Thursday, October 18, 2012

Post op appt

Saw my surgeon today. Everything is healing nicely. I have a lot of swelling in my left breast, which is the one they reduced and lifted, so it probably will stay swollen for about 3 months.

I don't have to go back for 3 months and they will let me know if I am ready to get my nipples tattooed on, or if I need to wait another 3 months. But he said definitely by 6 months I should be good to go.

So.... Looks like my birthday in 2013 I'll go get tattooed. Who wants to come along and get one also????


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Post op is 'constricting'

Ok, so surgery was good. It was over quickly and it hasn't been too painful. However......
I am supposed to wear this nice little spanx type girdle for the next 3 weeks 24/7. Now, I really have not complained much during this whole entire journey... Let me start by clarifying that.... But for those of you who have had to ever squeeze your ass into one of those, hideous uncomfortable things... You can empathize with me. It frikkin SUCKS!!! Every time I go to the bathroom I have to peel it down, then afterwards I have to squeeze, hop, jiggle and roll that thing back up all the while holding bandages over my incisions on the side of my waistline on both sides.
So.. I have one hand on each of the bandages.. One on each side.... How do I pull it back up when I'm out of hands?? I can't. Chris has to do it. Yep!! My awesome, loving, husband has to accompany me to the restroom each time so he can pull up my "sausage casing" or "underwear that go up to my bra" while I hold the bandages in place.
We've tried it the other way around but he doesn't realize how hard he is pressing to hold the bandages on and he ends up hurting me.
Why can't we tape the bandages on? Because then it pulls on my skin to remove the tape and hurts even worse. Plus the 'spandies' (spandex panties) get hung on the bandages when pulling it back up because these stupid things have a mind of their own when it comes to pulling them up. We tried that too. We tried 2 different kinds of medical tape and they both hurt and/or irritate my skin.
TMI ALERT... although I know you'll still keep reading... My doctor advised me to slit a hole in the crotch rather than pulling it down each time...
Uummm... Hello!!! I'm a girl!! I can't just whip my pee pee part through a hole... I would have to pull it to one side and every woman out there knows that it is nearly impossible for us to pee through a hole or slit.... Can you imagine the odor after just a few trips to the potty... And then it would be off even longer to be washed daily. At least pulling it up and down each time gives me a day or two in between washings...
Aside from this little situation... I can't really complain. You hear all these stories about liposuction and bruising and how it hurts and I don't really think its that bad. It's very tender in the area but its not very bruised and it only hurts if its touched or if I sit or turn wrong.
My boob that was revised doesn't hurt much at all because I don't have any feeling or sensations in that area anyways. So it's only got a little bit of tenderness where they did lipo on one side to take out some of the side fullness.
Maybe I have a high threshold for pain... Or maybe I'm just elated about how good my boobs and incisions look that I convince myself that its not that bad. Don't get me wrong... My boobs are not gorgeous or anything near what "enhanced breasts" look like.... But for 'cancer boobs' they aren't too shabby. Sure... I look like a patchwork quilt when naked, but no one but the husband and a few doctors will ever see that.
So... Not that I would ever glorify plastic surgery because I believe natural beauty is found from within... But given my circumstances, I don't regret it and I'm very glad I did it so I can feel halfway normal again.
Two more weeks in this stupid girdle thingy and I VOW to never wear one again if I can help it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I will burn it. Ok... Probably not but I will at least throw it away.

Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes!!!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Reconstruct the reconstruction

Tomorrow is my next surgery. I don't know if I posted it on here or not. I may have forgotten in all my hustle and bustle of back to school.
They are going to do a little liposuction on the puckered ends of my abdomen scar. Basically, if you take a square piece of fabric and cut an almond shape out of the middle, and then sew it into a straight line, it will pucker up at the ends. Well, that's what my waistline did. It almost always happens in this type of reconstruction.
The next part is a small reduction/lift on the left side. Because it used more of my natural breast skin, it still droops a little bit and its a tad bit bigger. I say tad bit... But its pretty noticeable in a lot of shirts. This is the side that had the nasty skin necrosis so it will remove the scar left from that also. The final part is to inject some fat into the right breast... You remember the buttcrack part I mentioned before and posted a picture of... It should be gone tomorrow.
Dr Skoracki feels like this should be my last surgery. I'm really hoping so for 2 reasons.
1. So I can finally close the door for now on this crazy chapter in my book called life.
2. Because you have to allow 6 months between surgeries means another surgery would fall into 2013 which means another $6000 copay. This one is covered 100% because I met my deductible with my April reconstruction. So I pray its my last one.
So, I have to call tonight to get my surgery time. All I know right now is they have me booked for 2.5 hours and its outpatient.
Chris will update my twitter, which shows on my sidebar to the left.. and he will also update my Facebook for my friends and family on that list.

Love to all,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Post op 3 months

Met with my plastic surgeon today. Everything looks good and is healing well. We talked about the plans for my next (and hopefully last) surgery. He has to lift and reduce my left side breast a little so it matches the right side. He is also gonna do a little liposuction on the sides (love handles) because where the incision ends on both sides it left a little fat pocket/pucker.
My surgery should be in October/November. The scheduler is gonna call Thursday or Friday to schedule it because she was gone already by the time my appt was over. It's an outpatient procedure so it's not as invasive as before.
The hard part is over. Now just gotta get the finishing touches.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day

You never know how much your mom loved you until you have children of your own. You never appreciate the "I love you's" she whispered at night until you get to whisper those words to your own children. You never understand that when she asked you to clean your room, it was only because that was one less thing she had to do before going to bed herself. You never understand the true meaning of unconditional love until you become a mother yourself. You never see the sacrifices she made for her family until you make those sacrifices for yourself and your own family. You'll never understand the punishment was truly done out of love, to help you decipher right from wrong... Until you have to punish your own children for those same mistakes. You will never take your mother for granted after you have your own children.
A mothers love is the closest to Gods love. Truly unconditional and never ending. Not even when you betray her, deny her or don't show her love in return. She loves you no matter what.

I'm thankful that my mother loved me and always will. No matter what.

I'm thankful that I also get to experience that same love myself. I have 3 of the most beautiful, compassionate and truly amazing children to spend the rest of my life with. (plus their Dad is pretty sexy so I think I'll keep them all)

Be sure to hug your mothers if they are nearby. If not, don't forget to call her and just whisper 3 simple words... I LOVE YOU.

I love you momma!!!
~your favorite middle child, Tiffany

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Follow up

I had my appointment today with Dr. Skoracki. At first, his PA, Gordon, thought they were gonna do a wound excising in clinic but Dr Skoracki thought my necrosis was healing good so he opted not to touch it and let it heal naturally.

They switched my dressings to a different kind to help slough off the dead skin. So I don't have to do ointment or cream, just this new tape looking stuff with Vaseline on it. They removed the rest of my scabs around my waist, belly button and the right breast and found a few sutures that needed to come out because they didn't dissolve being on the outside.

They told me to start massaging my waist scar to help the scar tissue break up. It feels kinda rope like right now.

Finally, Dr Skoracki also gave us a game plan for the next (and hopefully last) surgery. A little bit of liposuction on the waist where my incisions end. There's a little fat pocket on each side that looks like a muffin top. Also injecting a little fat into my "armpit buttcrack" to even it out and make it look more natural and more like the other one. Lastly, lifting the left breast a little to make it even with the right one. It's a little saggier because it's got more of my breast skin in it than the cancer side.

Didn't get a date but from what he's said before, it's 6-8 months in between the 2 surgeries so probably end of 2012 or early 2013.

I don't have to go back to see him for 2 months unless the skin necrosis gets worse. He told me what to look for but said it shouldn't happen.

So, a good visit and I'm mostly released from everything except they said no to airbrush tanning. Booooo....
Guess I'll be a ghost for a little longer.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

More surgery details

So, I'll try to post what I can remember about my surgery.
Monday morning, we had to check in at 5am for surgery. We found our check in spot and filled out the required paperwork. They called my name to go back to the prep area shortly after. I changed into my lovely gown and compression socks and one by one, the different surgeons and nurses came in to talk to me.
The anesthesiologist came in and met with me and ran my IV. About 7am, she gave me my "happy juice" and I said goodbye to Chris. That's all I remember until I woke up. I remember waking up in the operating room as they were moving me to the recovery bed. I remember seeing and hearing Dr Skoracki, but I can't remember what he was saying. That's the first time I remember ever waking up in the OR and not in recovery. You usually do wake up in the OR before they take you to recovery but you usually don't remember it. I must've dozed back off though because the next thing I remember was waking up in recovery and they said Dr Skoracki was talking to Chris and then Chris would be in to see me. I asked what time it was. My nurse told me "9:15" PM!!! Yes... You read that right. I was out for over 14 hours.
Chris came in to see me and then my mom came in for a quick visit. After I was cleared and they had a room ready for me, I was transported to my post-op room. It was almost 11pm now. My recovery nurse went with us to the new room so she could show the post-op nurse how to find the blood flow via the Doppler machine. They had to do this every hour on the hour. If they couldn't get blood flow, the flap or piece of skin could die. If they caught it in time they could rush me back to the OR and fix it. So they had a mini Doppler machine that is similar to an OB finding a heartbeat during pregnancy. It kinda makes the same swooshing sounds too. So, every hour on the hour that first night, they came in to check both breasts blood flow and my vitals. Chris left the hospital shortly after I got checked in my room and said he would be back the next day. He had a long day in the waiting room in uncomfortable chairs. I didn't sleep much the first night.
Chris came to see me Tuesday afternoon as soon as the kids got off to school and he ran a few errands. He helped me brush my teeth and spit into a bowl and rinse. He helped me eat my lunch. I was moved to my chair for a little bit. My nurse, John, came in and helped me and gave me pointers to help me get in and out of bed easier. Between him and Chris, I moved back and forth from the bed to the chair about 3 times that day. They still had to find the blood flow every hour via Doppler but my vitals were down to about every 2-3 hours by now. I had ZERO energy, it took every ounce of energy to pick up my phone, lift my silverware, or do anything. I was tired, exhausted and just plain worn out.
Wednesday, Chris brought the kids to see me. I had now been moved onto walking laps using my IV tower as my helper/walker. I had to do 2 laps around the nurses station each time. The kids "helped" me do my laps once they got there. But they didn't get to stay too long because the boys (mostly Brayden) were too antsy. Kaylee was very attentive, wanting to help with anything. I was sitting in the chair eating dinner and I had spaghetti and it was not easy. I would roll the spaghetti around the fork and then couldn't muster up enough energy to bring the fork to my mouth. I imagine it looked like an 89 yr old woman in a nursing home trying to eat spaghetti. I dropped a little on my gown. She pointed it out. She asked Chris why I was acting like that an he had to explain to her that I was really tired and exhausted still. When they had gotten there, my CNA, Alice, was emptying my 6 drain tubes. They squeeze the "fluid" into little Dixie like cups. Grayson came in and said "why are they making all that juice for mommy?" Chris explained that it wasn't juice, it was blood. Then Grayson asked why they were putting the blood into mommy. Again, Chris explained that it came out of mommy from the tubes and into the drain bulbs and they squeeze those into the cups. He was super fascinated with that. He referred to my tubes as pipes from then on.
Thursday, I finally got my catheter out and one IV out. I still had 2 IVs in. Still had to have Doppler checks every hour but they had gotten good at doing them in the dark and not waking me. So Thursday, I felt much better! I was falling asleep by 8-9pm and sleeping till 7-8am every day. Once my cath came out I was able to move around better and had more mobility. I went potty with help during the day, but by Thursday night I was going by myself and only needed help getting in and out of bed. Chris came and saw me that morning/afternoon. I was able to shower that day and the CNA on duty helped me shower but we didn't get to wash my hair. Friday morning, my pain pump was removed from my abdomen. I was downgraded to pain pills now.
So when Chris got there Friday with the kids, he brought me some shampoo and washed my hair. It was Good Friday and the volunteer dept where the shampoo was kept was running late. I didn't pack any because every hospital stay I've had they've had all your toiletries there. They had them, but you had to request them and I guess they were running behind.

So, anyways Friday, I felt even better because I was clean, my hair was washed and I was able to stay awake a little longer at a time. I had a good visit with my kiddos that day. I was able to even give them a light hug and kiss before they left.
Grayson laid on my bed  and watched TV and almost fell asleep. Brayden played on the iPad and Kaylee played "mommy" to them. Grayson was fascinated by the "phone speaker" on the bed and I had to get a picture of him listening to the TV through the "phone".

Saturday was a day of therapy. I had to go up and down some stairs to practice for home. I got my walker... Snazzy old lady wheels!!! I did about 10 laps around the nurses station that day. I got one drain tube removed. My dad came to visit. I got a nap and slept well! Oh, and thanks to Glycerin, I was able to get some "relief" and finally pass the "intestines are working" test.
Sunday I was discharged. Chris came to get me first thing in the morning. He helped me shower and get ready. I blow dried my hair that day for the first time. I got dressed in my new pajamas we bought. I REFUSED to wear a MUMU gown but I couldn't have anything restricting on my waist or on my chest and I couldn't lift my arms very high, so I bought a cute Vera Wang soft cotton 2 piece set in the next size up and it was perfect!

The only real complication I had was that my left breast blistered and bruised really bad. As the days went on and the blisters popped it turned into skin necrosis. So, 4 weeks post-op, I have some ugliness going on but the right breast looks AMAZING and I have a flat stomach. My dr is watching the skin necrosis but so far it looks like its improving every day. I have another follow up tuesday so we will see what he says.

Here are some pictures of the yummy food I had while I was there. You actually call "room service" to order your meals and they bring them to you in a tuxedo style uniform. It's really nice and not your average hospital food. The first few days, the food wasn't that great, but it was probably because I wasn't hungry and nothing tasted appetizing except water. After that, it was much better.

Chocolate chip waffles with a Texas in the middle.

Enchiladas and mexican rice.                           Grilled Shrimp over Penne pasta.

Steak and green beans.

Bread pudding!!! Delicious!!!!

my first post-op appointment after I was released.

Me and Grayson snuggling on my first Monday at home.

So, I am now 4 weeks post-op as of tomorrow. I am walking around normally, getting out of the house some here and there. I got released to drive short distances last week. I went grocery shopping for the first time (with the whole family) this weekend. I am back to work part-time doing rhinestones. I got all my tubes out at 2 weeks post-op. I cooked our first meal Friday night. I can shower, and change my bandages by myself, although if Chris is here to help, it goes much quicker and I'm able to save my energy for more important things like blow drying my hair and putting on makeup.

Once my skin necrosis heals (which could be 6-12 weeks) I will consider posting some PG rated pictures with some editing done to block out certain parts that don't need to be viewed.  :-)  In the meantime, just keep me in your prayers that the skin necrosis heals on it's own and doesn't require a skin graft surgery.

Did I answer everyone's questions? If not, please feel free to ask below.  Maybe I'll dedicate a Q&A post to those.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Surgery mini-re-cap

So, Obviously I made it out of surgery. It was Looooooong.... 15 hours!

I spent 6 days in the hospital, coming home on Easter Sunday, April 8.

Surgery went well, and I intend to post a long blog post about it, but I can't yet sit in a chair for too long or my back hurts, so this post has to be short.

I have 2 boobs, which is the most important thing....and they are healthy!

I also, for the first time in my life, have a flat stomach. I'm still wide, in my opinion, but my side profile is Uh-Ma-Zing!

I did have one issue.... remember how I had some skin necrosis back in August on my cancer side and my expander had to come out..... Yeah....well.... I have it on the left side (non-cancer side) now. At my last post-op, Dr Skoracki said it didn't look like it needed surgery, but he is watching it. It is pretty gross looking. Worst case scenario, it does need to be removed, and a skin graft will be used. Thje left one is a tad bit bigger anyways, so to remove some of it won't be a big deal.

I am about a perky C cup now. (I was a full- saggy D) Not sure if they will still be that big when all the swelling goes down, but we will have to wait and see.

Ok, folks....I am heading to bed back hurts.

I'll write more this weekend.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Boobies!

So, I am in my final few days till surgery! I am excited, but also nervous as H.E double hockey sticks!

I met with my surgeons this week and got the "all-clear" for surgery. It is a 10-12 hr surgery. I will be in the hospital for 5-7 days. This is a bit longer than I expected! So, I thought I'd be coming home on Good Friday, but it looks like I'll be staying through Easter, possibly. (Don't worry, the Easter Bunny already came and dropped off baskets for the kids. We are hiding them for him) Chris' mom said she may have the kids over to do an Easter Egg hunt on Sunday. Not sure if Chris will be coming to get me that day from the hospital or if it will be Monday.

Here is some basic info on my type of surgery.
Here is a few before and after pictures of a girl close to my size who had the TRAM flap done
Yes, I have taken some "before" pictures, but I'm not sure if I'm gonna post them yet. I guess it depends on the outcome of the "after" pictures. You'll have to wait and see.....

As for the details on surgery: I have to report for surgery at 5:15am on Monday morning. I will be in surgery until about 5-6 pm. I will have a catheter in until Wednesday morning because I will be pretty immobile till then. Tuesday, they will move me from the bed to the chair a few times. That's it. Wednesday, they take the cath out and I get to walk the halls. Get to, actually.....I will be forced to! He said they kick up my therapy on Wednesday to get the muscles moving, but they won't overdo it. I will have 6 drain tubes the whole time. 2 in each breast and 2 in my stomach. I will probably be coming home with at least 2, maybe 4 drain tubes a week later. I should be able to walk a little at a time, and go up and down my stairs at home once or twice a day. I will be sleeping upright for about a week, but should be able to side sleep after a while.

Pain- I qualified for a new study they are doing at MD Anderson. My plastic surgeon, Dr Skoracki, is writing a study and conducting research of a new kind of pain management and I was the first one chosen. Basically, in addition to the normal pain management (a small piece of mesh netting that numbs your abdomen,  in the inside right by your fascia) I will have a pain pump with 2 small tubes inserted into my abdomen, one on each side. In this pain pump, will either be a saline solution (placebo) or bupivacaine. I will conduct a survey a few times during recovery, and again at 6 months and 12 months. Once all 40 patients have participated in the study, the results will be released as to whether or not I received a placebo or the real pain drug. I won't know until then what I got. Once there are 52 patients between MD Anderson and other hospitals, they will publish the findings of the study. So, let's hope and pray that I get the real drugs and not the placebo!!! It's a 50/50 shot.

Visitors- I will welcome HEALTHY visitors anytime, however, there are a few times I've blocked out for my kiddos, so please call ahead before coming. I will also welcome daytime visitors at home after Chris goes back to work on April 16th, if you bring coffee/lunch. hehehe I am gonna be bored outta my mind that month! Especially Tuesdays and Thursdays while Grayson is at school!

Updates- Chris will be posting on my FaceBook page all day Monday, and hopefully I can get him to tweet for me too, so it will show up on the sidebar on the left of the screen for those who aren't on my FB page.

Help- as mentioned before, we welcome hot meals anytime. We don't need them every day, but an occasional one any time during the month of April would be helpful!  Cleaning fairies are always welcome! You'd be doing Chris a HUGE favor and he deserves it. ;-) The other way to help is to come rescue my kids from house boredom and take them on a play date or outing of some sort. Weekends for the older 2 kids, or M,W,F for Grayson.  Plus, it would give me a chance to rest, and possibly Chris on the weekends since he will be working so hard at work, and also once he gets home.

So, as for me and my thoughts.... I'm nervous and excited at the same time. I've never been under anesthesia that long..... I've never been in the hospital that long...... I've never been immobile that long...... I just don't know what to expect...... I'm nervous as all get out...... I am also scared...... The normal usual scary surgery stuff...... I hate IV's and I will have to have one in the whole time. YUCK! .......Grayson has never gone that long without snuggling with me. I am his security blanket. Not that I wanted that role, but for some reason, he never got attached to a blanket or teddy bear as a baby. So, I'm worried about how he is gonna handle me being away, and also how he is gonna handle not climbing all over me once I'm at home..... I'm also nervous that he is gonna forget and hurt me accidentally. He's a little brute, and is sometimes quite rough.....

Please remember to lift me up in your prayers on Monday. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Surgery is almost here!

I am in my 2 week countdown to surgery! I am nearing the end of my journey. I still will have some stuff ahead, but for the most part, this is the last step. It just most likely won't be my last surgery. Usually there is one or two "tweaking" surgeries later on down the line because it's hard to get them EXACT the first time.

So, April 2 is my surgery date. It's a Monday. I meet with my plastic surgeon, regular surgeon and the anesthesiologist next week to go over last minute details. We have all the arrangements for the kids worked out for the most part. Chris will be up there all day Monday until they kick him out. He is going to drive back and forth to visit me every day because of 2 reasons... #1... it's easier for him to do the kids school routines because he knows exactly what they need to do throughout the week. #2... he has stayed with me throughout almost EVERY surgery I have had to date, and as much as I love that man, I'll sleep much better if he isn't beside me snoring.  :-) It's hard enough to get sleep in a hospital, to begin with...not adding snoring to boot. So, he will come visit me every day, but come home early evenings to put the kids to bed, make sure their homework is done, chores are somewhat done, and make sure they get a bath.....etc... I have arranged rides for Kaylee to and from dance, and Grayson to and from preschool. I have arranged for my mom to be here for Brayden to get off the bus, and I have prepared a few frozen meals that are easy to cook.

I'll probably be released Friday (Good Friday) or Saturday to come home. Easter will be pretty much non existent this year. I'm buying the kids their Easter stuff this week, so I'll be ready, but we usually go to church that Sunday and then have a nice Easter meal and Easter egg hunt. That will be all on Chris, so I'm not sure if those things will get done this year or if he prefers to just skip it.

Chris will be off with me the following week, but I'm sure he will be busy trying to keep the house clean, get the kids to all their functions, and cooking and doing laundry, not to mention taking care of me. I'm so thankful his job allows him to be at home with me for 2 weeks, and I'm glad he knows just how to pick up my slack without me having to tell him what to do. Let's face it, I'm gonna be all doped up on pain meds, so I can't be expected to remember our routine. It's gonna be tough, but he can do it.  :-)

I'm really not sure what to expect with the surgery, post-op, etc... So, I am preparing for a 4-6 week "out of commission period". I'd rather be over prepared then scrambling at the last minute for dinner or transportation for the kids to something. So, I'm trying to stock our freezer as much as possible with easy frozen meals, and I am making sure we have all the basics, so that Chris will only have to shop for our produce and milk products.

So, for those who have asked what they can do to help..... here is a few things....
Prepared meals, frozen ahead of time or fresh dinners dropped off periodically
After Chris goes back to work, I'm still not going to be allowed to do much, so a few cleaning fairies would be helpful! Toilets, floors, counters and things like that. I'm gonna have a cleaning lady come every 2 weeks, but still stuff in between those dates would be helpful.
A few coffee dates or lunch dates after Chris goes back to work to keep me company since I'll be house bound for a while.
Since Grayson only goes to school on Tuesday and Thursday, a play date to the park for him, or something fun like that so he doesn't get bored being in the house all day.

Or, for people who can't do any of the above but still want to cards for gas, groceries (HEB), or local places where Chris could pick up something (Sonic, Subway, Chick-Fil-A, Icky McDonalds, etc). Since he will be driving back and forth for the week to the hospital, he will need gas a few times, and we are doing a 5-day parking pass that's like $50, which actually saves us about $10 for the week.

So, I think that's about it. I'll update more right before surgery when I have more details. So far, all I know is that I will be coming home with 8 drain tubes in various places, and won't be able to do much for 4-6 weeks except take it easy (almost like bedrest for a pregnancy).

12 days to new boobies and a flat stomach!!!!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Hi.... Remember me?

I know, slap my hand, I haven't blogged in FOREVER! I haven't had much to write about since cancer-wise I've been in limbo for so long. But, I finally have an update!

I met with my plastic surgeon, Dr Skoracki this week. The new one that I LOVE!!! He had told me to take a break till after Christmas and let my body re-coop from the gall bladder removal, and the 2 surgeries to fix what Dr Garvey did with my expander. So, we agreed to meet again after the holidays.

I am still having the TRAM flap surgery.  Short version: they take your stomach and transplant it to your breasts.
Long version: they cut me from hip to hip, from my C-section scar up to my belly button in an almond shape. They remove that piece of skin, fat and a little of the muscle, cut it in half and mold it and shape it to my breasts. But, before all that happens, my regular surgeon will remove my left breast (my choice) and then hand the OR over to the plastic surgeon. Plastic surgeon will re-open my incision on my right breast from the mastectomy and they are using most of my skin that they saved. They will use the fat and tissue from my stomach to fill in the part under my arm (my "arm-pit butt crack" as I call it) and my concave part on my chest. (Thank you Dr Garvey for leaving me with that!!! I will always remember you as the Dr who F---ed my body up) They re-attach the blood vessels, wait for it to turn pink and then I'm done......

For now....

This will be the first of a few surgeries. There will be one at a later date (probably 6 months to 1 year) to tweak anything that settled wrong, fill in any gaps, holes, etc... Since they are using my tissue, my body should adapt well, but it's always a possibility that one will be noticeably bigger than the other after the swelling goes down, or one might hang lower than the other. It's much different than just getting a regular breast enhancement without cancer. Those can be done easier, and more even looking because they have breasts to go by to begin with.  With me, they are basically taking a flat surface and creating 2 small mounds on it. Try to do it with play-dough and then you'll see how hard it is to get them exactly the same on the first try.

So, for surgery date: Waiting for a call. It will be after spring break though. (Late march, or April) They have to coordinate with my regular surgeon to both be operating on the same day, and then coordinate their schedules together, and then call me and give me a few options. He said I am looking at 2-3 months.  In the meantime, I have to get a procedure done called an Angiogram to check my blood flow through my arteries in my stomach area. Because I had an emergency C-section with Grayson, they want to be sure that nothing got snipped accidentally and that I have good blood flow through all the arteries they will be using.

He also said I had wonderfully placed fat! Yay! I guess if there is a way to get fat, you want to make sure that yours accumulates OVER your fascia and not under it. Mine is all on top of my fascia (the layer between the muscle and fat or skin) which means that he won't have to use as much muscle from my stomach during the transplant. I have enough fat for 2 breasts, (not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing... depends on how you look at it) but they will be smaller than my current size, which I've decided won't be that bad..... especially with a nice, padded Victoria's Secret bra.  :-)  Plus, I'll have a flat stomach FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, so I'm a tad bit excited about that. I'm a visual person, and since I've NEVER had a flat stomach, I cannot even visualize it.

Recovery time: 4-5 days in the hospital and 6-8 weeks at home. It's a tough surgery. It's a long surgery. So, I'll be asking for help again with my kids. Rides to dance, pre-school, etc... maybe a play date here and there at the park. I'm not sure exactly how long before I'll be able to drive a car or lift anything, so when the time gets closer, I'll start making those phone calls to arrange child arrangements, maybe a laundry fairy, or a vacuum fairy. Chris will be most likely taking off 2 weeks of vacation to be with me, but I'm honestly not sure if I'll be able to do all my normal mommy-duties by 2 weeks post-op. It wouldn't be that bad if Grayson was in school full time, but as it is, I have to get the kids to the bus stop every morning, get Grayson to school 2 days a week, fix him breakfast & lunch on his non-school days, pick the kids up from the bus stop, and get them started on chores and homework, and get Kaylee to dance 2 days a week. I'm pretty sure I have the transportation thing covered with my awesome friends, but you don't think about simple things like having to make a PBJ for your toddler or multiple sippy

Emotionally: I am so thankful that there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. I've felt like I've been running a never ending marathon up until this end in sight. I haven't been able to wear a V-neck shirt in almost a year. I haven't been able to wear anything with a tight sleeve in almost a year because my arm is swollen from the lymph node removal. (mild lymphedema). My chest is concave, so even some scoop neck shirts are out because you can see that I only have one boob. I've been so limited in my wardrobe to mostly high neck t-shirts, and sweat pants. Partly because I don't want to buy a whole bunch of clothes that may not fit me after surgery, partly because we are broke and partly because I'm still trying to lose my chemo weight so I'm in between sizes. My bra weighs over 5 lbs because of the prosthetic boob, and I have major muscle/scar tissue cramping going on. So, aside from all the complications I have had with the expander, just the whole "feeling deformed" and lop sided has been tough. I've been avoiding going many places, especially if it requires a dress code outside of a warm up suit or jeans and a tee. Half the clothes in my closet are not options for me because of one reason or another. I haven't been to church since around March or April, except for a Bible study during my radiation. I have basically only been to the gym, the kids schools and the grocery store. I didn't feel like it was quite as noticeable before, when I still had the expander in, but now that I am completely FLAT on one side, and concave to boot.... I feel very self-conscious about my appearance now. So, I'll be glad to have back a few wardrobe choices after this surgery! Maybe not the whole closet, but at least some of it. Ladies: think about how long it takes you to pick out something to wear...... then quadruple that time and you'll know how I feel. Yeah, this in-between stage has probably sucked more than anything else. I felt prettier even during chemo when I was bald. At least I had 2 boobs still and most of my clothes fit and weren't constricting. It's been really hard, even with things you don't think about.... like if someone pops by unexpectedly to your house.... they may catch you without a bra on, but it's not really all that noticeable. With me.... VERY noticeable. I HATE wearing my bra, but I feel like I have to keep it on all day just to feel somewhat normal in case someone drops by unexpectedly or with very short warning. Without my bra on, it is noticeable that I only have a boob on one side. VERY noticeable.... even in a baggy hoodie. It sucks. So, yeah.... I will be glad to feel more evened out!

So, I think that sums it all up.  I'll post again once I get my surgery date.

Any questions for me? Ask below and I'll do a Q&A post if needed.

It's late..... I'm not proof-reading... excuse any grammar errors that spell check didn't pick up.

Night Night
Love Y'all!