Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm Doing Better!

I'd be lying if I said "Everything is okay" because it's not. It is getting easier everyday to see and dress the area that was so badly burnt! The 1st day I had to take off the wraps I almost lost my breath! Seriously it was really hard to see what has happened to my partical reconstructed breast. I will have to say when I had the expander in it wasn't the best but it was something. At least it filled my bathing suits! Now to be very detailed...The stretched skin that I did get from the expander literally has sunk into my chest wall. Very hard to look at. It's not like a breast has been removed and your completly flat. Because the breast tissue was dug out so deep I can somewhat feel my chest muscle when I sit in a chair. Their is no cushion!

I am getting braver to dress the womb and my sweet husband helps me when I had such a hard time looking....

I did have to see the doctor yesterday because I have a small hole that is not closed. I got scared and called immediately. She said that when my skin softens that this will close. But the bottom line is that this is radiated skin that does not want to heal!

So the next step is to try and start this Oxygen Therapy. I dread it. It will be every day for 2 1/2 hours. Not going to be fun at all! I'll save this for another day.

So again I say "I'm doing better". It's funny how when things seem so bad that in time you begin to except what it is! I'm beginning to just deal with this set back and realize that this is part of life. I might not know why this has happened but maybe someday I will. I need to keep remembering that the Lord has perserved my life. So Life Is Good!
Love you my friends!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I feel like I've taken a MILLION Steps Backwards!

Today I have much more pain than I thought. It is bringing back memories to the mastectomy I had in November. This time my doctor not only had to remove the expander but she had to cut the "dead burnt skin". So I'm feeling a little weak and sore. So what do I do now that I no longer have the reconstructed expander in me? Well it's just a wait and see. My doctor sees this being a long recovery. Radiation continues to fight cancer cells even when Radiation is done! So for me I'm up against this fight to not have anymore unexpected places in my chest wall start to separate.

If insurance will pay for this I will have the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This is to see if it will help my skin at all. I'm not sure yet the treatment plan except I did hear it could be everyday! (Just Lovely)

After I heal which could be 6 months or longer I will then have a muscle removed from my back shoulder blade and put into the area where they will create another breast.

Part of having a plastic surgeon come into my treatment plan was to speed up the process. Not just for me but because I have 3 children under the age of 7. Surgery after surgery was pretty overwhelming and I felt like that was to hard on the whole family. Well I'm back to the beginning and worse off than if I would have chosen to do reconstruction later. Because this time I have to have a muscle removed to complete this project. This was an option in the begining and I chose not to have it becasue of how invasive it was. Ah ...Ah... I want to SCREAM!

So with that said... Tomorrow I will hopefully have the drains removed and begin to slowly heal. On a side note (it must have looked real bad because when my doctor checked me today she said "don't look") So for now my eyes will be closed when I undress because I can not stand to see the sunken in area all the way to my chest wall. Its to hard to deal with.

On another side note while I'm complaining....I did not mention this but 5 weeks ago my husband Mitch had accident while playing baseball and shattered his tibula! I thought because I was on the road to recovery that I could handle this. Needless to say he had surgery too and now has a metal rod in his leg and is recovering right with me! Isn't this just wonderful? So for now...The house will stay messy, laundry will not be done and kids will eat cereal until I'm better.

What a positive blog tonight! don't you think?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Is this a Dream???

No it's not! This morning I looked in the mirror and saw that the skin looked worse. I decided to call my plastic surgeon in stead of waiting til my Thursday appointment. I said I was concerned that the area that was radiated didn't look to good. When I met with her today she instantly said "OMG you have to get that expander out I can see it! " I froze. I said "WHAT! you can see it? " Why didn't I see it? She said because I know what to look for and this probably happened today! I broke down an started crying....All this reconstruction for NOTHING! I should have just let my breast be taken with out trying to make it look somewhat normal. It's just not worth it! Now that my skin has been radiated it looks so bad that I don't believe It will ever look normal. Is having a breast really worth this?

So the plan is to take out my expander that I have had in since my mastectomy, cut out all the burnt skin, sew me up (without a breast now) and wait for me to heal which can take up to 6 months or longer! After I heal I will then need a skin graft which she will cut skin from my back and attached to the breast that is so badly damaged. Hopefully my radiated tissue will not reject this and I can get this *%@) THING OVER WITH!

I immediately wanted to get mad at my radiologist! Thinking why didn't he watch me closer but in the end my Plastic Surgeon said this is how I reacted to the radiation and more than likely this was going to happen even if I was checked everyday! Radiation is the gift that keeps on giving.... Even though Radiation stopped 4 weeks ago in that area my skin continues to react the way it should by getting rid of the cancer cells. Breaking down the tissue until there is NOTHING!!! So this is the Cons of choosing to have reconstruction while going through Chemo and Radiation. Would I have chosen a different treatment plan? Probably so. This is to much just to have a breast!

My hopes are that I heal quickly and that my doctor can save as much skin as she can tomorrow. So for now I just have to know that things happen for a reason and for me this is what I have to deal in my life for now. Do I like it? Not at all but life is never going to be perfect. I know that and have learned so much with this challenge. I cant look back... I have to move forward...Several months ago I would not be able to write these words! Mentally and Spiritually I was much worse then my mutilate skin.

Again, You all who are constantly checking on me know that you are loved by me and that you will be blessed personally by the love you share with me. I will keep you posted after I recover tomorrow. Until then Love to you all...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Change in Plans....

Okay NOTHING is going as planned!
When you have breast cancer and choose to do reconstruction at the same time you think this will be much easier in the end but I have learned there are to many things that can go wrong and I'm experiencing most of them...I met with my Radiologist today to see how things look and he said the skin doesn't look any better! So he would like to no longer radiate me! Part of me just felt sick inside...What if there is still cancer cells that have not been wiped out buy the light of radiation! Am I stopping to soon? He then proceeded to tell me that my skin reacted so much to the radiation that more than likely the cancer cells reacted the same way and are gone in that area! It made sense to me and if you could see the skin directly on my expanded breast you would agree! It looks terrible. So the next thing he did was check the rest of my skin. As you can see it looks as if I was out in the sun with no sun block. This picture shows what it looks like in the front. It also looks like this on my back and under my arm where the lymph nodes were removed... It really looks bad but I'm just try to not let it bother me because I know how important it is to zap this cancer!

SO the next step is to visit the plastic surgeon and see if I need a skin graft. Can you believe that Radiation can burn you all the way through? I will not know about the skin graft for sure until next week. BUT I will have to go to the burn unit at the hospital and have Oxygen Therapy(so instead of Radiation Thearpy it has changed to Oxygen Thearpy). This is for burn patients that need oxygen to hit the skin which will enable blood supply to build in the area and hopefully heal... So for now I will just wait and see what the NEXT Plan will be. Even though my treatments are done my plans have changed to something I never thought would happen! What Next?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Things Are Getting Back To Normal...

This past week even though I had Radiation in a certain area for 5 days I'm still dealing with the sever burn in areas of my skin. The hole is getting better but not healed... The doctor wants to put Radiation off for another week because part of that tissue is not ready. He really wants to radiate that area 9 more times! So for now I have to wait until things clear up. BUT My mind is clear, I'm doing more than I have for a long time! I'm also no longer wearing hats! That's right No more! I'm done... I now feel like there is enough hair on my head that I look fine to go hat less. It's not at all what I would like my hair to look but I'm not going to complain.

This week my brother Justin his wife and children came out for a visit...I've enjoyed them so much that (I said to myself) Things are getting back to normal! I was told by many friends that I will be back to myself and allow to have friends and family back into my life where I actually can enjoy every minute with them! I deep down did not know if it would ever be the same but tonight I now know that Life does go on.... When your down and feel terrible it seems as if things will never be the same but in time things get better!

It's just amazing what a difference it makes to have a little hair, eyebrows and eyelashes! I'll never complain about my hair again!

Love to you all ... Thank you for your up lifting words and support!