Wednesday, September 25, 2013

One Month

It has been one month since my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy (PBM).
What a mouth full!  At times I still can't believe I had surgery.
My recovery seems to be going really well.
The doctors are very pleased with how well my body has recovered.
At times I feel like it has been forever since surgery and at 
other times it feels as if time has flown by.

Here is where I stand to date...
~I have good days and not so good days. Each day
I am feeling stronger.  Some days I have more pain
and discomfort than others.  I think that will
be the story as long as I have the expanders...
darn Foobies!

~I have pretty good arm mobility.  I am still
limited in my arms reaching straight up.
So, I can't wear anything that goes
over my head. Only zip up or button up.

~I take daily walks.  My speed and endurance
are increasing, which is fabulous!

~I can not clean the house for another
two weeks. Poor Scott and Alec
who have to do it.

~I no longer have to have the expanders filled.
That is a very good thing.  It is painful
to have them filled with saline.
They are hard as rocks.

~I am now healing and waiting for the next surgery.
November 1st I will have my exchange surgery.
Woo Hoo! I can't wait for these expanders
to be gone! 

~I can drive.  Although I have only driven
very short distances.

~Scars look amazing! Very minimal.

~Sneezing still hurts.

~I still sleep propped up in bed.
Can't lay flat or on my side...Ouch!

I really can't complain about my recovery.
My surgeons are pleased and surprised with my progress.
Now it is a trial of my patience.  Even though I feel
great I have to take it easy and lay low.
The body is not ready to be back at 100%.

I am so grateful for all the prayers and service
 on my behalf. I feel so blessed and
 extremely fortunate.
Thank you everyone!

As always, KNOW your family history 
(ovarian and breast cancer),
EDUCATE yourself and be tested for BRCA.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

~2 weeks~

 ~Know your family history
~Get BRCA tested
~Knowledge is power
~There are options and we can choose what best suits us
~Be educated and AWARE

It feels great to be 2 weeks post op! Life right now
is based on little milestones.  Each day I feel better,
stronger, and more like myself.  I have learned so
much through this process.  I continue to read, study
and educate myself and family.  At some point Kenzie,
Jensen and Alec will undergo testing and it is my
job to be fully educated for them and myself.
It is scary, overwhelming and somewhat surreal when you know
you are positive for this gene, but how blessed we are to have
amazing medical advancements, doctors and options.

Two weeks was my magical milestone as I entered this.
At about day 11 I started to see major improvements each day.
~Day 7 - Saw Dr. Jensen (plastic surgeon)...tubes were removed
(he has never removed tubes at 1 week)
and my expander's were filled.  OUCH!  The filling of the
expander's felt like a semi truck was sitting on my chest.
It was hard to breath, everything felt as if it was being squeezed 
inward, I had the feeling that my chest was like bricks and
my ribs were hurting from the pressure.
It took about 2 days for things to calm down and each day got better.
Everything is measure in cc's...just like implants.
Expander's are much larger, harder and ridged than implants.
They are referred to as "FOOBIES".  hahaha!
~Day 8 - I was able to have my first shower.  AHHHH!
It felt so good.  I still needed Scott's help to shower,
dress and dry my hair.  Arm mobility was improving
each day.
~Day 10 - I showered myself!  This was a huge milestone for me.
It felt great to be able to do this.  However, my arms were still
limited and Scott had to help me shave and wash my underarms.
How great is he?!  He is the BEST!!
I started figuring out how to get in and out of the recliner myself.
Every little bit of independence felt awesome!
~Day 12 - I was now able to shower, shave, dry and dress myself.
I can also blow dry my hair.  Feels great!
Arms are getting much better...reaching straight up is the most
limited.  Walking each day and able to go a little further.
~Day 13 - Saw Dr. Tittensor (general surgeon) and
got a glowing post op review.  She was more than pleased
with my recovery and reconstruction.  It felt great to
have her so pleased and telling me that everything looks
amazing!  Yeah!!
Went to Costco and walked for about 15 minutes.
It was my first time out of the house and it felt great!
I was exhausted afterwards, but so happy.
~Day 14 - Another major milestone for me was being able to sleep
in our bed and I was able to do that at the 2 week mark.
Scott had to carefully pile some pillows so I could sleep on
an incline, but I made it through the whole night. YEAH!!

I feel stronger each day.  Working out hard before surgery helped immensely.
Reconstruction is coming along great.  It is uncomfortable and I can 
feel the edges of the expander's from time to time, but I remind
myself that this is only temporary.  "Foobies" are hard as rocks,
ridged and uncomfortable, but it is a small price to pay.
My cancer risk is now down to 3% chance.

I have comfort and peace.
Right now the goal is to be ready for implants by
the end of October. For now I continue to set little
goals for myself, work on my recovery and feel so 
blessed and grateful for all the help, meals, visits,
phone calls, texts, words of encouragement and for
an incredible husband and family who have been so
supportive and the best care givers a girl could ask for.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


This is my view from my home for a few weeks.  I am happy to report that I am on my way to recovery.  Here's a recap...

Wednesday - Checked in at the hospital at 11:00.  At 11:30 I was taken back to preop.  IV put in, hospital gown on, paperwork signed and we waited.  12:00 was scheduled surgery time.  Things were not running on time, but that turned out to be to my advantage.  At 1:30 I was wheeled into the OR.  Due to the lateness of everything Dr Jensen (plastic surgeon) was able to make it into the OR 20 minutes after surgery had started.  Which was fabulous! Both doctors were able to operate together and surgery was completed in 3 ish hours instead of the scheduled 5 hours.  
   Waking up was not fun.  I had the feeling as if an elephant was sitting on my chest.  So heavy and painful.  Pain meds were quickly given and pain was reduced.  Within an hour I was in my hospital room and trying to get my bearings on all that had happened.  Due to all the pain medication, that day and the next are still somewhat of a blur.  Scott and the nurse did try to get me walking that night and I could only make it a few steps before feeling like I was going to pass out.

Thursday - I awoke with a ravenous appetite.  Scott cracked up at what I ate all day...Ham and cheese omelet, toast, cheeseburger, fries, Italian Ice and more.  Crazy!  I felt pretty good.  Was able to go walking a couple of times, had a sponge bath, put on my own PJ's, brushed my teeth and had some visitors.
   I surprised everyone and was able to go home at 4:00.  That was exciting for me.  Little did I realize how medicated I truly was.  It felt good to get home.  

The weekend had plenty of ups and downs.  Friday I got sick from Percocet and found out that it was too strong for me.  Not fun!  Kenzie and Jensen washed my hair each day and that was quite the process.  Showering was tiring enough.  My recliner is set up in the family room, so at night I would text Scott when I needed to get up or take pain meds.  Neither of us got much sleep.   Last night (Monday), I finally slept all night.  It was glorious!  The weekend has been a roller coaster ride and I feel now that I have turned the corner on recovery.  

I am so appreciative for all the kind text's, phone calls, flowers, goodies and thoughtful gifts. Each of them have brightened my day and helped me stay strong.  Scott, Kenzie, Jensen and Alec have been AMAZING!  They have been there every step of the way.  I would not have made it through the weekend without them.  They kept me positive, helped me in and out of the recliner (yes, I can not even work the recliner), brought me whatever I'm craving, sat by me, watched my TV shows, helped me dress, shower and wash my hair and given me immense amount of support.  I am so very lucky!

Recovery has been a humbling experience.  I do not regret my decision for surgery.  The outcome is amazing and will only improve from here.  My doctors (Dr. Tittensor and Dr. Jensen) are the best!  It can only get better from here on out!