Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And the surgeries keep on coming...

Happy Tuesday!

I saw McBoobie today for another follow up to my DIEP/prophylactic mastectomy surgery.  He was a chatterbox, which is unusual, but we had a lot to cover! I think, too, that it's because this is his element. The expander was too, of course, but it's really just a piece of the cancer puzzle. The reconstruction is his big gig. This is full on plastic surgery. 

He said that my scars were all healing well and noted that my tummy was still swollen (whew... I was worried that it was chub overflow!). Now that my incisions are healed, I need to make sure that I keep them moist. (Yes, I said that word. Blech.) While Aquaphor is my "lube" of choice, he said that I can really use anything, from lotions to scar creams, etc., at this point. He reminded me to massage the scar along my stomach to help keep it smooth and help break up scar tissue. He ran his finger down the incision in demonstration and I grimaced at the grody factor. It didn't hurt but it just feels so... nasty. And no, not in a good way. 

I've known that I'd have to have another surgery after this one. As I've mentioned previously, it's fat grafting, which is basically lipo on my stomach, hips - or wherever else - and then replacing that fat into my fledgling boobs for contouring and symmetry. 

As it stands now, Frank looks to be a good two cup sizes smaller than my healthy side. The radiated skin really won't stretch further so the left side will need to be lifted as well - again - for symmetry. I have divots on my upper chest on both sides from the removal of tissue. It's more prevalent on the right side because the radiation effectively zapped it. 

This surgery will take approximately 2 1/2 hours or so. It's outpatient surgery this time. Recovery is expected to only take a few days, which is a welcome change. I'm really amped to look like I was dragged behind a Greyhound bus, but given when I've already gone through, this should be much easier to manage. The best part? NO DRAINS! Woot!

I was told that I may need another fat grafting session after this one. He can only move so much fat because each fat cell needs to have a healthy cell to live. Too many fat cells could mean that they may die and get absorbed back into my body. Sounds yummy, right? 

I'm thrilled that I'm healing well and can do most normal things now. I'm still not lifting anything but my minions have been more than helpful in that area. I'm NOT so thrilled to be a science project, though. I trust McBoobie and am looking forward the the finished product. 

In other news... I will return to work next Monday. While I am absolutely stir-crazy, I'm so glad that I had the time to recover as stress-free as possible. I'm anxious about finding clothes that I'm comfortable in.  I am the same size that I was pre-surgery. I may have a flatter tummy and smaller boobs but my weight is the same. Of course, I haven't tried on any pants yet, so we'll see. 

The uber insecure part of me doesn't want people to look and me and think (or God forbid - SAY), "She's still fat! What kind of tummy tuck is that?" Of course, they can fuck right off, but I hate feeling like I need to explain - even though I really don't. That probably doesn't make any sense. Sigh... 

At this very moment, I genuinely am happy. Happy for my life and the support I have. Happy to be healthy. I know I'm a work in progress and as McBoobie told me, this is really an exercise in patience. We all know that patience is a virtue that I struggle with but I'm trying... 

Okay... These Sex & The City reruns are confirming my stir-crazed state. Off to find something more interesting and productive. 

Ciao, peeps! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Now on Facebook!

I'm now on Facebook!  I'd love it if you "liked" my Tales of a Broken Boobie page! Feel free to pass it along! 

Thank you!! Xoxo

Monday, May 20, 2013

Goodnight, sweetheart...

It's currently 2:49am. I went non-stop all day today and am nowhere near tired. I took an Advil PM and I might as well have eaten some Pez for the zero effect it's had.  

Wait! Holy epiphany!!!

I just remembered that had a carafe worth of iced tea at dinner tonight. Yes, an actual carafe. Of my very own. Shitfire. I'm so sensitive to caffeine now and I really haven't had much at all since surgery 3 1/2 weeks ago. Hell, I haven't even had Diet Coke in 2 weeks or so.  Dammit, dammit, dammit!!! I'm so annoyed with myself. What the hell was I thinking?

I'm wide awake and bored silly. I had started watching "House of Cards" on Netflix last week at the suggestion of a friend. Perhaps I grab the ol' iPad and earbuds and fire up a few episodes. 

I could seriously run around the block 52 times right now! I swear - I thought my restless leg shit was back. No - it's the FUCKING CAFFEINE. I am such a wuss. 

Something keeps ribiting. I already escorted one toad out of the house this week. A frog? NOW? While I'm in hyper non-sleep mode? Slimy asshat. 

Anyway... I digress. (And I sound like I've lost my mind, which could very well be the case.) Time to see if Kevin Bacon and his kinda awesome South Carolina drawl can make me fall asleep. Ugh. Kevin SPACEY. Not Kevin Bacon. 

Mmmm. Bacon. 

Okay, okay. Enough for now. Praying this doesn't make me too bat shit crazy... 

Peace out. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Welcome to the Jungle

I've told this story before but after talking to a good friend tonight, suddenly, it seemed to take on new meaning... 

The year was 1992. I was 21 years old and was loving life. Some friends of mine invited me to see Guns N' Roses/Metallica/Faith No More at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. I had never been to a stadium show but since this was during my Metallica "phase", I jumped at the offer.

The concert was sold out, which meant that there were 55,000 strong ready to rock and roll. Soon, we reached our seats, which were in the second row.  One of my biggest fears was to get trampled if the stage were to get rushed.  My friends, Todd, Mark and John, took me under their wings and acted almost like personal body guards. "Don't worry... if anything happens, we'll just throw you up on stage", Mark had told me. Swell. 

This was a dry show, so we were sober as can be (this will be important to note later). We rocked our hearts out during Faith No More and even through torrential rain during Metallica.

After I had gotten to the point where I felt like I had doubled my body weight just from being soaked to the bone, Todd and I went inside to get a quick bite and buy a concert tshirt - simply to dry off. My bra was soaked and gross, so Todd graciously offered to let me put it in his pocket after I had wrung it out. Such a gentleman. 

We made our way back down to our seats and sang and headbanged our way through the end of Metallica's set. The set change between Metallica and Guns was long; it was a good hour. By then, the clouds had broken and the sun was starting to shine. 

As with many shows, there are usually large screens around the stage. This was no exception, and we were treated to three jumbotrons. Cameramen were scanning the crowd and of course, shenanigans ensued. One girl after another flashed her boobs for the crowd. Interestingly, nearly all were blonde, Barbie-types. SO not me. 

I happened to be in a sea of guys. I told my friends that I'd totally flash the crowd - and would do it better. Some of the guys nearby overheard. My friends and strangers were frantically trying to get the attention if the nearest cameraman. 

They got his attention. "We've got one right here! She'll do it!!" It was showtime. I am proud to say that I got the longest "airtime" out of all the flashers. No one was harmed in the flashing of my boobs. Everyone around me was having a blast. The crowd went wild. 

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, understand that I actually felt empowered. I didn't feel cheapened or demeaned. No one twisted my arm. I remember thinking that I was young, had nice perky boobs and this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to shake what the good lord gave me in front of a stadium full of rockers. I remember thinking "I'm doing this now while I can because someday, I WON'T BE ABLE TO." Oh, how true those words were. 

I've made no secret about the fact that I loved my rack. That was the one and only grand flashing gesture I had ever made. Sure, friends had gotten flashed at some point or another but it's not like that was a common occurrence and certainly not for any type of crowd.  

Right now, those boobs are gone. What I have now are post-surgery, nippleless, misshapen mounds on my chest. They're not sexy. They have zero sensation. Between radiation and the expander, I have a big divot in my chest. Hopefully, fat grafting will help even things out. 

I'm not proposing that people go out and flash the neighbors or Maroon 5 or whatever, in case cancer takes their boobs away but what I AM saying is that it's okay to live a little. This isn't so much about the boobs; however, there's obvious irony. You're allowed to do wild and crazy things once in a while. If it makes you happy and no one is getting hurt - why the hell not, right? No regrets!

I realize that by posting this story on my blog, my daughters will hear it for the first time. (Hell, so will a bevy of others that I never planned on sharing it with!) This was half a lifetime ago for me. I was a legal adult. Do I want them to do the same thing? Not necessarily... Do I begrudge them letting a little wildness show through? The mom in me says, "OY! Just don't tell me and be careful!" The cancer survivor in me says, "Go for it. Let your freak flag fly."

"And be careful."

Rock on, my friends. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

She can't hit... She can't hit... She can't hit...

This time around, my pain pills have given me some pretty graphic and detailed dreams. Several have been downright trippy. A few have bordered on nightmares.

I woke up about 20 minutes ago after having a dream that I had somehow ended up being "recruited" (I use this term very loosely) for a men's baseball team. It wasn't a professional team but still had a good-sized fan base. Oddly, we played in what appeared to be an indoor training center/gym that was nowhere near as large as a normal baseball field.

Without question (which for me, is a clear enough indicator that it's a dream), I began putting on my uniform, which included pin-striped baseball pants and mis-matched, well worn black socks. One was a short faded sock that I found embarrassed me a little. The other was darker black, knee-high and had a dollar coin sewn into the top of it, presumably for superstition/good luck's sake. Both were floppy men's socks.

As I suited up, I realized that I had never attended a single day of practice and had also missed the first inning or so of the game. I figured I should hurry up before I lost my shot. I laughed knowing that I likely wouldn't be able to hit the ball - much less round the bases, but I'd be able to cross this adventure off my bucket list.

I was overly worried about my hair. I had shaggy, curly hair that was a great deal longer than it's current length, but still too short to pull pack into a ponytail, despite repeated attempts. I opted to wear a plastic headband to tame the curls since clearly, that made sense under a baseball hat.

I made my way down to the bench. Since this was in the training facility/arena, it meant that there wasn't a dugout - just a green waffle bench (that later turned into red laminate - like a countertop). I brought with me my cell phone, a wide-banded black headband (in case the one I was wearing broke, I guess) and a brush and placed them on the bench. All very useful items, of course. My teammates told me if I brooded and snarled when I walked, my curly hair sticking out of my hat would be totally badass. I practiced this walk and decided they were right. I WAS totally badass this way.

The men on the team welcomed me with open arms but we didn't know each other. As we chit-chatted, I realized that my too-big pants were on backwards. I debated whether I should drop trou on the sidelines to fix them or run into the locker room. A teammate told me not to worry; that he takes his pants off right there all the time and that he's smooth as a baby's bottom. "Wanna see?" I shook my head and walked away. (What the hell kind of dream is this!?! Walked away???) I decided that ripping the tag out and dealing with a poofy front (back) of my pants was best.

One of the men told me that he'd gladly be my pinch hitter. I thanked him, said no and told him that I really wanted to take a swing myself. I knew, though, that since I was out of shape, running was a comical thought if I DID happen to hit the ball. He told me that since he had recently come to the aid of a teammate in a bar fight, I should instead consider him for a pinch runner then. Given his act of bravery, I gave him the job.

My jersey number was 5. I had no idea what the lineup was but was told to wait until they called my name - much like a food order at a restaurant. I wasn't particularly anxious or afraid. I was really only mildly excited but knew I'd get to cross it off that bucket list...

I ran my hand through my curly hair and waited. And waited. And waited.

And woke up.

Woke up annoyed.

I didn't get my chance at bat.

This was by no means one of my more wacky dreams lately, but it was just as vivid and "real". I've always had fantastic dreams but in the last year, in particular, I seem to not have as many or remember them for as long. It's like I can literally feel them fading away like a puff of smoke when I wake up.

This is also the first time that I've actually written down (thumb-typed?) a dream right as I've woken up. With all these druggie dreams, I should have done it sooner, but some could have prompted a visit from the little men in the white coats, so perhaps it's good that I didn't have this epiphany until today.

It's about 6am here right now. The house is dark and I all I can hear is Matt breathing next to me and the ceiling fan whirring. Maybe there's still some dream power left.

Hoping for a good one...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy, Happy Friday!

Today is Friday, May 3rd. I am sitting outside on an unseasonably cool day here in Texas. It's 55, breezy and sunny out and couldn't be more wonderful.

I came home from the hospital a week ago today. In that period of time, I'm nearly completely weened off of pain pills, am pooping like a champ and the grumpies are gone. I may have kicked cancer to the curb months ago but the effects are clearly far-reaching. With each recovery, my "FUCK YOU CANCER" fist pumps higher into the sky faster than a Jersey Shore reunion.

My recovery will be a long one but I'm up for the challenge. I refuse to be a victim. I may piss and moan and swear like a sailor (wait - I do that normally), but I AM a tough cookie. My spirit is bigger than my frankenboobs. Much bigger!

Today, as I took a normal (albeit hunched over) shower, I sang and sorta/kinda shimmied my heart out to one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Boy Bands. The Song du Jour was "Don't Turn Out the Lights" by NKOTBSB. (That's New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys for the uninformed...) The song doesn't relate to me or my situation in any way - I just love the hell out of it. Be a hater if you will but it gave me a much-needed spring in my step.

Enjoy your Friday! Partake in that guilty pleasure!

Peace, love and boy bands. Xoxo