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.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Week 2 - Day 5
Last Week: Going home day!!! We knew on Thursday that we would probably be ready to go home on Friday. We told the girls first then called everyone else. Plus our friend, PA, stopped by on Thursday night when we Skyped the girls to tell them. They were thrilled and we felt ready to move out, even though we loved the staff. So, Friday morning started with a 5am walk around the nurses' station, a shower unassisted by nursing staff, getting dressed in street clothes, packing up and heading home. It was a very exciting day. We had requested that we leave between 10 and 12 and we were out the door by 10:30. I had always understood that discharge was this time consuming, very delayed event, so we were thrilled.
We did have to do some picture taking of Dr. Curtis, Maria and Petrya before we left. They were all so wonderful. I didn't say much about Tamara, but she was an angel too. When Petrya left on Thursday, Tamara took over, then Petrya returned on Friday am to help us get ourselves together. Hopefully each and every one of the nurses (as well as Maria and the doctors) who cared for me on CC6 know that they are always welcome to our home!!! I think I promised Petrya that we would find some very good hiking trails for her in Acadia. On my last walk around the nurses station the department manager (I think) stopped us and was shocked. She lit right up and said something like, "You look sooooooooooooo much better than when we met. I didn't even recognize you!" I may have paraphrased wrong, but it was a great compliment. I had on street clothes and no longer sported a johnny. I had on make-up, well under eye corrector (good-bye bags) and lipstick. My hair was clean and I was happy. Mike was by my side. A few minutes later he wheeled me out to the car and we headed home. On the way home we stopped at Aunt Sally's house in Freeport, where I felt a bit odd. It was sensory stuff....like way too much sunshine and movement. But that passed by the time we got back to Bangor. The girls were happy. Dot was relieved. And were finally home. This had been a year and the half in the making and now we were on the road to recovery.
The photos I have included: my last breakfast at BIDMC. It was oatmeal and English muffins. We didn't know we had to ask for brown sugar and butter. Every meal had been great, so when this one didn't hold a candle to the others, we knew it was time to go. Here's a picture of Mike working. Poor guy slept on a cot for three nights and never ever complained. Then there is me in street clothes. I was so so happy!!!! Next is the room number. Then you will see me with Dr. Curtis (Dr. Tobias's Breast Fellow) who will be setting up his own practice when he is finished with this assignment. I feel blessed to have crossed paths with him. In this photo is Maria, a true Godsend. No one can put you at ease like Maria. She is funny, caring, knowledgeable, helpful and always available. The last photo is with Petrya, who was outstanding in every way. My other 'team members' can be found under MY TEAM at the top of the home page.
This Week: Today I woke up for the first time in a week and a half with ONLY ONE DRAIN. I am thrilled. I am still quite sore and numb, but I assume that that will last for quite awhile. I will go back and post pictures from yesterday's visit with Dr. Tobias, Maria and Malika (my new angel) on yesterday's follow-up post. Today I am finally going to get my hair cut!!! I will post the new do!! For over a year I have been growing my hair out thinking that if I pulled it back in the hospital it would be easier and look better. The reality is that if I had had a short cut it would have been easier. Looking better isn't really a concern during those first few days when you are simply trying to adjust. Greasy hair, bangs pushed up to the side and the rest just hanging there is not a pretty picture, BUT they do not have mirrors in your room. And Mike didn't seem to mind how I looked. He was just happy that I wasn't seeing things or imagining things anymore. I plan to post more FAQ today. More pictures coming!!!
Mike's office staff had this fruit bouquet delivered today!! Wonderful. You will see MeiMei's hand reaching for it...... I also had my hair cut and my hair stylest 'gave' me the cut. She said that she isn't so good at casseroles or things like that, but she wanted to do something nice for me. Of course, it made me cry!! It is amazing how kind the people in our lives have been. What people do is across the board from cards, to flowers, to food, to phone calls, to visits, to Mass cards, to sending along special prayers and quotes, it all means so much to me. I have a much greater appreciation of the things I can do for others now that I have been the recipient of such a wonderful outpouring of love and support. Thank you all!!!