Playing Catch-up

March 19, 2013

Oof.  It’s been a long time since an update from The Cancer Games Arena.

My momma is in surgery as we speak.  (We left the homestead this morning at the grueling hour of 4am to get her to the hospital for her 5am check-in.)  They are completing the hysterectomy today.  The one that they couldn’t complete in October due to the extent her cancer had spread.  I’ve got at least 2 hours in this waiting room.  Perfect for catching everyone up to speed on what’s been happening.

Mom first…

Her last chemo treatment was in February.  Then scans.  Dr. K (who is different from my Dr. K) says that the scans are only 80% accurate, but from looking at them, he believes he will be able to remove any remaining cancerous tissue during the completion of the hysterectomy today!!!!  And then we’ll know in another week whether or not he wants additional, preventative rounds of chemo.  But she will definitely not have to undergo radiation.  (Which makes me incredibly happy inside as I found radiation to be the hardest step in the treatment process.  I’d been crossing my fingers, hoping she wouldn’t need it.)

I believe he will get it all.  I believe Mom will be declared in remission by the end of this year.

Now me…

I get my real fake boobs in just a couple weeks!!!!  I cannot wait to bid farewell to the snowglobes and return to soft, sloping breasts that don’t rise out of my neck and keep me from sleeping on my tummy.

(There has been some confusion about the swapping out of the implants.  Most people at work were surprised I was facing another surgery, as it currently looks like my boobs have in fact been rebuilt.  (Seriously.  My cleavage is ridiculous.)  But what I currently have in my chest are tissue expanders that have been used to stretch out my pectoral muscles.  The implants are placed under the muscles because there is no breast tissue left to hold them up, only skin.  And the muscles had to be stretched, i.e. expanded, over time so my pecs didn’t tear.  So I am moving from stage 1 to stage 2 of reconstruction.  You can find an illustration of this process here: Two Stage Reconstruction)

I’ve decided on silicone implants as opposed to saline.

The pros and cons lists were equal for both options.

You can read about differences here: Silicone vs Saline for Reconstruction or here: Saline or Silicone Breast Implants

Ultimately, my decision was based on sensation.  Dr. T-dubs told me that saline implants would feel like water balloons when squeezed or laid upon.  Whereas, silicone gel will feel more like breast tissue.

I have no desire to feel like there are water balloons in my chest for the rest of my life.

Done and done.

T-dubs is making me upgrade to a B-cup from the A-cup I was before tumors made my breast swell.

“Your hips are too wide for an A-cup,” she tells me.  She assures me she is not implying that I am fat, just that I have a generous bootie and curvy hips.  “We have the chance to make you as proportionate as possible.  We should take it.”

She’s so good with the brutal honesty.  I love her.

She is a little concerned about placement.

My left tit currently sits about 1/2 an inch higher than my right one.  So my right one looks pretty normal, whereas my left one looks like Super Boob.  And not really in a good way.  More in the I-have-really-big-implants way.  She always said that she would even them out when she swapped the expanders for the implants, but now that the left side has been radiated, she’s worried she won’t be able to lower the left tit as much as she would like.  Radiation causes all scar tissue to tighten up, so nothing on the left side will be as pliable as the right.  And the right one will settle a little after surgery, whereas the left one will not move due to the tightness of the tissue.

Her current plan is to lower the left one as much as possible.  Then place the right one a little higher, so that hopefully, when it settles, they will be even.  She also thinks, (given the slope of the breast the regular implant will create, as opposed to the dome of the expanders) the unevenness, if any, will only be noticeable to me or someone I am intimate with.

Ugh… I really hope she’s right.  I cringe at the thought of being noticeably lop-sided.

Surgery is April 10.

I had a little bit of a scare this past week.  I had an extreme amount of pain in my ovaries and a lot of swelling in my abdomen.  This seemed like danger-town for two reasons.

1) My new and improved super-dupe high risk for ovarian cancer.

2) The tamoxifen I am on (and will be on for 3-5 years) can cause ovarian cysts and endometrial cancer, which is much harder to battle than breast cancer.

I had a pelvic ultrasound yesterday.  I did in fact have some cysts on my ovaries, but nothing to worry about.  They were caused by some sort of friction during ovulation since my lady parts have started to work again.  (Chemo couldn’t keep this girl’s fertility down!  Hooray!)  And the swelling… embarrassingly… was, as Dr. S said, “a tremendous amount of bowel gas.”  A side-affect from the meds.  Humiliating and comforting all at the same time.  (Puts paper bag over head, a la Charlie Brown.)

Also, this happened…

Grandma Karen and Polly Karen

Grandma Karen and Polly Karen


My new baby niece Polly Karen.  Named after my mom.  (Though I’ve been calling her Polka Dot.)  It was love at first sight.

And lastly…

My sisters have organized another awesome fundraiser for me and Mom!  (Even after medical tax cuts, I’m still buried pretty deep in treatment payments.  Why is anyone opposed to universal healthcare?)

If you are close to Jonesborough, TN, come on out to Contra for Cancer, part deux!!!  Even if you don’t want to dance, the music and fellowship will be worth it.  And the snacks.  Mom’s making her world famous kool-aid.  No one wants to miss that.


And if you aren’t close to Jonesborough, but would still like to contribute, you may do so here: The Cancer Games

But I hope many of you can make it to the party.  We’ve got a lot of things to celebrate these days.

End cancer chapter 22.


One Response to “Playing Catch-up”

  1. Marcia Shaver Says:

    So glad for all of you. You guys are a strong group and cancer can be stopped!
    Polka dot aka Polly Karen is adorable and so glad you guys had an opportunity to visit with her. Take care and prays of gladness going up now.

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