PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Longer Tunnel

Wells folks it's official. It looks like this will be a year long process. **SIGH** I had managed to stay catiously optimistic about the red spot on my right foob. When I got to the PS's office yesterday I proudly showed off too her, assuring her that I had not been running a fever or feeling ill in any way. She studied me for a second, and then asked if it was ok to let another doctor look at it just to be on the safe side. She brought her partner in, and he said he was sure it was fine. He said it looked like an area that wasn't having proper lymph drainage yet, as well as thin skin. He suggested geting a SED rate test (blood draw) to check my levels to see if I had an underlying infection or condition.

After I agreed to the test, my PS started showing me everything she wanted to revise and touch up during the exchange. I hesistantly asked her when we could do the exchange. She said that normally she wants to wait 3 months after the final fill which would be late December...however given the complications with the right side and the amount of time difference between the two expanders (my left side has been fully expanded since July, and has dropped nicely and almost resembles a breast and my right side is still more rounded and sitting a bit higher) that she wanted to wait early spring/late winter. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Granted, I didn't throw a fit or cry or scream. I just said "Sure whatever you think is best" like a good little patient. After hearing her explanation that while she could physcially drop the left side during surgery, but letting it dorp on it's own would achieve a more natural look in the end I calmed down. I want the best looking foobs possible dang it!

I was supposed to have my one year follow up with my neurosurgeon in the summer, but I knew I couldn't have a MRI with the TE's in because of the magnetic ports. THe nurse had originally told me to wait until I was done. When I heard it would be another 6 months, I called to let her know. She told me to make an appointment to come in to talk to him and he could order a cat scan if he needed to. I feel like my entire life revolves around doctor appointments!

I'm upset about the delay in my exchange surgery, because I really hate these expanders. I hate that I still toss and turn and struggle to find a good position when I sleep. I hate when I accidentally brush by something and I can tell how hard they are. And I hate that they're not squishy!

I'm trying not to let this get me down too much. I've got a lot more to focus on and think about (my school and job) and I'll just try to keep busy until it's time for the exchange. I don't see the PS until mid-December, so we'll see what happens then.

I keep trying to tell myself that there is still light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel just got a little longer.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I took this work at home job so I could study between phone calls. However, here I am surfing the internet, and catching up on my blog readings. My notes are out right next to my keyboard, so does that count for something?

I happen to glance at the date on my phone and saw that it was 10/17....which means tomorrow is my six month anniversary since my original surgery. WHAT?!? Time literally has FLOWN by. I was just re-reading my earliest entires on this blog, and remembering how insurmountable this seemed at the time and how long away it seemed. Now I'm sitting here, 6 months later... not complete but pretty close!

This will be a short post..I just wanted to share my realization :) It's like Sally Fields says in Steel Magnolias "Life goes on.."

I'll be seeing the PS at the end of next week "to talk about getting my implants if everything looks ok" I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Setting the Record Straight Part 2

Back in January, I became increaingly frustrated with the misconceptions some people have about PBMs and the reason behind them. Whether it was out of ignorance, or plain hatefulness I got pretty tired of people dancing around the topic, talking behind my back, or making snide comments. One good thing that that post did was to let people who supported my decision come to me and tell me that they supported my decision.

I sit here at work, supposedly supposed to be studying between phone calls (I have I swear!) and I find myself distracted by something. If I get what I'm thinking out, I'm hoping I can go back to giving my A&P lab manual my full concentration.

Even before I had a PBM or efven considered it, I was a little confused as to why it was such a hot button topic. Who am I to judge someone for removing a part of their body? I mean heck, it's not like they were trying to remove a part of MY body...let them do what they want!

As I struggled to make my decision, I kept hearing that that was just what it was..MY DECISION. I know having a PBM is not for everyone and that's ok. I just know that I feel uneasy gambling with money (even though I have been known to from time to time) much less my health and ultimately my life. Actually, what completely clinched the decision for me was a bold statement I made in high school. I remember it like it was was my senior year and I was in American Government. We somehow got into a conversation about tanning beds (in Am. Gov't..go figure) and how unhealthy they were. One of the girls said that she would rather die young and look good. I turned around and gave her a look (in all of my 18 year old wisdom) and proclaimed that I'd rather LIVE than look good and nothing would stand in the way of me living a long, healthy life (pale skin and all).That kept ringing in my head.....the way I saw it, it either came down to two choices- Keep real breasts and have a possibly shorter life or have fake breasts and live longer. To me, it was really a no brainer.

I realize that not everyone is like that. I realize it may not be as clear cut for some people. That's fine, and I accept that....however I flat out do not understand people judging ME for it. Don't think I haven't noticed the avoidance, the numerous friends that all of a sudden deleted me from Facebook, the snide remarks when I mention my surgeries. I'm not naming any names, but I've come to the conclusion that I simply don't need those people in my life. I refuse to let it bother me just makes me sad that it's made me realize who my real friends are.Now granted, all of this could be completely unrelated to my surgeries...however I know I haven't had any quarrels with anyone, and I just find it interesting that several situations have happened after I had surgery.

I know I've joked about the fabulous new foobs I'm getting...but trust me it's the silver lining. And that doesn't mean that I had my PBM for implants...

Like I said, I'm simply not letting it bother me anymore. Let the haters hate.....I'm going to try to look at it as I'm just giving someone else a rest from being talked about and judged!

But I can guarntee you that in 50 years when I'm old and gray but still have the boobs of a 20 year old...I will be laughing the last laugh ;)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Phantom Pains


Phantom pain sensations are described as perceptions that an individual experiences relating to a limb or an organ that is not physically part of the body. Limb loss is a result of either removal by amputation or congenital limb deficiency (Giummarra et al., 2007). However, phantom limb sensations can also occur following nerve avulsion or spinal cord injury. Sensations are recorded most frequently following the amputation of an arm or a leg, but may also occur following the removal of a breast or an internal organ

I had always heard of this phenomenon but never gave it any thought...until now. I brought this up to my PS on my last visit and she just nodded and agreed that I'd be having them. I'll be sitting here and all of a sudden I'll feel like someone is stabbing me in the chest...and then as soon as I remember that a) my real boobs are gone and b) I wouldn't really be able to feel pain in the foobs I have now, it goes away. But then I start to remember that I used to feel pain in my boobs all the time..and I get a little sad. It'll be a long time, if ever, until I feel anything real again. Don't get me wrong...I still do not regret having the surgery. I knew what I was giving up when I agreed to have it and I decided that it was worth the price. Boob sensation vs. Life??? It's a gimmee...a no brainer!

Still, I think people don't grasp the meaning of NO FEELING. And, yes I'm talking sexual. No nipples + no feeling = no second base. And what fun is baseball with a whole base missing? (And for the sake of any family members who may be reading this, this is the only time I'll refer to anything sexual I promise. I'm just trying to make a point). I've had several people tell me how good my foobs look...and they're funky expander boulder boobs. And they do look pretty sweet. I've got awesome cleavage, they sit exactly where your boobs are supposed to sit, they don't bounce, I don't have to wear a bra, etc etc. But then there's the no feeling thing...and almost the feeling of being left out when everyone else's boobs start to sag. But what can I's tit for tat (no pun intended he he he)

I was really freaked out by the red spot on my right side. My PS and her nurse both said it was probably just tissue damage and bruising due to really thin skin. My PS did put me back on antibiotics (ugh side effects). When I went to see her last week, she looked at it and said for me to make an appointment for the end of the month and to call her at the end of this week. She said that as long as it didn't look worse, we were ok. She said that once I was off of antibiotics, if there were something brewing that was being suppressed by the antibiotics it'd make itself known. She said that as long as it wasn't getting worse, we could talk about my there really a light at the end of the tunnel???

The redness seems to be getting better, so I'm hoping it stays that way after I quit taking the meds. If I lose this expander AGAIN...I may lose my sanity along with it. I'm strong..but I dont know if I'm THAT strong.

This surgery has me looking towards my future. After all, I gave myself a second chance at life..I better not waste it!

On a side note, October has begun, officially kicking off breast cancer awareness month. It's so funny, this year I already have a ton of people just pointing out breast cancer awareness stuff to me. I don't mind...this is apparently going to be my cause.

And on a completely un-boob related note- I get the grade for my second first AP2 test tomorrow (second first..get it? Ok I'm a nerd. But I laugh to keep from crying about the fact that I had to repeat the class). Fingers crossed for a good grade!