Thursday, November 20, 2014

Medical Update. Cancer Healing

Yesterday was two weeks out...

I am awake early this morning (in my house) mostly because sleeping is difficult. At this time in my recovery, I am working weekly with the plastic surgeon through expansion. At the time of my surgery once all breast tissue was removed, my plastic surgeon placed two "space holders" (expanders) in my breasts. These space holders will remain for 3-4 months/ potentially longer should chemotherapy be deemed necessary. Every Tuesday I go in, and he via needle inserts more saline into the expander. This process is used to expand my skin and muscle to later prepare for an implant. I had been told this process would be the most painful and turns out it is. 

I have tried to describe what it feels like but have had trouble finding the words. Some days it is as though someone took saran wrap and wrapped you up in it tight and is pulling from behind you. Other days as my doctor says, "it feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest". Either way it hurts and I don't like it.

For the most part, this process continues to go well. My doctor continues to compliment me on my progress, how well my skin looks and how well I am healing. I attribute this to the 80/20 vegan diet and drinking tons of water. The alkaline rich vegetables and eliminating all hormone induced dairy/meats insures my body is getting nutrient dense foods to heal.  Many friends have complimented my skin and how good it looks...... my first reaction is to say it is the food I have been eating..... but then i remember I have only showered about three times in two weeks and put on makeup once. (surely that helps the pores a little bit). :)

Overall, things are progressing above schedule. My original four drains have now all been removed. (quicker than the predicted 3-4 weeks they advised). The fluid that my body was riding off will now be absorbed naturally, so drinking lots of water is a must to keep this happening.  Hooray for no more drains, tubes, or feeling like an octopus!!!

The only downside to the expansion process occurs when I am in the doctors office. Last Tuesday, I made sure to close my eyes as he placed the needle on my chest and inserted saline. It is an uncomfortable feeling but nothing I cannot bare. Moments after they were finished with the "fill up" I began to feel light headed. I spoke up to my doctor and they quickly got me on a monitor. My blood pressure had dropped and I was certain I was to faint. I took many deep breaths closed my eyes as my mom held my left hand and my doctor came around and held my right. Fortunately, after staying in the doctors office for an hour or so, some sprite and graham crackers I was feeling much better. 

As for this Tuesday, the story was not much different. I went in at 9 am for my expansion and immediately following I had a follow up appointment at the hospital with my breast surgeon, Dr. Moore. I arrived at the hospital and was brought back to see her. As we discussed my healing and how often I will be seeing her moving forward the room began to spin. I apologized for interrupting and said I am sorry I am afraid I may faint. She quickly had me lay back. 

I am not sure if I need to be eating more before these visits (my breakfasts these days are typically small) or if it is just the pressure from the saline fill, but for whatever reason my body is not handling this process well.

For the days in between appointments I am focusing on healing, resting, watching Scandal and reading. My tumor as previously mentioned has been sent off for the Oncotype DX Test. This test result determines the following:

  • To help doctors figure out a woman’s risk of early-stage, estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer coming back (recurrence), as well as how likely she is to benefit from chemotherapy after breast cancer surgery.
  • To help doctors figure out a woman’s risk of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) coming back (recurrence) and/or the risk of a new invasive cancer developing in the same breast,
I have a follow up appointment scheduled for December 4. I am hoping this result is something I can find out over the phone but at this time am not sure.

In regarding the fertility preservation I have received all of my fertility medicines in advance. I got a giant package that includes all shots and medicines necessary to begin the egg harvesting process. I am holding on to them at this time. Until I know for certain I will undergo chemotherapy, I keep these refrigerated for hopefully to put in the trash can :) (meaning I do not need chemo, therefore no fertility medicine).

I apologise for my delayed writing, I do want to share about how I spent my birthday and my weekend with my sister and dear friend from Austin, Kylie who came to visit. I will be doing this hopefully later today. As well as an update on how I am. This post I call a business post, an update on the medical side. As many of you know the medical side does not necessarily correlate with my emotional side.

I am heading to my first physical therapy appointment this morning and from there, my mom and I are are driving to Vail. What better place to recover and look at the mountains than in Vail.  Just for one night but we are looking forward to it.

Thank you again for following. If any of you have specific questions regarding my healing, procedure sand my doctors please feel free to send me an email. I would be more than happy to answer those if I can...

Have a great Thursday everyone.

Here are some photos I have not yet shared.... throw back thursday if you will.

Meagan and I the morning after my surgery.

My marking indicating breast cancer side, the morning before my surgery.

Me the night after I was released from surgery.

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