May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!
~ Robert Frost


Welcome to my blog. This is my story of how I faced my risk of breast cancer, the decisions I made, the support I received and my week by week recovery from surgery. I chose to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with immediate DIEP reconstruction at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston (March 2010). For more information on my 'Medical Team' please see tab above. I also have a wonderful circle of friends who have supported me throughout. They have provided us with lots of delicious meals and desserts. Many of those recipes are included above under "Feed the Flap" recipes. "Feed the Flap" is a term I coined when trying to increase my abdominal (fat) flap to ensure that I was a good candidate for the DIEP procedure. This was not something recommended by any medical professional, it was just something that made sense to me. I think it worked!! Feel free to join me on this journey and feel free to post comments.

Select the tabs on the left side marked Week 1, Week 2, Week 3..... to go immediately to the surgical/recovery part of this blog.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 1 - Pre-Admission Testing day down. Don't get me wrong, pre-admission testing really isn't a big deal, BUT when things don't go as smoothly as you had hoped then it becomes...augghhhhh. It started as a beautiful day in Boston, fairly warm (30 degrees) and sunny. Felt like spring. DH and I walked around the The Fens - about an hour of brisk walking. So wonderful.

Then headed out for my first appointment - the autologous blood donation. WELL, it just didn't work out. After several attempts at getting the size 16 needle into each arm they gave up. I was willing to have them root around a bit more, but they knew it just wasn't going to work. So, they settled for getting blood from my hand for the lab work - very small needle that I barely felt it.

Next a great lunch at the hospital cafe. The best chicken pot pies and clam chowder around. We headed over to see the breast surgeon, BUT she was still in surgery, so we went to pre-admission testing.

Pre-Admission testing consisted of an EKG, vitals, a meeting with an anesthesiologist and a nurse. The anesthesologist was super. She has attended several BM + DIEP procedures, so was quite helpful with firsthand information. She told me all about ET and LMA tubes - sometimes I get too much information, but I would rather know stuff ahead of time than later.

The nurse was good, took lots of info from me. She crossed all the T's and dotted all the i's. She gave me a bottle of soap that I need to use both the night before surgery and the morning of surgery. And to think I had already gone out to buy Dial soap, which they had recommended in their pamphlets. So much for planning ahead.

After PAT we went back to see the BS. She squeezed us in and was very attentive and focused during our discussion. Still exhausting knowing that you are one step closer to really having this surgery.

Now I am just tired. My arms are a bit sore from all the rooting around, but not a big deal. We are headed out to visit with some friends we haven't seen in over a year. I might just fall asleep before we leave.

Tomorrow we see the PS and his nurse, who I understand is the key contact person. She has already been very helpful by connecting me with another LCIS person who had a BM with DIEP.

My impression at the end of the day is that nothing is black and white. Why I would expect any more than that I don't know. From the start this whole decision of 'do I or don't I' has been mine to make. So, when I ask about what to expect from any aspect of the surgery I get the very gray answers stating that everyone is different. BUT at the end of the day, my bs did say that she thought I was making the best decision for me. I didn't need her endorsement, but it certainly felt good. You can't get to this point without some doubts, but it does make sense that my doctors and I are on the same page. Oh, I did decide to do skin-sparing vs. nipple-sparing mastectomies. Seemed like extra insurance, but I could change my mind.

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