2007 Breast Cancer 3 Day

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I'm Home!

Surgery is over and I'm cancer free! I went in for surgery on Tuesday and came home from the hospital Thursday afternoon. Here are a few of the high points.

Surgery took approximately 7 hours. Dr. Etter performed the mastectomy on each side and then Dr. Cash began the reconstruction process. She wasn't able to put in the implants so she put in expanders instead. She didn't feel like she would get a good result with implants right away. I am scheduled to go back in to her office on Monday to begin the expansion process. She will also remove some of the drains that I have coming out of me--4 total.

I am not in much pain. I have some good medication to keep me comfortable, but it really hasn't been as bad as I anticipated. My chest looks like a train wreck right now, but I know that will get better.

My sentinal node came back clear during surgery and we should get the final pathology later this week. This basically means the cancer didn't leave my breast tissue. Yippee! We should be able to finish the chemo and be finished with this cancer business.

All in all, I am happy to be cancer free and almost done with this journey. I won't get my new set of "girls" until this summer, but hopefully the ugly cancer business will be done in just a few short weeks.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The final countdown

Today I went for a final visit to the plastic surgeon, Dr. C. She thinks that she may be able to go ahead and put in my implants at the time of surgery instead of the expanders. This means that I will come out of surgery with my final new set and won't have to go back in for more surgery. She won't know for sure until she gets in there to start working, but we are hopeful it will work out.

I also had pre-op admission stuff today as well as some pre-op tests: bloodwork, chest x-ray, and EKG. I am scheduled to go in Monday so they can inject my breast with some radioactive material for the sentinal node biopsy. It will be injected around my nipple (Yikes!) and then will drain into the sentinal node. At the time of surgery this node will be removed and biopsied to see if cancer cells have moved out of the breast via my lymph nodes.

Tuesday is the big day. I am ready. Surgery is always a scary prospect and I know the recovery will be tough. The implants are placed under the chest muscles which makes for an uncomfortable recovery. I hope that it is similar to my c-section. Everyone said how painful it would be, but I thought it was a piece of cake. I know I will have good pain medication, so it shouldn't be that bad. I just hate being doped up since it makes me sleep for hours on end.

I'll update again Monday after the injection(s). Say a little prayer that this procedure isn't as bad as is sounds.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

They're both coming off!

After speaking with the plastic surgeon, we have decided to go ahead and perform a double mastectomy. This is what I wanted from the very beginning, but all the other doctors have been reluctant to discuss it. I think part of it may be that the doctors have been men. The plastic surgeon I'm seeing is a woman. I think it makes a big difference. She knows what breasts mean to a woman, but she also can understand the worry that comes with keeping one breast and removing the other. Will the cancer come back in the remaining breast??? I don't think the male doctors can fully comprehend the worry of wearing around a breast that may cause you problems later. They see removing both breasts as "aggressive". Yes, it is aggressive, but I think the right choice.

We still don't have a surgery date set. The original date was cancelled due to a schedule conflict between the surgeon and plastic surgeon. I will post the new date as soon and we know more.

I am feeling good this week. My chemo is on hold until after surgery so I am looking forward to the reprieve of harsh chemicals for a little while. Surgery should be in the next week or so, but I will enjoy feeling normal as long as possible. I still have to go in for lab work and my iron infusion, but that is all I will be doing until surgery.

Update: We now have a surgery date, Tuesday the 21st.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Verdict is in...

To get everyone caught up:

I had chemo #4 last Tuesday. It has been business as usual. I had labs yesterday and my counts are down, so I took my stomach shots and go back in today for more.

We met yesterday with the surgeon, Dr. E. He is recommending a mastectomy. We have scheduled it for next Friday, the 17th. We will be meeting with the plastic surgeon next Wednesday to discuss reconstruction options. It's a little unsettling that I don't know how my reconstruction will go until a few days before the surgery. I have to go the next week knowing they are taking part of me off, but I don't know what I will get back in return. I'm happy that we have a date set, but I'm just ready to get this entire mess over with. I'm tired of being bald, feeling like death every couple of weeks, and living my life around lab work. I feel deeply for those that endure this battle for years. I'm TIRED...tired in mind, body and spirit. My battle will hopefully be won in a few months time. I am so thankful for that.

I'm off to take another pill...I'll post more later.

Oh, and in light of my pending new boob(s), here is a cartoon that made it's way to my mailbox recently.

Update: My plastic surgery appointment has been rescheduled for this Thursday, so we'll have a better idea of the plan then.