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.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

All Done?

Well it's official. I am done with expanders and on Tuesday I got my nice squishy implants! I would have posted before now, but my arms were so dang sore from the lipo! (Yes my PS graciously did lipo to get rid of the fat pockets that had accumulated under each arm since my PBM). The exchange surgery was definetely easier than any other surgery I'd had related to my foobs.

Mike and I were supposed to get to the outpatient surgery center at 7:30 am..I say supposed to because we didn't arrive until 7:50. Still we didn't wait very long until we were ushered back to the pre-op room. They started the IV and gave Mike some directions. Surgery was supposed to start at 9:00 am and at a little after 9:00, Dr Cooper and the pre-op nurse and anthesia team came back to talk. The nurse anthetist (???) gave me a shot of "happy juice" as we were going back to the OR. Of course, this whole time the pre op nurse is asking questions about me being in nursing school, and I really can't tell you the answers I gave her! Soon after we got in the OR, they do that sneaky move where the nurse gets you to breathe oxygen  and the anthesiologist sneaks behind and shoots the meds into your IV and it's lights out.

When I gradually came to in the recovery room, my underarms HURT. And so did my throat. 2 days later and I still have a scratchy throat..I hope it goes away soon. I was so tired in the recovery room. I kept drifting off to sleep and barely remember Mike coming back to get me. I was even too tired to get embarrassed over the experience of being dressed by the recovery room nurse.

**Sidenote- I did notice later the nurse put my underwear on backwards. LOL**

I think I may have fallen asleep in the car. At least I don't remember half of it! Mike dropped me off in the recliner with jello and some bottled water while he went to Kroger to get my prescriptions and me some soup. I ate three bites and had to take a nap. I swear, the older I get, the more anethesia wears me out!

All in all, the pain wasn't bad. I felt some pain in the incisions but I was the most sore in my underarm area. I didn't even think of trying to touch my new foobs until later that day. When I finally did, they were so squishy! And I know they'll soften even more over the next few months. And they MOVE too. They're not completely immobile like expanders. If I turn, they turn with me. They'll squeeze together and aren't under my armpits. All in all they are a million times better than the dumb expanders!

Now, it finally comes time to decide- nipples or no nipples? And if I decide on nipples, do I get them done now or wait? Am I really ALL DONE??

Only time will tell :)

PS As far as the issue in my last post, still working on it. I'll post the outcome when I get it resolved!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

And there it is...

I KNEW something would come along to make me stress before the exchange. I KNEW IT! Things cannot go simple for me. You see the counter ----> FIVE DAYS. I am so ready. That's all I can think about when I lay down to go to sleep at night, as I toss and turn trying to find my "sweet spot" that doesn't feel like I'm laying on top of a boulder. Then I think about it again when I wake up in the morning and my hand instantly goes to my chest, afraid I've damaged the expander some how in my sleep.

I'm tired of being the mastectomy girl. Well, I take that back. I'm tired of worrying constantly about infection, about leaking expanders, about whether or not insurance is going to pay for my surgery, about contracting an infection in surgery that leads to my implant having to be removed. I'M DONE!

Which leads me to the bump in the road, the snafu in my plans. I knew my doctor's office had yet to hear from either insurance company. I figured it was no big deal and that there was NO way they could deny the claim.


My primary insurance...who ironically I wasn't covered under when I had my PBM is covering the surgery no problem. I just have to pay my deductible ($1200) and 20% coinsurance ($235.28). My secondary insurance, which I was really looking forward to (has a $150 deductible and 10% co insurance) has apparently decided that Cowden's falls under a "congenital defect" and thus falls under their exclusions.


When my PS office told me this, I immediately said, "They paid for my mastectomy!" I was told they did because of how it was coded and they could very well come back and ask for their money back. Well, I'm fairly certain that is illegal, but whatever.

In my previous dealings with the billing department in my PS office, they've been....less than helpful. Not going to go above and beyond. The first "no" she hears, and that's the end of it for her. I, on the other hand, have just begun to fight. My first plan of action is to call the insurance company tomorrow and see what's going on. If I find out it's something stupid that the billing department should've taken care of...well they'll see a side of me they haven't seen.

We'll see. Time for the gloves to come off. I've got plenty of resources and the law IS on my side:

All I know is I'm getting my implants on Tuesday. WOO WOO WOO! (You know it ;) )

Friday, January 6, 2012

Oh the games we play

Oh, the stupid little Facebook games. The little, quirky, mysterious statuses that have become a thorn in my side. I, inevitably, get NUMEROUS messages regarding these, because the thinking is "Hey Michelle had a mastectomy, she must be ok with this" I posted this note on Facebook and am happy to say I haven't received any messages since then. I wanted to go ahead and post it on my blog as well, just to get it out there.

Now I know that people doing this mean nothing but the best. I don't get personally offended by these statuses. Well, I take that back I DO get offended, just not towards the person. I can't get offended by someone who truly doesn't know how this affects people.

Here's my reasons I listed for why these stupid statuses ARE NOT ok:
1- These statuses are either a little sexual, misleading or mysterious. Let's face facts- you're posting them for attention, Not attention for breast cancer, attention for yourself. Let's call it what it is.
2- A very good point was brought up in another previvor's blog. Every message about these statuses say "Don't let the men know" And why?????? Men get breast cancer too. All of the time. Are they not supposed to be aware?
3- And really..what awareness is it raising? The instructions in the messages about the "game" also say "Don't tell anyone what's it about but forward this message to your girlfriends." Let's break down the very word awareness....Making people aware. People are made aware by being told about something. All of these statuses will either leave your friends thinking a) she's a whore b) she's drunk or otherwise intoxicated and posting random colors as her status or c) for some reason she's moving to a far away city but only planning to stay a few months. For no apparent reason. I promise you not one person will think "Gee..have I done my self exam lately?" Don't even get me started on this recent game...involving a number, the word inches, and :(.
4- Let's stop and think about other people for a second. Everyone knows what I've been through...only because I'm vocal (too vocal if you ask Mike and my parents). Some people aren't. You don't know what other people have been through. Breast cancer affects a lot more people than you think. I personally find it offensive that my agonizing decision to cut off my breasts, or my grandmother's or biological mother's breast cancer battle have been trivialized into some mysterious, stupid status.
Now, let's talk about ways to raise breast cancer awareness (big and small)
Fundraising for Susan G Komen
Race for the Cure
Making Strides Against Breast Caner
Changing your profile picture on Facebook to a pink ribbon
Volunteering for other events
Educating women on the importance of self-exams and early detection
Acceptable slogans for breast cancer awareness:
Save the ta-tas
I love boobies
Save second base
Fight like a girl
You see? If you want to raise awareness, more power to you! Awareness is a FANTASTIC thing. A facebook status isn't awareness...calling it awareness won't change that fact.

I know a few of us ranting and raving about this isn't going to stop them from coming up. In fact, I have a feeling that some people who read this will go right ahead and jump on the bandwagon when they get another message like this. But I want to ask each and every person to stop and think about it before you do it. Think about how many people on your friend's lists may be affected by breast cancer. Just take other people's feelings into account before you do something. And...why don't you post a fact about breast cancer as your status instead?

THAT'D raise awareness!