I had a mastectomy on my left side and an expander inserted on August 31. Surgery went well. Both pathology reports came back clean! No lymph nodes had to be removed. All good news. I am grateful.
I have felt a range of emotions since this time. Again, grateful for the clean pathology reports; fear when I saw my scar for the first time; disappointment when I could not get my drains out this past Wednesday, as I had planned. The roller coaster was not unexpected. It was my turn to get on it and I have one more ticket to ride for this winter, which will be my last mandatory surgery. Many of my friends have been asking for a timeline, so I will spell it out here.
I am hoping that the drains will come out today. This may be wishful thinking. Regarding next steps, I will know know more specifics after my appointment next week. However, as of right now, it is my understanding that in a couple of weeks, they will start "filling" my expander with saline. As it sits now, the expander is under muscles on my left side. Each saline fill stretches that muscle and skin tissue to hold the implant. They estimate that it will take three months. However, it is all dependent on my pain thresh hold from here.
Once the tissue is expanded enough, through another surgical procedure, they will insert the implant. To avoid having two separate procedures, I will have them reconstruct the right side at the same time. The right side is a completely different process. They will be using my back muscle and skin to construct the breast, as radiated skin cannot be stretched. Supposedly this next surgery will be more painful. As it involves three areas of my body, I can see why. The end result will be two perfect boobs - so mentally, I think I will be in a great place!
As far as timeline, I am eligible for Family Leave Medical Act (FMLA) through my work after November 30. This is pretty much in line with when I would like to have my surgery, anyway. (For those of you who do not know, FMLA is what protects my job.) If I cannot have the surgery in the first week of December, I may postpone the surgery until February. We have an 8-day cruise planned, leaving December 26 and then Harrison has State Cup for soccer (an out of town tournament) mid-January. We are very excited about both!
So, there it is. I have been lucky enough to have loads of support. From dinners to phone calls, cards and flowers and transporting the kids and me places, everyone has just been so wonderful. You cannot know what this means to us. I know I have said this a thousand times, but I will probably say it a thousand times more. You all are the best - thank you!