Surgical Considerations

Another amazing trip to NYC is coming to an end.

Tomorrow Miss M and I hop on a plane to go back to Ohio. While I’m sad to leave my beloved NY, I’m also excited to see hubby again. I wanna try to spend as much quality time with him as possible over the next 4 days before Miss M and I leave for Vancouver (our last leg of the ‘summer of thanks tour’).

My meetings with the surgeons here in NY went really well. Both were recommended by a friend of mine (who claims to have fantastic breasts now as a result of breast cancer surgery). My oncological surgeon Dr Bernik seems kind, caring, flexible and honest. My plastic surgeon Dr Friedman is a top dog on Park Avenue with a great sense of humour who appears genuine and committed. All in all a great team.

Despite my own reservations and fears about having surgery (that prompted a minor teary meltdown in the plastic surgeon’s office today) I’m feeling a lot better about the whole thing after meeting with them.

As it stands right now, the two surgeon’s offices will compare schedules and get back to me with a few potential dates for surgery sometime in September. The procedure will involve having my left breast surgically removed and tissue expanders put in. I’ll be in the hospital for a few days, and then I go home to lay low and recoup. Of course, where exactly I will be recouping is still yet to be decided. I imagine I will have to stay in NY for at least 2-4 weeks.

After that, I return once every 2 weeks to have the skin on my breast slowly stretched out to the desired size (which Dr Friedman told me I can decide on as we go along). Then we do yet another (minor) surgery to remove the expander and put the implant in, as well as do any “touch ups” to the right breast (a little reduction or maybe just a lift) to make the two breasts match.

There is also the question of what to do about my lymph nodes. We have no definitive way of knowing if there still is cancer in the lymph nodes closest to my breast until they cut me open and check it out. So Dr Bernik is asking me to consider either a sentinal lymph node biopsy or an axillary lymph node dissection to test the tissue and remove any cancerous nodes. Needless to say, I have to do some serious research on my options before I make up my mind.

But before any of this can start, I have to go in for yet another set of scans (MRI, PET, and bone scan). My plan is to schedule those for the end of August, when I return from Vancouver.

In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of thinking and research to do…. About the surgery… About the reconstruction… About where I’m going to live immediately following my surgery… About who is going to take care of me… And who is going to take care of Miss M…

I have to admit I’m still a bit freaked out about the whole thing. The pain. The recovery. And the potential for complications – because that’s exactly what a stage 4 breast cancer patient doesn’t need – more drama.

But I am doing my best to keep living each day as it comes. Focusing on the here and now. Trying to remain open to what life has to offer. And not getting stressed out about the things I can’t control.

This new approach seems to be working really well so far. And it sure is making life a hell of a lot more fun to live too!

Peace. – T

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7 Responses

  1. If you WEREN’T a bit freaked out, I’d be worried about you. But one thing I know: you will do this thing as well as it’s ever been done. And you will come through it with flying colours!

    • Heh – I was going to say something similar. Being freaked out by this is normal – and, just to make sure it’s said, nothing to feel bad about, either. Your emotions are being put through the wringer, and they’re sure to be tender. It’s no more worth feeling funny about your emotions being a bit tender than it is to feel funny about your body feeling a bit tender after an injury.

      Be well, and happy – and know that there are many people sending you healing energy. You are loved – deeply, and dearly, by many.

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