Who’s in Control…

For many people that know me, they know that I tend to like to be in control. I wouldn’t say I like to be in control of others but,  I do like to be in control of myself and MY life.  I don’t want to or care to control others. I know for a fact, I can’t control how others feel, what others think or the way others act. So, I can tell you right now that I am not a fan of NOT being in control and NOT having a plan.  I am learning how to be flexible with situations and things in my life.

When I saw Dr. Scott on Monday, December 21, 2015, he looked at my left mastectomy flap and told me that the tissue was healing much better than he originally thought.  He told me that he thinks my body is going to keep healing and wanted to postpone the “clean up” surgery for a couple of weeks.  In a weird way I was disappointed that my surgery was cancelled for Christmas Eve.  Not that I want to have surgery at all but, just the fact that things will move forward sooner and I will get the necrotic tissue removed.  I had mentally prepared to have surgery.  Christmas was rearranged because I had surgery scheduled. Things change and it took me a few hours to adjust to the “new” plan.

The new plan is to check back in with him next Thursday, December 31, 2015 to assess the area. He is pretty confident that he is going to be able to save most of the tissue. I called my mom right away to let her know that my surgery was cancelled and I obviously sounded upset about it and like usual she made me feel better. She said, “Trust in Dr. Scott and let him set the pace. He is in charge and he knows what he is doing.”  Even though I know that, it is hard to let go of control of myself.

A week after my first surgery in November, my lovely, supportive friend Kinsey surprised me with a boudoir photo shoot (Boudoir photography is a genre of photography that involves female subjects in sexually suggestive or sensual poses.) with her friends TK and Wendy. I have always wanted to do these pictures for Jason but, never had the self esteem to do them.  You are always your hardest critic, there is always something about ourselves that we don’t like.  We are too fat, too skinny, hair is too thin, hair is too thick, big butt or no butt, stretch marks ect…you get the point.View More: http://photos.pass.us/new-folder-196

Once I saw these pictures I had to stare at them for a long time. I looked at them and said, “DAMN!!”  I am seeing myself through my husbands eyes. He always tells me how beautiful I am, how I don’t need makeup and I am one of the only people that he knows that wakes up beautiful.  Well I don’t think that I am beautiful when I wake up but, I now do believe him that I am beautiful.  There are always going to be haters out in the world that say things that are hurtful but, as long as I can look in the mirror and see who I am, not just the outside layer but, also be able to see the inner beauty, I am content.View More: http://photos.pass.us/new-folder-196

Every single day when my boys wrap their arms around me and tell me they love me, my husband gives me a kiss, my patients give me hugs and tell me they love me and I am one of the most caring, sweetest people they have met, I know that I am doing something right!  The quote that “Your mama is always right” is so correct. My mom always told me that I was beautiful (even through high school and having to shop for formal dresses and swimsuits, I was so hard on myself).  I now know what she was seeing.  Thank you Mom for always being my biggest fan and loving me at my ugliest!

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Here is to another day on this wonderful world. Remember to love yourself, your family and friends.  Be happy with yourself and you will have a much happier life..

-L-

Rachel

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OMG…

You never know how strong the mind is until is running your world.  I put on an a good show that I was OK with the circumstances that have occurred. I told everyone that it was OK and I was OK.  I was trying to trick my own mind in believing that I was OK.  I was not OK. Inside I was thinking, what the hell did I do to myself? Is my husband going to see me attractive? Are my boys going to be scared of me if they see me in the nude? Will people whisper behind my back and judge me?  Of course I knew ALL of these thoughts were crazy but I am pretty sure these are all normal thoughts that go through ones brain.

I could not look at myself for almost a week.  Thank goodness for my mom for helping through the first week.  I sure could not have done it without her.  My first post op appointment with Dr. Scott was on Thursday 12/10/2015.  When he examined me, he was very positive regarding the situation and informed me that he would not have to do any skin grafting and that he would want to do another surgery before the end of the year to do a “clean up” surgery (debridement of any tissue that didn’t survive).  Dr. Scott told me that I was released of all restrictions and could do what I wanted, so I was planning my first drive:)  Many people are surprised by this but I am really doing well, worst part now is the drains.

After the visit with Dr. Scott, I felt SO much better. I knew that I could do this. From that day forward, I was able to look at myself in the mirror and I finally had the balls to show my amazingly supportive husband my chest.  His response was, “you are still sexy”.  I feel so lucky to have a man that loves ME, not my boobs.  So now he helps me and I feel so much better about it.

On Friday, I decided to take a trip to Everett to The Bra Shop http://www.brashop.org/ .  I walked into a little boutique that had all sorts of gifts made locally and of course bras.  I was treated like a person and not like a disease.  I have seen and heard of patients being treated like breast cancer and feeling sorry for them.  Patients that are going through cancer treatment don’t want to be felt sorry for or treated any differently, if anything they want to be “normal”.  This place is great.  I was fitted for a bra that I could put my “pillows” in until I get my expanders placed.  I couldn’t have been happier with my experience. It is weird, even though I don’t have breasts anymore, when I have that bra/pillows on, I feel so much better about myself. When I look in the mirror, I see my old self.

There are certain people that know you, that you don’t have to ask for things, they are just done.  One of my longest forever friends, Malia, came down and saw me on Tuesday after surgery. She brought me the most perfect food.  Turkey lunch meat to make me gluten free sandwich, apples and raspberry sparking water. I ate those sandwiches for days. It was the only thing that sounds good and comforted me when I was feeling down. It was not just the food that tasted really good but knowing that Malia thought about what I would like and knowing that she ALWAYS has my back when I need it. Even though I don’t see her every day, every week or even every month, Malia says “when shit gets real, we are there for each other.”  That is the truth. I love you to pieces Malia.

On Wednesday my other forever friend Heather, flew in to Seattle from Boise, ID.  She had sent two different floral arrangements to make sure I know she loves me.  When I saw her face when she walked in the door I just was happy. I really dislike that we live so far away from each other but it is what it is, so we make the best out of every minute we have with each other.  We sat and talked all day and that evening once the boys were home from school, we went to the Christmas Tree farm and Auntie Heather picked the tree out this year. It is one of the most meaningful trees we have ever had because she stepped in and helped do the ornaments with the boys and she helped Jason do some trimming while I ordered pizza online.  That night we got out the jammies, candy, and Magic Mike XXL and had girl time.  We both don’t get that very much since we both have boys and don’t live close to each other. To say the least it is what the doctor ordered to distract me.  I was sad to see her go but so thankful of the 28 hours I got to spend with her. My boys miss her and talk about her daily.

To wrap this post up, I have accepted the circumstances and am totally going to have nice, new, perky boobs at the end of this. I have definitely felt loved through all of this and those relationships will only get stronger. Thank you everyone for the prayers, thoughts and nice words.

-L-

Rachel

 

Detour…

boys 2014 3
MY WORLD

The night before my main surgery, Lucas laid in my arms playing with me hair.  He said, “Mama, I’m happy you are having surgery to get new boobs so you don’t get the cancer. Mama, you would look funny without hair and I HAVE to have your hair to play with.”  I responded to him,” you are so right buddy, mama doesn’t want to get cancer either or lose my hair.  It is going to be hard and I will look a little funny for a short time but I will still have my hair.”  He smiled and gave me a kiss and said I love you mama.

 

December 4, 2015, 5:30am, I checked into Providence Regional Medical Center Everett with Jason and my mom. The great thing about being the first case of the day is that most of the time the providers and operating rooms are on time. So before I knew it I had my IV in place and my steady stream of support was visiting and giving me lovely thoughts and prayers.

On December 1, 2015, I had a dream that when I woke up from anesthesia, they were unable to place the tissue expanders behind the pec muscle because of a large seroma (A seroma is a pocket of clear serous fluid that sometimes develops in the body after surgery. When small blood vessels are ruptured, blood plasma can seep out; inflammation caused by dying injured cells also contributes to the fluid.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seroma .  So in a weird way I was prepared mentally to wake up and not have the expanders in place.

On December 4, 2015, when I woke up in recovery, I remember Dr. Soriano coming in to talk to me and he told me that they were unable to put the expanders in because they felt that the tissue was compromised.  I was sad but I thought to myself that it will all be okay.  When I was being transported up to my room 1042, the first person I saw was my lovely husband, waiting for me to come back. I could see the relief on his face when he saw me.  I was wheeled into my room and there was my pose. My mom, Jason, Katie, Kinsey and Sonia.  So I have not seen Sonia in a few years but we grew together.  It is interesting to see  how there are certain situations that bring people back together again. I was in totally shock that she was there. After being in my room, my grandma brought Hunter in to see me and Lucas appeared. They were not liking the looks of me in a hospital bed but it was nice to see their faces. My lovely friend Kim stayed with me for 2-3 hours while my mom was at a wonderful fundraiser called Festival of Trees. After the auction, my mom came back, brought me a milk shake and fries and stayed the night with me! I feel so lucky to have the support. Knowing my boys were home with their dad and my mom was able to stay with me.

The nursing staff had to look at my incisions every hour to make sure everything was looking okay.  I really did not want to look at myself.  There were so many different emotions going through my mind.  Did I do the right thing?  Did I make a mistake in trying to save my nipples? Am I going to lose the skin on my left breast? There are certain things that I have control of and other things that I don’t have ANY control over.  I can only be a very compliant patient and do what I am told.  There are a few things that I can do to increase the blood circulation to the breast flaps, nitro cream (opens up the capillaires to allow blood flow to get to the compromised breast tissue and also to stay warm. When an area gets cold, the blood vessels constrict which reduces blood flow.

I didn’t realize until this morning, December 6, 2015, on how the left breast is very compromised and there is the possibility that the skin will not survive and Dr. Scott will need to use skin from a different  part of my body to transplant to the left breast. I can honestly say I am sad and disappointed. I am not sad or disappointed at ANYONE, just at the situation.

It is the weirdest feeling to not have breasts anymore. It is so weird, I don’t know how else to describe or explain it.  I am trying to not have my boys see the skin flaps (that are purple and bizarre looking), I can barely look at them myself.  I had just a tank top on and Lucas said, “Mama, where did your boobs go? He got a sad look on his face and he said, it makes me sad mama that you are sad.  Is the doctor going to give your boobs back?”  I told him that once I am healthy enough I will get my boobs back! He smiled but still concerned.

When I had my post op with Dr. Scott, he was “happy” with the healing. He said, “The tortoise wins the race, slow and steady.” If we make surgeries happen to quickly when you tissues  are not ready, it can cause more complications. Let’s get you the best outcome possible, so that may mean taking our time and not rushing things, but you are going to have a great outcome.”  I have the next surgery tentatively scheduled for December 24, yeah Christmas Eve but do it as soon as possible but not too soon.  He also said that he is pretty confident that he will not have to do a skin graft:) So I felt way better after leaving his office.

tortoise picture

My mom could see a weight lifted off of my shoulder. She sent me a text later that night saying “One more way we are alike, the unknown in hard to handle but we can handle reality.” She nailed how I was feeling right on the head. Like I have said, nobody knows me better than my mom.

-L-

Rachel