Thank you so much for all of the positive comments and thoughts sent my way after my last blog post. It definitely wasn’t how I envisioned things to happen in my head, but I’ve had some time now to digest it all and have a much better outlook on the surgeries I’ll be having in the next 4-5 months and am ready to get the show on the road! That’s the thing about life….just when you think things are settling down nicely, a crazy curveball is thrown your way juuuuuuuust to keep things interesting
I found out that my next surgery will be Thursday, May 30th. As a recap, Dr. Harper will remove the implant on my right side, clean-up/remove all of the hard/scar tissue once again, put in an expander, and reposition my nipple. I’m not sure what if anything he’ll be doing on my left side.
Following this surgery, I’ll have two months of weekly injections into the expander. I’m not exactly sure how that works. After the last 3 years, I’m still deathly afraid of needles…so I’m hoping the process isn’t what I’m envisioning in my head…Dr. Harper walks in with a syringe full of saline and essentially just sticks me in the boob to inject it into the expander. I can’t really think of any other way to accomplish the task at hand, so I’m guessing this is my only option. Maybe I’ll do a video blog of one of the weekly injections to share with you all how exactly it works.
If these next few procedures don’t make me look normal again, I’m not sure what the plan will be. Worst case scenario, Dr. Harper mentioned that he’d probably need to take some skin and tissue from my back….to help form a new boob in the event of expansion failure. I’m not on board with this plan at all….and really had to fight back tears when he started talking about that. I don’t want a big scar on my back…despite it being under my bra line. The scars I have right now are reminder enough of my cancer…I really don’t want to add to them.
I sometimes wish I would have just had the mastectomy 3 years ago and been done with it. I wasn’t prepared to make that decision then, but looking back, if I had to do it all over again, I would’ve said cut them off and not have thought twice about it. I’ve seen some pretty amazing post mastectomy reconstructions over the last two years…ones that look way better than mine and it just makes me wonder. I realize the grass isn’t always greener…but the more time goes one, the more I wish I would have made a different decision back then.
In happier news, I had my big appointment with Dr. Frenette two weeks…and I’m so happy to report that the conversation went really well!! The appointment was my standard 6 month check-up, but also to discuss the possibility of having children within the next year.
The plan I have laid out in my head….get married in October, get pregnant shortly thereafter J I’ve been stressing about this conversation with Dr. Frenette pretty much since my last appointment 6 months ago. I brought it up to him at that point to prep him that I wanted to have a serious conversation about it….which he said we could do at my next appointment (two weeks ago).
Fortunately, Dr. Frenette doesn’t see any compelling reasons why he wouldn’t be comfortable with me trying to get pregnant following the wedding. He said that studies are finding now that being pregnancy doesn’t actually increase your risk of recurrence….his primary concern is just the amount of time I’m off of my tamoxifen. So basically, he wants me to start taking my tamoxifen again immediately after a baby is born.
He advises against breastfeeding, ultimately because it would prolong my tamoxifen-free time….but that’s a decision I need to make on my own. Because of the radiation and all the surgeries removing tissue, it’s very unlikely that I would even produce milk on my right side….so this may not even be something I need to decide on…my body may decide it on its own.
He also mentioned that studies are finding that if you eat healthy and maintain a regular exercise schedule, which I do, your rate of recurrence is lowered by about the same percentage as taking tamoxifen. Essentially, if I continue to eat healthy and exercise during pregnancy, which is the plan, I will see the same benefits as the tamoxifen alone. I wonder if that also means that if I work out twice as much as the recommended 3-4 hours a week I could eliminate tamoxifen completely from my life. Probably not, but a girl can dream!
All in all, it was a very positive conversation. And as of this last appointment, I switch to yearly appointments instead of every 6 months. So next time I see Dr. Frenette I’ll hopefully be with child.
I don’t have any of my regular pictures to post right now. Andrew has been in Italy the last 8 days and my hair is too long in back to take the pictures myself anymore. What can I say….#longhairproblems
I do have some of our engagement pictures that I can share!! We had them done about 3 weeks ago now…and we love them! Julie Staley from Old South Studios did an awesome job!!! Here are a few of my favorites, but you can see more on her blog at: http://oldsouthstudios.com/engagement-session-at-the-vanlandingham-estatecharlotte-nc/