Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New-tral Year!!

Hello 2013! I would say "I've been waiting for you..", but this would suggest that all of this surgery mess is over. You know what, if life's taught me ANYTHING, don't assume ANYTHING and be flexible with your plans! I do hope that this BRCA surgery stuff is over BUT if it isn't then I'll roll with it. I set myself up BIG TIME with my 2nd surgery in thinking that that one was going to be my last at least regarding the breast. Ha! That was so naive and completely my fault. If I do face more tweaking or tucking or filling via "surgery" then so be it. The only difference in my thought process this time (currently) is I'm not pausing anymore! I'm tired of that. I'm over what I think are the biggest surgical hurdles of this BRCA journey and for That I'm so thankful :)

I am 3 weeks out, TODAY, from a full Hysterectomy (opted for this verses a BSO--Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy) and bilateral Fat Grafting/lipo (from sides of waist to harvest), Nipple Reconstruction, and skin removal from sides (beneath arm pits in line with where the sides of a bra would be). Let me say...this surgery was a doozy! It was A LOT to do at once and took longer than what they thought it would. I had a few, relatively minor complications. I had to stay over night, which was planned but I had to go home with a urine catheter for 6 DAYS! That was terrible and depressing. If you've had one you know. There was a lot of scar tissue between my Uterus and Bladder and it caused my surgeon to have to cut very closely to the Bladder. He didn't want my Bladder to be over stressed therefore...the catheter. I took it out on Christmas Eve. I really felt like it limited my recovery, at least mentally, that first week. Once it was out, I started to progress. Christmas Day was decent (Jason and I had good faces on for the kids)! I just really didn't feel good after this particular surgery! It wasn't as bad as the first (Double Mastectomy) but MUCH harder than the second one (Exchange Surgery). This one took a little over 5 hrs as opposed to the planned 3. It was HELL HELL HELL for about a week and a half.

Another fear was the dreaded MENOPAUSE!!! So far so good I will say. I opted for the Hysterectomy because 1. I'm done having kids. You only need a Uterus for that and for nothing else so... 2. The surgeon was already in there..why not?! 3. If I was eligible for HRT (hormone replacement therapy), then it has to be a combo drug of Estrogen AND Progesterone. Here's the "BRCA" people shouldn't take Progesterone because it strongly contributes to breast cancer therefore making elective double mastectomies unproductive! If you still have your Uterus you have to have this combo HRT because Estrogen ALONE contributes to Uterine cancer...ughh. Solution, at least for me and I think that is the only obvious choice, is a full hysterectomy because if I DO NEED some HRT, then I can take Estrogen (alone) via the patch. Estrogen has shown to lower BC chances (which I need and if you're not deemed Estrogen sensitive) contrary to what I've alway thought and it'll control hot flashes if that becomes a problem. GOOD NEWS... I haven't had any problems yet and haven't needed the "patch"!

Now for the breast. The nipple reconstruction is a trip! It's so crazy and amazing. You may remember if you've been following or if you haven't, I had an Areola Sparing procedure during the first surgery back in April. They survived and have regained all their natural pigmentation and even wrinkle when cold (which I can't feel but have just seen this happen after the shower etc). I think this is truly miraculous! I won't go into details on the Areola Sparing procedure, because I have in entries past, but if you're curious or it. Bottom line is they're not breast tissue and its COMPLETELY safe! Dr Meade carved "nipples" out of MY existing Areola skin and now that "area" of my reconstructed breast is me, ALL ME! It's the little things right...even if the "little" things are Nipples! The scars are REALLY angry looking but they'll get better, luckily I scar well. Finally something I'm good at!! ;). I'm very uneven right now (which would require more surgery if it doesn't level out) but for now I will be a patient Patient.

I titled the "New-tral" this way because I'm just that... Neutral. This may sound negative but it's not its neutral. I've always based things, anything, on these expectations and for the most part they never work out and I'm always disappointed and angry. I've been all over the place in this BRCA journey and its been controlled my "expectations". I won't expand on this because I don't think it's difficult to figure out that my expectation led me to disappointment...almost every time! So I'm just going to go with it. If I'm COMPLETELY done, then that will be determined at a later date, not now. If I need another surgery or surgeries, then so be it. It is what it is. One day this will all be an experience that I've had, that I learned and grew from and will hopefully be able to help someone else from and an experience that will be OVER. This will all be determined later as well. As far as being "positive", this is positive for me...seriously.

What's next??? Well, in the next month or two, I hope to resume running (slowly of course). I'll start out with my walking routes and then slowly incorporate the running. I'm excited for this and I'm proud of myself for thinking ahead and not thinking about now. I also intend to work on getting strong. I need a strong body as much as I need food, water, sleep and love. My 35 year old body has been through A LOT since April 2, 2012 and I am very weak as a result. I kicked off my surgery fest back in Aug 2011 with a Tummy Tuck, so this added TO the BRCA surgeries has been A LOT a lot! You know what, that's ok. Really. As weak as I feel, I must be pretty strong though. I think it's probably "drive" as much as anything and this suggest that the mind is indeed a powerful thing in over coming problems. I'm going to need to remember this BECAUSE I plan on using CrossFit to get my body strong and I think my body is probably going to hate me :). It's hard, really hard. Don't know what CrossFit is, look it up, it's amazing. When I do begin this Body Recovery process, I will most likely document it here as I feel that some may read this blog and you need to see all of this shit come full circle! So stay tuned!

So now that I intend on getting my body healthy and balanced, I will also be working on balancing other aspects of my life. I will focus on NOT pleasing everyone else but myself. I am going to try to stop worrying if someone doesn't like what I say or do or if I can't accommodate them. It's impossible to think I can win in all areas like these! I'll have to find a balance in doing what I can do and being ok with it not always working out. This is hard for me and I spend a lot of mental time worrying about pleasing, disappointing, fixing, tolerating, controlling, and obsessing over people and things. I can't do this anymore and I won't. This year I've had friends and family SHOCK me in how selfish they can be. Seriously! But you know what, that's ok....I can only control how that effects me. If I can remove breast and ovaries and a uterus and skin...then I can remove people. People, even family, can be as destructive as these body pieces were going to be to me and I cut them off and out without pause. This oddly gives me peace when I'm faced with struggling with a person in my life, whether friend or family, I can just simply remove them. It's that simple. Life's too short, fragile and unpredictable and for a girl like me, I don't have time to spend on bullshit anymore :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Surgery #3 tomorrow

Well, I'm going in tomorrow for my 3rd and hopefully final surgery! I'm optimistic and if I've learned anything from my second surgery, it's to not expect anything other than it ALL takes time.

I am up fighting sleep obsessing about my thoughts. It's almost as if I'm intentional trying to think about stuff lol!
Here are my thoughts...Surgery, menopause, hormone replacement, fat grafting, being sore, remembering it only last a little while, implant adjusting, new nips and will they look like I envision, Christmas, bringing in 2013 AND moving on. I'm even a little sorrowful that my fertility is really over. Bare in mind I've had my tubes tied so what the hell right?? It's been a crazy 8 months. I've made use of my insurance deductible being met and have gone to 7 drs for the last 7 Mondays! 3 weeks ago I found out that after 11 years of Cardiomyopathy stabilization, my heart function had dropped some. I am now on 2 heart pills as a result :(. It's all good though because I REFUSE to let this effect me! I was understandably disappointed and sad hearing this, as it makes mad about the Leukemia ALL OVER AGAIN, but I refuse to let it stop all that I have planned for myself!

I have not run in a while but you know what that's ok. Luckily running involves feet not boobs so come Feb I'm off :) I've replaced my running with reading at the time and I really enjoy it! I also plan to start Crossfit. I'm super scared to do so but I'm ALWAYS scared about something and I find the strength to do what I gotta do! During all of this, I have learned things about myself..some good some bad but regardless self awareness is important right? I'm learning to let shit go, and I'm learning to let people in and trust. Now for those of you who know me well, don't scoff. It may not always be on display but believe me, the thoughts in my head are changing...slowly :). I'm still a worrier though, not sure that'll ever change. I'm a "baggage" packer so before I even have any issues to worry about, I'm ready.

I'm starting to really build relationships with my long lost siblings who are interested in knowing me and my family :) There are a couple of hold outs but I can't waist any time on that and won't.

All in all, I'm feeling much better about my foobs and I continue to pray and hope for a good outcome in the end, whenever that may be!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Post op Appt today

In the car on the way to Dallas to see Dr Meade. Can help but feel like I'm preparing for battle as I am unhappy about MANY things. I want better understanding of my situation which is such a weird thing to say right? I'm ran here I am almost 6 months from my first surgery and there still things I need more clarification on! I'm an over thinker so naturally I won't be happy till I twist my mind up in thoughts over this.

I was so nervous about my Exchange surgery and I had such HIGH hopes (not thinking that was unreasonable) and I'm so disappointed. At what specifically I'm not even sure. Again, sounds crazy I know. I think I'm walking a fine line, once again, of being realistic (I guess??) and picky/perfection. Ah ha...there it is! Perfection! I've never really had a good body image and I was comfortable with that but here was this "situation" I found myself in. I was going to have a DOUBLE MASTECTOMY. Here's my chance to ditch these large, saggy, almost vacant boobs for a COMPLETELY new pair! Bittersweet!

Hopefully when I get there the doc and I will be able to go over my list of concerns and come up with a plan to solve some if not all the issues.

Pray for me, Jason AND Dr Meade. If you don't do that, then wish us ALL luck ;)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Exchange Surgery

Well I had my exchange surgery this past Monday. I had the Expanders taken out and the Implants were put in their place. My right side had a few complications from the beginning so Dr Meade had to correct some of that and remove more skin and cut out scar tissue therefore my incision is MUCH larger/longer than the original. What's the big deal right?! I'm already scarred out the wazoo so what's a little more. Seriously though, as long as Jason doesn't mind a few dents on this can, that's all that should matter. Dr Meade also Fat Grafted from the sides (upper next to boobs beneath arms...where I like to think that my old boobs moved to after I finished breast feeding because I had a WHOLE lot more over there than in the front just sayin) and on the backside of the love handle/hip areas. Holy shit is it sore. I know that the end result of these lipo'd areas will look great but right now it'! I woke up with a compression garment on much like the one I had after my Tummy Tuck. Did I mention that before? I had a TT last Aug. So by the end of this Dec (following my next surgery) I will have had 4 biggies in a year :) Go big or go home right?
I'm very sore much like the previous surgeries. I'm a little concerned about the shape of my NEW new boobs. They aren't like the originals (which I figured), they're not like the Expanders (which I figured) I guess they're somewhere in the middle. That probably sounds great right? Well I'm struggling a little with where I'm at now. I am in a surgical bra that is to provide support and I guess shape? I can't remove (unless showering) for 2 weeks. They look ok but honestly I got use to the "round" fake boob look and right now, I really don't have that so a revision may be in my future :-/. I have "Textured Silicone" implants. They, like the Expanders, are placed between the muscle. The "textured" part is to doubly ensure non-slippage. Great right?! I know that I walk a RAZOR thin line of being grateful/satisfied and picky. Well I guess I'm being a little picky right now and honestly I don't give a shit. For right now, I'm going to be picky. I'm 35 years old and hopefully have a lot of life to live and forgive me if I want my boobs to look like I WANT them to. I mean if I have to find myself in this situation and have to get fake boobs, then they better look BAD ASS! Jason says that I'm being impatient and that it's too soon to judge and insist that I am wise enough to know these things...huh..that's what he thinks ;) My doctor told me the same thing after I emailed him 30 min after I got home from surgery at 8:30 at night!! I know that he'll be glad to be rid of me lol! That's ok. I'm a case of his and when my case is over, I'll be a memory. So if in the mean time, I am a slight pain in the ass then oh well.
What's up next, well my next surgery will be Dec 17 and I will have nipple reconstruction and a COMPLETE hysterectomy. So it will be menopause for me this Christmas. Oh the joy. Oh well, why not right. If I'm not happy with how these boobies take shape, then these bastards are coming out too and I'll replace them with some magazine quality ones. :)

On another note, once again I am BLOWN AWAY with how wonderful people have been to Jason and I. The concern momentum hasn't slowed from the first surgery even though this was a little less traumatic than the first. Some have even come up out of no where and have been the biggest supporters with texting me ALL day and listening to my irrational thoughts etc. My neighbor, that I only slightly know, was at the store and called to see if we needed anything while she was there. A LONG time friend and parent of a kid my son's friends with was out and wanted to know if I wanted a snack/drink. People have taken my son to games at his school and brought him home for us. My husband's fire lieutenant's wife, while recovering from a fucking HEART TRANSPLANT that isn't even 2 wks old messaged me to see how I am? Heart/Boobs, Heart/Boobs um I'm PRETTY SURE that I'm doing much better than you Andi but I LOVE that you are worried. My girls at work bought me a crazy expensive eyeshadow palette (that I have yet to buy for myself because it's RIDICULOUS to spend $50 on shadow???) just because they know how tight I am and they wanted me to feel "girly" :) They have also washed and styled my hair for me. Oh the perks of being a hairdresser!! They gave me the most AMAZING card. We have a REALLY good group of ridiculously different personalities right now that for some reason work together. The grandmas once again are big helps even thought they BOTH have A LOT of serious personal shit going on with them. My mom has now been diagnosed with a huge stomach ulcer that she was unaware of. How you wonder, well because she has a wealth of other things wrong with her. She's a year out from Carcinoid Cancer where they removed 10"of colon, 3'of small intestine, appendix, terminal elium and 25-30 lymph nodes. She's been ill off and on with the horrible side effects of that surgery all year. My "MIL" (mother-n-law) is dealing with the sad and TERRIBLE decline of our Mom-o. This is her mother, my husband's grandmother, kid's great-grandmother, my daughter's name sake and a WONDERFUL woman. I didn't grow up with or experience a "grandmother". She has always been good to me and treated me like I was family, not an "in-law". In my book that's everything. So the grandmas involvement with my ordeal is wonderful considering all that's on their plate at this time.
"It's times like these, that you see who your real friends and family are" we've all heard or used that statement before right? Well it's true and it's AMAZING who fills those roles. It's SURPRISING to see who fills those roles. It's not that ppl need an "act" of kindness or help sometimes just a text (because that's the world we live in) suffices. That's ok. Everyone knows what they are and aren't involved in and are comfortable there. It's a little harder to digest when it's family but that's ok, family members are people and ppl are flawed. We usually take for granted that family "knows" that we're here for each other, that's a misconception but it is what it is. I'm not perfect and I am so unbelievably busy (when I'm not recovering from surgeries) but we do what we can to check in with ppl. Anyway I'll move on from this. This soap box is a comfy one and I could stand and stand and stand.

I'll sum this up. Thank you to everyone. Jason and I are lucky and grateful to have each of you.

I'm ready to feel better and to move past all of this surgery shit. I am a patch work quilt, cut and sliced. Some new pieces, some things in new places and some things discarded. A pleasant description of myself right? I've also used the "I feel like a round bunt cake" analogy. You know, those round pans that have the grooves in them? It's a fantastic way to fool ppl into thinking "hey I brought a round cake, I made it and it's iced like a champ"! Well I'm that cake and what everyone doesn't know is part of my awesome round cake got dented taking it out of the pan that was supposed to be easy to come out of. So what did we do...we just packed it back together and slapped some icing on it. No one will ever know the difference right? I do and so does Jason. He says that it doesn't bother him and that I'm beautiful..and blah and blah and husband got a raw deal 14 years ago when he said "I do". No man would EVER sign up for all that we've been through knowingly. Little did he know, I included it in the fine print, you gotta check those things :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm Back!

I haven't blogged since May but not for any particular reasons other than being busy.

Ok so what have I done since then. I have had all the Expansions that I am going to have, so I'm done with those. The expanding procedure itself wasn't painful since I have no feeling near the port site under the skin on either side. Now the last 2 expansions were VERY uncomfortable due to them being quite larger than being flat chested obviously I am uncomfortable when I sleep but I am able to sleep on my sides. I toss and turn most nights but I am able to be on my sides. Through my clothes I look relatively normal but out of them, just ridiculous! They look so fake and completely unnatural. My plastic surgeon said they would AND they do.

We went to the beach in June and it was great! I wore a 2 piece and I will say, weird fake boobs and all, it was pretty cool having a bikini top that didn't look like saggy sacks ;). I am still just wearing shelf tanks/camis under my tops or AS my tops. Again, can't complain about that.

I'm still working and while I did have some limitations speed, fatigue,'s all kind of worked itself out. As with anything, it just took time. I'm so impatient and VERY hard on myself, this has been one of the most difficult things for me.

I was cold all time in the beginning and that has worked itself out too. If you remember, I had an Areola Sparing procedure with my double. My incision is vertical from the areola down and under the Foob horizontally. In doing this he also lifted everything (thank you Dr Meade!!). My right areola just healed like last week. While the areolas were trying to heal, Dr M would have me put iodine on them every night to dry up the scabs (sorry if too tmi). My right side just completely closed so that I don't have to use iodine woohoo!!

My next surgery is Aug 31st. It's the Exchange surgery. We will take out these effing Expanders, cut out scar tissue (rt side is pretty bad), fat graft (oh yeah...lipo!) and put in the permanent Implants! Wheww!

I have a few more blog entries but I want to break them up so be on the look out for:
-My appt with the Gynecological Oncologist aka. GynOc.
-My Surgery stuff leading up to and after


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Work Experience

5 weeks out.

Well I'm back to work. I went back after 3 wks post PBM, slowly. If you haven't caught it before, I am a hair stylist. This is SO difficult, much more difficult than I expected. I know that must sound crazy being that I use my arms primarily to do my job. I've just gone slowly, very slow for me, as I knew that I didn't want any set backs. It was was harder too because my right arm has less range of motion than my left and I'm right handed :-/. That problem is getting better though :). My clients have been wonderful and very patient :).

My husband stayed off with me the entire time..THANK THE LORD! Even though I went to work a few times while he was off, I was so spent that there was NO way I could work and come home and do the kids. Yesterday was my first day without him and I had such bad anxiety I just though I would go mad! I was so happy when 10 pm rolled around, I crawled into bed and forced myself to go to sleep. I had a little aid :). My mom took my little one to preschool for me and my mother in law took the big one. That was a huge help because the thought of getting up first day w/out Jason and getting the 3 of our of the house by 8 am when I hadn't done that yet was daunting! Getting my daughter in and out her car seat hasn't been fun either. I'm pretty sure that she was only in it minimally secure yesterday :-/. I tell myself, all this use of my peck muscles and while sore, working out the kinks, has to be therapeutic? Oh well, that's what I tell myself. I still have to do the the old roll your legs off the bed and slide out of bed. Learned that during the c-section :).

I'm mentally feeling more like myself now. I think if gone to the "acceptance" phase of this...maybe. I want this to be true. You know, when you feel bad, you can't feel normal, so now that I hurt less my brain is settling down some!

I'm experiencing the effects of the Expanders not being full. Now that swelling has reduced significantly, when I try to stretch, my muscle and skin press my expander in like a deflated ball! It's creepy really creepy :-/. I go the 21st to get some saline, I'm ready for that! The left one feels soft and squishy, not like a "boob" isn' feels squishy like a pool toy lol. The right one, well, I'm not really sure what's going on with this one but they are definitely not on the same page. This one's harder and still feels bruised :(. My areolas are trying to heal up too and there will be scaring. I knew this going in so I don't have issues with this. I'm just ready for them to heal! I'm doing iodine at night to dry some spots up. I've also progressed to large band-aids! No more gauze and tape :)

We leave for vacation in 6 weeks and I'm ready for that! Since I have been delayed in expansions due to healing issues, I won't be going to the beach looking so "augmented" as I thought! I'm grateful for this. Prior to the surgery I discussed my vacay with my PS and predicted that I would be close to my finishing up with expansions and caused that I would look very "augmented". When asked what he meant by that, he said that it would look like a bad boob job...very fake. I was definitely not excited about this, so now it's not an issue! It also means that I will probably not be ready for the Exchange surgery till more like July or Aug, I'm glad about this!

I can't believe I'm 5 weeks out! Parts of this I have such vague memories of and parts I remember VIVIDLY! I'm doing better and that's what's important :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012


That's it "slow". I'm slow. If you know me, this isn't a word that I would be proud to be described as nor am I proud to describe myself as this. Not until you're "slow" do you realize that you rush and do everything as fast as you can on a daily basis. I don't try to be this way BUT apparently that is just my personality type?! So..I'm struggling with this. You would think that with as many life bullets I've dodged in my adulthood, that I wouldn't be in a hurry to get done with a day or get over an event or rush my kids, family...check off my check list?! I should slowww down and "be" in a conversation with a friend or stop and read a book to my 3 year old (I do this one but ya know...) eat slower, walk slower, talk slower, slow my thoughts...this is all hard for me. Now, I would NEVER want to be so laid back that I get nothing done or be lazy but a little slower wouldn't hurt I suppose. I even physically write slower right now because you don't realize that you engage your peck muscles to do that!

Right now I don't have a choice. I walk slower because these Expanders don't move, my skin just moves around them, so since its uncomfortable and effing creepy, I walk slower. I talk slower and less because apparently I become some passionate (this makes my laugh at myself) even in basics conversations that my chest/foobies start to spasm and it's uncomfortable and also effing creepy! I can't really read long stories to my C-girl b/c of the tightness but I try to make do. I eat less BUT not necessarily healthier lately b/c well, I feel sorry for myself and I guess I think I deserve to eat junk food?! This situation is currently under review and is stopping now! This just leaves my "thoughts" to be addressed. There's NO bio feedback lol to slow those other than tears. I do a good job at pushing those down most of the time but still. Oddly enough, while I don't want the physical limitations (slowness) I crave for my mind to slow the F down! While I still ache and I'm so cold ALL THE TIME that I sit in sweats and under a heating blanket,I'm left to "think" about how bad I still feel and that I know that I haven't bounced right back and that it will be a while before I do and that my chest feels weird and I wonder if that will ever change and will I run again and work fast again and talk fast again and and and and...see, rapid fire thinking! If I could only get paid for thinking ;). Do you know that when I drink cold things I feel it in my foobs? We've all had that feeling of drinking something cold first thing in the morning, milk maybe?, and feeling it go cold all the way down. Mine now stops at the foobs...really?! What in the hell has happened to my body. DISCLAIMER...I know and appreciate how lucky I am that this isn't coupled with chemo...I've actually had people want to remind me of this, kindly of course, that haven't had any REAL health problems themselves...even much older than me :) While I DO appreciate the help and try to remember its coming from a good place and really it's because this is uncomfortable to them...shut the fuck up. I DO appreciate the well wishes and the kind words even if some aren't helpful. I know people mean well :). Sorry mom...I know that you're probably not super excited that I wrote the "f" word and that you've encouraged your friends to read this too Cindy...but I am what I am :-/ My goal is truly not to offend anyone...honest to God!

On a brighter amazingly adjustable family is taking the foobs on the chin :). While this is all horrible mentally for me, our conversations about them are quite comical at times :) I'm happy for this. I've had great support from my mom and mother-n-law and from friends. Some of the friends, that I thought were kinda like baby/beginner friendships or I was just sort of unsure of the depth of them, have turned out to be some of my greatest supporters?!!! God is so wonderful and has made some truly wonderful people just like him! These friends have not only embraced me but the hubs and my kids too! They love
us and show it. It's times like these when people's true colors come out and J and I have really seen who's "in" and who's "out".

Well if you were brave enough to read this today, I hope you weren't offended by my ranting and I hope that you were maybe possibly entertained by some of the Kelly "fashion"?!

Recap...I'm slow right and I'm bothered by this. That's just it. I'm not even bothered by the small boob size and I thought I would really struggle with that?! My husband is still AMAZING and my kids are getting use to all of this. I just need to get with the program and I know that I will but today just isn't that day :-/. I think I've mentioned once or twice that I'm super flawed? I AM better and faster than I was even a wk ago, I just want to be better now kay thanks :)