It’s been a rough week… Since I’m fully expanded, I’m uncomfortable most of the time. Nighttime is much worse than the day and it’s all I can do to make it through work, go for a walk after school, make dinner, put my dogs down then head to bed. Most nights I’ve had it by 8:00pm..  I take prescription Ibuprofen 800mg during the day but many nights I need to take some pain meds because the spasms and squeezing feeling is unbearable. Having hot flashes doesn’t help either… The countdown is definitely ON and I can’t wait to be free of these protuberances from my chest. sigh…..34 to go!


I had my final fill yesterday and I’m now at 830cc.  It’s a waiting game now for me as *I* chose the surgery date based on my schedule and wanting to take the least amount of time out of school as possible. So, I’m going to be fully expanded and uncomfortable until 12/21/10.  I’ve been having a hard time over the last week as it is, even prior to this fill. I’ve been able to make it through the school day (barely) but by 8:00pm I can’t take the spasms and pins and needles any more. I usually end up taking a pill (either the prescription Ibuprofen or left over pain meds), take a hot shower,  then go to bed.

Unfortunately, the weather has officially changed to seasonable so I’m back to freezing at night because of the soaking sweats.  Although I’m on HRT, it doesn’t completely eliminate my night sweats and for the past week I woke up dripping wet and shivering because I’m cold.  In the summer, waking up wet wasn’t as bad because the air wasn’t so cold, but now, I’m dealing with that cold and wet feeling again…. Sigh… I’ve shed a few tears in the past week because my bed has become a torture chamber.

On a brighter note, although I’m extremely sore and uncomfortable right now, my PS is very happy with my results thus far. He feels that the left side is almost perfect, except for a pucker of skin that I have from the “trim” that I got to correct the necrosis issue two weeks post PBM. The right side is a bit too far to the side but he said that it will be fine when he does the exchange and moves the implant closer to the center. They look fine in clothes but feel like coconut shells and I’m  sooooooo anxious to swap them for something soft and squishy!

Countdown to Exchange: 49

I had a fill on Monday and I’m now at 730cc. I’ve got one more fill scheduled for Nov. 1st to put me a bit above the 800cc max and then  it’ll be a waiting game until Exchange surgery on 12/21.  Finally!  I’m uncomfortable but I’ve been keeping busy with work so it’s bearable. Nighttime is the worst and I’m really convinced that the fact that the expanders are under the pec muscle is throwing things off with my back. When I stretch and try to stand up straight I feel a pulling. All I know is, I’m anxious for it all to be over!  Fingers crossed for smooth sailing ahead. 🙂

It’s been one year since my life changed significantly. Sometimes I feel that I’ve aged 10 years in the last one. Menopause has not been fun, nor easy. I must say, I’m in much better shape in terms of hot flashes and sleep deprivation than I was right after the surgery though.  Back then, I was literally having 10-12 hot flashes an hour and was spending the entire night having sweats, then chills because I was soaking wet.  Since having my PBM, I’ve been on HRT so it’s been reduced to 10-12 a day rather than per hour.

It’s been a ride trying to find the right HRT and so far, this Evamist spray/Provera pill combo has been decent. I’m still having some hot flashes and night sweats but at least I’m not having a period like I did on the Climara Pro patch, for god sake!

As for the rest of what’s been going on, I’m at 630cc and I’m heading for another fill on Monday. I’ve been very uncomfortable this weekend and I think it has to do with being cold. When I’m cold, I tend to tense up and the chest clamps up and the coconut shells ache.  Also, my back/leg issue is still not completely right and I’m really feeling that it’s related to my expanders and the fact that they are under the muscle throwing everything off. When I try to stretch and stand or sit up really straight and tall, I feel the pain shooting down… sigh…

Other than that, I’m still very happy to be back to work and dealing with “real life” not just life as a BRCA+ person.


So, I’m back to work, busy as a bee,  and loving it. I have a great class this year and it feels awesome to be back to my “real life”.  My back has been sore since returning to work but last week I actually threw it out and was unable to sit, stand, or walk so I was out of commission for a few days. I saw the doctor and he realigned it but I still spent the weekend in pain. (My heating pad and tennis ball to roll on were never far away!)

I had a fill on Monday, bringing me to 630cc and while I’m sore from it and get twinges of pins and needle squeezing episodes, it’s not a constant pain. The PS is happy with my progress and while I’m not quite symmetrical, he said that it will be fine when I have the exchange. He had his trusty tape measure out and was measuring this way and that.

I saw the doctor for my back again yesterday and it’s starting to feel a bit better but I won’t be running any marathons anytime soon, that’s for sure. Hopefully, it’s healed soon and I can get back to business.

I went for a fill on Monday (09/13/10), and so far so good. Since I’m back to school I was a bit worried since I haven’t worked since my PBM in February and I was worried about being in as much pain as I was the first time around.  I’m super happy to report that the fills are actually bearable this time and I’m able to manage the pain with just the prescription Motrin so I’m fine to work. It may be because I’ve already been through the initial expansion or due to something else, but don’t care why, I’m just happy that I’m not in agony. I’m uncomfortable but that’s nothing compared to being in pain.  Here’s where I stand at 500cc.


I’m nervous…. It’s Tuesday, August 24th and I’m away on vacation. I had a fill on Friday and it was my first on both sides since my expander re-do. I’m at 400cc on both sides and I’m sore as hell. I’m back to “wearing that barbed wire bra” feeling and to me, it looks like my breast mounds are getting red. It could just be the lighting, the fact that it’s my first real fill to tax the muscle and skin this time around or god forbid, it could be something brewing. I’m certainly hoping that the latter is NOT the case.  I swear, if I develop cellulitis again, I’m taking both expanders out and will think of doing something else.

I am scheduled to go back to work ONE week from TODAY… I can NOT have an infection. I can NOT miss more school. I can NOT  go through surgery again…..  <fingers crossed that it’s NOTHING>

2nd fill 300cc each

400cc 2nd time

I’ve been remiss in posting because I’ve been busy with other aspects of my life.. (That’s a good thing… it means that BRCA+ isn’t the most significant thing in my world, by far!)  Anyway, I had my drains removed and the PS filled the right expander to 200cc.  I’m now 290 on the left and 200 on the right. I’m still swollen though so in terms of size I’m almost even.  Shape, however is a different story.

Left 290, Right 200: First Fill, Round 2

Left 290, Right 200: First Fill, Round 2

Ms. Leftie is almost teardrop shaped as it has been since I had most of the saline removed just after the right expander removal surgery.  The skin and muscle had been sufficiently stretched to 710 then reducing it to 290 has left it very loose.

Ms. Rightie is very tight because it’s new and is also filling high.  So, while it’s technically a bit smaller, it’s riding higher and looks fuller. I’m certainly hoping that when they both start to expand again, they even out and that it’s not actually positioned higher. We’ll have to wait and see…

I’m pretty comfortable right now but I’m totally aware that I am 100cc less than I even walked out of PBM surgery at the first time around. I’m really hoping and praying that the expansion process won’t be as painful since everything as already been stretched once before.

Since I have to go back to school to start the year off in September and don’t have sick time left, I’m shooting for exchange surgery right before Christmas so I can heal over the break without taking much time out of school. Because of this, we’re back-planning the fills so the timing is right and I’m fully expanded for the least time necessary before exchange. By taking it slower and spreading it out, hopefully it will allow me to be as comfortable as possible for as long as I can so I can live life and work.

My next fill is 8/11 in which I should be evened up.

I’m 8 days post-op and still have my lovely accoutrement.. the drain.  This is the longest I’ve have one in, including after  the initial surgery.  My output is still up there so it looks like it won’t come out until Friday at the earliest or possibly Monday.

I’m not sure if Dr. M will fill me on that first visit or will wait a bit longer. I’m not looking forward to the pain (AT ALL) but I would love to be even on both sides as soon as I can. Around the house it hasn’t been bad but today I had to go to funeral and it was tough to find to something to wear. (With the drain in I can’t wear a sports bra so I couldn’t stuff the flat side.) Luckily, I had a blouse that had a lot of print and was very loose so although I could tell, it wasn’t glaringly obvious. Even if he doesn’t fill me to match yet, when the drain is out I can at least break out my trusty sports bra and bandana stuffing. Until then I’m the uniboob girl.

Physically, I feel fine and hope it continues through the fills. Of course, I’m  not ready to run a marathon but I’m not spending every minute on the couch either.. in fact I’m outside more than anything these days. Tomorrow, we’ll hit the bike path for the first time since surgery, but I’ll be walking instead of riding my bike or running. l hope that it continues once my fills start. I guess it’s a wait and see game. For now, it’s one day at a time and looking towards that light at the end of the tunnel.

One day post-op for right expander (unfilled)

I’m home after having my right expander placed back in and I’m happy to say that it was a breeze (so far anyway!)  I went in yesterday morning for 6:45AM surgery and came home late this morning. I could have stayed in another day but totally didn’t need to so I was very happy to come home today.

I’m sore and tired but definitely not in agony which is wonderful!!  I think the major difference is that he placed the expander in but didn’t fill it at all this time. When I had the mastectomies and immediate reconstruction, I was filled to 300cc at the time of surgery. So, not only was I healing from the loss of breast tissue but I was having lots of muscle spasms and pain due to the expanders.

Since I’m planning on taking the fills really slowly and putting them on the back burner come late August so that I can return to school, there’s no reason to rush with fills at this point. I’m likely getting my drain removed on Monday then will probably start fills the following week. It will be nice to be healing from the surgery before starting the painful fills. I’ll still have to wear that sports bra and stuff it for a little while longer until both sides are even but it’s a good trade off in my book!

On another note, I went for a vaginal ultrasound on Monday to address the vaginal bleeding that I’ve been having. I have a small fibroid in my uterus but nothing to be concerned about and nothing to do with the periods that I’ve been experiencing.  The lining is almost nothing right now since I just finished the period so the Gyn switched me to a different HRT. This one is a spray that I apply to my forearm and should administer a uniform dose (lower) than I was able to get by applying a weekly patch.  He felt that I was getting a lot when I first put it on and it was causing the lining to build up. I’ll be starting the new HRT tomorrow and hopefully this type works for me.   There’s also a pill that I’ll be taking for 10 days in addition to the spray but I haven’t filled the prescriptions yet so I don’t really have the exact details. (He explained it all to me but I don’t remember all of the specifics.)  I’ll start the sample spray and will be on that for a few weeks before I even need to worry about the pills.  As long as it controls my hot flashes without giving me a period, I’ll be good.

Time to take a little nap… it’s so nice to have one more surgery in the rear view mirror!

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