I’d say that my lack of posting is a good thing because it means that my life has returned back to the normalcy of craziness with family, friends and work. The craziness is definitely present — I feel like I have been running 500 mph for the past several months. But, I think the last few weeks of me talking through my feelings leading up to tomorrow’s scheduled surgery is probably more of the reason — I just want to be done.
So, documenting the things that make me not done is hard.
That said, let me catch you up:
In August, I had surgery where the main focus was to swap my expander for a true implant on my left side — the non-cancer side. After surgery, the message from my plastic surgeon was to give six months to heal and settle and then we can see if there are adjustments that need to be made. We referred to it as my “last surgery,” because it was the last one we knew I would HAVE TO have. But even in August, I had a gut feeling that he wasn’t going to be able to get everything just as it needed to be in one try.
I was right.
At this point (4 months later), I am having symmetry problems on my left side. To avoid giving too much information for those who aren’t immersed in this reconstruction world, I’ll just say that these problems are a result of having done a nipple-sparing mastectomy. I also have rippling in my left implant … I mean, really noticeable rippling not dissimilar to this:
I called Katie (Dr. Kronowitz‘s PA) back in October and told her about these problems. In my opinion, even though it hadn’t been six months, the swelling was gone and things had settled enough for it to be clear that these were the results.
In November, I went to see Dr. Kronowitz so he could take a look and make a plan. (I also got my tatoo on my right side during this trip!) Even though it hadn’t been six months, Dr. Kronowitz agreed to do the surgery this month. This makes me happy a) I need it and b) we have hit our out-of-pocket insurance max THREE times in the last two years so if we can slip this surgery in before the new year … well, we save ourselves $4,000.
This morning, we met with Dr. Kronowitz and Katie so he could map out his plan…literally, map it out with Sharpie pen all over my body as he usually does. I’d like to say I’m super optimistic about where this surgery will leave, but if I’m being honest … I’m worried. I’ve expressed that concern to Dr. Kronowitz, and he seem to convey that he thought this is the right path to take even though nothing is a guarantee, and I’ll never look perfect.
The bottom line is I just want to be able to say that I’m done with cancer. I want 2015 to be a fresh start where I can say that the cancer thing is in the past. I don’t want this surgery to be a “maybe.” I want it to be the end. But, I think that what I am learning from interacting with Dr. Kronowitz is that there is no clear path after the initial reconstruction. All of the tweaking can’t be planned. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure I’m not being super picky about my outcome. I know it won’t be perfect … heck, it wasn’t perfect before cancer. I just know it should be better than this.
All of this goes back to my need for a plan. I have anxiety when I don’t know the plan. Even if I hate the plan, I feel better having it. So, to some friends and family, I have declared this my last surgery for two years. I’m making this my plan***. If, in two years, I am unsatisfied, I’ll explore my options.
In the meantime, I am scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning. At this point, we believe it is starting at 8:30 am and is scheduled for three hours. So, say a little prayer for my doctor and his team, me and the people who are supporting us this trip – people like:
- Debbie: She is a lifesaver because we were able to call on her last minute to watch the kids this week when Alan’s parents needed to focus on caring for Alan’s grandmother.
- Keri: She has also pitched in to help us with the kids, taking time away rom her own busy life.
- Michelle: She who graciously donated her points to cover our hotel expense.
- Chris and Laura: They went out of their way to buy us dinner last night.
- My parents: They have made the trip down here for every surgery I have had. And they will have extra duty this weekend while Alan’s attends his grandmother’s funeral.
Extra prayers for Alan’s family because they lost his grandmother yesterday afternoon. She was the epitome of strength and positivity, and I can’t imagine the grief that Alan’s mother and her siblings are dealing with right now.
*** P.S.: I reserve the right to change the aforementioned plan at any moment. That’s the beauty of starting with a plan — it can the be amended as needed!