Posts from the ‘reconstruction’ Category

The last one (hopefully)

So I went in Wednesday for what is hopefully the last reconstruction surgery.  Last year, if you’ve been following, I had a second lat flap to replace the infected expander on the right side.  This surgery was a revision of that lat flap and putting the finishing touches on the foobs.  Plastic surgeon said the surgery went well (I can’t tell, it looks pretty horrific to me.  But then they always do in the beginning.)  Mostly I’m itchy and thanks to the heat and instructions not to shower, stinky.  Bleah.  I’m trying to decide if I can get my arm up high enough to wash my hair in the sink.   I’ve got a pretty big incision on the right side under my armpit that makes me nervous about stretching.

So anyway, me and my friend Vicodin are hanging out and catching up on Covert Affairs on Hulu.


I’m out of clever drain puns.

So I still have a drain.  Bleah.  I wonder how many posts I’ve written about the tribulations of having a drain.  Don’t answer that.

Anyway, I called PS today to remind ask them about my drain and if they wanted to see me.  The general rule is that it has to be collecting less than 30 ml of fluid and I’m at about 35.  So I’m stuck with it for the weekend.  Then I checked the incision site and there is a hole above my incision where a “dissolve-able” thread has decided to escape.  It looks like about an inch of fishing line sticking straight out of my chest.  I suppose I wouldn’t be me if everything went smoothly.  There’s some peeling too which is making me nervous.  (A little  PTSD from last years summer of infections.)  It’s not red though or swelling so I’m doing my best to be optimistic.

So once again, I’m trying to get back to normal life wearing a drain.  And really tattered tee shirts.  I bought a bag of cheap men’s undershirts when I was in radiation.  Little did I know I’d still be wearing them.  The drain pins create holes in your shirts, so not wanting to ruin my “nice” tees (heh) I’m still wearing the holey tee shirts.  I’ve gotten better at dressing them up when I leave the house, but I don’t think I’ll be starting any fashion trends any time soon.

Hydrocodone hat

I think I’m going to start naming my knitting projects after what pain med I’m on, since that’s the only time I get to knit these days.  After surgery, on narcotics.  Heh.  Anyway, I found a hat I’d started with a skein of Rowan cotton.  I don’t remember starting it (probably was last year when I was on Oxycodone.  heh.)  And I didn’t even know what size it was going to end up.  I randomly added cables, twists and eyelets.  And as it turns out.  It fits a really cute 3 year old.  🙂
 I should probably call it the popsicle hat.  A little more appropriate for a kid’s hat.  Heh.  🙂

I’m home :)

1)  Surgery went well.  Frankenlefty jr got a little lift, and Frankenrighty, jr looks pretty gross.  And I’m pretty sure half of it is in my armpit.  But this isn’t any different that last year.  Reconstruction is a long process.  PS has to build something from nothing and I get that it takes a while.  So I’ll be a patient patient.  🙂  With my 3 drains.  😛  Oh yes.  And I had vein in my hand blow during a blood draw so they had to move the iv to my arm.  Which was in the way so I had to have a central line put in my neck.  I look like I was beaten by a vampire.  Two vampires really.  Heh.

2)  We have a somewhat feral child who lives in our neighborhood.  I’m pretty sure he would live at our house if we asked him to.  This week, though, an extra kid to watch is a bit much for me.  The kids are on respective play dates today, so I was surprised to hear his scooter rolling across the deck.  He was so disappointed when I told him the kids weren’t here and said, “Well the sign says she can play and she should change it if she isn’t here.”  I had no idea what he was talking about so I looked in the girl’s room and sure enough she’d set up a Magnadoodle out her window displaying her playing status.  I agreed with him that she should’ve changed her sign and he rolled away.  Rather ingenious of my daughter to do that.   I think we might use her sign more this summer.

3)  I made a video of the boy the other day doing a very silly dance and he asked, “Are you going to put this on Facebook?”  My 4 year old knows about Facebook.  Crazy.  And yes.  I did post it.  As I will share it here.  Because it made me very happy.


I’ve written about this before (I think.  Or at least I meant to.) but each time I have surgery I have this urge to get everything ready.  Which is funny because I never get it all done.  So here’s what I’ve accomplished so far.

1.  Kids are signed up for swim lessons.  I completely failed at getting them signed up at our local pool.  The lessons fill up ridiculously fast because our pool is somewhat warmer than the others in the area.  So my kids are going to the famously freezing pool in July.

2.  I’ve been watching season 2 of Lost on netflix while I’m doing laundry.  I love the love story of Rose and Bernard.  🙂  And strangely, my washing machine is starting to sound like the smoke monster when it’s on the spin cycle.  Which then makes me wonder if that’s what they used for its sound on the show.  Hmm..

I loved the Lost/Target ads.  I’m pretty sure we single handedly keep Target in business.

3.  I made a truck load of chocolate chip pancakes to freeze for the kids breakfasts while I’m recuperating.  The girl is pretty good at using the microwave now. 

4.  I am lucky to have such amazing friends and family.  One of these years, I am not going to be the high maintenance friend.  I promise.  My brother and his girlfriend brought us food already and my friends at church have set up a dinner calendar.  My sister is taking the kids while I’m in the hospital (no small feat as that means 5 children under 7, one of which is a baby.)  John’s family also are helping out with the kids after I get home.  Did I mention how grateful I am?

In anticipation of Frankenrighty, Jr.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a cancer post.  Hey, I’ve been busy.  🙂

Next week, I aspire for symmetry.  Again.  If you’ll recall, last summer I had two failed expanders due to infection and was left with a frankenlefty, jr. on one side and a concave dent on the other.  So, this year we’re not bothering with implants, keeping frankenlefty jr, and creating a twin on the right with a latissimus dorsi flap (they take part of my back and bring it round front).  This time, PS has decided to use some of my fat to fill in the dents.  I asked if there was a bank I could deposit extra in.  I’m sure he gets that all the time.  Heh.

So hopefully all will go smoothly this time, with much less drain drama.  And infection drama.  And I will be done.  And somewhat symmetrical.

When it rains…

1)  you get to keep your drain.  Really bad rhyme.   I know.  Drain stays till Friday.  I’m back on Levaquin (which the doc stopped a while back to put me on Bactrim) because my infection is resistant to Bactrim now.   Yippee.  I get the overachiever bug.  Anyway, Levaquin is scary expensive, even with insurance (For instance, I’m lucky it *only* costs me $50.) with even scarier side effects (like your Achilles tendon detaching somehow…)  Anyway, I’ve just got to keep in mind I’ve taken more toxic things in my life, like chemo and some really bad stuffed green peppers I made long ago.  I still have 8 pills of Levaquin left from a previous prescription and I’m hoping I can take those (I think he only wanted me on it for 5), so cross your fingers for me that the goddess of cheapness smiles on me and I can use it.

2) Pray for a friend’s mother (who is also my friend) whose Mom is dying.  You are never too old to miss your mother.  Or your grandma.  Or your great-grandma.

3)  Pray for my sister and her husband, for his mother passed away unexpectedly last night.  Death is never easy, expected or otherwise.

4) Pray a bit for me, because tomorrow all their children will be at my house.  I can handle it and it will be fine.  But a little prayer never did anybody any harm.   🙂

Frankenlefty has left the building.

Or will have by 8 am tomorrow.  Same problem as last time.  Infected skin, no bacterial growth in cultures.  They took about 200 ml of fluid out of frankenlefty this morning.  Brought it down in size from a freakish stripper boob to a normal stripper boob.  Can’t tell you how much better that feels.  It had actually started to migrate to the right so I truly would have been uniboobed.  PS says I stil have options.  I have to wait another 3 to 6 months to stabilize and we can work up a new plan.  Maybe one that doesn’t involve implants, depending on how frankenlefty looks without the expander.  That’s fine by me.

I have to admit there is just a tiny part of me that is glad to see it gone.  It’s been ridiculous, as I’ve mentioned before. I have to actually haul the thing up and out the window to reach things in a drive thru.  Definitely not going to miss that.  I will also be able to sleep on my left (once the drains are out.  Again.) without feeling uncomfortable.

Oh and I’ll have drains for Halloween.  I figure I can go as a Breast Cancer Awareness Borg.

I am 1 of 8.

Get your mammograms.

Resistance is futile.

The Waiting Place

In Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go, he talks about the Waiting Place.  That’s sort of where I feel I am these days.

I had to go back to the doctors this week after I noticed a red spot growing on the underside of frankenlefty.  On Saturday, it started peeling.  I have to admit it was very tempting to just break down then.  For those of you who’ve been following, peeling was the beginning of the end for frankenrighty.  But I didn’t.  I made the appointments Monday morning and have dutifully gone to see both docs.  I can tell that Infectious Disease doc is trying to be positive but he’s worried.  Plastic surgeon is stumped and frustrated.  PS took some fluid today and is trying to see if it will grow anything.  (Remember that frankenrighty never grew anything until it was removed.)

I’m trying to stay neutral (positive but realistic).  Starting another round of Bactrim.  I seriously can’t believe after 3 1/2 months of antibiotics that any bacteria could possible grow in my body.  But apparently one is.

So I wait.


Pamela Anderson (Lee?  Not Lee?  What IS her name now?) is donating her boobs for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And I was the lucky recipient of one of them.  Yep.  Frankenlefty is swelling.  At first I thought I was just being clumsy.  And I am.  BUT not to the frequency at which I have been abusing Frankenlefty.  Running into walls.  Shutting it in car doors.  Regular doors.  Doors are generally bad.  So I figure, it’s growing.  It looks huge.  It feels HUGE.

When I went to the plastic surgeons for our weekly tete a tete, the nurse who took me to the room said something to the effect of “Holey Moleg!  (J’s version of Holy Moly!) which made me think that she, too, had noticed it’s increased size.  Plastic surgeon looked at it and said in his usual dry humor, “Well.  I think we’re done expanding.”  He thinks there might be fluid there but we’re being very cautious about it because of what happened to Frankenrighty.

Saw the infectious disease doctor yesterday and he is cautiously optimistic that the antibiotic is working.  I’m learning not to get my hopes up.  I’m trying not to be negative about it, just neutral.  Reconstruction is severely impeding my quality of life.  I can’t volunteer for anything but food at L or J’s school because I never know when I’m going in for surgery.  I’ve had so many, I couldn’t remember them all when they wanted my history for the colonoscopy.  How sad is that?

I’m also having trouble remembering things.  Worse than usual.  I’m hoping it’s stress.

Wait.  What was I writing about?