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.
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.