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Mastectomy Sept 2011

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  • odie16
    odie16 Member Posts: 1,415
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    exbrnxgrl,

    I am so glad to see someone else of the same mind set. Granted my humor is slightly left of center at times,  I just can't see any sense in becoming a babbling basketcase since it ultimately will change nothing. I know we all have our own coping mechanisms which can vary as greatly as the treatment protocols but rest assured I never mean to insult or hurt anyone's feelings with any of my comments.  

    Am glad to have such wonderful September sisters!!!

    Karen

  • Hi Ladies - hope everyone on the East coast did OK w/Irene . . . not a huge deal here in Boston. Lots and lots of rain and small tree parts down in the yard, but we only lost power for 15 minutes and our sump pumps managed to keep up with the torrents of rain. But we're really close to the city (10 min. out) - lots of folks on the South Shore and West of here still are w/o power and there are a lot of flooded basements and trees down.

    Anyway - love the discussion of humor. I have had a freakout session here and there (including one Friday after I came back from my PS who is still trying to discourage my choice of saline implants), but I am generally my usual, very upbeat & cheerful self. It can backfire sometimes b/c I think some people then take it to mean that I don't think it's a big deal to have to lose both breasts to cancer. Or that it's not taken a toll on me to go thru breast cancer again. Truth is, I'm really angry, and so upset to have to have a BMX, even though I know it's the best thing at this point. But I know there are a few of my friends who have been less than supportive this time b/c they see me going about my business and they've actually said "but you're FINE and this will be so EASY" (i.e., no chemo this time, etc.). Whatever.

    Here, women get it. You still gotta get up and put on your big girl underpants and march thru your life. 'Cause the alternative sucks worse than BC, really.

    On another note . . . we are marching to September, sisters!? Thursday is the kickoff.

    What're you guys doing that's special (if anything) before your surgery? I can't decide if I want to have a little "sendoff" for my breasts or if I just want to let them go quietly into the night . . . .

    Sarah 

  • odie16
    odie16 Member Posts: 1,415
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    Sarah,

    I am in VA and had the rain & wind from Hurricane Irene but no real issues. Playing on the computer the entire time while hanging out in pjs. Too bad some people really were not as lucky. I am glad to see you had limited issues as well. 

    You totally summed up how I feel so much better than I can put into words. As for the Bon Voyage party, I think I will let the ship sail quietly absent any final visitation ...ha ha

  • Therese9
    Therese9 Member Posts: 58
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    Hi all. Love the posts about humor. I've had people respond several ways to irreverent comments about my upcoming--some shocked, some delighted and some confused. I find I vascilate between making jokes and being pretty sunk about the whole thing. Sometimes I get really sensitive about anyone else, especially guys, making making jokes, especially men, which I realize is wildly inconsistent and no doubt unfair. But there you go. These are my boobs (until September 22nd) and I get to decide! 

    It's so great to hear how you guys are handling this situation. It helps me make it through. What a great resource we share. 

    ~Therese 

  • Hi all - thinking about rituals (as I take a break from cleaning up the debris in our yard and from weeding out a huge flowerbed!) . . . this might be "out there" for some of you, but found this interesting article about a PS at Stanford who performs a ritual w/her patients that are into it.  http://stanmed.stanford.edu/2005fall/eskenazi.html. I can't see my breast surgeon doing this (although she is much warmer than the average surgeon and held my hand a few times during last surgeries the first time around) and I DEFINITELY cannot see my PS doing this, but I think for me, it highlights this surgery as a transformational event. My life will never be the same after this - for better or for worse - and b/c of that I'd like to find some way, even if it's private, to mark the occasion . . . .

    Sarah 

  • Lady-di
    Lady-di Member Posts: 74
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    Hi

    My surgery is on 09/06. Pre-op is tomorrow. (a little nervous)

    I am delaying reconstruction till after all my treatments but I am liking that fat idea also. I have lost some weight since all this started and my bs said I might not be able to go that way as I'm a d cup but I think I would like to try and gain weight on purpose for that reason. Have to have something to look forward to :)

    Best of luck to all

  • mags20487
    mags20487 Member Posts: 1,092
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    When I first thought I might have bc my good friends were talking and we were going to have a boobie shower for them to send them off.  We would just get together drink good wine and talk talk talk.  Did not get to happen as I chose to put off recon and upped the surgery by 3 weeks.  My husband of 25 yrs and I decided to take some pix---nothing tacky--just me holding them in my hands...wow they were great...but my new ones will be amazing and perky.  I feel like I am looking at myself at 10 yrs old again without them there...so strange.  I say if you want to send em off well then do it.  We each are experiencing this on an individual level and I am gonna do what feels right to ME!

    Maggie

  • groovygirls
    groovygirls Member Posts: 100
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    As my surgery date is getting closer I am getting more and more scared

  • Maggie - that sounds great! I agree w/you - whatever a woman wants, that's what she should have. I am usually a girl who likes to get friends together for things, but this time, I'm not so sure. I really do feel like I need to do something . . . I'll think on it, I have a little time, right?

    groovygirls - I know what you mean - it gets more real as you get closer. Last I remember reading, you were thinking of immediate reconstruction but hadn't decided what kind - did you make a pivot or are you going to wait and see? One thing I know for myself is that the more details I have nailed down, the calmer I feel . . . but I'm a compulsive, type-A planner and maybe you're not! Big hug to you. We're all in this together, don't forget!

    Sarah 

  • groovygirls
    groovygirls Member Posts: 100
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    I feel I could not have picked a better team for my care- I see you are in Boston.... I am in NH and will be going to MGH with Dr. Barbara Smith for a BS and Dr. Austen for PS. I am going for immediate reconstruction with silicone implaints. I fear I will not wake up from surgery. I know- stupid fear.

  • groovygirls
    groovygirls Member Posts: 100
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    Can I ask a stupid question for everyone- do you wear underwear for surgery?

  • groovygirls - that's crazy! Barbara Smith is my surgeon - she's been on my team for 10 years and she is FANTASTIC. Austen is supposed to be terrific too - Amy Colwell is doing my reconstruction. Are you doing nipple/skin-sparing? I'm doing that plus saline (which Colwell does NOT like - in that group they do 99% silicone so you are in the majority there!). Who's your oncologist? Mine is Jerry Younger - love him, too and am so glad he hasn't retired so that he can be around for this next go-round. You know you really love a doc when he can put you thru chemo and you still look forward to seeing him! When I was first dx'd in '01, I interviewed several surgeons and oncologists, and I chose these guys b/c I liked them and they are among the best in the country. I've never regretted it - I hope you have a similar experience.

    Underwear. If I remember correctly, you do not wear underwear - and I think it's b/c they catheterize you during surgery and also b/c they want access to everything, just in case. Don't worry - they will give you explicit instructions once you show up there. The compassion of the OR nurses and of even someone as high-powered as Smith is amazing.

    Did you get your pre-op stuff from Smith yet? Diane, her secretary, is so nice.

    You'll be out by the time I go in on 9/19 . . . but there is always the chance our paths might cross at a follow up. Nice to meet a fellow MGH-er.

    Sarah 

  • rachelvk
    rachelvk Member Posts: 564
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    I don't have surgery scheduled, but hopefully it will come in September. I had my first PS visit today to go over the options. Waiting for BRCA results before any decision. I found a lump July 11 and got my dx Aug 16 of IDC, grade 3, probably Stage 1 or 2.

    It's been good for me to see people so self-confident and able to keep their sense of humor. I think I caught my BS off-guard when she was going over reconstruction and I did a fist pump at the thought of losing some of the extra flab around the stomach - I figure that and the hope that if I have to lose my hair to chemo, my barely visible red highlights will decide to flourish will be the bright side. Things like that are keeping me going. Good luck to everyone, and I'll let you know when I have a date. 

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,062
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    Well, I have finally developed anxiety and gotten upset. I am having my surgery early in the morning and my surgeon wants me to have the dye injection the afternoon before. I asked for either EMLA cream to numb the area and/or Valium to calm me down because I'm so freaked out by the idea of this injection. The surgeon replied "it's a very fine needle, you'll be fine. Hang in there." The breast care coordinator suggested I keep listening to my relaxation CD ( which I'd like to smash) and said they'd give me something in my IV (which I will NOT have since the dye injection is the day before surgery). I am beyond upset and came home and threw up.  I've contacted them again but have had no reply yet. Why would they be so insensitive to something that is becoming huge for me?

    Caryn

  • stjude10
    stjude10 Member Posts: 230
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    I met with my surgeon tonight. He suggested I take a xanax before I leave the house and bring another with me. I said right on! Might even bring 2! Am a little bummed after finding out that the PS will reduce and lift my good one while the surgeon is removing the other and then she'll put the TE in. They are not going to be able to save enough skin to make my new one as big. Bummer, now I will have to lose weight as my two shelves below will be more prominent! When people ask (and not too many do) how I feel, I tell them that me and my girls had a good run together, but one betrayed me so she's gotta go. No second chances!

  • Therese9
    Therese9 Member Posts: 58
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    Hi Guys. 

    I'm getting more nervous myself as my surgery date approaches--even though it's not until September 22nd. I'm with those of you who feel the intensity building. I guess I was in a fog at first. Now with each day that passes I believe it more. I know it will happen--but I don't really know what it will be like afterwards, no matter how many posts I read. I guess that's part of the fear. Anyway, sending support and best wishes to you all! We will get through this--and be stronger for it. That I do know to be true.

  • Oh Caryn, I'm sorry you're losing it! What exactly are you freaked out about? The fact that you'll have the radioactive stuff in you overnight? The pain? The injection sites? If it helps, I am a lifetime needle-phobe - yes, even thru multiple surgeries, chemo, etc., I still have to take a deep breath and look the other way for a blood draw. I had the injections very early in the a.m. before my first surgery and I do remember them being uncomfortable, but they are done with SO quickly, and you don't feel any different afterwards.



    Now all that said, they should ABSOLUTELY be listening to your concerns and I think that ativan/xanax, etc. would be a perfect solution to this problem. I'm actually amazed you don't have a script for one of those on hand already! I would keep calling and pester them for this - you can call your PCP, too. It's completely reasonable to want something. I've had a few ativan handy since BEFORE MY BIOPSY! Might also b/c I'm on round II w/cancer so they assumed that I would be a nutjob just at the thought of having a biopsy, but it was offered and I am not a hero. I learned that the first time around.



    But you don't need to have had cancer to know the squeeky wheel gets the grease - start squeeking and I'll keep fingers crossed for you!!



    Sarah

  • Lori - it's a bummer you can't get the size you want . . . I will be slightly smaller too (and I'm only a large B to begin with!) b/c the other breast, the one that had cancer 10 years ago, is smaller b/c of my 3 lumpectomies I had in '01. It's slight, but it'd be nice to be a nice, full B. 

    As for the "shelves" - one thing at a time, lady! Get back on your feet and then maybe you'll want to use this "new" body of yours as an excuse to try a new diet/exercise routine. Or maybe you'll think you look great just as you are!

    What you say about betrayal is spot on for me - I'm a little angry w/my breasts - sounds silly, but now each one has turned against me . . . and all along I did enjoy having them - thought we were friends? Certainly not.

    Sarah 

  • stjude10
    stjude10 Member Posts: 230
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    Caryn-don't feel bad about being assertive (or as I refer to myself "pain in the ass"). Nobody knows you as well as you know yourself. Had I listened to the results of the 2 mammos and ultrasound, I would be at home thinking all was fine. I'm not good at confrontation, but I've learned since my daughter got sick, you have to be. Keep calling and if nothing else, they'll give you something just to shut you up. Good Luck!

  • stjude10
    stjude10 Member Posts: 230
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    rachelvk-I too have caught my team off guard. I first told them I would be unavailable for surgery until after the 20th of Aug. 'cause I had Kid Rock tix and I wasn't missing it. When hearing of the side effects of tamox, I was like Menopause...yes! I've been having periods for over 30 yrs, and I'm over it. When my PS told of restrictions such as cleaning I told her enough already with the bad news! I feel as though the edit button between my brain and mouth has broken, but I figure it's better they know the real me.

  • odie16
    odie16 Member Posts: 1,415
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    Maggie -

    Thank you for reassuring me that my friends truly aren't certifiable.. (at least this time)..as I have just found out about a surprise booby sendoff party in my honor. Feels a touch weird but feel blessed to have such a good group of girlfriends. 

    To all-

    That said, I can totally relate to the sentiments here.I am getting a bit nervous as my date approaches and am a bit disappointed that my own body has chosen to betray me as well.  

    Caryn -

    Hang in there and keep screaming til the fools listen!

    Sad I have to take this journey but am glad to be surrounded by those who understand as it makes it a bit easier. And yes, being slightly crazy helps too.....  

  • dancetrancer
    dancetrancer Member Posts: 2,461
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    I also am so thankful for this forum.  Each day I revel in the kindness extended from those who used to be strangers and yet are now bonded together in a way that we never wished for...but are oh so thankful to have. :-)  

    I initially was very angry at my breasts for doing this to me.  Now I have moved into sadness, grieving for their loss.  None of us deserved to get cancer.  It just happens -  the "unluck" of the draw.  It is what it is, and you do what you gotta do to fight to regain your life.  

    I'm still really scared about the procedure, too.  It must be done, however.  No clicking my heels and returning back to my old life.  I certainly would never voluntarily choose to walk this path, but I have been forced down this road, and I must find a way to deal with it.  

    Guess I'm in a philosophical mood today.  LOL.  Check back with me tomorrow or the week before my surgery when I'm flipping out again!  Laughing 

  • Silia
    Silia Member Posts: 265
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    Hello ladies -

     I've been out of touch because I attempted a post-chemo/pre-surg vacation but we were evacuated from Cape May less than 48 hours after arriving! Saw bs last Tues and she said she'd coord with my onc and get back to me by now with next steps.  Called today to prompt her but no response yet.  I REALLY, REALLY want to have a surgery date to prepare for and work around.  I realize that once I have the date, I'll feel nauseous but this in between isn't a good place for me to hang..

    Lori, to your question re: surgery then chemo - I was diagnosed in Feb and the bs was planning March surgery but I consulted with the onc and he wanted me to have chemo first and then surgery.  It's more common to have surgery first but the only way you'll know what might be best for you is by meeting with an onc and getting his/her input.

    I've been down so I think I'll watch Margie's video link now to improve my mood... Take care all.

  • odie16
    odie16 Member Posts: 1,415
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    MargieC -

    I am scheduled for BMX, NS/SS with immediate reconstruction on 09/13.

  • Denise2730
    Denise2730 Member Posts: 320
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    Caryn I was given a prescription for a topical ointment to numb the nipple & areola before the SNB. It wasn't painfree, more like a burning but it's over with before you can concentrate on the pain too much. I had mine done the same day as my surgery.

    I didn't get nervous until I was put into a hospital gown and being pushed down the hallway in the hospital bed. The last thing I remember before surgery was sliding myself onto the operating table and the next thing I knew (like 6-7 hours later) I was sliding onto my hospital bed.  I must have scratched my cornea somehow during either the surgery or during the hour in post op because when I awoke the first pain I felt was in my eye of all things!

    I have to say I had less pain than I expected and I feel the pain I did have was mostly from the T.E.'s. It's scary but most likely you will find it easier than you might be imagining.

  • Denise2730
    Denise2730 Member Posts: 320
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    Welcome Diana although I'm not sure "welcome to the club" is really appropriate.....I have my first chemo session the same day as your surgery.

  • chefmom
    chefmom Member Posts: 2
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    I have just been to my surgeon today and have scheduled a UMX for next Tuesday, Sept. 6. I am not completely comfortable with only having the one removed, even though the BRCA test was negative and the MRI doesn't show any issues in my right breast right now.  A year ago, there was no issue in my left breast and now I have multiple tumors there.  I have a strong family history of breast cancer, so I had pretty much decided that a double mastectomy would be the best option, to prevent issues in the right breast.  My surgeon doesn't think it's necessary but I'm unsure if I agree.  I'm also still trying to decide about reconstruction as far as using natural tissue or havin implants.  SO much to decide!

  • Lady-di
    Lady-di Member Posts: 74
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    Chiluvr-sorry to hear u have to have chemo , how long ago was your surgery?



    Chefmom- your surgery is the same day as mine, I'm also having aUMX but on right and have multiple tumers. I also have family history but no brca test. I've decided to put off reconstruction till after any treatments as I don't know what to do and it would put off my surgery for a few weeks. I'm already second guessing myself, thinking I should have bmx, should do recon right away.

    Even though I've decided all this I seem to keep having to reassure myself that what I'm doing is right and the clock keep ticking....ugh

  • dancetrancer
    dancetrancer Member Posts: 2,461
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    diana123, had to laugh 'cause I'm wafffling just like you.  Guess it's normal.  I still keep coming back to my same decisions that I made, but it sure is unnerving when those second thoughts creep up!  

  • stjude10
    stjude10 Member Posts: 230
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    I'm glad I'm not the only one wavering. No family history, BRCA negative. Only doing the one w/TE placed. Will get the reduction and lift on the good one at the same time. As the date approaches, I am often second guessing my decisions. I know I will stick w/my plan, as I tend to go w/my gut on decisions, but can't help but think of the other options.