Tag Archives: expander

Don’t make me laugh . . . just kidding . . . :)

9 Aug

I saw my breast reconstruction surgeon today – she expanded my right side again – this was the third expansion.

I have felt better, that is for sure, but, I have also felt a lot worse . . . so, in the scheme of things it is okay. I am hoping I will feel better tomorrow. I have a lot of work to get done tomorrow. So we shall see how that goes.

I am really anxious to see my other surgeon, Dr. Coleman, this Thursday. I really want her input on what is happening with the right side. It is painful and I think that is normal. But, I am not so sure that everything else I am feeling is normal. There is a lot of pressure with the expansion (each one is progressively more stretching and more painful). I would imagine that is also normal. But, today there was a lot more pressure on my rib cage/chest wall. So much so that it hurts to cough, take a deep breath or laugh . . . please don’t make me laugh right now 🙂 The most difficult part right now is getting up from bed. It is very hard to get up right now as the expanded expander seems to push in pretty deep into my chest. Oh well.

Ugh.

Dr. Coleman sees so many patients who go through this process. So, I am really looking forward to seeing her this week. Hopefully my appointment will go well and I will get her thoughts (and hopefully reassurance) on how the right side is coming along. I am definitely nervous about the right side.

The surgery on the right is the same as the surgery on the left (the surgery I had on May 19th). But, it is not the same in that my right side is different after the radiation . . . my pectoral muscle and skin and chest wall were radiated. How that plays out in terms of reconstruction varies from person to person. As far as I know, I got through the radiation pretty well. My skin got pretty red and burned, and it burned right through to my back. But, it also seemed to heal quite well. So, hopefully, that will mean that things will work out well. I am confident that I will ultimately be happy with the results. I think. It is just getting there that I am worried about . . . the process.

Starting to feel a little better now . . . or . . . just getting used to it more.

Love and peace,

Lisa

This time last year . . .

4 Aug

This time last year I was just about to have my first surgery, a bi-lateral mastectomy. It seems so, so long ago. And, somehow, at the same time it is like it was yesterday. I can so vividly remember taking that last shower before surgery, washing my body with a special blue antiseptic soap that my surgeon asked me to use to help prevent infection. I will never forget that last shower, watching the bright blue soap run down my body and wash down the drain and thinking “this is the last time I will shower in this body.” I remember sobbing uncontrollably in the shower and even thinking of it now brings those tears right back. And I remember never feeling more alone in my life.

I remember knowing ahead of time that I would cry in the shower. Weird. I played it through my head before hand, like it was part of a movie script or something. But, as much as I had imagined it . . . when I took that shower . . . I was completely overcome with feelings I had not imagined, feelings of grief and sorrow and yes, some self pity and fear, but, mostly, just sorrow. I had imagined crying, but, I had not imagined how I would feel.

When I picture that time I am overcome again . . . here I am typing and crying . . . it has a way of sneaking up on you sometimes. 🙂 Usually, it is when I am alone. But, sometimes it will hit me when I am not alone, maybe I am a passenger in a car – not alone – yet, alone in my thoughts for a bit . . . and I am struck with it and then the trick is to disguise it in some way.

I guess it is good to cry about it once in a while. After all, I think there has just been a numbness about it for this past year. And, there is/was/is the need to just be okay for everyone. That has been a big part of being numb, not letting myself go “there” . . . where ever there is . . .

I guess I could call it the big fake out . . . 🙂 But, it is that fake out that has probably made it possible for me to get to where I am . . . so . . . that is good then. Still, it sneaks up on me sometimes.

I am okay though. But, it is hard now as I approach this next surgery. If I knew then what I know now, I am not sure I would be doing this. I guess it will all turn out. But, I am still not used to this new body and I wonder if I every really will be. I worry about taking the muscle out the right side of my back . . . not that I have a choice in the matter. But, I worry about it, about losing more feeling than I have already lost. It is surreal to willingly go through these things . . . for what, I wonder?

No one ever proposes the idea that maybe you don’t want to have reconstruction. Everyone, every doctor, surgeon etc., just assumes that it is what you, and what all women, want . . . to have replacement breasts. I just don’t know about that. If I could do it without losing physical agility, strength, then I probably would have no hesitation. But, I have not regained my pre-surgery use of my arms or strength.

I hear it takes a year or more for the tightness from this kind of surgery to go away. So, I guess I need to give it time. But, patience has not been one of my virtues lately. It was good, I think, to be very impatient with cancer. But, maybe not so good to be so impatient with this part of things.

Well, enough complaining. I have to get back to work!

Love and peace,

Lisa

Saw my surgeon today . . .

15 Jul

Today I saw my reconstructive surgeon. She believes that there is no damage to my implant from the accident. Fortunately, I was far enough out from surgery, healed enough, that the accident didn’t have a bad impact (no pun intended). I am still pretty sore and it definitely caused soreness around the areas where muscle was taken from my back and moved to the front (places that had been painful after surgery, but, had since felt fine, now hurt again . . . but, the good news is that my surgeon is not concerned about that, she says that everything looks fine).

The meeting went well, she was pleased with how everything is healing (scar wise, etc.).

We discussed a possible surgery date of September 9th, although, she told me not to get attached to that date as she would have to see if it was available or not. I sure hope it is. I desperately need to get back to work and can only do so if I am healed up from this next surgery in time for the next bar round . . . I fully intend to work the next bar round. So, if I can not get the surgery date by the middle of September (or, maybe even a little further into September), then I will have to postpone surgery for March of 2011.

I really do not want to postpone. BUT, I am not going to sit out another busy season.

Today I was able to make progress on a book I am working on. So that was good. It is slow, but, at least I am beginning to be able to do something with this brain of mine . . . besides cutting fingers and crashing cars . . . ugh.

Last weekend I got to see my friend Janice. She was visiting her son in San Diego and made the trip North to Orange County so that we were able to have a visit. It was great to see her and her son. We grew up together and I always thought of her as a sister. I will post some pictures from our visit soon.

Oh, the other update from my doctor’s visit is that my surgeon will start the expansion process this coming Monday . . . of course I have no car to drive now, but, will figure that out somehow . . .

I will go in every week for an expansion (saline injected into my expander in my right side of my chest). I have not had this done on the radiated side . . . not since I was radiated. I was expanded before radiation, but, then had to be deflated. So, now we start all over again, but, with radiated skin. There is no way to know right now how I will do with that. It is a bit painful and gets uncomfortable . . . changes my mobility in my right arm . . . but, it should go fine. It better, as I have two gigs coming up in a couple of weeks . . . need my arm to be working that bass!

Well, enough on all of that.

Please continue to keep me in your prayers . . . I thought by now I would not need it anymore, but, I was wrong . . . 🙂

Much love to all,

Lisa

Friday . . .

14 May

I saw my surgeon yesterday. She confirmed what will be happening on Monday. I will still have the reconstructive surgery on my left side. But, now will have the expander on the right side replaced. That means surgery on both sides. It is too bad that the expander did not last and ruptured. But, I am grateful that at least if it had to happen, it happened in time to have it dealt with in the same surgery on Monday. If it had ruptured a few weeks later, then I would have had to go in for another surgery just to take out the ruptured expander and put in a new one.

I was really glad that this surgery I would only have one side of my body involved – and so, only one arm limited post-op. But, now, since it involves both sides, it will mean both arms are affected like last time. That means no moving either arm for a bit and then just the recovery that is needed is needed for both. Bummer. I was looking forward to being able to do things for myself. Aaargh.

Still, I have to think that the recovery from this surgery is going to be much better, faster, easier, etc. than the last surgery. The last surgery was on the heals of chemotherapy which really had me dragging. I know I am much stronger now than I was back then.

Today I am trying to take care of everything that I can, phone calls, bills to pay, grocery shopping to do, cooking, cleaning and dealing with my idiotic landlord. It is pretty hard to do stuff right now as there is some significant pain from the broken expander. So, I am working at half speed . . . if that 🙂

I still do not have caretakers lined up – but, I hope to get that taken care of soon.

My brother Paul is going to drive me to the hospital on Monday – so grateful for that – as I have to be there at 5:00 am.

Well, wish me luck with everything and please continue to say prayers for me.

Love and peace,

Lisa