Follow-up With My Surgeon

I had another follow-up appointment with my surgeon yesterday and I realized that it has already been a month since I had my surgery. It seems like time is flying by, but that is not a bad thing at all.

He took a look at my incisions, said that everything looks great and that I have healed well. I asked him if he could take out my sutures as one of them had been hurting me to the point of needing pain pills after 5he steri-strips came off over the weekend. So after taking another look he said that he could take them out. I am sore now that they are out and I will be for a few more days, but I am much more comfortable now.

Our Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 16th wedding anniversary and I can’t help but look back at this time last year as it was a major turning point in my breast cancer journey. The day after our 15th wedding anniversary last year I started aggressive chemotherapy. I had already gone through my first surgery to remove the cancer and my second surgery to place the port in my chest for my chemotherapy treatments, but little did I know at the time that the most difficult fight of my life was just beginning.

Everything was so overwhelming and it felt like I was floating through all of the doctors appointments, surgeries, scans and tests in a daze. The day of my first chemotherapy treatment is somewhat of a blur now but I do remember sitting down in the chair in the treatment room and starting to cry. I was terrified as I realized that the nurse was about to pump horrible, destructive drugs into my body.

My husband looked at me and asked “Why are you crying?” I said, “It’s so overwhelming knowing what is about to happen to me, what I am about to go through.” He came and sat closer to me and held my hand, trying to comfort me. He had already been through countless appointments, surgeries, etc….with me, but he has never wavered. He has been by my side through many tears, pain, sleepless nights and so many other stages of fighting aggressive breast cancer.

I love you sweetie! Happy Anniversary and thank you for being my rock during the most difficult fight of my life! 💕

16 years and counting! 💕

5 Tips for Coping with Fear of Breast Cancer Recurrence

I agree with so much of what this article talks about. Will I ever not worry about recurrence? Probably not, but I can find a place for that worry in my life, somewhere in the background. Some days I am overwhelmed by thoughts of recurrence, usually sparked by a sudden pain in my breast, which I still have from time to time. The pain is not surprising considering I have had three surgeries on my chest, and it takes awhile for the nerves to fire back up, so I try not to over react. My next mammogram is in August, 6 months after finishing radiation, so I will know for sure at that point if I am cancer free.

Medically reviewed by Krystal Cascetta, MD on May 12, 2020 New — Written by Theodora Blanchfield

Fear of breast cancer recurrence is common among survivors — but it doesn’t have to control your life.

For many breast cancer survivors, the fear of recurrence can be all-encompassing.

1 Year Anniversary of My Breast Cancer Surgery

April 23rd was a bittersweet day for me. A year ago on that day, I had my first surgery to remove my breast cancer. 💕 I was so scared to undergo my first surgery. I had never been through surgery before and it was terrifying to think about a surgeon cutting into my breast and removing cancer. My surgeon reassured me that everything would be OK and that if he wasn’t worried, I shouldn’t be worried either. From that day forward I knew that I was in the best hands possible and that he was saving my life from an aggressive and terrible form of breast cancer.

Today it is overwhelming when I think back and remember everything that has happened from the beginning of January 2019 to present day. It is crazy to realize that on April 28th of this year I had my 4th surgery, my 2nd reconstruction surgery; when until I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had never had major surgery before.

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2nd Follow-up Appointment with My Surgeon **WARNING: GRAPHIC SURGERY PHOTOS**

On Monday I had my second follow-up appointment with my surgeon to remove the two drains and to take a look at the steri-strips that are still in place from my surgery two weeks ago.

It didn’t really hurt when he pulled the tubing out of my chest from the drains, it was more of a strange sensation than pain. I felt tugging, not a sharp pain at all, but it was uncomfortable even though he told me as he was doing each step to remove them.

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My Final Reconstruction Surgery: Part II **WARNING: GRAPHIC SURGERY PHOTOS**

Soon after my anesthesiologist left me I was greeted by two nurses who were there to take me to the OR. One of them warned me that the OR was going to be cold and she said that she wanted to make sure to let me know because a lot of people are shocked by the temperature. I told her that I was expecting it since this was my 4th surgery in a little over a year. When we got into the OR I immediately saw more signs of the virus affecting the process of surgery. In my past 3 surgeries there were usually around 7 people in the room…my surgeon and the med student shadowing him, the anesthesiologist and sometimes a student shadowing them plus an assistant, and generally two nurses. This time I only saw 4 people before I went to sleep…my surgeon, the anesthesiologist and his assistant, and one nurse. The nurses were chatting with me about things I don’t remember now…🤣 and the next thing I know, I was getting oxygen and then I woke up in the recovery area.

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My Final Reconstruction Surgery: Part I **WARNING: SURGERY DETAILS**

On Tuesday, April 28th I had my final reconstruction surgery. I was scheduled to arrive at 11:30am and go into surgery at 1:00pm. Unfortunately due to the virus, my husband was not allowed to go into the waiting room with me so he had to drop me off. It made me more nervous to not have him with me but there was nothing we could do about it. He ran a few errands, grabbed lunch and then went home to wait for my surgeon to call him with an update on how the surgery went. A little while later the nurse that was caring for me in recovery, called him to let him know that I was awake and that he could come over and sit with me.

Meanwhile I was changing clothes into my gown, putting on compression socks, my surgery cap, and my warm socks to start getting prepped for surgery in the pre-op area. There are 4 bays in pre-op and my surgeon had 3 patients there. Besides me, he had a woman getting a port put in and a woman having a double mastectomy that day. I was 2nd in line after the port surgery and when the lady getting the port surgery left for the OR I knew that my surgery was going to start late which is pretty much the norm.

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My 4th & Final Surgery

**Please note, if you are going to judge me for my choices, just go ahead and stop following my blog. It is unfortunate that I have to even mention this here in my blog that has been a huge comfort to me while on this terrible journey. Until you have spent even just one day of my cancer journey in my shoes, you have no right to judge me!**

I decided last Thursday to call my surgeons office to see if it was possible to come in and see him before my August appointment. When I wasn’t able to get a call back in a timely manner, time was not on my side so I needed to speak with someone quickly, I remembered that my surgeon had told me to never hesitate to text him if I needed him for any reason. So I decided to text him knowing that he was most likely going to be in surgery all day so it might be a while before he could respond back to me, but I was shocked when he responded back about 5 minutes later. I explained my situation to him, he answered “probably yes” when I asked him if we could move my surgery up to now and he said to call his office and schedule an appointment for Monday morning. If they said there were no openings, I was to let them know that I had already spoken to him and that he needed to see me on Monday. I was thrilled that he wanted to see me and talk since I was not supposed to see him until a few days after my mammogram in August.

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Final Appointment With My Radiation Oncologist

A few days ago I had my final appointment with my radiation oncologist. The last time I saw her was the Friday before my last treatment back in January so this was a 6 week follow up to check on my overall health, my skin where my burn was on my collar bone and on my breast.

The skin on my collar bone got even redder a few days after my last treatment. I had some medicated lotion left over from going through my daily treatments so I kept using that three times a day and the burn eventually peeled completely and then healed up. She said that my breast is still a little swollen and I agreed. The swelling will eventually go away with time, there isn’t much I can do to help it along and it’s not so swollen that I need to be concerned about it.

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