Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vintage Confidence

(Reward for reading through the information at the bottom :)

I think most people are very curious about my reconstruction.  It doesn't make sense to them how tummy tissue can be made into breasts.  I have linked some great information on the process here.  I had plenty of excess skin from my huge pregnancies to cover most of my double mastectomy reconstruction. 

After my surgery, the tissue settled and I had valleys on my chest where the new tissue met the breast bone.  To repair these, the plastic surgeon added small implants under the flap to add lift and fill the valleys.

I have extensive scaring.  I have a ring scar around where each nipple was (I was not able to save my nipple).  I have a scar under the breast in the crease between the breast and ribs.  I also have a scar from the outer side of the nipple scar to the arm pit.  The ring scar will be covered by the nipple tattooing.  The others, we hope will lighten.  I see this as a small price to pay for my life.

In addition to the breast surgery, which I have to say, made my breasts look "pre-nursing", I also continued my weight loss after my surgery for a grand total of 40lbs lost.  10lbs. was lost from the removal of tissue in my surgery.  The rest took some work!  I have had body confidence issues for a long as I can remember.  I just never felt comfortable with myself.  However after this process, and after the amazing support and love from Ray, I truly feel like I am finally confident.  Call it figuring out what's really important, or not taking what you have for granted, or whatever else.  I am sure it is a lot of "things".  But I am so thankful that I feel so amazing these days.  I am also truly thankful for a man that loves me unconditionally and never (ever) made me feel anything but beautiful.

Ray's birthday is tomorrow and for his birthday I had some photos taken in retro pin up style.  I made a really sweet book with quotes from our favorite songs.  It was my way of showing him that he makes me feel incredibly special and beautiful.  I also wanted to share some with my "fans".  I want women to see that you will look "normal".  I mean obviously when I am naked I see scares.  But day to day I don't even know they are there because the wonderful job my surgical team did.  I can wear bathing suits, tank tops, tight tops, bras, anything and everything and you wouldn't know the difference.  I am thankful every day!  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rough Couple Days

Ever since my surgery, last June, I have had amazingly bad temporary stomach pains.  They feel like menstrual cramps in terms of the locations and timing, but are much sharper.  I usually end up ill after a few days.  Anyway, I have been having these pains the last few days.  I just seem to get upset stomachs at the drop of a hat now.  I feel like I am constantly saying, "My stomach is really hurting right now."  and I mean it. 

Days like today make me feel depressed in some ways.  I start to evaluate and try to determine how I got to this point.  I know it is a phase!  But, nonetheless, there are times in this journey when we will all feel less strong, less together, and less positive.  Today and the last few are those days for me.

On a side note, I am keeping my aunt, uncle and cousins in constant thoughts and prayers today.  I hope that cancer eludes you, but know that there are oodles of people anxiously waiting to support you if the best case scenario doesn't end up being reality.  HUGS! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Few and Far Between

As my recovery comes up upon a year, I have less and less to write about.  I am feeling great!  Hormones seem to be fine.  I miss a few here or there, but all in all, I am accepting that this is part of my life now. 

In other news, Andrea and Jackson are most likely going to private school next year.  We were assured that will get enough financial aid to send them both.  Andrea got the nicest acceptance letter for passing her assessment for early kindergarten.  I think I might frame it!

Jackson's follow up from his tonsil and adenoid surgery was perfect.  He apparently heals like his mama.  The doctor was amazed that he looked so awesome after only 2 weeks and hadn't even touched a dose of medicine.  All in all, it was amazingly easy and painless.

So it occurred to be today that on my 1 year anniversary of my prophylactic surgery, I will be running my first 5k race!  I am entered into the Global Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  Please support me if you can.  My goals are: 1. Each mile in under 10minutes, total time of 30minutes.  Reach goal: Total time of 28:30 (9.5 minute mile pace).  I have no idea about the course.  I assume since it is in DC that it is relatively flat, but that can vary from section to section of DC!  Hills might alter these goals vastly!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Dang!  My first laser removal treatment was DENIED!  I have the paperwork in hand that says it was pre-approved!  So, after speaking with the insurance company today, I am faxing in all the paperwork I have in hopes that they honor their commitment.  I don't want to go for another treatment if its not covered.  I can't afford to cover this at $100/session.

I am getting more hot flashes lately and night sweats.  I am scared to ask about upping the dose of hormones because I am scared the increase will mess with my mood.  I am ready feel some days that I am more touchy than I should be.  At the moment I am blaming that on giving up soda and most carbs.  In reality though, I know that I may never be or feel like I did prior to this journey.  I may never be the same.  Its hard to consciously give up a person involuntarily.  I need to work on and focus on moving forward though.   I need to accept and own that I am different now mostly in positive ways, but in some negative ways as well.

Enough about that.  I am looking forward to my procedure in May.  I am looking forward to my front muffin tops disappearing!  I mean even pants that are falling off look too tight in the hips from the scaring.  So I am happy to finally, hopefully, smooth out the scars.

My nails are still peeling and flaking despite constant nail polish and acrylic gel.  Another change from the hormones.  My hair, thankfully, is not falling out!  That would just be too much for any one person to handle.

This has been a great week off.  I am seeing an orthopedic Thursday for my ankles.  I am just falling apart.  I think I strained every tendon in both my ankles running in gravel last week.  I can't get them to heal.  I need to talk to an ortho anyway about my feet and shins and shoes and this whole running thing.  So it should be good.  I am excited about it.  Jackson has a follow up Wednesday which we anticipate being perfect! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Break!

I am off this whole week for Spring Break!  I am so thankful!  Although, I swear full time mommy, maid, chef and chauffeur is just as difficult.  Anyway, we have some very fun things planned this week. We made muffins and dyed Easter Eggs today after toddler time at the gym.  Tomorrow we are going to plan our veggie seeds and Easter Flowers (Impatients and Pansies) after we get back from a play date with Aunt Jessica and the cousins.  Thursday we have toddler time again and probably some park time.  Friday we are headed to the Catoctin Zoo for the day with Aunt Jessica and Cousins again (We love that we get to spend time with them this week).  Saturday Grandad is coming over for lunch and Lyndsey and Andrea start Cheernastics in the morning.  We are all eating a feast lunch here, then heading back to the gym for an Easter Egg hunt.  Not sure about Sunday.  Monday is our last day off before we head back to school and work. 

I think I sold my motorcycle today.  It's bittersweet in that I didn't even have a chance to ride it.  But I am just more and more anxious about it and I am so scared I am going to get hurt.  We also need a fence in the worst way and $3000 doesn't grow on trees, but the bike is worth just about that much.... We are also selling our old big screen TV.  Hopefully that will pay for the title taxes I had to pay on the bike just to sell it and add to the summer savings account. 

Things coming up: Ray's birthday April 23rd (34!) Another hair removal treatment the first week in May.  Another small procedure to fix my hips May 8th.  Jackson is doing fantastic!  Thank you for all the concern and well wishes.  He loves all the attention.