After reading through others reviews and some of...
After reading through others reviews and some of the discussions, and posting a little bit i figured it was time to really seriously participate. So, here's the beginning of my BR journal.
I've just turned 61, size 42G, 5'8" and overweight. My GYN had been recommending this procedure for me for several years now, but it seemed every time i started to act (talk the primary care doc,get the referrals, ) something would come up to prevent me from actually taking the step to talk to a PS (usually medical, either me or the hub).
Changed primary care doc about 2 yrs ago, and we started discussing BR -- i brought it up at my very first visit with him. Long story, hub had some major medical issues last year (doing very well now, thankfully) and at my annual visit with my doctor this May, just before the visit ended, my doctor sat down, grabbed my hand, and said, "you know, it's ok for you to do this now, X is going to be fine. you should do this for yourself".... I was speechless, then said something like , i know, i should... He recommended a PS. I went back to my notes from my GYN who had recommended someone else (said she had patients who were treated by both the PSs mentioned, and that her patients with the PS i selected were always happier with their results/size than the other guy....) Took me a week or so to figure out who's recommendation to go with, but once i did (the GYN's), i made the call for the appointment.
saw the PS in mid-June. He told me "on a scale of 1 to 10 of people who need this surgery, you're an 11" and then told me he would deal with insurance authorization, and that even if they deny on the first go-round, he "always wins" and it would be covered. The surgical coordinator told me 4-6 weeks to hear back: i called her at 5 weeks and woo hoo! fully covered! She had an August opening and then nothing till mid Sept, so i just took the first one... so i went from thinking about acting, to being scheduled for surgery in just under 2 months. yikes-- after 30 years of thinking about it and doing nothing! seems fast...
so now i'm having what seems to be the norm ... i'm scared one minute, anxious the next, happy about it in general but trying to get my head around what i'll look like, how i'll be different, how it will affect me/my relationships, my work... all the things this community of women have been writing about. i've become obsessed with finding out more, what do i need to do to prepare, what should i expect before/after/recovering; looking at before/after shots, very distracted at work... seems like boobs have just taken over my life ! I absolutely know that this is the right thing for me to do. Husband is behind me 100%. Struggling with how to handle work (i supervise a small group within a larger institution) while maintaining my privacy and not becoming the target of gossip and speculation.... who to tell (if anyone), what to tell (if anything)... how to explain an absence of 7-10 (or more days) if i don't tell anyone... how to deal with new boss.... and then i'lll read a post about 'bye bye boobies' or 'reduction instructions' and it just makes me laugh and calm down.
i'm glad to have found this site, and will look to you all for advice and support (and hopefully be of some use to others at the same time)
guess that's it for now, talk to you all soon!
Less than 2 weeks away and trying...
Less than 2 weeks away and trying to get all my ducks in order, and control the nerves. just checked in with my PS office re a few details.- so , no drains anticipated, will go home same day in ace bandages and after he says so, into a zip up sports bra (any suggestions? i've never found a sports bra that I didn't have a hate/hate relationship with). His surg coordinate assures me most of his patients say they don't have much pain (hmmmm, take that with a grain of salt) and that i'll probably only need 1 week of no driving. the going back to work will "depend" (of course). Surgery 8/17, first follow up will be either tuesday 8/21 or thurs 8/23). But also found out today that to get more than 3 days off (and i have a ton of sick time) i have to go through some outside agency to be vetted for the time off , so tomorrow am i have to talk to the new boss. Since I'm intending to work from home at least part-days after the initial shocks to the system, i'm hoping she'll just let me do things off the grid. we'll see.
other preparations: we have a platform bed that's pretty high and realized i would have problems getting in/out of it,so have figured out separate sleeping arrangement (combination of craigslist purchased-bed frame+air mattress), washing and adding bleach to clean up the pillows/sheets/and all that; figuring out which of my hub's old shirts i can take over. Figured I'd hit the thrift stores this week for some button up tops that might service for work (almost everything i have is pull over). making my list, checking in twice....
guess that's if for now; will let you know how tomorrow with the boss goes.... hope everyone's hanging in !
So, got the call today, i need to be at the...
so, got the call today, i need to be at the hospital by 6 am: really glad it's early but don't think I'll be thinking that at 4:30 when I have to get up. Into final preparations at home, getting the extra pillows set, moving things to the right height, got the playlist on the ipod for waiting time... i'm am shockingly un-anxious at the moment, which could mean i'm really don't believe this is happening, or that i've lulled myself into a false sense of security, or that i'll disintegrate into a total nut job in the am. have to do skin prep tonight, then try and sleep. will post tomorrow with an update.... thank you all for posting your experiences and pix: they've really helped me prepare myself for this adventure
Here's the update on my surgery day and few days...
here's the update on my surgery day and few days post....
got in to the hospital at 6 am and remained surprisingly calm throughout the time i was awake :-) as the nurse was helping me change into the lovely surgical gown, she started telling me how good my PS is, how meticulous with stitching, how he takes his time, how he never has "re-do's" and how I'll end up looking like Barbie (!) DH heard us laughing about that one. I'd only seen the PS once before the surgery, and wasn't sure i liked his manner, but my GYN really recommended him so i stuck with him. He was much MUCH better on day of surgery, answered all my questions as he was drawing markings, and in the end i felt very comfortable with him. had to wait about an hour -hour and a half between arriving at hospital and getting to OR, but once i was in, man i was out. took about 3 hours from what i can tell (DH got call from PS around 11 am), but then i was slow to wake up from the anesthesia; didn't really come to till sometime after 1 pm, and was still pretty groggy hanging around post op area till around 3-3:30. the nurse who checked me in at 6 am was still there, and kept checking on me. From what the PACU nurses said, i gave them a hard time when i was coming out of the anesthesia: i remember yelling but no idea what.
was pretty groggy the rest of the day/night; took 1 percaset Friday night but didn't really need it as they sent me home with a pain pump which seems to be controlling things pretty well. By Sat am as i was pretty much back with it, just moving very gingerly. realized that the ace bandage had slipped around a bit, a little bleeding through, so we called in : PS on call said "all normal, just come n and have bandages checked on Monday" so we'll do that. first post op isn't supposed to be till thursday, when the ace comes off.. a little scared to see what they look like-- seem pretty small at this point but so much bandage and padding it's really hard to tell. It's all relative: PS was still thinking C was going to be what I'd end up.
got a little scare this afternoon, was standing up, getting sponged off and got really dizzy/saw stars. sat down for a bit, had a bit of water and after about 10 min it passed. but it made me not want to move around so much. so i've just been in bed, taken a stroll around the 2nd floor rooms, down the steps to eat and sit for a while, stroll around the first floor... and back up.... bored out of my head but still dozing off here and there. some twinges from under the wraps but overall no where near what i thought it would be like pain wise.
so far, then, so good ! will be happy to move out of ace bandage and into sports bra (at least i think so) and get back to work maybe by the end of next week....
Added photos (pre, 5 day post in ace bandages and...
added photos (pre, 5 day post in ace bandages and showing pain pump; 6 day post op boobies).
Here's my update for 12 days post op.
here's my update for 12 days post op.
not actually having a great day today. While finally found a bra i can live with that is front zip up (made by Marena ), today i have been having some for persistent drainage/bleeding from under my left breast. just posted a question to Q&A. this started over the weekend, and Monday I called the PS. RN said it was drainage and to just keep changing pads. But this morning, it we flowing fairly heavily (soaked through pads in about an hour), seemed to subside a bit as long as i was in bed (not where i want to be all day) and now has started up again more steadily(got up and had lunch sitting up in the tv room/den for a couple hours). freaking out a bit. I see PS for follow up tomorrow am (9:15) anyway. in the meantime, am making sure i'm getting enough iron and fluids, and protein.
The other thing that happened was practically blacking out in the shower on Monday night... DH said i was actually out for a few seconds. had felt it coming on (saw stars, got dizzy-ish and sat down (we have bench in shower)... overall lasted about 10 min start to finish, and i was really shaking when i got out of the shower - of course will tell PS this tomorrow, but in a way been afraid to take another shower so have been back to sponge bath routine. I know a few others have reported this type of experience in shower, did it happen more than once to anyone? this was my second incident with "seeing stars" and was actually much worse/scarier than the first.....
overall, though, no pain, no severe swelling, no other issues that i can see. oh, still not back at work or driving yet.....
So, to fill in my review, the recent history...
so, to fill in my review, the recent history.
last Thursday (13 d post op) as PS was taking out nipple stitches (not too bad to tolerate) he tells me the preliminary path report showed "in situ disease in right breast" and that he was waiting for final report for more info. I have breast cancer in my family history (mom, mastecomy when she was 55; she lived to a ripe old age of 84 and passed away from pancreatic cancer) and with other risk factors i have i'd always held my breath waiting for mammo results. I remained fairly calm, esp since i wasn't sure exactly what "in situ disease" was. He called in possibly pre-cancerous and probably not invasive but really couldn't say much without the final report. Told me that I should see a breast surgeon (and recommended one) once the report was final, and i might have some medications to take. But then said he'd call the surgeon and arrange an appoointment for me at her earliest convenience. That surprised me a bit since he'd just said it was . He told us her office would call to set up appointment once they had the report. Got the appointment call later that day (thurs) for Wed 9/5 at 10 am.
Left PS office and then DH and i started worrying as we walked back ot the car. Next thing I know he's tearing up (substantially) and then I join him... and then we start talking more (in between sniffles). We don't know enough to know if we should panic, but yeah, we do panic somewhat. Of course, hit the google search to see what "in situ disease" could mean, see the possibilities, read some more, and then take turns getting really upset. Contact my primary (a wonderful wonderful man and voice of reason throughout my husband's prostate cancer over the last year); he emails back " that's an annoying surprise" and promises to look out for the final pathology report. get to sweat out the LONGGGGG weekend (every few hours looking up the same stuff on the 'net till i get crazy and have to stop) and try to remain calm since we really don't KNOW details
i picked up what i thought was the final pathology report from my PS this afternoon, after confirming with breast surgeon that they have the path report. Don't open it till i get home (not wanting to freak out in public), and the friggin' report the nurse gave me is STILL the preliminary!!!!!! ACK!!!!
So here's what i know (a tiny little bit more).
Right breast: 1559 g removed
Left breast: 1767 g removed
(equivanlent to 7.3 pounds!!!)
Right breast: Ductal Carcinoma in Situ, Grade 2 (haven't looked grade stuff up yet). some info on size of the lesion they found (i think they found just 1?)
Left breast: no lesions found
"pending additional sections and immunostains to rule out the possibility of invasive carcinoma" (gulp)
between the 2 samples 35 sections/stains are pending
and so, I (we) wait. We see the breast surgeon tomorrow am (she is "out of network" and doesn't take insurance - $400 for the consult) - Decided to see her just to get more info..( will probably have to switch to in-network provider for any follow up - just saw the claim forms from the surgery: $7000 to PS, and $35000 to the hospital for the surgery --- can't afford that if there's another surgery in my future!!!)
other than all THAT, am feeling ok after 1st day back at work, the girls are feeling a little tight and sensitive but no real pain to speak of and healing seems to be progressing.
another step on this journey....
will update tomorrow after the appointment.
9/7 update (brief one).
so, the meeting wth...
9/7 update (brief one).
so, the meeting wth surgeon/oncologist went ok: final path report is still not done so not too much more info. I am - yes - waiting. Surgeon was encouraging, very personable, spent a lot of time with us. Once i;'m healed up enough i hav eto have an MRI and a new mammo (sure that' won't be fun) so sometime in november (did i say i was waiting?) then we meet with her again and review the options based on those test results. She did say the healing looks excellent
been at work full time yestrday/today. by 3 pm i'm ready to scream from twinges/tightness/swelling but i've been putting some ice on and work is keeping my mind off other things, so i guess it's good. driving's been ok, just still hard to move the arms when turning but all do-able. will try and post some new pix for my 3 weeks post op over the weekend.... thanks to all for good wishes/thoughts!
New pic, 3 weeks post op. i'm pretty happy with...
new pic, 3 weeks post op. i'm pretty happy with healing - still a little spotting blood from under my left boob but i think that's cause i still don't have the right bra -- they all feel so tight
Surgeon/Oncologist called Saturday am (left message, i missed the call -drat), said path report showed no evidence of invasive breast cancer - so it is still cancer, but is very confined at the moment...(very good news) - she said we'd talk next week.
finally got a little side-sleeping in last night, felt great!
hope everyone's doing well
so i'm 4.5 weeks out and feeling pretty...
so i'm 4.5 weeks out and feeling pretty good. healing well, just some slight goo under one breast, but usually only if the bra is too tight. in the past week i must have bought and returned like 20 different bras :-) current fav is warners/Friday bra. feels so weird to be "normal" (told the dh: so this must be what it feels lke to be normal sized!) Just a simple soft cup, no wire (of course), adjustable straps - and on sale at my local Kohls. are you ready: size 40Cstill have swelling and that burning/tightness, still a bit hard vs soft, but i'm lasting longer without issues every day. able to lift arms higher, bend a bit more. mo more advil even, just ocasional ice . will post up pics tonight.
finally got a copy of the full path report with goodnews/badnews/whatdoesthismean news. good: no evidence of invasive cancer (very good); bad: actually grade 3 (vs grade 2 which wasin prelim report) but with some indicators of potential for agressive growth. whatdoesthhismean news: some characteristics they found are indicators of slower growth. Having genetic counseling for breast cancer gene tomorrow, probably will be tested. then everything waits till november. (have i mentioned i hate waiting?) one day at a time. biggest problem: i don't feel like i'll get a chance to have too much fun with the girls before november >wink<
2+ months out....
quick update - gene test...
27 Oct 2012
2 months post
2+ months out....
quick update - gene test came back clean, "no mutation" so that was good news. have more tests first week of November (already !!!) , then meet with the oncology surgeon on Wednesday and find out what the recommendation for treatment will be. past month has been limbo, reading what i can, wondering about all the what-if's of potential treatments, whether i'll even get to keep the new girls :-( getting more (rhymes with witchy) as the appointment gets closer (feel sorry for the hub!) Not the experience i was expecting in August. life is about to shift, not sure i'm ready....
MRI came back clear, no...
MRI came back clear, no evidence of any malignancy. BUT mammo showed some "slightly suspicious" microcalcifications in right breast, so i have to have a biopsy next week, and get those results before meeting with the onco surgeon, probably week of thanksgiving.... One step forward, one step back... but holding my own.
the BR itself is doing very well, went out and bought some new way more fitted blazers for work and feel fabulous!
hope everyone's doing well!