December 21st, 2006

Bad luck

Total fucking breakdown - and YOUR MISSION

I used to look back at my pregnancy and joke that I was going to VEGAS, because if there was a chance of something happening, it happened. Only a 10-15% chance of getting multiples from Clomid. Only a 10-15% chance of getting gestational diabetes, and if you do, it is only a 3-5% chance you would have to rely on insulin injections. I could go on, but I won't.

The odds were coming through, and although they were a challenge, they played out well.

God, I HOPE there is a silver lining in here somewhere. SOMETHING. Years back, I know I will look back at this and know I made a wise choice, and probably find humor here.

Not. right. now.
I'm not looking for your 'there, there, it'll be better' comments. I'm crying, I'm mad, I'm sad, and I'm venting. That simple.

I went in for surgery this morning to remove the tissue that died. Remember the 3-5% that you will experience a blood clot in a DIEP reconstruction, and if you do, then 50% chance it won't regain blood supply? Yeah. That one. They were then going to put in an expander and gradually blow it up so that in 4-6 months I could go back and get a different kind of reconstruction for the right breast. Either way, I would go home with somewhat similar sized breasts, and we would clean up to rest later.

Not so! When I work up a couple of hours ago, they tell me that the doctor felt there was too big of a chance for infection (I guess the dead tissue was pretty bad off), so he didn't put the expander in. We'll have to do that a few months later, after everything has healed up, then in 4-6 months from there, we'll be able to do a reconstruction.

For most of the next year, I'm going to have one breast. The other is flat as a pancake. Actually, it's more like a fallen souffle because at one point it is actually concave.

By the time I got back to my room, I was crying for the first time during this hospital stay. I couldn't stop. I finally got settled down and then later started again when I went to the bathroom and saw my chest.

PLEASE let me go home by Saturday and for everything else to run smoothly! I do not want to be 'special'. I don't want to be 'strong'. I just want to be normal.


Here is your mission, should you choose to accept it!

I don't know the first thing about having only one breast. I didn't research that part because I was having full reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy. I don't know what to do here! There are several things I want or need to know. Maybe you can help:

- Post-mastectomy camisole (XL) These are supposedly soft little camis that have gentle cups, some you can even stuff to even things out, and they removables pockets where you can put your surgery drains instead of just pinning them inside your shirt.

- How do you get a bra that works for this? There are so many things out there, and I don't know what works and what doesn't. How do you get fitted? How quickly can you get/wear one?

- What other things am I going to need to know?

Damn glad I don't base my feeling like a woman on physical appearances. Otherwise, this would probably have devastated me.

It is just made hard with these complications, because I know that when it comes down to it - I CHOSE THIS. Take away the doctors recommending it, the family history, the genetic mutation, the insurance paying for it, not having to worry about breast or ovarian cancer for the rest of my life, etc. This is NOT something I had to do. I also feel like I can't say that to several people, Scott included. Scott wants to fix things. He wants things to be better for me. He has been really supportive during this whole thing. I just keep in the back of my mind that when he first heard it as an option, he dismissed it by saying it was too drastic, and a 'higher risk' for breast cancer didn't mean you WOULD get it and even then you would be watchful and probaby catch it earlier. He supported me, even though this wouldn't have been his choice. Yet I don't want to vent in front of him about this, because I'm so afraid he'll feel no sympathy because it was something I brought on myself. See, if I had listened to HIM.... He would probably NEVER do or say any of things, even if he did actually think them. I just have the fear that it would be there.

So, that is my state of mind now. Then you add in the fact that I am ABSOLUTELY FUCKING ALONE UP HERE, and you'll probably be hearing a lot from me today. Scott's going to be up here 'sometime this afternoon'. We called him at home after the surgery to say how things went, I called him when I got back to my room. He said he was going to feed the kids and make his way up here later. Jacquie is sick, so she won't come out. I think Angela and Colleen might come out tonight for a while. I have beautiful flowers up drying from GS, so I can always think of them. A couple of people from AMAMOM came by to visit earlier in the week because Amy and I were both here. I didn't really know them, they just stopped in to say hi and see how I was doing. Pretty much, other than my husband dropping in an being bored for 30-45 minutes at a time every couple of days, I have had no visitors. I really haven't gotten many calls either. I keep hearing rationalization - I wanted to give you a few days to recover from surgery first, I wanted to try to come down later in the week when there is less traffic, I don't feel well. Guess what? If you are going to come visit, that's GREAT! If you don't know or aren't, don't say you are and then make excuses. It doesn't make things better. Don't wait until I feel better, or wait until I get home to contact me. Yes, I need you then, but I need you now, too. Don't make empty offers. Don't say 'Let me know if there is anything I can do to help with the kids!'. Instead, if you are really wanting to do something, PLAN something then ask if it is ok. I would like to take the kids to the park for a couple of hours on Thursday or Friday, would that work for you guys? I was at the grocery store, so I thought I would pick up some soft drinks or snacks or whatever for you. Things like that.

YAY! Angela just called and said she's coming by in an hour or so. My first visit from a friend! And it's only day 8.

My 5-7 day hospital stay has turned into a really freaking long one. I've been here 8 days already. Might get to go home in 2. I just need OUT of this place, and I need a plan. I'm not handling this very well.

Almond Joy's got nuts, but....

Sometimes you feel like a breast, sometimes you don't.
My left side's got breast, right don't.
Because....sometimes you feel like a breast, sometimes you don't!

Can we say yay for on demand morphine drips?

And friends? :) The things everyone said tonight meant so much to me. I also had a few visitors. I had called Angela and told her she needed to come visit. NOW. Her and Colleen came up with their four kids, they brightened up the room, pulled my shades all of the way up, and the kids sang Christmas songs for me. An hour or so after they left, my husband came in with my friend, Mike. Mike came bearing an egg nog milk shake which is one of my FAVORITES. I shoved it down in a big mug and cheated :) I mean, it's not CLEAR, but it is a liquid, right?

I got to talk to semantique on the phone for a while tonight, and that was great. It's a good thing they plan to get me out of here on Saturday, or else my room would have been attacked by elves bearing a Christmas tree *laugh* Also finally got to talk to my half-brother for a few minutes to fill him in on the last couple of weeks.

I threw myself into the grief of things this morning, and I'm sure it won't be the last time. However, it also forced me to reach out and gave me a goal on things to research.

OH! georgiaskydiver - I asked about mail that comes into the hospital and what if it doesn't get here before you check out. They said the mail room forwards it on to the patient's home address. Hopefully, that means nothing would get lost in the cross this weekend like the card you said you sent.

The most pleasant visit today was the most unexpected. Before surgery this morning, like before every surgery, the hospital chaplain swings by to say hi and see if you need anything. Usually, we have a nice 2 minute chat, and I thank them for keeping me and the doctors in their prayers. I don't think twice about the process. I was quite a bit anxious this morning before the surgery (you think?) and just had a one-minute uncomfortable talk with the female chaplain.

This evening, a woman stopped by and said she had talked to the chaplain today and I was brought up. She thought I needed something special, and the strength of other prayers behind me. The woman tonight brought in a 'prayer pillow'. It's a small pillow, maybe 9"x9" square, in a neutral floral pattern. You can tell it was handmade, yet very well-made with love. It is from a group of women at the Central Christian Church in Dallas. They prayed together over the pillow about me, and then brought it here to be with me. This was such a touching gesture from a stranger. I think if more 'churchfolk' were like that and with more consistency and logic, way more people would attend church.

Ok, rest now. :)