Kicking Breast Cancer's Butt

Ok..

Our daughter has been sick this week.. Cold and upset stomach.  So I took over doing stuff, when the “Mama!” call came.  Switched to paper towels in the bathroom.  Trying to be careful to make sure Tina doesn’t get sick.  Being sick would delay her surgery and we are so ready to move on and get that thing out of her.

We had our first visit to UW Surgical Center.  What a nice building.  Parking costs and system not as good as the SCCA, but better than Virgina Mason.  (You knew a parking update was coming…)

We met with the reconstruction surgeon.  Interesting twist…  Tina is back to the type of mastectomy that Virgina Mason recommended.

After seeing Tina and her assessing her size and taking into consideration that she is scheduled for radiation, he has recommended not doing the skin sparing mastectomy.

Pros:

  • Less pain ongoing from the expander and fewer Dr visits to get the expander cared for
  • Fewer complications
  • easier surgery and faster recovery this week
  • And will use skin from her “tummy tuck” that has not been compromised by radiation
  • Easier to model and match with the other side for her
  • He was specific that the “hang” of the breast that is seen standard necklines will be more natural

Cons:

  • Larger scars where the skin sparing would take everything though the removed nipple, this one will have long scars.. but they fade and will not be were most clothing (especially Tina’s style will how it.  Out side of DRs there are only two of us that will ever see them.. I am fine and I like that her initial surgery will be easier to recover from.

We learned two new things. 

  1. After all this is over.. some times the feeling in the rebuilt breast can return.  This is different for everyone.. but interesting to note.
  2. Also if after her mastectomy if signs of arm swelling (Lymphedema) are detected, as part of the belly flesh transplant they can take a few lymphnodes too and improve the proper lymph draining from the arm. Cool

This may have been in Virgina Mason team’s initial thinking.. but it was not communicated as a recommendation / choice. we felt very much steared and not really hearing about options.. AND since we had read about them.. I think this added to some uncertanty that we were getting all our options.   It might be that we know more now it or that there was just not as good of communication.  In general communication and a feeling of involvement is where I think the SCCA team and affiliates seem to excel.  Nipple sparing has never been an option for Tina… but we did touch on it this week in the discussion.  Skin sparing and nipple sparing was never mentioned at VM so we could never really understand why it wasn’t being considered.

On the lighter side

Tina got an unexpect bonus at work.. So we we replaced the long dead and ratty family room sofa and rock hard futon with the first furniture we ever bought together outside of a new bed.  Leather Sofa and Recliner all with power reclining.. mmmmmmm

This will be good for Tina as sleeping partly elevated is where she will want to be for the first few days.. so consider it a medical expense..

Also visiting family will find a night in the reclined ends of the sofa or the chair much nicer then what we had before.

Life keeps moving forward.. though one night as I went to sleep.. I did realize this is one of the most permanent things ever in our life, expecially in hers.

Marriage, kids, jobs, mortgages are commitments and it is possible to walk away from them.. and too often we see that… even when kids are involved.  But this is not commitment.. it is enforced change.. We have had discussions about it and dealt straight on with the fears.  I am not going anywhere.. but I also know that the coming year is going to be tough and build or test some character. Tina needs to be ok with what she is feeling as this happens and I need to make space for her to do that.  Love.. it’s about times like this..  not just the lovely hormone frenzy that cements it all at the start and makes it fun along the way.

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