Thursday, January 31, 2013

Amy: The Bionic Woman

Plastic surgery.   Shudder....
I've always had an issue with plastic surgery.  I didn't like the idea of someone disliking their nose, breast, cheekbones, ears enough to voluntarily have themselves sliced and diced to look "better" and the way they "should" look.    I've always thought of it as a huge reflection on society and our ridiculous obsession with the current definition of beauty.  I won't go all feministy on everyone, just suffice it to say that I have never been a big cosmetic surgery fan.

But now, I have to say thank you to the throngs of people who have chosen plastic surgery over the last however many years.  Without them there would have been no one for the surgeons to practice on in order to hone their skills for my surgery  (Yes, I'm joking.  Yes, I am slightly hypocritical....oh shit is Anonymous372 going to nail me to the wall?!?!).  It is simply amazing the things plastic surgeons can do these days.  Just INSANE.

I have 6 more full days with these breasts I was born with (Ok, not born with.  That would have been an interesting labor and delivery story..... Growth hormones anyone??), the breasts God gave me, the breasts that are trying to kill me.  Fuckers.....

I met with the plastic surgeon yesterday and because I am curious and interested as all get out, I got to see all the junk that is going to be attached to me (or in me...ew) when I wake up on the 7th.  Oops, untrue statement; I didn't get to see the Alloderm, a "human tissue product."  Oh yeah (read as Kuzco from Emperor's New Groove.  For reference:, it's made from dead people skin.  

All of this will be in or on me as I leave the hospital as the Bionic Woman!
My expanders.  They stick these hot-water-bottle-esque things under my chest muscle and fill them half way up with saline.  Every week for about 6 weeks, I will go into the doctor and get the new girls pumped up.  The weird spot on the expander, is the port.  A magnet is used to find the port under my skin and muscle.  Then a needle is shoved in there and I get inflated.  Like so:

Because they will be filling me up so quickly, it is supposed to be painful.  The goal is to get me pumped up before chemo starts to minimize the risk of infection.  Usually they prescribe Valium after each pectoral pump up session...... Not sure what they will do with a preggers... These things are hard; not super squishy like a boob.  But that bra.....for most of 2013.  Oh yeah!

My lovely surgical drains.  That long straight bit will actually be IN my body to collect fluids; it is sutured into me.  I will have two on each side.  I'll pretty much look like this:
Except she has 5.  I will only have 4.  Oh 4 and a pain med goodie bag (but more on that later).  Yes these things actually dangle from my body like gross Beethoven dog drool.  But I bought some fancy (oh and so pricey) camis that have pockets inside to hold my blood juice boxes.  Sort of like this sexy number:
Yes, this woman clearly just had surgery...... I have been told that these things suck and I will hate them with the fury of 1,000 angry cancer patients.  All 4 will be stuck in me for at least a week when I hopefully will get to lose two of them.  And now onto my favorite new bodily gadget....

The pain pump. And I hear the sound of angels singing.  This bad boy goes directly into my surgical site on each side.  I can squeeze the little medicine thing and a local anesthetic goes directly to my battered chest (yes, I said LOCAL!!!!).  That means no affect on baby each time I press that thing.  I'll still be on other pain meds, but I still love that this is a local.

6 days and counting.  'Til the "icky stuff in Mommie's booby" is out of me and in the trash where it belongs.  In 6 days, I become the Bionic Woman.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Problem Solved.

I was thinking (as I was driving back from the eye doctor with fully dilated eye-balls) that I would come home to my computer and change my comment settings.  Basically making it so that no one could post anonymously anymore.  Tada!  Problem solved!

Except not.

I started this for ME.  An online journaly thing, for ME.  It was originally kept a complete secret.  Someone on Stillbirthday mentioned to me that she reads everything comment or post I wrote and sometimes felt the exact same way I was feeling.  That made me start telling people about the blog.  If one person in the world read one thing and it made her feel .01% better or understood or like less of a horrible person (because let's face it.  I don't pull punches.  If I feel something I let myself feel it and will say it here.  Even if it's jacked up), it was worth putting all my tender bits out there for the world to see.  I have always hid my squishy bits.  Held friends at an arm's length (cause it's safer!).  I am just now fully opening up to my friend, Natalie, of over 15 years!  I am just now letting people in.  So decided to let all of you in (SCARY) if I would maybe help one grieving mom feel like less of a crazy freak. (because we are a special brand of crazy...).

So no.  I will not change my comments settings.  If someone wants to post something and it's easier for them to do so anonymously then rock on my friend.  But if they are hurtful comments, I'm just going to be deleting them.  This is for ME, remember?

Anonymous361 (for some reason a numbered title is needed....), I don't have the slightest clue who you are and I don't care.  I'm done dissecting the garbage you have to say and trying to equate it to the people in my life.  People who have offered help but I didn't take (The Stickels??  No way), people who have lost babies (Eryn, Ericka, Amber, Rosie, Sarah, Leah, Bambi, Carolyne, Jenn, OMG this list is so long....), people who I have said mean comments around about those scarey, scarey children or preggos (Amber, Natalie. Leah, this list is probably long too)... ENOUGH.

I'm done.  I don't know a lot about God.  But I know He is kind.  After all I've been through (which He chose not to change), I know He would never talk to me in such a vicious manner.

Anyone still reading, please don't take this as the entire Christian populous because they are not all like this.  I know quite a few (Rachael, Natalie, Teresa, Amber, Rosie, Elsa, Angie, Michele) who are just kind, kind people.  They behave in a way their God would be proud of.

El Fin.  Off to chase my son.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The End of the Girls

Bilateral mastectomy has been scheduled for February 7th at 7:30am and it feels like the end. 

Like a countdown to.....something ending.  I'm preparing like a nutcase.  Making and freezing food for my family to eat, buying pillows for my recovery, trying to get my son's doctors appointments taken care of, getting him new glasses, rearranging my room for a hospital bed (maybe...?), cleaning the crap out of my house so no one else has to deal with it, stockpiling food and supplies.

I feel like I'm preparing for my death.  And in a sense I am.  I'm preparing for me not to be around anymore.  (Don't even get me started on the risks of general anesthesia....)  The fact of the matter is, I have NO idea what the next year holds for me in terms of ability to function.  I am counting on being unable to do much for the rest of 2013.... that feels like an eternity.  I am having a hard time seeing the light at the end of this tunnel.

I know it's not the end of everything (although, it is the end of "the girls").  I know it's the beginning.  But it's the beginning of something I don't want to do.  Something I am terrified of.  A fight I don't want any part in.  It's like the beginning of delivering my sleeping baby girl.  It's something I am being forced to do.  I don't want to, but it's inevitable.  And every moment sucks.  It is the beginning of awful. 

Though that doesn't seem really true either does it?  Losing my babies has been awful.  I've been living in awful.  But this time I'm getting a heads up.

"Heeeey.  Just so ya know.  The next year or so for you is going to be shit.  You're going to be sick, exhausted, and incapable of doing much.  Hopefully you don't completely miss out on the birth and growth of your baby and hopefully you get to see some of your beautiful son grow another year older.  Maybe you won't miss everything..."

I know I'm being pessimistic.  I know some people do well on chemotherapy.  I just can't imagine that a pregnant someone is going to do that awesome on chemotherapy or recovering from major surgery.  See?  No light at the end of my tunnel.  Just dark scariness.

I can't even think about my Baby Squiggles (that babe is always wiggling away when it's time for her close up).  This baby HAS to be okay because I don't think I can handle a-n-y m-o-r-e.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Will I ever stop crying?

My "chosen" treatment:

In about 3 weeks, I will be having a bilateral mastectomy.  My plastic surgeon will be there and will place expanders under my muscle tissue for my eventual reconstruction.  After I heal from having 2 bits of my woman-hood literally chopped off (approximately 4-8 weeks), I will begin a 12-week-round of chemotherapy.  Because of the type of medication, I have been told that I will lose my hair, I will be sick, and I will be exhausted.

After the first round of chemo is completed, I will have my baby  (yes, all of the previously mentioned treatment is while pregnant).  I don't know when exactly this will be.  My hopes is that we can get it close to 36 or 37 weeks for the baby's well being.  This baby will be born alive because there are no other choices.  I don't know how I will continue on if my Squiggles dies.  How can I fight cancer if my child dies?

After healing from delivery for 4 weeks.  I begin round 2 of chemotherapy, another 12 week stint.  After I finish this round of chemo, I should be able to get my reconstructive surgery although I will be on antibody injections for a full year.  For those of you playing along at home, that puts reconstruction around October or November. 

The realization is hitting me that I am utterly terrified of what is going to happen to me post surgery.  Mentally.  I fear that I am going to completely lose what is left of my mind.  That I will be thrown back into the pits of grief that I struggled and worked so hard to get through after my Riley died.  That hole is so hard to get out of.  I don't want to go in again.

I am trying to envision my time in the hospital.  What am I going to do?  Just not look down at my chest ever again??  That first time they unwrap me to check the incisions.....  Do I just look at the ceiling to avoid mental collapse?  I've looked and prayed at that ceiling before, prayed hard that Riley was fine and this was all just a crazy mistake.  I don't want to look at that ceiling again.  Praying to it doesn't help either.

At first I thought I would be fine in the hospital after mutilation, but now I'm wondering if I should be left alone.  Don't worry; I have no plans to slit my wrists with my IV needle (Squiggles takes care of that), but I just foresee the depression crashing in and crushing me under its hopeless weight.  I will certainly be unable to ask for help if I need it.

Will I ever stop crying?  Good thing about being in the hospital IV saline:  no dehydration when you cry like a crushed soul.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Boobies update

People want to be updated about my boobies.  They constantly want to know what I have learned during my daily excursions through hospitals and medical offices.  Telling everyone over and over is exhausting.  I want to tell you all, I do!  But I'm going to centralize it some so as not to lose my mind.

I met with a breast surgeon today.  She went ahead and ripped my rose colored glasses right off my face.  We still don't have any answer yet, no plan as to what step is next.  Not until I get my genetic counseling done and met with an oncologist.

But here it is:  If I wasn't pregnant, they could do a lumpectomy, radiate the hell out of me and on we would go (at least it would be an option).  But being pregnant kills most of your choices.  Without terminating the pregnancy, I am left with 2 options. 

1. full mastectomy of the cancer boobie. 
2. chemo now while pregnant then maybe lumpectomy after the baby is born (this is ONLY if the oncologist says that I flat out need chemo at some point).

Oh, but there's a third option.....

I always like to make decisions based on statistics.  I love statistics, but in this case they are staggering and scare the crap out of me.  The genetic counselor will be testing me for something called BRACG.  If I am BRACG positive, I have a 60% chance of getting breast cancer again.  If I am BRACG negative, I will have a 1% chance of getting breast cancer again for each year I am alive.....  I'm 29....   That means that by the time I'm 80 I will have a 50% chance of getting breast cancer again. 

Flip a coin.  If it's heads, I don't get breast cancer again.  If it's tails, round #2!!

So, holy hell, what do you do to prevent me from getting cancer again?!?!? 

Chop 'em both off.  Even the healthy one.  That's it.  That's my only option to kill those awful statistics.

Even though my breasts are the only part of my body that I have liked for the majority of my life (excluding prepubescence...dur), that's not what kills me.  It's the breastfeeding.  I won't be able to breastfeed this baby.  It's crushing.  But this doctor made a good point while she held my hand as I cried about my boobies:

A formula fed baby with a healthy, alive mommie is better off than a breastfed baby with no mommie.

I haven't made any decisions yet.  Not until I get all the results and talk to the oncologist (Friday the 18th for those of you playing along in the game's "at home" version).  ...oh and talk more to my husband...

But I'm not so sure there is a decision to be made....

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The next slap: cancer

One week after learning Baby B died, I was told I have breast cancer.

They can remove the tumor while you a pregnant. A nurse practitioner told me they may be able to use a local anesthetic just like they did when they did my biopsy (ps. I felt not a thing), then treat me later with radiation or.....chemo or something after I am healed from baby.

The medical people have been amazing (I have never said that before in my life). I have 4 medical offices communicating together without me at all. The surgeon's office actually called ME to make an appointment.

So I go to a breast surgeon on Tuesday and have heard from 3 sources that the doctor is AMAZING and very compassionate. I have been told I will love her. I will get my options risks and such from her and then we will make a plan. I think they have to wait til 2nd trimester to take the lump out (which is really close actually)

Mentally, I am up and down. I spent last weekend depressed about Baby B and was convinced Baby A had died too. I'm trying not to spend this weekend the same way, but it's up and down. I'm realizing I have been depressed for a couple weeks and can't fight back very much right now.

I am trying so hard to learn to accept help. I am already much better about this than I was years ago but still don't want to accept nice things from people. So if people offer, I am trying to take it.....even if I don't need it right now