Day 22 – 08/09/2013

My new reality.

I met with the plastic surgeon and oncology surgeon. Both were running an hour late which was definitely no fun and highly stressful.  You sit in the waiting areas and look around at the people.  One of the other people in the room had been through surgery and you could tell was going through radiation.  Drains were still in and here hair had been cut off.  You want to look and acknowledge, but you don’t want it to be you.

The plastic surgeon was wonderful, but sadly it didn’t go as I hoped.  I wanted to have the DIEP surgery, keep my own flesh and not have any foreign plastic things in my body.  However, because of the multitude of previous surgeries in the stomach area as well as not having enough flesh to get the results we need, I am not a good candidate.  First time I have ever been told I was too skinny.  Also, there goes my tummy tuck.

Surprisingly, up to that point I had held it together pretty well.  But, then the realization came that I would have to have plastic implants stuck within me for the rest of my life.  That reality was too much for me and I cried.  It isn’t a bad thing, but I won’t have my own flesh anymore.

Why do I feel so weak when I cry?  This is a tough part of life to go through.  I am losing my breasts, my nipples.  There is serious pain and a life-long commitment to having this new body, new reality and then you add in the diagnosis of cancer and the burden the C word carries.  I had every right to be emotional and have to deal with the drama it entails.

Technically it is easy.  They remove all my tissue, pull a lymph node to test it to see if the cancer has spread, open up my muscle wall and place a holder (we won’t talk about what that is made of), then insert the tissue expander and finally close me up.  Heal a bit and then every week add in some saline till the desire size is reached, heal up and then remove the tissue expander and place in the implants.  About 6 months from the start of surgery you have breasts.

The new breasts will be gummy implants and look and feel pretty close to actual breasts.  But, they will be something stuck in my body.  They even come with their own warranty.

Breathe, it is better than cancer.

Talking about cancer, so I also met with my surgical oncologist.  Paget’s disease of the breast is not being classified as ‘not really cancer’.  What?  I their mind it is Stage 0 cancer and in the new classification that isn’t cancer.  This is a game that the doctors are playing.  The treatment is a lumpectomy (or mastectomy) and radiation over the whole breast.  But, it isn’t cancer unless what is underneath is not Stage 0 and then it is.  I am thinking that if you have to cut it out and kill it off then I am going to continue to call it cancer.

We decided not to go with an MRI since I will be having a bilateral mastectomy.  But, I still worry what the mammogram didn’t catch.

My new norm is stress.  You live in a world that is slightly cocooned.  You are tired and time seems to stretch forever.