Blood work purgetory and on deck for surgery

I made a rule for myself that I couldn’t blog until I uploaded vacation pictures, so this has been a long time coming. But if you scroll down, I have updated both vacation blogs with what is most likely more images than you want to see, so enjoy.

A lot has been going on since I’ve gotten home. There are a lot of changes going on in my life, which I think are good things. Some of them I’m going to give some privacy for now, but others are certainly worth an entry. I’ve been getting back to working out like I did before cancer which is great. I’ve fallen so far that it’s a tough road, I feel like I should be able to do so many things that my body is just not willing to follow me on, but I’m getting there. The chemo drugs as well as the steroids not only put weight on me, but they actually eat away muscle tissue so it’s a long road, but an attainable one. I got a reminder on Monday of just how much my body has been impacted. I went to the police station to be fingerprinted (I am subbing at Fletcher’s school and have to get an FBI check) and the officer said that my prints are barely visible. He’s seen it before in chemo patients and the FBI will most likely kick back my prints, but just keep coming and he’ll reprint me for free for as long as it takes. It’s crazy to think that the drugs have actually taken my fingerprints. I guess if I wanted to go into a life of crime, this would be my opportunity. I’ve also been spending a lot more time with my cancer girl friends which is wonderful. It’s been a long time since I’ve hung out with “the girls” and I missed it.

Two somewhat big things are also going on right now that have me a bit on edge. I went in Thursday for my first post-treatment blood draw. I will be getting blood work every three months to look for enzymes in my blood that are present when cancer is growing. This is a time of stress for any cancer patient, but this first one I feel like is even more important. I have not had a scan or blood work done since before my mastectomies back in November. At that point, we knew that none of the chemo had worked. I’ve had two additional types of chemo plus radiation since then, but I just can’t have the faith in medicine that I did before the failure of those three meds. This is the first test I am having that tells me if all of this worked or if there is still cancer growing in my body. I see the oncologist on Monday afternoon and am hoping the results will be in by then. Monday will either be completely awesome or really, really bad. Let’s hope for awesome.

Also next week, I have my next surgery. This is the exchange where they will (finally) remove the tissue expanders and I will get honest-to-goodness squishy implants. After having what basically feels like two cereal bowls on my chest for ten months, I can’t wait to have some squish. I’ve been told repeatedly that this is an “easy” surgery and I really had that in mind when I went for my pre-op on Thursday. Turns out it’s a little more complicated than I planned. First, it’s a full on real surgery, not a “procedure”. I will be fully under which always freaks me out a bit, and I am already doing the pre-surgery wash routine. I have to shower each day, wash my chest with Hibiclens and dry with a fresh towel to reduce the risk of infection. I will most likely have drains again after this surgery, which I hadn’t been expecting, so I’ve been prescribed two weeks of antibiotics to take until those come out. I was also prescribed some pretty serious pain killers so I am anticipating not feeling too hot afterwards. During the surgery, my doctor will remove the tissue expanders and fit my implants. I went with round and they will either be 550cc or 600cc. My current expanders are filled to 570cc so they’ll be pretty similar. He will also smooth the inside of my skin which will hopefully reduce the lumpy look I’ve got going on and then he will remove excess skin. He wants to leave some to be able to make nipples but I told him I don’t have any plans for those so he can take what he needs to. I am comfortable with my Barbie foobs. Also, he is going to put in more cadaver skin to make the transition smoother. The skin will be inserted under my collarbones and go down over the implants to make it look like more of a smooth slope rather than the super-push-up that a lot of people can have with implants. There will be at least one more surgery for fat grafting – this will help with the lumpiness I’ve got going on with the skin-over-muscle as well as the general shape. Expanders and round implants both have a flat surface almost like a UFO. It works great if you’re getting augmentation and have breast tissue to camouflage that shape, but for reconstruction we all come out looking like we’re wearing sports bras. Super flattering.

I will be updating with the results of my blood test on Monday as well as after surgery.

On a happy note, I went in to get my hair cut this week and it is long enough for foils so I am blonde again! I didn’t realize how much I missed it. She didn’t cut my hair at all but I like it a lot better being blonde and I am finally at a place where I think it’s cute. It’s nice to actually like something about the way I look again.

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