Let’s CUT to the chase…
Yup, more surgery is needed. I saw my reconstructive surgeon today. It’s been three months since my tissue expanders were removed and silicone implants inserted. That surgery was nowhere near as traumatic as the mastectomy surgery BUT it was still very painful and still took several weeks to “recover”, although I am NOT fully recovered. At this stage I don’t know what that would even feel like. I had seen my surgeon six weeks ago for a followup and at that time he warned me that I would probably have to have at least one and possibly two more procedures. Today he confirmed it!
The implants that were inserted are not filling the space left from mastectomy. I know that sounds weird but think of it this way. If you hollowed out a cantaloupe and then inserted an orange, there would be a lot of area that was empty. That’s kinda what I’m facing. This is not about the “size” of foobs I want; it’s simply that what was inserted is sliding around and leaving gaps. Also, my surgeon said that even IF the implants had filled the cavity the way they were supposed to, they still need adjusting as they are uneven and too low. It really is a very awkward thing talking to someone about lifting and separating and adjusting a part of your body like you were talking about jacking up your car or something. My surgeon’s advice to me is that since he has to “go in” anyway he advises that I switch out the silicone implants for saline. The saline implants can be adjusted better to fit as more liquid can be added to fill the space. The big BUT is that 50% of his patients that have saline implants will experience rippling. This means that the skin, rather than being smooth will ripple and create a series of bumps and lumps that can’t be fixed. Well, ya gotta know that I will fall into the pile of ripples for sure! Nothing ever seems to be easy for me. As my parents always say, “if its going to happen to someone, it will happen to Patti!” So, I’ve received another big pre-op envelope and am waiting for that next surgery. I am also waiting for the surgery date to remove the hematoma left over from the mastectomy surgery. I have no idea how long the recovery will be for that as a large area of skin, scar tissue and flesh has to be removed and stitched up. The incision will run from under my arm around my back to almost my shoulder blade. OUCH. I envision having to wear turtlenecks the rest of my life in order to cover all my scars.
Perhaps with these next two surgeries my insurance company will see fit to pay me while I am recovering. I received a letter last week denying my claim for the time off I had for the last surgery. They denied me the time off for the mastectomy and the time for the switch out surgery…so who knows if I’ll ever see a dime from them. Of course, the last line of the letter reads…”and in the meantime, you are still responsible to pay your monthly premiums.” I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it, so I will refrain from talking about it… for now. The good new is I am trying to put in as many days in the office as I can. I still get very tired, very quickly but I am managing. And although I am still in constant pain, this too is manageable with drugs and mind over matter. And the mind is a powerful force!
The thought of more surgery does not sit well with me. I simply want to move forward and be done with this journey. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would still be facing more procedures this late in the game. It has felt like I’ve been serving a life sentence. Patience has never been one of my virtues, but I think I have put in my time and am hoping for an early release for good behaviour.
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President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.
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