Well, nothing can hold me down for too long. :)
My surgery was last Tuesday with Dr. M and everything went as well as expected. We headed to the hospital around 7:15am, I was in pre-op around 8 or so...goofing around with the hubby to pass the time.
Surgery didn't begin until closer to 10am and the next thing I knew, I was groggy and attempting to wake up in the recovery room. Dr. M told the fam that everything went as well as it could have. He was surprised to discover an unusual amount of scar tissue that had developed on the left side. He said the mesh implant was well incorporated into my tissue, which is what is supposed to happen, but for some reason my body was still rejecting it. He cleaned out the scar tissue, removed the mesh piece, and replaced the implant with a new one.
Unfortunately, I did wake up with one of the lovely surgical drains that I came to despise after my mastectomies, but Dr. M assured me that it could come out in a few days. Dr. M is not only a talented surgeon, but an all around great guy and met me in his office on Saturday morning, even though it was closed, to take out my drain so that I didn't have to wait until Monday morning at my scheduled appointment. It means so much to me to have doctors that not only give me their personal cell numbers but are willing to see me on their day off just to make me more comfortable. I definitely felt so much better after that drain was taken out! Oh, and I should mention that he did a really great job aesthetically as well. I do have some minor post-surgical swelling but nothing compared to what was there before. My chest finally looks symmetrical again and back to the way it looked before this crazy swelling issue began in August.
Since the surgery on Tuesday, I have been taking it a little easy but overall I have been feeling really good. I really dread taking medicine of any kind and feel bad that my poor body has had way more than it's fair share of meds already. So, I took some Motrin the first day or so, but haven't taken any pain meds since. I have felt a little sore (mostly on my side where the drain tube was coming out of my chest), and definitely a little tired - but that's about it. I made sure to have a good chat with the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist prior to surgery about how awful my last experience was with nausea. They were really great and tried some different drugs with me and it really paid off because I didn't experience any nausea or vomiting after surgery at all. Woohoo! That's what I was most nervous about this time around.
I did get out of the house for Thanksgiving and spent the day at Momma Jan's with the fam. I was pretty worn out afterwards but it was nice to be with the family. Friday night I escaped the house again to see a movie with some girlfriends, and last night Mike and I went to see The Who! It was his bday gift this year and we had a great time. We were definitely the youngsters in the crowd but Mike loves his classic rock. :)
I am planning on getting back in the swing of things with my photography business this week and heading back to work in the clinic on Tuesday. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and well wishes. They truly do help ease my mind when I am heading into something like this.
As for what happens next, I will get my usual lovely injections this week and then the next big thing is SCANS! Ugh. The dreaded scans. Dr. F only ordered a bone scan and full body CT this time, so at least I get to escape the awful MRI machine. My scans are scheduled for December 19th - Merry Christmas to me. ;) The good and bad news (depending on how you look at it), is that I won't get my scan results until January 3. Good news - If the scans are great, it won't ruin my Christmas. Bad news - I have to wait a full two weeks to hear the news which could drive me crazy. Since I see my oncologist at a satellite clinic, he is only there once each week, and he is off on December 27, which is why we have to wait until the 3rd. This is obviously the most stressful and anxiety ridden time for us so I will definitely be asking for your prayers again.
Guess that covers it all for now. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was wonderful seeing so many people comment on facebook about what they were thankful for. I hope that it carries over to the other 364 days of the year because there is truly so much to be thankful for - each and every single day.
A little peek at what I am most thankful for...
Just a quick little note to let you all know that surgery is tomorrow morning. I truly do appreciate all of your well wishes, prayers and good vibes. I need it and crave it and it calms my heart when I hear from you. Mike, Mom, Doug and I will head to the hospital around 7:15am and surgery will take place a couple hours later. I am not sure how long the surgery will last but I think a couple hours at the most. I am hoping that I will be back home and resting in my comfy bed with clean and yummy smelling sheets by late afternoon. :)
Thank you in advance for all of the support and prayers. Truly. I will update everyone when I am feeling up to it. If I don't get back to the blog before Thursday, I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving with the ones you love.
ps - Speaking of the one's I love....my best girl friends surprised me with a ladies night out last weekend and it couldn't have been more amazing. I truly have the best friends anyone could ever ask for.
I knew the fall would be busy, but boy is it giving me a good run for my money. We have had a lot going on over here at the Malley household but there are no complaints here. We are just busy living our hectic lives that we enjoyed before cancer barged in. The fall photography season continues to be booming and I am so grateful that within my first year of becoming an official business, I couldn't be busier! I apologize to my friends whom I haven't been able to spend as much time with lately, but starting this business is really a passion of mine and I am so grateful for the chance to do it -and to feel well enough to do it! A huge thank you to all of the clients that have trusted in me, while I continue to learn and grow. You can check out my most recent work here on Facebook or on my blog.
I am also gearing up to add more hours at The Recovery Project, and I am really looking forward to that. I am so blessed to love my job as a physical therapist and to work at a place that is so completely supportive in every way. I was really worried about returning to work earlier this summer. I was worried if it would totally exhaust me - which it did in the beginning. Would it cause my back to hurt? Would I feel like my physical limitations hindered me as a therapist? Would I remember everything I worked so hard to learn for 7 1/2 years of college? ....The great news is that although I may need to brush up on some skills that I haven't used in awhile, it feels really good to be serving my patients again. I love interacting with my patients and co-workers (who are awesome, I might add!) and it feels even better to be using that good ole' left brain again. :) I am beyond grateful to be feeling well enough to be able to increase my hours again next month (once I am all healed up from surgery), and grateful to have employers that allow me to make this transition at my own pace.
There always seems to be so much I want to catch you all up on but lately the thought of that alone, makes me feel tired which then deters me from updating the blog at all. I promise I will eventually get around to sharing some pretty big things that have happened recently, such as my dinner with Nancy Brinker and my trip to Chicago for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network National Conference.
Another wonderful event that recently took place was the 18th Annual Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute Heroes of Breast Cancer Awards. I have been treated at Karmanos ever since I was diagnosed and I have nothing but exceptional things to say about everyone I have worked with there. It is truly an incredible place and I am so thankful that I can receive the highest level of care so close to home. I was completely blown away a few months ago when I received a phone call notifying me that I was being honored with the Community Service Award at this years Heroes of Breast Cancer Awards. It was so unexpected and so meaningful to me on so many levels - but mostly because I have always said that although I would never wish this disease upon anyone, if I can at least turn it into something positive, then it's not for nothing. Then all the pain and heartache are at least worth it in some way to help a greater good. Although I never set out to be recognized in any way, I am extremely humbled that I was.
Karmanos hosted a beautiful evening at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit on October 30 and I was able to invite my family to attend along with me. There were over 200 people in attendance (including my oncologist and the oncology social worker that I started our support group with) and it couldn't have been a nicer evening. There were ten awards given that evening to various people and organizations and I was so surprised to even be among them. It was a night filled with smiles and meeting new people, feeling hopeful about the incredible research that Dr. Lum is doing with metastatic breast cancer that earned him the Scientific Distinction Award, but also a night with moments of sorrow and tears as a strong and heartbroken mother accepted an award on her daughter's behalf after she passed away earlier this year from this disease.
What touched me the most about the entire evening was an anonymous quote from a member of the support group I helped create at Karmanos. I was holding it together pretty well as they were introducing me but after that quote was read, I struggled to maintain my composure as I walked on the stage to give my acceptance speech. It was her words that meant the most because the women in my support group truly mean the world to me. I like to think that creating that group has helped, and will continue to help many women that travel this road, but truly it was a selfish endeavor as well - because every time I meet with them, I feel better. I feel more hopeful. I feel uplifted. I feel grateful, and happy, and blessed. And most importantly, I never feel alone. As I said in my speech that night, I am so humbled to have received this award, since it truly belongs to all of the young women in our group that have given so much back to me - and for them, I am eternally grateful.
You can read more about all of the Heroes of Breast Cancer here.
Surgery is in 11 days! I'm getting a little nervous but trusting that all will go well. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers.
My blog to keep you all