Remember, Remember the 16th of November!

My second surgery is scheduled for Monday November 16, 2015, it’s called Stage 2.  I am ready!!!!  So far no one has told me how many stages there are.

On November Friday the 13th I had blood taken, an EKG, I peed in a cup and talked to 3 different people about my allergies, my family history and how I felt.

Two weeks ago I stopped drinking alcohol, green tea, stopped taking all supplements including natural sleep aid and tried to eat healthy balanced meals. “Healthy” to me means something different than conventional medicine, but I don’t care,  I will viciously defend my Paleo, non-processed food diet.  The night be for surgery I must stop all food and fluid by midnight. I check-in to the hospital at 9am for an 11am surgery. A snow storm is predicted, so I have to hope that the Hubs and I can get to the hospital, and the doctors and nurses have 4-wheel drive transportation too!

I’m still tired and a little worried that my sleep deprived brain will not fair as well this time.  I also have more stress this time because I started a new job in mid October.  I plan to take a week off and then work from home for the second week. Other random thoughts, since I was diagnosed, two friends have died. Life is fragile.

My exercise is down because sitting at a desk for 9 hours and driving 25 miles to work each day eats up a lot of my walking time.  My day steps have gone from 11,000, to 5,000.  I walk out of the office at 5pm with 3,000 steps, a number I would have got by 9am before I started working. I’m hoping I can get back into a better routine after surgery and get my body moving more on a regular basis. Having a salary is nice, but I swing from being happy I am saving for retirement, to wondering how long I have before I die, and is it worth it.

I heard someone on talk radio say that you really need to save up more than you think. You could live a long, long time and should take the age of your longest living parent and add 10 years.  The other people in the radio studio gasped! Yes, another 10 years. Hmmm, let me see, that would be 60+10 = 70 years old. Hang on, I may have enough saved up already for that….what am I doing?????

My latest surgery is officially called Stage 2.  Tissue expanders are removed (through the incision they were put in – think cutting the top off a mountain) and silicone implants are added and I’m restitched up again.  The doctor may have to add some surgical tape if the tape from the first surgery did not settle well.  This uncertainty means my surgery could be between 2 and 3.5 hours.  It also means that I may, or may not need drains.  After surgery I cannot lift anything over 10 lbs for 3 weeks. I have to sleep in a recliner for a couple of weeks, I cannot lie on my side for 4 weeks. I wear a corset for 1 week and then a tight fitting bra for at least 4 weeks.  Apart from the bra at the end, it sounds very similar to the first surgery, but with squashy things instead of hard expanders.

I currently have some very thin skin areas and creases. The doctor had said that he would add fat and smooth out creases and reinforce thin areas.  When he said that I naturally though that would be when he put the implants in, apparently I was mistaken.  I will need to let the implants settle before he starts smoothing things out. So there is another surgery on the horizon (is that Stage 3?).  There are also nipples to get, and may be tattoos (Stage 4?).  I’m getting my mind to accept the fact that pain from expanders will go, but sharp needle pain from thin skin areas, and indents and outdents will remain until a 3rd operation next year.

I am thankful I caught my cancer early, I really am. I am thankful health insurance pays for reconstruction. I am thankful I didn’t have to have chemotherapy, radiation or Tamoxifen (oh so thankful).  But please let me whine a little about how much longer reconstruction is going to take. Please let me whine (for a short time) about the unrealistic expectations all three doctors gave me about the time between my final tissue fill and the exchange to implants. Everything I read said 6 weeks. My wait was 11 weeks. I’m pretty sure I would be a little more accepting of the delays and suggestions of multiple surgeries. I understand why some women forgo nipple reconstruction and just go for a 3D tattoo; they are just ready for it to be over. I’m ready to stop thinking about my chest and focus on something else. Okay, whine over, I’m good.

2nd Surgery Mark Up
2nd Surgery Mark Up

Oh, on November 13th I also got marked up for surgery. It’s blurry and colorful. Do you think I should have it blown up and transferred to canvas. I’m pretty sure most people would think it’s some modern masterpiece (if I put it on it’s side)  :-)

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