Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Day 289

No boobies for me today.

My boobs have been lost.  Seriously folks, they have scoured the OHSU campus and they are nowhere to be found.

So after you're done laughing, because the humor isn't lost on me either, I am really upset and having a hard time absorbing this.  

I was SO ready.  Not only do I need to prepare for surgery at home and work, but emotionally.  This was literally one of the last steps in moving forward.  And it was ripped right out from under me, for a reason that seems un-freaking-real.  

First of all, my initial implant surgery on the 12th of this month was rescheduled at the last minute.  I am also waiting to start chemo until after my surgery, so this will ultimately delay my treatment.  Then I'm sitting in pre-op all marked up and ready to go, with an IV (which as you may or may not know, is really hard to do with chemo veins) and my poor surgeon, who is an amazing and wonderful person, has to come in and tell me they lost my boobs.  I joked and asked him if he had a spare pair in his trunk we could use.  But inside I was dying.  I'm not sure who was more upset, him or me.  I am sure heads will roll at OHSU if he has anything to do with it.  And, since he has a few hours to spare now, I am sure he's doing just that.  Why on earth wouldn't they have them well in advance?  It seems crazy to me.  I mean, isn't there a boobie checklist or something?
  • Surgeon.  Check.
  • Anesthesiologist.  Check.
  • Boobs.  Check.
Simple, right?

Anyway, I tagged the hospital on my (rightfully so) "woe is me" post on IG and they've already reached out and apparently someone from patient relations is supposed to be calling me.   I'm not really sure what they can do other than apologize.  I mean do I get a free stay or water bottle or something for my trouble?  Nothing will really ever make this better.  Other than for someone to find my implants somewhere and get my surgery done, like tomorrow.

I spent the evening on my couch last night shaking from nerves about today and I really don't want to do it again.  I know it may be hard to understand for some and no one will really know what to say other than "that sucks", but the idea of being done with this process and being one step closer to "over" is something that we breast cancer patients cling to and really need to make it through all the shit we have to endure.  And in an instant it's gone, albeit for now, and it's a bitter pill to swallow.  

I'm upset.  I'm pissed.  I'm devastated.  I'm done venting.

Oh, and I just got a call from the scheduler and we are on for the second attempt next Monday afternoon.  I asked if we could just ship the new boobs to me and I will bring with.   Just an offer.  My surgeon is coming on his day off, which his nurse said he has never done before, and I am grateful to him for that.  What a freaking roller coaster.

I'm exhausted.

Love to you all, thanks for listening and for your kind words and support.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Day 288

Gettin' good with it.
Like, for reals.

I mean at least I am using all of my pre-op nervous energy to make something happen that I should  have already done, even if I didn't have cancer.  But for the last two weeks, all I keep hearing in my head is, "the anesthesiologist won't touch you unless you're at the main hospital because you are a high risk surgical patient".   

So, that's exactly what is happening at the main hospital at OHSU tomorrow.  The fourth, and hopefully last surgery for me.  Yes, it's the new boobies along with some work to fix the damage to my underarm area on both sides from the mastectomy.   As much as I don't want to be a special case in this arena, I am trying to find comfort in the fact that they want me at the main hospital in case something goes terribly wrong and my blood pressure tanks to 75/39 again.   But the point isn't lost on me that this is normally an outpatient procedure not normally performed on the hill.  

I am really trying my best to stay positive and get excited about my new perky silicone boobs but it's been a struggle.  If only everything I have been through made them feel like some sort of reward, but it doesn't.  Most days, I am fine with my new body and thankful, grateful, to it.  But there are some days that I am like, "what the shit am I looking at in the mirror and how did I even get here?" and I yearn for my pre-cancer self, mind and body.  Everything has happened so fast and I am still trying to catch up, but for the most part I am committed to moving forward and not looking back.  

So it's goodbye to the tissue expanders tomorrow, which can't happen soon enough.  This past week I have been in so much pain from them.  I don't know why or what happened.  I actually woke up from a dead sleep this morning crying in pain.   And since I can't take anything other than Tylenol before my surgery (which let's be real, doesn't do anything), I just have to power through.  So it's a mixed bag of nuts right now between excitement and anxiety.  

In other news, I got my little home office all set up, which I've heard looks really nice.  I think it does too and it makes me super happy.  

We recently took a trip to the beach and got sunburned.  Yes, in Oregon.  Yes, on the beach.  It was Finn's first time and she had a blast!!  Also got myself a little villa in my happiest place, Palm Desert, all by myself for some much needed me time over the long holiday weekend and got some SUNNNNN!!!   Shameless selfie because I earned that shit.

Also some exciting news coming next week that I will share with you all!!!  Well it's exciting for me because I am passionate about sharing my experiences with others and inspiring people to embrace their wellness.  To be proactive about your health instead of reactive, and to be an advocate for your health instead of a victim to it.  If I can change one person's perspective and convince someone that has never had a wellness exam, or has been putting it off due to fear of finding something wrong, to get it done, then I have accomplished what I wanted to do.  Power comes from knowledge.  Fear comes from not knowing.  

You don't often hear the words "cancer" and "thankful" in the same sentence, but I am thankful to have had cancer.  I know, weird.  Man, perspective though.  My life was pretty damn good before I got cancer, granted.  But now I have made it AMAZING.

Love to you all, I will check in on IG after I am done tomorrow.  See you on the other side!


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Day 268

I'll take some estrogen with a side of estrogen, please.


I am having such a hard time with the post-hysterectomy me.  In particular, I can't get these effing estrogen patches to stay on.  Why does this matter, you may say?  Well, I have learned that you do not mess around with hormones, like ever.  I got myself into a little situation last week.  I had an auto refill prescription en route to me in the mail and I had already burned through my entire month's supply of estrogen patches in two weeks which ended up in me being without estrogen for almost a week.  I am not sure any package has been tracked more LOL.  Anyway, I won't get into great detail but definitely not a good time. 

Currently, I have my estrogen patch virtually super-glued to my ass.  OK, well Tegaderm and first aid tape, but I am being super real about my inability to act like a rational human being without estrogen.   I am already on the second patch of my one month supply that I got a week ago, so looks like I'm on course to have another "estrogen cleanse" in a few weeks.  Hoping my ONC-GYN can help me out.  I emailed her on Monday, so cross your fingers for me.

In other news, I got the call this week that my implant exchange and reconstruction surgery was rescheduled for 7/24.  Initially it was scheduled for next Friday as an outpatient procedure and I was SOOOOOO excited to get these tissue expanders the hell out of my body and be done with big surgeries.   But, apparently they think I might try to die or something, and consider me to be super high risk because of my previous two surgeries and my near dead 80/40 blood pressure, combined with my BAV.  And, I quote, "the anesthesiologist won't touch you unless you are at the main hospital".  That was a nice thing to hear and has instilled so much confidence!  I can't WAIT to go under again.  I guess if I do check out under anesthesia, I've had enough surgery to know that I won't even know what happened.  

Initially, I was really bummed to hear the news and was a big crying mess.  I am sure that came from my desire to get this last piece over with coupled with the fact that tissue expanders are not comfortable at all and I have some repair work on each side that I need done since I have damage from my mastectomy that has left me in a lot of pain as well.  So there's that piece.  And, shockingly, I had everything planned out.  My schedule around time off from work, the kids, aftercare, nailed down!  As a single parent, it takes a lot more coordinating to pull off  a surgery than someone that has a partner.  So that was annoying that they just call and blow up your entire life like it's no big thing.  Now I am more OK with the change, although still a little disappointed.  I would rather be at the hospital in case I do try to die on everyone.  So I got over myself pretty quickly on that.

And good news! I decided that I will be doing the additional chemo beginning the end of this month as well.  I never really did get a good answer on the "why" other than, "just in case".  But, if this shit comes back and I didn't do this last step, I would NEVER be able to live with that.   My oncologist also wants me to have a screening of my pancreas, because with my gene mutation there is an increased chance of pancreatic cancer,  which as you may or may not have heard, is really bad.  Yay for more scan-ziety!.  Seriously will this ever be over?!?!!?

YES!!  It will!!  I know this because I asked my oncologist what care looks like after I complete all my surgeries and chemo, like, do I get annual scans or something?  Nope.  All that happens is I get a complete body scan and if it's clear they swat you on your ass out the door and say GOOD LUCK!

Wait.  What???  Yep.  

So that's fucking scary too.  I want it to be over but when it is, literally nothing?  How do I know I'm not growing more shit in my body?  I'm sure that'll be the topic of another blog, another day; the figurative ghost in the room with me the rest of my life.

But for now, I am getting ready to head to Palm Desert tonight for the long weekend all by myself (!!!!!!) for my "pre-op self care mini vacation".  Oh yes, that's still happening, even though they rescheduled my surgery.  I mean like I need a reason to go to Palm Desert, but whatever.

As far as what's been up with me, you can catch up on my IG here.  The boys are working full time for the summer and it has been hilarious for me to experience their angst about adulting.  Jess is doing some babysitting.  The Marine Corps recruiter has been visiting. I'm sure there will be more, but I think David's sold. Man, I just realized I need to get senior pictures scheduled like now....anyone know anyone?  

Otherwise the usual crazy busy at work and home.  I've been excitedly preparing for my backfill at work so I can step into my new role in my quest to dominate the world through HR, and also cramming all my summer house projects into a few weeks in case the four months of chemo is awful, 'cause you know, it's chemo.

Love you all, have a safe and happy 4th!