Discomfort is the Name of This Game

Seriously. I’m not looking for pity or anything like that. I’m just trying to be as honest as I can about this process.

These expanders feel like bricks on my chest. The drains have to be taped to my skin at the entry site or they get very sore and red. I can’t reach across my body or behind me (or even bend over properly) without feeling like there’s just a bunch of STUFF in the way. And for skin that is totally numb to the touch, it certainly goes through symptoms very similar to a panic attack when I laugh or breathe too hard (very heavy tingling sensations that take a while to go away).

I’m having trouble sleeping. But I guess I really should just be used to this by now. I’m feeling too good to sleep in the recliner but not good enough to sleep on my side (my preferred way). Mostly because of the drains but also because the expanders seem to shift underneath the muscle (where they are placed) and it feels just weird enough to hurt.

If you read my last update, you’re also aware that my chest looks like an episode of Botched. Y’all also know that I’ve never really had much of a filter, either. Subtlety has never been my forte, so when nurse Michelle from my plastic surgeon’s office called me on Monday to check on me, I couldn’t help but say, “Y’all are going to fix this, right?!” (Even though I already know the answer.)

Poor Michelle immediately went into console-mode and assured me they will be perfect when they’re done with them, but I needed to hear her say it again now that I am staring them in the face.

But other than that, I’m doing great!

My “people” have gone above and beyond in their quest to make me smile. From bringing food to sending me gifts in the mail to an actual homemade wreath that is now hanging on my front door. I love and plan to keep every single card, note and letter sent to me during this time. Like I have said before, they get me through the bad days.

Anyway, I’m off work this week and my mom and I are limping through as best we know how. I’m not having a ton of pain. In fact, I’m not taking the narcotics prescribed anymore and am almost off ibuprofen as well. I can do a lot of things but the list of what I can’t do is still long. I’m not allowed to put any weight on my chest (this includes getting down on the floor to dust—poor Mama), pick up anything over 10lbs, or lift my arms over my head, which is super frustrating, but my mom hasn’t complained one bit. I may have to take her on an all inclusive trip with all the alcohol when this is over with.

I have my two post-op appointments on Monday. One with Dr. Turk. One with Dr. Criswell. Hopefully I’ll get the drains out then and maybe things will get a little more comfortable after that.

I did get my pathology report back, which was a whole lot of non-answers once again! I still don’t know whether or not I’ll need chemo. *Major eye roll, please.*

They found some invasive, Stage 1 masses in my breast tissue, so now they are waiting to hear back on whether or not it is hormone receptive before they can give me an answer on chemo. They *should* have that answer for me at my appointment on Monday. Dr. Turk will then refer me to an oncologist who will give me a definitive answer. So it could still be a couple of weeks before I know. I hope you can feel my frustration through the screen. It actually makes me want to scream because it is beyond irritating.

Also, some of you have asked me about radiation, and I don’t know that answer either. But, to be honest, I don’t care as much about radiation because I won’t lose my hair during that process.

But, besides all that, I am thanking the good Lord above that they found the cancer at all because I don’t even want to think about what could’ve happened if they hadn’t.

Please, please, please schedule your yearly visits and ask your doctor to prescribe a mammogram. And if he/she won’t, ask another one until you get it. Usually, they will if you ask. Tell them you want a baseline. Being young does not make you safe. And I think part of the problem is that people younger than 40 don’t know to ask. It is never even brought up during those visits until there is a problem. I think every girl should have one at or around 30 years old. I’m 30 and they found invasive cancer in my tissue after weeks of telling me I was at Stage 0 and had nothing to worry about. If they hadn’t caught it this early, it most certainly would have spread to my lymph nodes. I’m very lucky that it hadn’t. If I’d waited until I was 40 to have a mammogram, it would have most likely been too late for me.

And, if you will, please take a quick second to send up a prayer for no chemo. I am ready for this to be OVER. I can’t bear the thought of having to keep these expanders in for months (plural) versus the 4-6 weeks I was promised (with the chemo caveat).

I’ll update again when I have one to give. Thank you for reading!

Love to you all.

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