Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In Sickness and in Health

I'm going to preface this post with a warning. Some of the material below may be graphic in detail and if you are of the weak in the stomach tribe you might just want to skip out on reading today's post and go google  pictures of cute kittens.
 
This is actually my kitten, Licorice, the week we got him. He really was the smallest kitten I've ever seen. He managed to get into the kids' beanbag chair but couldn't get out. so he just laid there, "meap"ing at us (he doesn't 'mew' he 'meap's.) All together now......awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
Okay, back to business.....

 
My home care nurse came today to change the dressing on my last remaining drainage tube and remove the steri strips from my stitched up areas. I was regaling her with a tale about how I'd been trying to empty my grenade ( it's what we call the little bulb that collects the drainage) and a clot of, oh I don't know, blood, tissue, some other random nastiness got stuck in it and I had to squeeze it really hard.

Now we all know what happens when you squeeze the ketchup bottle when a little bit of dried up ketchup clogs the hole....you've got more ketchup on the plate (and table and cutlery and surrounding plates and your shirt) than you've got on your Oscar Mayer wiener.

Well, this is what happened to me except it wasn't ketchup and it wasn't dinner. It was unidentified fluids and such draining from the incision in my back and it was all over my bathroom sink, counter and mirror (don't worry, for those of you who know me in real life, it's been thoroughly cleaned...my toidy is safe)

Anyhow, the nurse thoroughly enjoyed the story, thought it was hysterical. I guess she's had her fair share of incidents with these grenades. Not everyone is as self sufficient a patient as I am and not everyone empties their own tubes.

From there we got to talking about how truly disgusting the human body is. I truly give props to all Doctors and Nurses, not just because I think they are noble professions but because damn.....the human body has some nasty shit associated with it....shit being the least of the issues.

I commented that if I haven't scared Sean away yet, what with the mastectomy and all the things associated with that (yeah, more drainage tubes) chemo, and now this (not to mention child birth; yes it's a beautiful thing but that is purely a spiritual beauty....beyond that it's just plain gross!) that our marriage was rock solid. She commented that we were really taking the "in sickness and in health" part of our vows for a test drive.

And we are. My man has stuck it out through some pretty gross experiences and he's not once made a face (at least not when I'd have been sensitive to it) He dutifully changes what needs to be changed, cleaned what needs to be changed and still tells me I'm beautiful.  Even when I look as I do right now. (train wreck folks)

He's pretty freakin' awesome to say the least.

One day I'll be hot again, I'll have two full boobs and nothing nasty oozing from me. And if (God forbid) he needs me to clean some kind of nastiness off of him I'll do it with a smile. Because he's worth it.

 

Friday, July 26, 2013

So Here's the Skinny

I'm feeling a bit more like myself this evening so I thought it might be a good time to share what's been going on.

On Tuesday I had the first step in the Latissimus Dorsi Tissue Flap Breast Reconstruction. Long story short the Dr took muscle and tissue from my back, moved it forward to reconstruct a breast and he put in a tissue expander underneath it all.

So right now I'm like a b cup. In two weeks time he'll start filling the expander with saline and he'll do that once a week for about a month. This will stretch the skin and muscle in the area to be the proper size. (A large C or small D) 

Once that's been done it's going to just sit like that and settle. Skin stretches and sags and everything needs to be settled into place before we can proceed.

So about 3 months from now I'll have another surgery, which will involve taking out the tissue expander and replacing it with an implant. He'll also do a reduction and lift on my left breast to make everything even.

For the most part I'm feeling okay. I'm sore as hell in both my chest and my back but mostly it's because the Dr stressed to me that I could not put pressure on the side of the new breast - I need to allow for the new blood supply to heal and establish properly because if not the tissue will turn black and die.

That means I can not sleep on my side (right side for obvious reasons but I can't sleep on my left side either because my arm would rest on the side of my breast cutting off the blood supply.) So I can only sleep on my back. I don't like sleeping on my back and what's more because of the incisions on my back it's not really that comfortable.

I'm also favoring the arm when I'm sitting up and walking, making sure it's not resting on my side so I'm thinking by the time I'm allowed to put it down (about 2 weeks) my right shoulder will look like Carrot Top's.  (Sean and I ran into him in Vegas a few years ago, he's even freakier looking in real life)

 
 
I'm sure I'm being overly cautious but let's face it, I'm one of those people who has that shitty kind of luck.
 
 
Anyhow, I've gone through a stage of depression. I've questioned why I did it. Mostly when I'm uncomfortable and in pain. I'm on preventative antibiotics and they are making me sick to my stomach. I've developed an aversion to water again, completely psychological of course, but it's there none the less.
 
And I worry that this is going to take more than I thought it would..
 
But them I'm reminded of my dear friend Amy, who did this, not once but twice, two boobs. She's been down this road and today she's smiling and happy and living her life. I can do that too. It might be shitty and painful and uncomfortable for a while but it will get better. And I'm going to celebrate by buying myself a cute little dress for Christmas that shows my brand new cleavage!! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Choices

I have to remind myself that I made this choice. I also have to remind myself that this time is different. This time the pain is for greater good

That's not to say that the pain wasn't for a  greater good last time,  it was for my survival, but this time I chose the pain. 

I am questioning my decision but only because I'm feeling so lousy right now. Each day as my body feels better so will my mind. 

But for now the medication, the smell of the tubing, the same homecare nurses, it's all painfully reminiscent of cancer. 

And so I keep reminding myself that this is not cancer, I chose this to feel better about myself, I chose this to get myself back and each day I will feel more like myself. 

And when I feel better I'm going to Victoria's  Secret and buying the most expensive and sexiest damn bra they have!! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

One Boob, Two Boob....

Tomorrow is the big day, the day I get my new boob.

I'm nervous about the surgery, the things everyone get nervous about - not waking up, etc.

But I'm also nervous about it not working. There is always a slight chance that because of the radiation I had that there will be scar tissue and hardening. If that happens I have to have to implant removed. Back to prosthetics.

And I'm worried about developing lymphedema from it. I'm not even allowed to have my blood pressure taken in my right arm and now I'm having major surgery on that side.

A lot of questions. A lot of worries.

But if it all works I will be a lot happy. It will be nice to be able to buy pretty bras again. It will be nice to buy a regular bathing suit again. It will be nice to buy dresses and shirts that show cleavage because I'll have some again.

Cross your fingers for me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day!

It wouldn't be Canada Day without one of my fun and educational posts containing all those things you probably didn't know (or didn't care to know) about Canada.

Well, I hate to disappoint but I'm not giving you one of those.

Instead I'm going to tell you why I love Canada.

  1. We're nice people. Ask anyone. We're nice. We're polite. We apologize to you if you step on our foot - because clearly our foot was in your way.  When traveling to other nations, people will often put Canadian flags on their backpacks because we have a pretty good reputation around the world.  Of course this is all hearsay since I've never been anywhere outside of Canada or the US.  
          But believe me when I say, we're nice.

   
    2.  Universal Healthcare. I know it's not a perfect system and it's widely misunderstood by  
         those who don't have it but after having dealt with cancer - I can truly say I appreciate not   
         having had to worry about how I was going to pay for the myriad of tests they put me through,
         surgeries, the treatments and the maintenance. Not to mention my prosthetic, my upcoming
         breast reconstruction surgery and all that will entail. Not one red cent came out of my pocket for
         anything I have endured for the past 2 years.

   3.  Butter tarts. You really have to taste one to appreciate their beauty. I prefer mine with raisins
        in it but beware, they will throw your blood sugar levels through the roof!

   4.  Our slang. Yep. I love the Bob and Doug McKenzie cliché. "Take off eh! You hoser!"  Truth be
        known we only talk that way to make Americans laugh  roll their eyes. The point is, we can
        laugh at ourselves and we're not offended when you laugh too. We beat Jeff Foxworthy to the
        punch - long before his "You might be a redneck if...." jokes we had Newfie jokes. Go ahead,
        google some. My only disclaimer is that my dear husband is, in fact, a Newfie and I can assure
        you that A: Newfoundlanders are not anywhere near as dumb or drunken as they are portrayed
        (well....the drunken part maybe on occasion) and B: Newfoundlanders are, in fact, the nicest
        people in all of Canada. (and I'm not just saying that because my in-laws read my blog....I really
        truly mean that)

   5.  Our flag.  It's pretty. It's simple. It's understated. What could be more Canadian?



I could probably go on and on but I won't bore you with the details. Instead, I'll leave you with some advice. Never, ever stick your hands in a garburator.  (Now, how many of you are off to google garburator?)

Happy Canada Day!