Saturday, March 8, 2008

This is NOT Like Getting Braces Tightened

I spent a lot of last week trying to prepare myself for the next step in my breast reconstruction; the gradual inflation of the tissue expanders that are already in my chest. My actual skin is mostly numb and they use lidocaine at the injection site, so their assertion that I wouldn't really feel pain, just pressure and tightness, was pretty reasonable sounding. And because it's done in a series of quick visits, it made me think of getting my braces tightened once a month.

Now, this isn't the same kind of expander that I'm sporting and what makes it different is actually very cool. Instead of a port extending out to the skin, mine has a magnet that encircles the area designed to receive the injection of saline. In order to find this area, Dr. L whips out his glorified stud-finder and marks where the magnets line up. But that's pretty much where the fun ends. I got 100 mls. of fluid per breast on Thursday, all stretching out the area behind my pectoralis major. It didn't hurt going in, but it was very odd as the expander shifted and re-settled. By the time we were in the car I felt like I was walking around with a mammogram setup attached to me. That graduated to the feeling of bowling balls being sutured to my chest wall. Since then it's been quite painful on and off until today (cross fingers). My next appointment, the week after next, shouldn't hurt as much since I'll be getting less fluid. Also, that might do it for the expansion. Assuming I'm not undergoing some interfering cancer treatment, I could have my final implants in as soon as I'm healed.

We did hear from Oncologist Dr. S last night after he met with a group to talk about my treatment plan. Unfortunately, all of that is still up in the air. There just aren't very many women my age who have had what I have, so the published protocols are extremely lacking. He's going to speak with two more Oncologists who we all greatly admire and will hopefully aid in the decision-making. We also still do not have a hard answer on those margins that were not clear. The good thing is though, that we've made huge progress towards getting me cancer-free and none of these issues have to be resolved in a hurry.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

For what it's worth - I think your handling this increadibly well - I'm very impressed!