Lots of odds and ends. The most important news is my surgery, scheduled for Wednesday. And with that, I must drop all worry about my lymph nodes, the big unknown. Time to let it go.
We visited with the oncologist yesterday and that went well. It was tough to tour the oncology wing of the cancer center still with breasts and hair, and nod to those in various stages of their chemo process. The doctor assured us: my treatment will be specifically geared to my results, history, genetics, etc., not just some boilerplate dosage.
Last night I read a dozen or so survivor stories and they ran the gamut. Everything from women who had a small lump removed with no chemo and a little radiation to women who had suffered for a decade with the most dangerous, aggressive breast cancer. Every story was positive, every woman making the most of her time on earth.
This morning we met with the plastic surgeon and he also assuaged some concerns. I told him that I don’t need to be busty, I just don’t want to be concave. I really hated the idea of repeat visits to be “pumped up.” His eyes lit at the challenge and he told us about an alternative: immediate reconstruction. It will provide me small but presentable breasts and doesn’t require chest expanders or additional surgery. 90% of my decision was ‘the beach factor,’ when passersby might look at me in a swimsuit and balk. I’m reasonably sure my friends and family understand that I don’t need to be a 34D anymore.
This weekend will be about getting things in order—a balance of cleaning, organization and relaxing with my family.
Peace to all.
PROCEDURE: IMMEDIATE RECONSTRUCTION
After the mastectomy, the plastic surgeon opens a pocket behind my pectoral muscle. Instead of inserting expanders, he will sever the muscle and reattach it to tissue called Alloderm to provide immediate expansion. Then he will insert the actual breast implant and sew me up. All done.
So what’s the catch? I won’t be big breasted anymore. And, well, Alloderm, scares people. It is donor tissue that has been cleansed (probably irradiated) of cells that might cause rejection. It actually carries less risk and discomfort than the more popular expansion technique.
Why am I not freaked out by having a stranger’s tissue connected to mine? Because I already have a donor’s achilles tendon (allograft) in my knee. I got over the creep-out factor a couple years ago. In fact, I’m incredibly thankful. My post-op knee works better than it ever did, the muscles on it are noticeably larger than my right.
So. Soon I will be comprised of three people!
Which I will conveniently use to explain mood swings.