June 29th, 2015: Boob Behaving Badly

Last November, I tried to rid cancer from my body by having a double mastectomy. Get rid of the tumors and be done with cancer. At the end, you gain a boob job. How bad could this be?

Oh, I had no idea! 

On the same day I lost my boobs and the nasty tumors, I gained tissue expanders. These are needed to expand the pectoral muscles to create my new breasts. 

My chest was far from attractive. Long scars, drains coming out of both sides, and a flat chest. Not quite the way most women invision a boob job, BUT those tumors were gone! And that was all that mattered. 

From mastectomy through four rounds of AC Chemo (I wasn’t planning on chemo being part of my treatment plan when I signed up for a mastectomy by the way), I went on “good blood” days for fills. This is where saline is slowly inserted into the expanders during each appointment until the plastic surgeon says your empty space has been filled. Once I started weekly rounds of chemo, the risk of infection was too great so reconstruction was placed on hold in Feburary. 

At one point I had to go back because we feared my right expander might have a leak. Not a good thing. Fortunately, there was no leak. The swelling on my right side was going down faster than the left. The left side I’d also had lymph nodes removed from, so this made sense. 

Today, I went to see Dr. Rumalla to find out the timeline for the remainder  of my reconstruction. I was hoping to have a surgery date to have the expanders replaced with implants. I wanted to hear this could all be accomplished and I’d have time to heal before heading back to work in August. But my left boob began behaving badly a few days before my appointment today. It was swollen, red, and painful. 

When I showed Dr. Rumalla, he literally took a step back. His body language spoke before he did. He said he’d never seen this happen before. It has been since February since I’ve had a fill. He’s sure I have an infection. Infections and tissue expanders don’t make a good couple. 

He had me call my oncologist and he called an infectious disease doctor. All of a sudden my timeline for completing reconstruction became a series of jumping through emergency hoops to get appointments. When a plastic surgeon calls in a favor with his infectious disease doctor friend, it’s a lot easier to get an appointment. Thank goodness doctors have doctors outside their field as friends. My oncologist’s nurse knew she was of no help to me, so she passed my message on to my breast surgeon’s nurse. She called me to set up an appointment to drain off the fluid. Just to give you an idea of the swelling, my right breast is a medium size B cup and my left breast is the size of a full size double D. My skin is stretching so far the incision scar across my left breast is starting to tear open enough to bleed and have tiny scabs form. Not cool!

They are in a race to kill the infection, to figure out its cause, and hopefully save my expanders and the reconstruction process to date. So tomorrow I’ll see my breast surgeon and the infectious disease doctor. Thursday, I follow up with my oncologist and have my labs done to make sure my blood is “good”. Then, I go back to my plastic surgeon that same afternoon to find out what’s next. Will my boob be back behaving as it should or will a major surgery to remove my expanders be scheduled to return my chest back to flatter than it was in November?

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God told me to have faith in Him and He would grant me peace back in September. God’s promises don’t end. I have faith He has a greater plan than I can see. I trust this is just another stepping stone to teach me something or to find beauty in ashes. God has a plan, and it is good. 


About courage2conquercancer

At the age of 40, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is an account of my journey from my discovery and beyond.
This entry was posted in breast cancer, mastectomy, reconstruction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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