I had my last fill yesterday. My LAST one. Something is finally getting checked off the list. I am so happy about that. At the same time, it hurts like crazy. The last fill was pretty good, just sore for a few days but not actually pain. I kind of expected this one to be the same, but I was clearly wrong. I woke up at least 6 times during the night because of the pain. Twice I had to get out of bed and move around to try to improve it (and take pain meds). At least I know that the pain will only last a few days and then I get a vacation from one doctor for a while anyway. I go back to see him between chemo and radiation for him to do a quick check. We talked about doing the exchange surgery most likely in August/September time frame and then I will need a fat grafting surgery after that, I assume a few months after but am not sure exactly when. I have some nasty scar tissue where one of my drains was which will need to be removed at the exchange surgery so he will have to do an incision there to get it out. He said it happens from time to time – the scar tissue forms a tube like the drain is still in there (see pic below). I am impressed with the difference this fill made, kind of like having boobs again.
He also needs to smooth out some areas which are “lumpy bumpy” during the exchange surgery and then he will be able to make everything really smooth with the fat grafting. Since my breast area is just skin over muscle, you can really see the difference between normal body fat and this tissue. Also, there are some areas that even with him smoothing them out, they will need fat grafting to really look smooth so he already knows we will need to do that. So I also need to work on getting back to a good weight so that he can really tell the best places to take fat, etc. I don’t think lipo is going to feel good, but hey – free lipo.
I moved my chemo up to Friday so that I will hopefully be done throwing up by the following Friday for my trip to Reno. I’m very excited to see my niece being born, she just needs to wait for me to get there. My folks are driving up and taking Evelyn so she will be gone this coming week which should help me while I’m dealing with chemo. Then I’ll go up the following week and Fletch will hopefully have a great time spending his days with friends during the day and daddy on nights and weekends. I’m working on finding some super fun things for them to do while I’m gone because I know Fletch is going to be upset that his sister is gone and then I’m gone.
I went to the breast cancer support group again this past week. I continue to be amazed at how different this disease is for everyone. There was a woman who had one week of radiation as the entirety of her treatment. No surgery, no chemo. There were two new women. Both were doing chemo and had lumpectomies. Radiation to follow. I think this is the “standard” treatment. I have been reading up on pregnancy related breast cancers. Mine is considered that since Evelyn was under 2 when I was diagnosed. Also, I was weaning when I was diagnosed which has been discovered to be its own type. In very simple terms, during weaning there is a wound environment created in the breast tissue. The milk is backing up telling the body to stop production and the tissue becomes inflamed. Also, there is apparently a protein in breast milk that feeds cancer. This is the first negative thing I’ve ever heard about breast milk. But the combination of the two gives cancer the perfect environment to form and feed. They recommend taking Ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and fish oil 3Xday during weaning to try to prevent this. Cancers that are related to pregnancy and weaning are particularly aggressive. Studies have shown dramatically different survival rates – and not in a good way. A five year survival rate of 70% is already sobering, but seeing that number fall to 40% is just shocking. Six out of ten women with this cancer don’t make it to five years. Obviously I’m going to bring this up with my oncologist and have a conversation about it. I certainly see why they were so worried about me and so relieved that it hadn’t spread. Even my plastic surgeon brought up how concerned they were about me before surgery when I saw him yesterday. So, I am working to make some major changes. Body weight, diet and exercise are all huge contributors to recurrence. Just being at a good body weight can reduce recurrence rates by 40% and that number goes up with regular exercise. Cutting out sugar and white flour makes a huge difference as well. So, as much as I need to fight through the rest of treatment, I need some strength to make these changes in my daily life. I need to remember why I’m making these changes and get over the hump until they become a natural part of my life. I need to make my body a hostile environment for cancer rather than feeding it sugar and all of it’s favorite foods. I am still so afraid of it coming back. I’m sure I’ll be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life, but I will be really happy to hit the five year mark. Triple negative cancer has a higher recurrence rate in the first five years, but then it goes down after that – this is different than other forms of breast cancer. So, I don’t think I’ll relax after five years, but it will be a huge milestone for me.
Also, I have to give a shout out to our life insurance agent and friend – he called this week to explain a clause in our policy that could allow for our insurance to be paid for us during my treatment. It has to last over six months to make the request so he’s been keeping track of this for us and got in touch when we hit the window. I don’t know if this will happen or not, but the important thing is that he is watching out for us and I need friends that do that. Plus, how often do you get good news from an insurance agent? So if anyone needs some insurance please ask me for a referral – he is awesome and I’m happy to pass along his info.
I continue to think of happy places and happy thoughts. I’m waiting for chemo to end before planning our post-treatment get away. If anything gets delayed that would change our dates so it gives me some more time to look for deals. For now, I’m just looking forward to getting through another chemo and seeing that baby!