My torso is a blue sharpie map of destruction. There are lines around my nipples, across my breasts, a triangle from each hip up to my belly button, and a zig zag line up the center of my tummy. I had radioactive tracking contrast injected into my nipple that will stay in my lymph nodes until they are dissected tomorrow. I have washed with antibacterial soap and sent pictures of my boobs to friends.
I’ve packed my bag with creature comforts for a 3 night stay at the spa-spital: aromatherapy diffuser, a little alter with White Tara, eye mask, speakers, robe, slippers, ginger tea, fake candles, and lots of miralax.
This is the plan. 4am wake up and disinfect body, 5am arrival at surgery center, pre-op, sign lots of consent forms, discuss advance directives, 6:45 begin anesthesia, 7am surgery time. They start by removing 3 lymph nodes and send them down to the lab. Then Dr. S starts on the DIEP flap on my left side while Dr C removes tumor, nipple, and all breast tissue from right side. The lab will check the margins to make sure there is no remaining cancer. Then they switch sides and Dr S reattached DIEP flap from left side of tummy into right breast. Fingers crossed that they don’t have to take all of the lymph nodes.
The procedure will take anywhere from 6-8 hours. I may need small implants depending on how much fat they can harvest from the tummy. By small I mean the smallest implants they make.
The first night they will check on me every hour throughout the night to make sure that the tissue is healthy. I will spend three nights at the surgical center and then they send me home with recycled body parts and a few drains hanging out of my body. It’s all so bizarre.
As always, I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support. The prayers have been felt and they are holding me up. I’ve shed a few tears in the last few days, but not nearly as bad as the meltdown my preschooler had because I pealed his banana instead of giving it to him whole. So today I’m doing better emotionally than my 3 year old, but worse physically than my 97 year old grandmother. On a scale from 1 to 100 I’m somewhere between 3 and 97.
I’m sad that for a few weeks I won’t be able to hug and squeeze my kids. For 4 weeks I won’t be able to pick them up or take a bath or sleep on my side or stomach. For the rest of my (hopefully long) life I will have numb, fake boobs. But these boobs tried to kill me so they gotta go.
I visited with my sweet GiGi tonight. Her secrets? Ponds cold cream, ice cream, love, singing in your sleep, and telling it like it is.
Did you notice that my eyebrows are drawn on and my hair is starting to grow back?