I am currently undergoing chemo and will soon be on the list for radiation. But we must not forget the mastecomy surgery I had in November. It was horribleawful, and it is still a work in progress. In my case, they couldn’t just swap out all of that breast tissue for implants, but rather took out all of that breast tissue and put something called tissue expanders in my chest. These are basically round, balloon-type things that are inserted completely empty. You can see the outline of the expanders under my skin, and it looks something like two flat turtles crawling up my chest. With the scars from surgery and a bald head, I become somewhat of a scary monster when I take a shower.
The idea behind the tissue expanders is just that–to expand the tissue. This is done by periodically filling the expanders with saline until the desired breast size is reached. I was told that this is a good thing because I can “try out” different sizes until I feel comfortable.
Here’s a stuffy medical drawing from Healthwise.com. I actually took before and after pictures of myself while at the doctor’s office, but I’m not brave enough to post them for the world to see. I’m getting feisty though, so who knows what I’ll do in the future!?!?
Today was my first “fill”. (This is the one appointment I went to all by myself as Jeremy had to stay home with Wyatt, who has been infected with pink eye!) The first thing Dr. K asked was how chemo was going. I said that I hated it, but Yay! only one infusion left! He then asked, “how are your breasts?” To which I replied, “They’re fine, well I guess fine, there’s really not a lot there.” Then he proceeded to get the stuff ready to fill me a little. (He said we just do a little fill since, in his words, I’m so tiny! Either he’s a genius or I’m really small or he’s used to working with bigger ladies…whatever…tiny!)
First he used a magnet thing to find the metal area in my chest that has the opening for the needle (yes, NEEDLE). Then he used some orangebrown soapy suff to clean the area. Now it was needle time. He got a big ‘ole needle out that was attached to a small tube that was attached to a syringe of fluid. He gave me the warning that the needle was about to go in, then stuck it in…ick. He slowly compressed the syringe and as fluid diasappeared from the syringe, I could feel the tissue expander popping a little bit as it expanded ever so slightly. He filled each side with 45 CCs of saline. When he was finished, I left with two fatter looking turtles crawling up my chest and two band-aids where the needles had been inserted.
I will go back in a few weeks and get another fill. The plan is to fill as much as possible before radiation starts because of stupid skin changes that could occur with that stupid therapy.
I know, I know…eye on the prize…