. i actually look forward to my expansions and don't experience any anxiety leading up to them. i will leave that post till after my final surgery though when we are both happy with my results and i can share more information about him.
on to the pictures!
i also wore my army boots, because i wanted to be tough girl. i had a feeling that this expansion was going to be harder than the others and geared myself up for it that morning. i was right.
out of the 5 fills i have had, only one other time i had both of them filled at the same time. it doesn't matter to me either way, but i am a little nervous when a resident is assisting.
i hope you found these photos enjoyable. i hope they are helpful and take away some of the mystery to those wondering how it's done. yes, some of it is painful and stressful, but in the end, it is worth it. i think if you have a good team of medical professionals like i do, it makes the whole experience worth while. i am glad that everyone has been so engaging and interested in what i have to say. my questions are always welcome and answered. i never feel like i am being rushed out the door. i've said it before and i will say it again; i feel like a human being. i am not treated like a number.