Lean On Me… You Are Never Alone

2 Feb

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I know it has been awhile since I last posted anything. When I started this blog, I did not do it so everyone could be a voyeur into my life. I not only wanted to update my relatives and  friends, but mostly help others who were going through the same genetic unknown I was. I got an message the other day on Facebook from a friend I used to work with at the hospital who is in a internet mom’s group.  She said there is girl she knew who just found out she was BRCA + and had questions about my surgery. My friend asked me if I would mind messaging  her and tell her about my surgery and answering any questions she had.

Her and I ” talked ” back and forth for about an hour and I thought it was neat that I could meet someone half way across the country and let her know I understand and she is not alone even though it feels that way sometimes.

Well, I had my second phase of surgery on December 27th and it was a breeze compared to Phase 1. I had nipple reconstruction and fat grafting to fill in any breast  dents from the original surgery. Fat grafting ( liposuction )  was horrible but healed up in a few days. I do not know how women do that all over their body (OUCH).  I still have at least 1 more surgery to fix my donor site incision on my abdomen ( the one that was so infected after my original surgery. ) That surgery will be in the summer.

The After Shock~ A Husband’s Prespective

8 Dec

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I am on a Facebook group of women that has all had Mastectomies with DIEP reconstruction. A topic has come up time and time again ” What will my husband think about me after my mastectomy?” So, I asked my husband to write this post with his thoughts on a man’s prospective on his wife having a mastectomy  and reconstruction, especially  one that was done to prevent Breast Cancer. I have instructed Brian to be honest ( and I would not get mad about anything he writes, women need a man’s honest prospective. )

What was your thought when your wife first talked to you about a preventive mastectomy?  I was in favor of it, but cautious.  I wanted to understand all the benefits and the risks in order to help Kelly with her decision.  Ultimately, it was her decision to make.  As her husband, I wanted to understand as much as possible to better support her.

What were your fears?  I was afraid of any side affects (infection, blood circulation) that would possibly occur.  With any major surgery, there are always fears being under the knife for such an extended time frame.

What was the worst part of the actually surgery?  The long time interval for the actual operation.  Kelly’s surgery took approximately 14 hours to complete.  While I was getting periodic updates on how things were going, it was still a long day at the hospital.  Her surgery began at 7:30 AM and I didn’t see her until 10:45 PM.  There were also some complications with one of her flaps not circulating the blood from the tissues adequately, which prolonged her operation.  By the time the doctor finally came out to say he had finished, I was quite stressed out.

What was the worst part about recovery?  The day-to-day progress on the flap that was having issues.  I have no doubt that God had his hands on her as even her surgeon was astounded at her progress.  In the beginning, he only gave a 20% chance that the flap would survive.  Kelly made remarkable progress daily and defied the odds.  Still, it was a lot of people praying that made her recovery so remarkable.

What  has this procedure taught you?  That plastic surgery has come along way from the past.  Kelly’s reconstruction has been far from the “butchering” that women had gone through in my mother’s generation.  It has been very surprising in the way her “new” breasts have a natural look/feel to them.  And she is not done with her revisions yet, so I anticipate that they will only improve.

Do you still find your wife attractive?  Very much so.  I find my wife even more attractive now.  She did this for herself first and foremost, but also for our daughters.  She wants to see them wed and have their own families and this gives her a much better chance of fulfilling that.  To see how brave and vulnerable she was during this was inspiring in so many ways.  Her breasts are certainly a part of her, but not all of her and don’t define her womanhood.  Her role as the mother of our daughters, as my wife, and the dreams we share are more attractive than any single part of her body.  I’m excited as to what the end result will be.

( any other thought you want to add)

If you are a husband whose wife is weighing the pros and cons of having this procedure, I would encourage you to take an active role with her.  Go to doctors appointments, ask questions, share your feelings with her, read blogs/articles/web pages, and become her advocate.  Be a participant in this decision process.  Ultimately, its her choice.  You need to be an active part in the process.

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A Little Nip & Tuck- Phase 2: Contouring

28 Nov

( Warning guys probably  want to skip this post unless they care about detailed breast reconstruction) There are pictures that depict the before and after the  procedure .  Not my photos but a brave fellow blogger’s  given to me with her permission.

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I am about ready to start my next chapter on my reconstruction! I have my next surgery scheduled for December 27 and it’s an outpatient surgery, so should be a walk in the park compared to my surgery in September. When I originally was going to have my mastectomy, I was going to try to have a nipple sparing mastectomy, this is where they save your skin and nipple, however it increases your risk of cancer by 2-4% and the scaring in more noticeable with the nipple sparing mastectomy.

My plastic surgeon and I decided if I wanted to decrease my chance of breast cancer to the lowest percentage and have less scaring in the end, so I sided with the non-nipple sparing mastectomy. So during this surgery, I am having nipple reconstruction and contouring of the breasts. ( basically making them perfect :) ) Hey, if I went through all this I want them perfect as possible! :)

I believe a picture tells the story better, so I asked a fellow blogger if I could borrow her pictures to show the before and after the second phase of breast reconstruction. STOP NOW IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE. Again these are not me I am not that brave haha.

These pictures are before nipple reconstruction:

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These pictures are after nipple reconstruction:

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Will It Be Easy? (Nope) Will It Be Worth It (Absolutely)… National Adoption Month… Our Adoption Story

11 Nov

adoptionI wanted to write some thoughts about adoption since it is National Adoption Month.  Adoption, especially from foster care, is a passion of mine.  Let me tell your our story.  My husband and I never had any trouble having our own biological children and had always talked about the possibility of adopting more children,  That is all it amounted to was talking and not really any action. Then one fateful day we met our friends and our lives changed forever. They had 3 biological children and adopted a sibling group of 3 older children from Foster Care.  We really did not want to be foster parents, but wanted to go straight adoption and the Gladney Center For Adoption had a program where the parental rights to the kids had already been removed and they were ready to be adopted.

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We wanted to do what our friends had done; adopt kids within the state of Texas.  We felt with so many children right in our own back yard wanting a forever home that we couldn’t ignore that.  We worked with our agency, took the classes, got our home inspection, and began the wait. And what a wait it was.  I am not the most patient person. The time we waited  until we got matched was 9 months from the time our home study was complete. I began to question God. Why was it taking so long? What was the hold up?  Maybe God needed my help :). Brian told me to be patient and wait ( yeah, right, How long have you lived with me?)

 

adoption 4The call finally came that we had been waiting for.  There was a girl who was 5 that we had been matched with.  They sent us her case file  and I  started to go through all the information.  After I had read through it all, I  pulled Brian into our room and said that this didn’t feel right.  I felt that this child was not the one for us.  I was heartbroken and was fearful that if we said no, that we would never be matched with another child   Brian said if God is saying no, then we have to listen and let her go to the home He has prepared for her.  We told the agency that we needed to pass on this child.

Again, this was very painful for me as we had waited for a long time.  A few weeks went by and another call came.  This time, it was a sibling set of two girls.  Again we went through the file and I could tell on these were the ones God has set aside to be a part of our family.  We let the agency know we wanted them and began the process.  One was age 7 and the other age 5.  They came to live with us permanently on December 26, 2009 and we finalized their adoption in August of 2010.  We can’t imagine our lives without them.   Now I can see clearly why God kept us waiting so long. They were meant to be ours and they were not ready to be adopted at the time I was so impatiently waiting  and questioning God on his intentions.  Looking back, I would have waited 10 years for them The girls have been such a blessed addition to our family.  In our eyes, there is no difference between our natural and adopted daughters; they are each a gift from God. To say I love them is an understatement. Each one of my daughters is seared into my soul and I will never be the same.

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If you ever get the inkling to adopt, it will be the best decision of your life.  Do not let the feeling pass by. All children need someone to call Mommy and Daddy. You will be the one receiveing the true blessing.

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The Fine Line Between Bravery and Cowardice

6 Nov

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I was at work yesterday, I ran in to a coworker that I had not see in more than ten years. She  said she was at a party recently and my name came up about me having a preventive mastectomy. The next thing she said was ” can I give you a hug? What you did was so brave. ”  I have heard me being referred to as brave  many time since I had the surgery and even prior to surgery.

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When I hear this brave term refered  to me I feel like an imposter. I am not brave. I am lucky at best and a coward at worst. I am lucky I live in 2013 where genetic testing is what it is today. I had choices none of the other women in my family had. I got to have a choice,  breast cancer did not decide for me.  I am lucky my breast were not mutalated  like my grandmother’s. Plastic surgery has come a long way and when they are finished by breast will look pretty much as they did prior to surgery. At times I feel like a coward taking action and not taking the wait and see approach. I got to cheat the system and the laws of nature.

The women who truly deserve the bravery title are …

My grandmother who suffered from metastatic breast cancer in her bones. She had severe chronic pain for 30 years.

My grandmother’s sister who lost her life at age 32  from breast cancer.

My mom at age 39 got the breast cancer news when she had a 8 and 9 year old to raise.

My aunt who is fighting metastatic breast cancer at this time ( she will win I feel it :) )

My mother in law who had the horrible effects of chemo and survived through it.

These are the true brave women. I can’t be in the same group of these strong women.  I am in awe of their strengths and determination.

Hopefully, my daughters will be the luckiest of all and by the time they have to worry about beast cancer it will be a thing of the past, that is my prayer for them.

I Got The Trick While The Girls Got The Treats

2 Nov

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Life was going well ’till I decided to walk the girls all over the neighborhood for trick or treating on Halloween. The next morning, I woke up the day after with a 1 inch by 1 inch hole in my lower abdomen due to two of my stitches being ripped out. Miss home health nurse came out today to put the wound VAC back on.

Whoever has the Voodoo Doll of me, I surrender. Please put the damn thing down, I will do what ever you want.

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I am nurse…. Hear me roar

1 Nov

Today was my first shift back to work. This is the way I felt this AM.

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Her is what I feel like now.

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All in all it was a great day. Thanks to all my coworkers for picking up the slack for me. Love ya!!!

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