Hello again and thank you for joining us… I’m not sure why that just popped into my head, and for some reason I think it’s from the Bob Newhart show? I don’t know, anyway…
4 months has flown by since I had my right expander taken out because of the infection I had. I really can’t believe it’s been 4 months! 4 months of doing nothingggg!! Seriously I have not done much at all…resting I guess you could say? Yeah, anyone that knows me knows I don’t “rest”… but we can say that!
So let me back up a bit. A couple of weeks after I had my right expander taken out I saw my plastic surgeon and he suggested we start “filling up” the left expander. At first I was like… ummm no thank you… but then he explained that since my left side had been radiated in the past with the first diagnosis, it was going to take longer to fill than my right side, so by the time my right side was to be put back in half the work would already be done. So the vein person that I am immediately said “ummmm no thank you” and went home and bitched about how if I do that then I’m going to be lopsided and that will just be weird and I will look weird!
But… talking more about it to other people in my life, made me consider filling up the left side first, so I went back to my plastic surgeon and said “let’s do this!” Now, I feel as though I’m an educated person, I (somehow, with my mothers help) graduated high school with 56 absences in my senior year. (Did I mention my mom is the best??) and later on decided to go to college to become a surgical technologist, yeah that’s not what I do for a living though, I did graduate and I have an associates degree and a very large student loan but who’s complaining? As I was saying, I feel as though I’m an educated person however, sometimes I wonder about that. Take expanders for example, do you know how the Dr would fill an expander? Well… I didn’t! I mean sure I knew they had to get the saline in there somehow and since I’m all stitched up…? So when my plastic surgeon pulled out this very and I mean very long needle and went to jab me in my chest I had some reservations and started asking questions. “What’s that?” “What are you doing with that?” “Umm where is that going?” And yet somehow my friends that have had expanders left this part out, you know who you are. My plastic surgeon explained that there is a small “port” attached to the expanders and they stick the needle in the port and fill the expander a little at a time every couple weeks. That’s fine, I had a port in my chest when I had chemotherapy so ok, not sure why they need that giant needle but whatever I’m not squeamish, fill’er up! I don’t mind needles, needles don’t bother me… let me rephrase, this needle bothers me! I’ve had 2 fills, and I don’t mean my nails, (ah I had to, my girls think its corny when I say that) both times with the same needle and both times just as the needle pierces my skin and goes into the left side of my chest, I start to sweat. I get clammy, I feel warm and I sweat a lot! I asked the Dr if that was a normal reaction and he said “you are probably just nervous.” No, I don’t think so, needles don’t bother me!
After the second fill, I could really see a difference, it was kinda cool. However, looking in the mirror, and wearing clothes was getting difficult. Remember, at this time, I was still flat on my right side. So I stopped the “fillings” and started wearing a bra with a “chicken cutlet” on my right side. People, that’s what they call it, a chicken cutlet, it’s like an A cup. I actually think I’ve mentioned this in past blogs.
So a full 2 1/2 months of me looking like a cyclops, and taking myself off of the lupron injections I was getting… oh did I forget to mention that?
If the devil exists, he’s in the form of a lupron injection. Now, if you’ve been reading my blogs you already know how much I hate these injections, so no need for me to keep bitching. But if for some odd reason you haven’t been reading… I’ll keep bitching!
Lupron injections are the devil, for me. Maybe there are woman out there that are getting these injections and fairing well with them. If so, I commend you! I do not fair well on these injections. I get very depressed, very bloated, gain weight, hate life, get very aggravated, am even more of a bitch, have even less patience than I do now, get hot flashes, feel sick, cry…a lot! The list goes on. Lupron injections are meant to shut down my ovaries and stop the estrogen in my body (since my tumors are estrogen driven) and put me into menapause… at 35!
So when Carlos and I went to see my GYN and my Oncologist, two of my very favorite woman, to talk about keeping me on these injections, once a month for at least the next 5yrs, no one should have been surprised when I wasn’t happy about it. Hearing that this is my only option, sent me into a dark place. So dark that when these 2 woman that I love so much, told me that if I didn’t do these injections that I would risk my cancer coming back, only the next time it would more than likely come back in an organ and then there would not be a cure. I simply said “I’ll roll the dice.”
You have to understand the way I see it, I have 3 children who are old enough now to see when mommy is miserable. So is it better to have me around screaming and yelling and crying and being miserable all the time on these injections or is it better to not have the injections and live my life feeling good but possibly not as long as I would had I taken the injections? This is my deliemna. When my GYN and Oncologist left the room that day, I asked Carlos what he thought and he said “I think you should have the injections because I want you to be around for a long time.” Yeah yeah you all just sighed and thought how wonderful that was of him to say to me but cmon people what did you think he was going to say?? I’m kidding! I don’t give Carlos enough credit sometimes, that was a warm and fuzzy moment.
I’ve talked to everyone about this dilemma, I need to hear what other people would do and to hear different opinions. So, I decided to get a “second opinion”. Feeling like an absolute trader, I went to Dana Farber and Carlos and I met with one of their breast Oncologist. I told you my GYN and my Oncologist are two of my very favorite woman and by far my favorite Dr’s. I trust them, so when I went to Dana Farber I felt like I was cheating on them! They obviously didn’t take it that way, but I still felt bad. I just wanted someone else, some other Dr to give me another option, there had to be another option! There isn’t. The Dr at Dana Farber told us the same thing that my 2 favorites told me, so we left and I was crushed.
I’ve been sitting on this for months now, I’m the only person that can make this decision for me. I was talking to my mom on the phone a few weeks ago about my dielemma and not knowing it my 10 yr old daughter was listening. After I hung up I turned around and she was right there, she’s so quiet, Carlos and I always call her the ninja. She asked me what I was talking to Grammy about. I tried to explain the injections to her and how I feel when I’m on them and she cut me off and said “Well, who cares if you are miserable or if you get fat at least you will be here with us.” And that was it, my mind was made up. Ive said before, my children saved my life, 5yrs ago, the first time I was diagnosed. If I hadn’t had to get up out of bed every day to take care of them I would have just let myself go. My child, may have just saved my life again.
So, I’m going to start these injections again next month and hope for the best. As for the expanders, the only real trouble I’m having with this new right one is every time I bend over to pick something up or even to bend down to kiss my kids good night in their beds, when I go to get back up I get a VERY sharp pain, a feeling like something is ripping, it’s awful, but I’m so glad I have 2 now and can start filling up together!
It’s been a very long year but now I’m so close, smooth sailing from here on out. Both my expanders are in and soon will be filled, one more surgery at the end of the year to swap out the expanders for implants, and this double mastectomy crap will be behind me!
I love this saying, I believe every word of it…