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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting Nervous All Over Again!

With Stage II surgery on the horizon (November 5th) I am getting nervous all over again. When I got my packet from Beth Israel yesterday with the surgical instructions I had to put it down. Because this isn't the 'big' surgery I really haven't appreciated that it is still surgery.

I am having flashbacks to March 29th. At that point I had put so much into that decision that I was more than ready. Plus I had the advantage of not knowing what to expect. This time I know that I can have an adverse reaction to anesthesia and morphine. Plus, who knows if I will have another phlegm ball incident. The one saving grace is that I absolutely trust my doctor. But it is still surgery.

Needles....not my favorite things. Last time I began drinking lots and lots of water so that my veins would be easy to find and less painful as they insert them for IVs and all the other things they hook up to my body. I can't imagine that I will wake up in the PACU and have tons of things hooked to me like last time, but I just don't know. I can honestly say that the ABSOLUTE WORST DAY of my life was the day I spent in PACU. This is certainly not the case with anyone else I know. They actually liked their nurses in PACU. Again, it's the phlegm ball thing. When you can't breathe, life is tough.

Being a post-surgical patient has been awesome. Being a pre-surgical patient is not quite so awesome. I have to wrap my mind around it all over again. Last time I had expected to be laid-up for 6 weeks, when in reality it was about 6 days, if that. This time I don't know what to expect. I am hoping to be feeling fine the day after as I have purchased tickets to the Super Supper at my daughter's school and want to go to the event. BUT, I know that if I plan on feeling great, I will be down and out and very disappointed. This time there shouldn't be an drains - I pray for no drains!! Plus I have given all my drain supplies (marsupial pouch, bathrobe, jacket, etc) to a friend who just had the surgery. The likelihood of drains is slim.

One other thing is that I thought I was just getting lipo, not that that isn't a big deal, but I hadn't realized that I would also be getting nipple reconstruction during this procedure. I've been on the fence about nipples. I like my breasts they way they are and am not sure that adding nipples will make me happy. I still can choose not to do that, but on the other hand......when I change in a locker room it would be nice to look a bit more normal. And I have two little girls who might even forget someday that I had a bilateral mastectomy if my body looked like everyone else's body.

So, yes, I am nervous. Yes, I will do more research into nipple reconstruction. And, yes, I will do what I can to be the best I can be for my surgery.

4 comments: said...

Hey Joanie - I've talked to lots of women who've gone through stage 2. I can tell you that if your stage 2 includes lipo, that you can expect a fair amount of pain. I've been told many times that stage 2 hurts quite a bit, but the pain doesn't last as long. It's basically the lipo that hurts so much - it's not exactly a gentle procedure. But, who knows, you did so well with stage 1, that maybe you'll sail through stage 2 as well. Wishing you the best of luck!

Teri said...

p.s. I've heard no drains for stage 2 for those who've had the diep - but women who go in for their exchange surgery do have drains afterward..


Joanie said...

Thanks Teri! I've seen pictures from Stage II and they are pretty bad. It's just when you are feeling pretty good, actually very good, and you know you are going to feel pretty bad for a few days, it's tough heading in that direction. But, it will put me one step closer to being totally finished with breast cancer issues. Wishing all the best. I've followed your journey and hope for all the best with you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanie, Thanks so much for documenting your journey. I had a unilateral DIEP at the end of May at the Brigham. Everything went really well. I feel so much more myself-have been doing physcial therapy to strengthen abdomen. I am scheduled for Stage2 mid-december and I will be following your progress closely. I also will have minor scar revisions, some lipo and nipple recon.
Wishing you the best,

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