Thanks, Doc... I think!

The last several weeks have been somewhat of a transformation process for me and the twins.  When I came out of my mastectomy, I was more flat chested than when I went in, but not completely flat.  They were kind enough to wheel me out of that OR with a parting gift, 150 cc's of saline.  I hadn't really given  much thought to it, so I was neither surprised nor disappointed.   I was so hell bent on getting that cancer out of my body, that everything else was just not that imortant.  I was having a mastectomy, I did not expect to wake up with boobs.  I was prepared.   Frankly, the only thing I was expecting or thinking about was a horrible looking incision, and I didn't even have that (I am pretty sure that my surgeons are the best, because you can hardly see my incision).

The next phase after the mastectomy and tissue expander implantation was to fill them to the "desired" weight.  So for the last 3 weeks, I've met with the plastic surgeon for saline injections into the twins: 100 cc's a week!  Bring it on doc!  I thought it was going to be horrific- (I hate needles), but given that most of my chest is still completely numb (yes, they took a lot of the nerves out with the cancer) I don't even feel the needles going into me.

While not horrible, these fills have been rather odd feeling.  (If you really think about it, when your chest grows in your teenage years, it's a gradual thing.  You have time to get used to it.  You don't sit down in a chair and feel your boobs growing a cup size over a 5 minute period.)   I walk out of there feeling extremely tight.  It's almost like they've injected a hardner of some sort into my chest.  But, they don't- it's that the expander itself that is holding the saline is very hard.  The purpose of all of this is to stretch the skin across my chest to take the permanent implants. When they fill them, because the skin is tight, they push back against my chest wall.   After my 100 cc's last week, I felt like I was just a tad bigger than what I started with- and there was just a little more pressure on my chest bone than there had been with the previous fill.  But, seeing as how the goal was to get just a tad bigger than I was at the start of all of this, I had my heart set on just 1 more fill.

Yesterday was different.  I knew when I walked in there that Dr. Peters and I were nearing the end of our weekly rendezvous.   He had agreed to one more fill- but I knew we were gonna be done after that.  I could just tell.

 Up on the table I go, out come the huge needles, and here comes the pain.... The more they filled, the more pain I was in.  I was positive that they were crushing my chest.  And that was only after 50cc's.... I was gritting my teeth as Doc asks me, do you want me to keep going?  Yes!!  I can do it.  (It's no wonder he asked me if I was sure- the look on my face probably said something completely different.  I probably looked like I was capable of killing him with my bare hands at that given moment.)  He gave me the full 100, took 1 more look at me and asked if I wanted him to take some out.  I'm not gonna lie, I thought about it.  I felt like I was under a 500 pound boulder, I couldn't catch my breath.   (Think bathing suit woman, think bathing suit! You've been through hell... you deserve to walk away with Victoria's Secret sized boobs- because no one seems to be giving you a t-shirt or a ball cap.)  I look back at him and ask,  "It'll get better, right?".  When he assures me that yes, in a few days, it will get a little bit better, I tell him I'm holding right where I'm at!  (Now looking back on it- he said a "little"- somehow I missed that- probably because it wasn't what I wanted to hear!)

As I attempt to walk back to my car without breathing because it hurts like nothing I've ever felt before, I question my decision.  Holy crap! (And a hundred other obscene words that I won't bore you with!)  I can take a lot (remember, I am the girl who was so afraid of a needle that I had a crown fitting done without Novocaine. ) but this was a frightening level of pain- not discomfort- pain (I also said that after surgery I felt discomfort, not pain, just to give you a point of reference here!).  Somehow, I made it home, but the drive is rather fuzzy.  I pull in the garage and attempt to get out of the car, but even the slightest movement sends horrific pains through my chest!  By this point, I've already figured out that I should have had them take out just a tad- but it's too late now.

I have taken more Percocet in the last 24 hours than I took in the 3 days after surgery-and I'm pretty sure that I got no more than 15 minutes of sleep last night.  At one point, I noticed that 40% of Duke was draped over my body, and I was grateful because his weight seemed to be taking the pressure off my chest- then he moved and I was in pain again.  I am better today, I can move without wanting to scream, but oh boy!  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?  Pain is just weakness leaving the body, right?

At any rate, this would be the price that I would pay to have breasts again (Have I not been tortured enough?).  Oh, the lengths I will go to!  Actually, as uncomfortable as I am, I am really grateful. I feel pretty good- energy levels are high, and my body feels healthy (other than the pressure in my chest!).  There is no cancer in my body!  I just had both of my breasts removed 4 weeks ago, and to look at me you would never be able to tell, yes, I am grateful.  And for the 1st time in my life, I have breasts that actually fill out my clothes (actually, some of them a little too well, but that's okay!).  And to think, I was starting to believe that I wasn't getting a parting gift as I left Cancer Central.   I am sure that as the weeks pass, I won't notice them as much, or at least I hope I won't.... Let's just hope I don't knock someone out with them- I'm not used to this!


4 comments

  1. Your sense of humour through all of this is amazing. You are (and your new boobs!) are fabulous!

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    1. Being able to find humor in what I'm going through has made it a lot easier, and it has kept me positive. It's hard to be negative when you're laughing about something! Thank you so much for all of your encouragement through my journey! You've been such an awesome friend!

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  2. All of this is very interesting to me ... but more than that, you give women a lot of hope and encouragement. THANK YOU! Enjoy your new twins ... can't wait to see the bikini shot! :)

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    1. I really hope that my story does give other women in the same situation encouragement. It's a very scary time, and a very frightening reality. My desire was to let others facing the same diagnosis see that it can be done, and it's not nearly as ugly as some might think. It's challenging, sure- but you can get through it! If I can do it, anybody can! Thank you so much for all of your support and and votes of confidence. It has been such a big help and it's appreciated more than you'll ever know! Thank you for being such a great friend!

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