The cursed expanders

Every post-mastectomy patient complains, bemoans and generally despises the tissue expanders.  I am in that class of ladies.  The thought of having to leave these cursed things in for a year is enough to throw me into the pit of despair.  I continually remind myself that this is only temporary.  Try telling that to my body though.

In an effort to make expansion seem not so horrible I invited Raissa with me for my fill this week.  Derek was out of town and I was not comfortable driving to Seattle yet so I needed a chauffeur.  She was all to happy to join me.  The actual quote was, “that sounds new and adventuresome!”  I thought, of all my friends which one would a) be willing to drive me there and b) which one would get the biggest kick out of this process.  RAI!!

The PA that does the fills thought it was awesome that I brought a friend with me.  She explained to Rai what was happening. After the first one was done I looked down and holy cow was there a difference.  Raissa agreed.  From the outside the franken-boobs feel weird.  They’re hard in places, but somewhat squishy in others.  I asked Raissa if she wanted to feel it.  Always game for strange medical things she jumped at the chance.  The PA thought it was hilarious that I’d invite a friend to do that let alone have the friend actually want to.  It was a good laugh on all of our parts.

The process of the fills doesn’t hurt that bad.  I can feel pressure inside.  When she gets to the last 5ccs or so then it starts to become quite uncomfortable.  It isn’t until a few hours after that the pain sets in.  Today the right side is hurting severely.  The pain isn’t so much in the front as it is my right shoulder blade that is killing me.  It hurts to take deep breaths.

There are moments that I wonder if I should have just opted for no reconstruction.  All of this is a pain in the ass.  Although I must say I do enjoy the “cute perky little boobs.”  I might have had those in high school once.

The first photos is a week after surgery.  The second is 3 weeks after surgery (1st fill).  The third is 4 weeks after surgery (2nd fill).  Yes I cut and colored my hair.

I did have a moment of severe depression on Tuesday.  Derek was out of town Monday afternoon through Wednesday night.  I had to drive to Bellevue and back for the first time.  I didn’t eat breakfast before I took the child to school (in Bellevue) so I was very hungry.  I had a bad hot flash in the car on the way home.  I was feeling nauseous and dizzy all day.  It wasn’t until late in the day that I finally figured out it was because I hadn’t taken my allergy medication in 2 days.  In the mean time I was texting and calling people to see if they’d come be with me.  It took having a phone conversation with my mom to calm me down enough to shower and feel a little better.  

During that conversation with my mom she said, “the worst part is over.”  I’d like to think that is true.  However, I have so much more ahead of me.  Chemo is still up in the air.  I have to endure 6 weeks of daily radiation treatment.  I also will have to undergo a 10 hour surgery to actually reconstruct my new boobs.  That involves a 4-5 day hospital stay and another 6 weeks of recovery.  Recovery that involves 2 breast incisions and a very large abdominal incision.  Then there’s revision surgeries and a nipple reconstruction.  This 1 surgery is just the start of if.

I can and will do this.  I have no choice.

Trust me, I’m not always this down.  Most days are good ones.  Today is going to be a great one.  My students are running the school’s plant sale.  I’m so very proud of them!  Hey! If you’re in the area, go check it out.  Personally I think we have one of the best high school plant sales around.

4 Comment

  1. Rai says: Reply

    Those expanders are no joke! That is serious stress on your body. Thanks for letting me cop a feel!

  2. Diana Dunne says: Reply

    Rai, you are my kind of woman. ????Thanks for being such a support to our Lisa–she is so very special. Honey, I am thinking of you, like, all the time. Holding the whole process in my prayers…because that’s the only way I can. Wish I lived closer.
    Aunt D

  3. Gretchen says: Reply

    Love you sister! I’m always showing you off to my co-workers because I’m so very proud of you. Don’t forget to eat and take your allergy meds….and get some good rest. We’ve got a concert to go to!!

  4. Mom says: Reply

    There is a reason why lots of women opt out of reconstruction. It’s miserable. Truly a very personal decision and one that only the SURVIVOR can make. By saying the worst is over, by no means am I lessening the treatment nasties. Hun, the decisions the oncologist allows you to make are the most difficult. You will get thru all the crap treatments of breast cancer, but let’s face it… the decision making is over. Next time your hubby leaves… I’m spending the night. The end <3

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