Bad Right Breast

I've Always Hated My Right Breast!

a date is set …. September 4, 2011

Filed under: cancer,MRIs and Scans,reconstruction — Bad Right Breast @ 9:14 pm

Sorry that it seems like I’ve left some of you in the dark. Just needed some time to process it all.

First, the thoracic and lumbar MRI’s of my spine just show stressed. DUH! But good news is no more cancer in my body other than what they’ve already found.

Second, I met with my plastic surgeon. Dr. Samson, whom Graham loves because he has a scar on his face. Apparently, a plastic surgeon who likes imperfection on his own body is a plus for the G-man. I like him because he was amazing in our consult. The bummer is that I won’t be having the surgery I was hoping for, but the good news is that that the recovery time will be much shorter and I can start chemo much sooner. So no tummy tuck for LBK. DAMN!

Basically, Dr. Samson told me that I didn’t have enough to work with in my stomach or inner thighs to give me anywhere close to 25% of what I have now. I know, he was basically telling my that I’m on the skinny side. While he was trying to give me a compliment I wanted to punch him the face and give him another scar. But, I didn’t. I continued to listen. Apparently, he’s done this before, and there have been women, just like me – big breasted, cancer, mastectomy, turned off of the idea of ‘implants’, opting for tissue transfer, not being satisfied with what the doctors could do, and come back years later to opt for the implant. The tissue transfer surgery lasts 12 hours, minimum of 4 nights in the hospital, and at least 5 weeks to recover. Very invasive, scarring from hip to hip, and painful recovery. The implant surgery – 4 hours long, 2 nights in the hospital and 2 weeks of recovery. They’d put in tissue extenders (TEs) that are full of saline, and I’d most likely have to go in to his office twice to have them inject more saline in order for the tissue and skin to stretch to the size I want. I’d return after chemo for them to put the implant in – out patient, one day surgery, 2 days recovery.

So while I’m pissed that I can’t have what I was hoping for, I’m being realistic that the implants are what I should do. I’d be able to have control over what I get, which I like (since I’ve never had control over these things before, and in more ways than several!) and I can heal much faster to start fighting this bitch inside of me. Dr. Samson also tells us that he has a hybrid procedure that he’s done for larger breast women, in which he takes the excess tissue & skin that is normally discarded and uses it as a ‘pocket’ almost to hold in the implant and makes it feel much more normal than a regular implant, with your own tissue and skin double supporting it. He drew everything out on the table butcher paper (that crap I always hate sitting on at a drs’ office). Showed us where the scarring would be, and showed us pictures of other women’s surgeries – before and after – so that I could have a better idea.

I went home, discussed it with Graham, and called them the next day. I go in for my flu shot on Thursday since I can’t get sick at all throughout this, get tested for the Cancer gene on Friday. My pre-op with Dr. Samson is on 9/13, then I’ll meet with Dr. Estabrook, my breast surgeon to discuss the mastectomy and chemo treatment, then to the hospital to start blood work. The surgery is scheduled for 9/22, 7:30am.

I’ve been making my lists of everything that I need to do between now and then. Know that I still feel perfectly healthy. Still am biking to work, moving massive furniture as we renovate our office (LOOKS BEAUTIFUL!), grocery shopping, schlepping the food up our 3 hills. If it weren’t for the cancer in my tata, I’d think I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life.

But I thank each of you. For your kind words, for your encouraging spirits, for your rays of hope, and for the time that it’s taken you to write to me in support. I know that those in NY will be helping out more than I could have ever imagined, and those far away wish that you could. It’s all appreciated more than you know.

All My Love,
Laurie

PS – I did ask Dr. Samson about the option to gain an extra 20 pounds to give him more to work with. But he said that stomach cells would stay stomach cells. Just because they got transferred to my breast, wouldn’t automatically make them convert. If I lost weight, I’d lose the weight where I gained it, which would then be my boobs. WEIRD! Blasted science hasn’t caught up with my dietary needs!

 

Scans & Results August 25, 2011

Filed under: MRIs and Scans — Bad Right Breast @ 9:12 pm

First of all, I thank each of you for your support, prayers & words of encouragement.

Yesterday was another ‘event’, and why shouldn’t it be? No day is ever dull for me. I’ve worked with killer whales, chinese ambassadors, Broadway shows and farms for pete’s sake!

So MRI’s? Why the loud banging? The melodic combination of car alarms, machine guns & nuclear bomb alarms for 1/2 an hour. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like if they didn’t give me ear plugs. They gave me an IV for sedation if needed, but I passed out anyways no matter the sirens marking the end of the world surrounding me. But before I continue, i need to put an image in your head….

You assume an MRI is lying on your back & you enter this claustrophobic chamber, right? Oh no. For a breast MRI, you climb up on your knees, back facing the machine. You open your robe and support yourself going down in a semi-plank position, until you fit each breast into, what i call, its own ‘tune in tokyo’ contraption. Seriously. Then the nurse wiggles each breast to ensure they’re in correctly. Ok, now you should close your eyes and picture it. Go ahead. It’s alright to giggle. I sure did!

After I was done, I went down for the PetCT scan. Another IV for sugar to stun my system (after my previous day of low carbs/no sugar, and not having eaten anything 6 hours before or drink anything 4 hours before), then I drank this shake to ‘highlight’ my intestines. I thought, oh this little cup is nothing. The tech gave me what he said was the best flavor, mocha-chino. I can’t imagine how bad the strawberry, banana or others are because mocha-chino tasted like ass, but a little cup, no problem. He shows me to my own little medical cell (4×4 room) with a recliner and space heater to warm my body up, hands me the rest of the shake (almost a 1/4 gallon). Tells me to drink the rest, and that he’ll be back in an hour. Thank goodness I brought my laptop to work!

He returns, has me empty my bladder and remove my bra. I do so, and he again asks if I’m wearing any metals, including hair tie. Then I lie down, and he starts to fill my IV with the radiation fluid. Warns me that my mouth will taste like metal and I’ll feel a warming sensation go through my body, starts at my head through my torso. When it reaches my bladder, it’ll feel like I’m peeing, but I’m not. And boy was he right, what a sensation! Then he straps me in like a mummy and tells me to go to sleep. An hour and half later, I’m done.

My Chief Doc calls me soon after to tell me my MRI came back fine, so left breast is clear. And then called me this morning to tell me the PetCT came back with what looks like arthritis in my lower back. Don’t be freaked out, doesn’t think it’s cancer, but wants to do a back MRI (on Tuesday) to get more details before schedule the surgery. Um, doc, have you not noticed my DDs? Of course I have stress, pain, arthritis in my lower back!

More waiting, wondering, planning, and still working. If it weren’t for a little thing called Hurricane Irene, I would have biked to work today! Still feeling healthy despite the cancer in my right tata!

Love you all.
Laurie