Harder than I thought (and more photos)

I really thought that the surgery would’t be this bad. I don’t know why but I was wrong. We all thought I would go home last Sunday but that’s when things really got bad. I did end up getting released on Wednesday afternoon but I wasn’t doing very well at that time. I felt very dehydrated and kept asking for fluids but all of the doctors wanted me to drink more instead of getting IV fluids. This would have been a great plan if I wasn’t throwing everything up. But, regardless, I was released on Wednesday and came over to my folks house. Wednesday night I just took my meds and slept and of course tried to eat a little toast and drink some water. By Thursday I was throwing everything up again though and couldn’t even keep the anti-nausea meds down. I called the oncology nurse and asked if she could do anything and told her I’d like to get some fluids too. She called in an anti-nausea suppository (hooray!) and made me an appointment to come in for fluids. I was in a rough place by the time we got in there and they took me straight back to a bed. They gave me a “triple” which is a dose of three different IV meds to tackle the nausea and a bag of fluids. I pretty much slept through it all. But I think it did help a lot. Today has been the best day I’ve had in a long time. And I’ve yet to throw up which is awesome.

We’ve asked several nurses and doctors why it’s taking me so long to recover and they’ve said that the chemo could have really weakened my body to start with so that’s always going to make it tougher to bounce back, plus it could just be taking this long for the anesthesia from surgery to get out of my body, but a few have said that they think it could be a mental piece that things are finally wearing down on me mentally and I just can’t bring myself out of it. This has caused some reflection for me because I certainly feel like I’ve worked hard to deal with things. One of the doctors from the hospital sat down with me and said that she gets goose bumps when she reads my pathology reports because the lymph nodes being negative is the first piece of my case that says we have a shot of “curing” me. That I can actually be cured. I guess I didn’t realize that my case was that bad, although I know that it hasn’t responded to anything. She asked me if any doctor had ever said they could cure me and I said no but I just thought that was something that doctors never said. I told her it is hard for me to believe that it really will be or is gone because I’m so used to some crazy thing popping up that we didn’t see coming. But she said I didn’t realize how huge the lymph nodes being clear is. I guess I still don’t, or it hasn’t sunk in yet. So maybe that’s the mental part that is holding me back – but I don’t think that I have anything going on mentally that’s making me physically throw up. In any case, I’m feeling better today and am doing my best to get into a good mental place so I’m not holding myself back. Dad and I worked on some Christmas decorations today – just a little assembly in the living room but it was fun and distracted me for a little while. I do love Christmas lights.

I’ve thought a lot about posting pictures of my incisions and I don’t feel like it’s the right thing right now. Honestly it is hard for me to look at right now and with how many people have told me that my blog makes me cry just reading about things, I think seeing that would probably do them in. I did take some pics in my camisole though and I think it’s okay to post them so here you go:

With a shirt over the camisole I really don’t think it’s that bad. I have a tiny amount of bulge from the tissue expanders being in there. If someone didn’t know me it’s conceivable they could just think I was flat chested.


Without the shirt, you can see the indentions where the incisions were made.


And from the side, you can clearly see this is a big change.


All of the doctors and nurses have told me that the incisions look amazing and as soon as I start having fills the extra skin will fill in and it will be amazing. I am glad they left all the skin – I believe them that it will be much better that way. The nipples have to be removed because of the way cancer forms – in the lining of the milk ducts and that lining comes all the way out the nipple so there really is no way to save it. But at least they only need to stretch the muscle for me rather than stretching out all that skin too.

This process is hard, I think it would be hard on anyone. Last July I was just trying to wrap my mind around having a 5 year old and here I am trying to wrap my mind around having my boobs gone. That’s a quick 4 months. I do think that this process is changing me a lot. The doctor that spoke to me at the hospital said that she thinks it’s impossible to go through this without having at least some depression which I can see for sure. She gave me someone to speak to and said she would make a call to see if she could get me in quickly. She also said that it’s a wake up call to live your life the way you want to – not to waste a moment. Re-prioritize and accomplish what I want to. I really feel like I need to think about that. I feel like I’ve made some good moves in my life. I’m happy that I married Eric – even though we were so young that a lot of people didn’t think it would last. I’m happy that I had a good career, that I made a lot of money, and made the choice to stay home and leave all that for our family. I’m happy that we moved to Colorado and that my parents moved here too. I feel like I have done a good job at “living”. When I think back over my choices, I don’t see regrets. I don’t know that many people can say that. I hope we can travel more – we never have the money to really go on vacations and things like that – but that was part of what we gave up to have me stay home so I am certainly not complaining. I love my life, and I hope to be living it for a long time to come.

So what comes now? We continue to log all my food, drugs, and drain output until I am healed. I’m hoping the drains can come out next Friday when we see the plastic surgeon. Hopefully the throwing up is over and my pain gets better so I can back off the meds. I may get my first fill in the tissue expanders next week as well and have a little bit of boob again. My oncologist wants to start chemo again the week of the 17th but it will depend how I’m healing so we’ll see. I’m pretty much done with my general surgeon except for a few checkups. I will see the radiation oncologist to find out if they want to do radiation. I don’t fit the “normal” specs for radiation, but since my cancer has been so aggressive and not responded to anything else several doctors have told me they may opt do to it anyway. We will see what they say and I will certainly do whatever gives me the best odds.

Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some happier words to write.

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7 Responses to Harder than I thought (and more photos)

  1. insahmity says:

    Here’s hoping you feel better soon —

  2. dietriotgirl says:

    I’m sorry to read recovery is hard on you. I’m wishing you much healing and speedy recovery. I especially think its the chemo affects. My fiance has been a year off chemo and isn’t “back to normal” with his physical body and strength ( though he is in good health). I don’t know you in real life but when i followed your blog I was moved by your fiery spirit and my heart yearns from you throughout all of this. I’m so inspired to read of your fight and all you have overcome so far and I’m faithful you will completely beat this and go on to live a wonderful cancer free life with your family

    As for the pictures, don’t waste your emotional or mental energy over it. I’m just happy to read that you are more or less OKAY. I don’t need to see pictures of your incision or anything like that. BUT if you choose to share I will look at them and feel proud and honored that you shared them but mostly proud and inspired of the fight you put up and strength to go through surgery and treatment and all of this. I know i’m just a stranger in cyber land, but i don’t halfheartedly follow random blogs. I follow people who have meaning and i feel connected to. I personally feel to say ” looking at those pictures will make me cry” is a disrespect to you. I know you may have your own mourning over the loss of your breast which is fine and normal.. it’s a loss and you will come to terms with that on your own time. But, right now those incisions or scars are a badge of the fight you are in and i wont look at them and cry. I will look at them and feel inspired. Just saying, don’t pay any mind to that whole situation. I know personally I’m just glad to read an update from you. When you had surgery I was so relieved your family was updating your blog with regular intervals.

    Thank you for being so open and honest and sharing! I wish you the best!

  3. Jill Breheny says:

    Hi Jenn, I have been keeping you in my prayers and I hope that the nausea and throwing up has come to an end for you so your body can rest and heal. Sending you lots of love!

  4. Jessica says:

    You’ve had a near-death experience sweet woman. That’ll make a person fuckin’ puke! Just typing it makes me dizzy and I’m not living it!!

    I ditto dietriotgirl , you post what you want. I’m a big girl & it’s my job to take care of my own emotions/experiences. I can scroll fast if need be. My responsibility , not yours. You do what you need to for YOU! My big girl panties are on if I’m here.

    Amazing that your drains might be out so soon. Truly, a “node” celebration is in order!!

    As for the rest…one day at a time sweet lady…and today is cancer free!!! Cancer-motherfuckin-FREE!!!

  5. Sue Joyce says:

    Hugs. Wish I could give you one in person.

  6. hkt4life says:

    I hope you are feeling better today. I do hope that you get the drains out soon. I think that will be a big mental boost. It will help have you feeling more like yourself both mentally and physically to not have those things hanging off of you.
    I agree with the others, you should post whatever you feel like. Anything that makes you feel better. Sometimes sharing and writing brings thoughts and feelings up you didn’t even know you had until you start typing!

  7. SO sorry to hear of your throwing up! That and coughing were my biggest fears after surgery. I didn’t see my kids or my mom for almost two weeks after surgery because they all came down with the flu. 😦
    Its lovely to read your thoughts on truly living and no regrets. For me it was the opposite, lots of regrets about not living – just going through the motions for some end goal that never arrives! So now my path is deciphering just how to go that without falling back into the same routine. Thank you for sharing your story. Be Well, Celeste

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