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, April 19, 2010

Week 4 - Day 1

Update - Just added photos to Week 3, Day 4 (Drain Pull Day):
It was three weeks ago today that I had my surgery and I am proud to say that I am now taking real showers - no more sitting down and no more Marsupial Pouch. Getting the fourth and final drain out made that all possible. I would highly recommend the Marsupial Pouch to anyone and everyone who has hip and armpit drains.

I am still quite sore and tender. The little bit of pain that I have seems to be moving up from my abdomen to my chest. Still not really hitting the 1-10 pain scale - just discomfort. But, I have been able to do so many more things. For example, today I wore jeans for the first time in 3 weeks. I also rode my Green Machine very slowly around the driveway. And I have lost almost 10 lbs from my pre-surgery (feed-the-flap) weight. Oh, and my stomach is flat. Sure there is a scar across it that is 38 centimeters long and I have new designer belly button, but my belly is flat. My breasts seem to be loosening up each day and becoming more like breasts. For a while they were getting quite hard, but seem to be adjusting to their new placement. It is hard to imagine that my belly fat is now sitting in my breasts. It's also hard to imagine just how uncomfortable I was just 3 weeks ago -- the phlegm ball in my throat that seemed to be suffocating me, the hallucinations from the morphine and the steady stream of medical professionals checking on me.

I am pleased with the results - even if I have only done Stage I. Stages II and III are to come. I can do Stage II this summer, but think I will wait until Fall. Although, I would love to have my new body ready for summer. But I am a bit worried about undergoing surgery again. I can remember everything and there is nothing pleasant about the recovery area. Waking up from 14+ hours of surgery was tough. Waking up from 14+ hours of surgery with a phlegm ball was even tougher. Waking up from 14+ hours of surgery with a sensitivity to morphine was toughest of all.

So, other than a little bit of nerve pain down my left arm I feel pretty good. I still get tired mid-day. I get as much walking in as I can and feel much better after exercising. My armpits have been uncomfortable, but with the arm exercises they are feeling a little bit better.

On the homefront, we are still benefitting from the generosity of friends. Yesterday we finished up Brenda's lasagne and chicken/broccoli casserole. We still have some leftovers from the Feed-the-Flap party that will carry us for a few more meals. We are truly blessed to have so many kind and generous friends.

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