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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Still Here

Still Here!

this post comes from my carepage, I edited it a little, got a little more personal and added some pics~

hello to friends and family,
I haven't posted in a while, mainly because there hasn't been that much to share. Since Thanksgiving, I have been getting stronger every day and have even had moments that feel normal. I have been teaching some of my regular fitness classes. I am not doing any weight training, but, I am happy to teach step and cycle.
coaching BootCamp
Love my bootcamp ladies!

I was visiting the Plastic Surgeon every week up until the week before Christmas. I would get a 'fill' each time. The doctor finds the port in the expander, injects it with a huge syringe and adds saline to the expanders. This is the most uncomfortable procedure, not during, because I don't feel a thing, but after. Muscle spasms, pain, tightness and shortness of breath are all side effects. The purpose is to expand the chest wall, stretch the skin and save a healthy pocket or space for the implants. I get very self conscious as my chest grows.

Implant Reconstruction Procedure 


Following mastectomy, your reconstructive surgeon will insert a tissue expander (a silicone balloon filled with saline) in a pocket formed under the muscle and remaining skin on your chest wall. More saline solution is gradually added to the tissue expander during outpatient clinic visits, stretching the muscle and skin to the desired size. Often the skin is stretched slightly more than needed because it has a natural tendency to shrink when the tissue expander is removed. 
Implant ReconstructionThe amount of saline needed for each expansion may vary depending on the tightness of the skin. This process usually takes 2-3 months, but may take longer if you need other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. 
Once the "pocket" has reached the desired size, the expander is left in place, stretching your skin for approximately 1-3 months more. Surgery is then scheduled to remove the tissue expander and replace it with a permanent implant, which is an outpatient surgical procedure. The permanent implant will either be filled with saline or silicone and will be much softer than the tissue expander. Your reconstructive surgeon can discuss the various types of available breast implants.

There is still some scar tissue along the lower part which is why I had the last expansion to hopefully soften and stretch the tissue. About three weeks ago I started having severe chest pain, difficulty breathing and taking in a deep inhale. So, Dr. Fabulous took out 30 ccs on the left side to hopefully decrease the pressure. It hasn't really helped, and I am still feeling lots of pain. I have been told that the serratus and intercostal muscles were strained. It feels like I have a broken rib! I have been given a new muscle relaxer that doesn't make me sleepy and I take it to help with the pain.
tissue Expanders are hard and uncomfortable.
they must be one size fits all...because they poke me
all over!
I must say that this part of this whole ordeal has been the most difficult for me. I think that my family has all exhaled and feels really relieved that all the danger is gone, and I do too. I have always had the mentality that if I push harder, try harder, don't give up...I will get better, do better and survive stronger. But, with reconstruction, if I push too hard, I hurt myself and that has been frustrating. I am learning (not very willingly) patience. It is very difficult to sleep and I wake up a lot having huge spasms across the front. There's still a lot of numbness, especially down my right arm where the lymph nodes were removed. I also have had moments of being really sad, I miss the girl I was...maybe it is because these tissue expanders are so dang HARD that I feel hard and I miss feeling soft. (tmi?) I think that there is a total of 480 ccs on each side!! wow!
Next Thursday, February 2 we are scheduled for the exchange operation. This is when the doctor takes out the expanders and replaces them with permanent implants. This is an outpatient operation and should only be a few hours long. We are the first operation of the day, 8 am! It will be at Patewood Hospital. I am very anxious about it...not very excited to be back at the beginning of healing again.I am so happy that my dear love and friend JD will be working in the hospital that day...somehow, knowing when I am out and asleep in anesthesia world that there is a love watching me, I feel settled.  I have done some reading and it seems that some women recover quickly and others have a slower process. I am thinking about 10 days. This week and next week are full of pre-op appointments. I am visiting the allergist again to try to determine which medicine caused that horrible reaction on Halloween.
Today I had a dentist appointment to get a crown and nearly had a panic attack...the drill and and being so vulnerable was way more than I was ready for and I left the office nearly hysterical. I sobbed all day and had visions of being attacked and violated and hurt.  Bless my Dentist!
can't wait for my next Mud Run!
Chan and the kids and I are looking forward to a fun spring and lots of new beginnings! We are training for a 1/2 marathon and the children are training for a 5k. (well, Marshall runs and Sophie runs half way and then cries...)

Things I love right now:
training for the 1/2 marathon
Sunday Long runs have made me feel ALIVE
teaching cycle again, not just suffering through, but, KICKING ASS!
not taking ANY meds, not even advil
My son who is so tender, he whispers that I am his favorite
( I am sure I'm not, but, I love that he tells me that in his quiet serious voice)
my steadfast friends who won't let me be pitiful too long, who make me laugh and who comfort me
my friend Emily who does whatever I need no matter what
my friend Jennifer who runs with me and holds my hand
my friend Joy who whispers that I am a RockStar
my friend Darla who will knock anyone down if they say or do anything not sweet or kind, and loves me in all the best ways
my friend Susan who loves me SO and I feel it at all times
( I felt like shouting out to my girls today, there are more, but these are the ones I see and get love from every day.)

Joy and I and the 'girls' 
cleavage--seriously people!...nobody ever looked at my chest before...

Things I am struggling with right now:
prickly itchy skin under the arm where the lymph nodes were removed.
muscle spasms and pain all night and I can't sleep
fear of the transfer surgery...can't stand the thought of being vulnerable and in pain again
pulled muscles in the side, serratus and intercostal still can't breathe deeply
no weight
skinny arms...Dr. Fabulous says, focus on toning, what is THAT???
cleavage----seriously, what am i supposed to do with all that!! I need new shirts, sports bras and I was mortified this week when I taught a class and my sports bra showed waaay too much skin...which I didn't figure out until I started teaching and just had to keep going and suck it up.
BootyBootCamp, I am coaching, can't
wait to DO the workout too...

my happy list is bigger than my sad list, I will take that any day. 
much love and thank you all for your prayers,
Surgery Date is February 2~~ new soft boobies coming my way!!!  We prayed at supper tonight, S. led the prayer, "Dear God, please let Mommy's surgery go well and that she comes home with soft boobies and that they aren't too big." M. said, "S! what are you talking about, she's perfect!"
love that's all

jumping fire with Big Daddy!

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