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Last night it hit… tears that wouldn’t stop.  I think it was getting that pap smear news and knowing that I have yet another procedure to go through.  All in all, I’ve been very strong throughout everything: the loss of my ovaries and breasts, the menopause, the seemingly endless complications, 4 surgeries since October and at LEAST 2 more on the horizon (expander on July 13th then exchange), looking at this body with only one breast mound and a concave, ugly reminder… Last night it all came crashing down.  I was so uncomfortable trying to watch TV and I kept stretching to relieve the tightness in my chest,  and putting the afghan on and off in response to my hot flashes and chills and I had just had it.

I went to bed thinking about how one year ago, none of this BRCA+ stuff was even on my radar and my life was just normal. I was active and healthy. I felt 27 instead of 67… I still had two beautiful, perky “girls” and a body that was still capable of bearing children.  I know that I made the right decision in testing and having my surgeries but every now and then the armor falls and I feel sad and grieve for the body that once had….. Last night (and today) was just one of those times. I know better days are coming. I know that this is just another “bump in the road” as Dr. M. says. I know all of that but I’m tired of this….   I look forward to not having to stuff one side of my chest, not being in a state of constant tightness and pulling and not having to sleep on my back,  and being able to regulate my body temperature for a full day for a change.  Sorry to be such a bummer.. but I’m human,  I’ve just about had it  and I’m sad….


Things are moving along here and it’s great to not be in pain. Of course, I’m not completely comfortable but far from the agony of full blown expanders!  I got my biopsy results from the mole on my face and it’s benign. Yippee!!  The dermatologist wants to see me yearly for a full body scan but that was great news!

I also got a call yesterday from the GYN and it’s got me bummed. My pap smear results came back abnormal so I have to go in for a colposcopy on Tuesday. I’ve have that before and it’s not fun!  Yikes!  Hopefully it’s nothing but I really hate having that procedure done. UGH!  Also, if they need to go in and do anything more than what can be done in the office, I hope she can coordinate with my PS and do it while I’m in for my expander surgery on July 13th. That will be my 5th operation since October and I know I have at least one more for the exchange after that so it will be 6 in one year. Sigh….. Here’s to the girl I once was who hasn’t had a thing since 1980.

I’m getting stronger every day and with the left side deflated and the right side non-existent, I can actually forget for a time what’s going on.  Of course, the minute a spasm hits or I reach across my chest to grab something and my arm brushes against it, I remember.  What I’m getting at is, because I’m healing and getting stronger every day in anticipation of my July 13th surgery, I’m not in pain and can get on with my life.  I’ve found just the right size facecloth to fill the right side of my sports bra to make it pretty even with the left so while it’s much more comfortable to be braless, I can look fairly normal going out in public and it’s not completely uncomfortable.

I really wish everything would be done before it’s time to go back to school in September because I think it’s important to be there at the start of the year but I’ve learned that It Is What It Is and I just have to go with the flow… Right now, I’m just getting better and living each day to the fullest. 🙂

I saw the dermatologist today and she did a full body scan to examine all of my moles and pigment changes.  She said that everything looked fine and consistent for my skin with the exception of the mole on my cheekbone that caused me to call her in the first place. She biopsied it in the office and will get back to me on the results in about a week.  We talked about my BRCA status and while BRCA2 has shown to have a high incidence of Melanoma, BRCA1 is inconclusive as of now. Regardless, considering my status and my mom’s basal cell cancers, she is keeping an eye on me. She encouraged a yearly check and for me to report anything new/suspicious that I see.

I went to my GYN for my annual on Friday and made out fine. She was up on all of my goings on because the Breast Specialist has been keeping her in the loop and forwarding my info. We did discuss the HRT and luckily she did not oppose it at all. She did change me over to combo type,  Climara Pro Patch, because I still have my uterus,  which will be applied weekly.  I haven’t started it yet because it wasn’t in stock at my CVS and they needed to order it. I picked up the prescription today so I’ll start it tomorrow.  She did my pap and internal and we discussed my BRCA1+ status and the fact that we’re going to be on top of any changes and will remain proactive. I thanked her once again for referring me to my Breast Specialist  and  Plastic Surgeon  as I am very happy with both of them. She loves them too and as she said, she doesn’t  only refer her patients to them but herself and her  friends as well.

I saw the PS today and he was very happy with my progress. He wanted to wait 8 more weeks until putting the expander back it but it falls on the July 4th week  so he is looking into July 13th. I need to see him again in a month for another follow up just to make sure that I’m still on track.  I did mention to him that I’m actually getting used to being so small as I’ve never, ever been flat. I told him that it’s liberating to not be so busty. He whipped out his trusty tape measure and said that I would need to go a bit bigger for width but I don’t have to go as large as I was. I really love looking so much leaner and remember those days of the dreaded double bra to go running…  I won’t stay this flat but there’s no way that I want to be close to a D or DD ever again. At 5’1″, I don’t need all that top-heavy weight.  It’s still a long time away and as of now, I just want to concentrate on getting stronger each day and getting ready for the next surgery.

As you know, I had my PS appointment on Monday and I’m now deflated to less than what I was at the time of surgery. I was very sore that night and all day Tuesday as the muscles contracted back.  I’m still sore if I touch the chest and feel tight with small muscle spasms every now and then but I’m not in any “pain” at all and haven’t taken anything other than my Premarin all week. Yippee!!

I’ve been walking every day and I’m getting stronger each time. My first breathless walk after getting out of the hospital seems so long ago already. The weather has been beautiful and I’m really enjoying being outside.

Sleeping in my actual bed is still not that comfortable but I’m doing it anyway, mostly for DH so he doesn’t have to get up with the dogs early in the morning as he works until the middle of the night. (They are in crates in our room.) Also, he misses me there… I definitely sleep better downstairs on my sectional couch nest but while I’m deflated and semi comfortable I’ll get through it.  I know that I’ll be back down there after my surgeries and who knows how painful the next series of fills will be. Anything to get back to normal as possible is good….

I have my annual appointment with my gynecologist tomorrow for my pap smear and check-up.  She’s not the one who prescribed the Premarin for me, it was the Breast Specialist but I’m going to talk to her about it anyway.  Since this last surgery, I’ve been having hot flashes and night sweats again so I don’t know if it’s just not strong enough anymore or if it was due to all of the trauma of the infection, tons of meds and surgery. Also, somebody mentioned that I should probably be on another form of HRT because I still have my uterus. (I’m not sure if he missed that or not. ) I’ll talk to her about it tomorrow and if so I’ll call him.  I just hope that she doesn’t say I shouldn’t be on ANY HRT… I won’t like it if two of my doctors have differing opinions… We’ll see how I make out.

I had my PS appointment yesterday and he was happy with the healing of the skin on the Cellulitis side and drained 430cc from the left side bringing me to 290cc.  He didn’t want to take out any more at this point because he feared that the expander would wrinkle and cause me discomfort. So, I’ve got one deflated balloon and one completely flat side. I had some muscle soreness last night from the pec muscle relaxing closer to the chest wall but no real pain. Right now I’ve got some baggy skin but he said it will tighten up as time goes on.

While I’m more comfortable without the hard baseball on one side, I’m not symmetrical enough to go out without some padding on the right. Around the house or with a track jacket on I won’t need to really do anything but as the weather gets warmer and I wear tanks or tees, I’ll need to do something out in public.

The PS kept shaking his head while he was draining me and felt bad over what happened. It doesn’t happen often but I’m just one of the “lucky” ones I guess.  When I asked him why he thinks it may have happened, he said his best guess is it had to do with the original skin necrosis that I had early on.  I see him again next week for another follow-up on the surgery side then I think we’ll be breaking off our weekly relationship for awhile until I go back to be evaluated for surgery to try again.

We just had a weekend of summer-like weather and lo and behold, I’ve had hot flashes and night sweats for the past three days… Not sweating from the heat in a normal sense but the familiar (but definitely NOT welcome) feeling of the internal furnace that was my body after my BSO and before going on Premarin, post PBM.  I’m not sure if my body is adjusting to the dosage and it’s not enough, if it’s the result of being on all of those meds, or if my body is just super sensitive to the heat now and the rising temperatures outside is enough to tip the scales. I’ll be monitoring this situation closely that’s for sure.

I’m going to the PS this afternoon and am expecting to have the left side drained to better match the right. I’m not sure if it will end up close enough to not wear any kind of stuffing but I’ll find out later.  I’m also anxious to know when he wants to see me again in terms of evaluating when it will be time to go back in to  replace the expander.

One day at a time,  but I’ve never been known to have much patience.. I like to be able to plan things but I’ve certainly learned through these two complications that things don’t always go to plan….

I went out to eat with DH and a few friends last night (casual place) so I had to actually put a sports bra on for the first time in two months in order to not be so lopsided. Luckily, I have some very thin Under Armour sports bras (that were not supportive enough before but are fine for this).  I ended up  rolling up some socks to fill out the right side so that the shirt I had on would go straight across. Around the house I don’t care but going out is different.

I tried sleeping in my bed last night since I am feeling better and the scratching is starting to subside… Big Mistake!  Our new mattress is very firm and I could NOT get comfortable. It was hard sleeping on my back and I guess I ended up rolling on to my sides in my sleep because I woke up all night with pins and needles in my arms and sides  from laying on the expander side. UGH!  Maybe Monday when the PS drains that side I’ll be able to sleep in my bed again at least until I go back in to have the right one placed back in and I start expanding both sides again. So, tonight… it’s back to my nest on the couch.  I have a nice new sectional which is very comfortable and I sleep in the corner of it. I’m able to lean into the sides of it so I can move somewhat on to my side and be comfortable. Putting pillows on the other side makes a nice cushy nest and although sleeping in this condition stinks, at least there is one place in my house that makes it bearable.

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May 2010
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