Now what? - The Funny Thing About Cancer
 
Chemo is over.  So now what?  Surgery.

Surgery is scheduled for June 30th.

And every time I think about the surgery, I vomit in my mouth a little.  OK, I'm exagerating, but that's my way of saying I'm not very excited about it.

So here's my understanding of my surgery/reconstruction process.  On the 30th, I will have a bilateral mastectomy, which means they will remove as much breast tissue as they can, including my nipples.  That is the definition of a bilateral mastectomy.  They also have the "nipple sparing" kind, which is exactly what it sounds like, they leave you with your nipples, but I'm telling them to just take it all!  Why?  Because nipples are 100% breast tissue and I want the smallest chance possible for recurrance.

After the oncological surgeon performs the mastectomy, the plastic surgeon will come in and do his best to reconstruct my breasts.  Step one of my reconstruction will involve tissue expanders (TEs).  These are neat little balloon type things that they stick in your chest, under the pectoral muscles.  Then you go back once a week or so and they poke a needle into the TE and add saline.  The plastic surgeon likened it to "using the principles of pregnancy", meaning they use the tissue expanders to slowly expand the skin and prepare it for the implant. 

Then once my TEs have been expanded and my skin has stretched to the point where it needs to be, I'll have an exchange surgery where they will exchange the TEs for the actual implants.

THEN, if I want it, I can go back and have another surgery to create nipples, including nipple tattoos.

Super exciting, eh?  No?  Yeah, I'm not terribly excited either.

All of this will be done over the next 6 months (give or take a month or two).  While I'm excited that I'm embarking on the last major step to my cancer treatment, I'm nervous about how many surgeries I have left.  As per usual, cancer has left me with swirling emotions and lots of highs and lows.  Although right now, I'm mostly on a high.  I can't tell you how much BETTER life is when not getting chemo :)

So in just 10 days, I will be going in for about 5 hours of surgery.  Wish me luck! 

Next topics will include upcoming diet changes... it's about to get all crazy and sexy in here!  (and maybe vegan?)



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