Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

My Continued Journey With Cancer

**This post is an update from my Caring Bridge journal.  If you would like detailed updates on my health, please visit my Caring Bridge site by clicking here.
Your comments caused tears to stream down, but head, heart and smile to be lifted up!  Thank you!!

I am doing MUCH better emotionally right now.  Up. Down. Up…Down>:)

Our meeting with the surgeon went REALLY well.  I’m canceling my appointment with the second surgeon I was going to meet with. He is in the same office as the surgeon who misdiagnosed me, so I was not looking forward to going to that building!  Now I don’t have to.

Dr Norris really was wonderful.  He is the surgeon who did my port surgery, which went well– my scar looks really good!  He has a gentle confidence about him.  The only reason why I considered someone else is because a friend of mine who is a nurse said she didn’t think he did many breast surgeries, but she was not sure.  I asked how many he has done, and he said he sees at least 2 breast cancer patients a week!  He is an older gentleman so that is a lot of experience!!  I feel really good about it and at peace, so God answered prayer, for sure!

My official surgery date is  Wednesday, December 29.  

Procedure– bi-lateral mastectomies.  Left-modified, right simple. 

 He will do an 
sentinel node dissection, which is what I wanted to hear.  There are more long term side affects with a full axillary dissection, this was good news. 

I will have ONE step reconstruction! I was so pleased to know that they do that here in the Midwest.  I was lead to believe it was only a procedure that was done in bigger cities. 

 I WAS gearing up for a filler implant that is rock hard, that would be filled every week for about 3 months to stretch the muscle, then another surgery to place the implant. NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!  
Yay.  I am so excited.  They will put normal implants in the day of the surgery.  They use a material called Alloderm, a regenerative tissue “processed using LifeCell’s proprietary technique to remove the epidermis and cells that can lead to tissue rejection and graft failure.”  –from their website.
They make a bra like structure under the implant, which allows one to skip the whole “stretch out the area with gradual fills” process.  I don’t know much about all this, I have an appointment with my plastic surgeon on the 7th, and will get more info.

Another piece of good news is he didn’t not think that I will need radiation.  He said if the cancer was attached or went into the chest wall, then I would.  It would be every day for 5-6 weeks, so needless to say, I was not looking forward to that.  My oncologist may have a different opinion, and really, you never know what is happening inside until surgery, so there is still a small possibility.

Honestly, I feel excited but apprehensive.  

IF they don’t find cancer in the lymph nodes, then it is surgery, healing, and ON WITH LIFE!!  

That sounds amazing because I was preparing myself for months of fills and radiation!!

I’m a bit apprehensive because that just feels too “best case scenario” to  me.  I guess I’m just pretty nervous about that darn swollen lymph node.  We will get the results of the dissection 3-4 days after surgery.  I don’t know what they would do if it was positive for cancer, I’m guessing more chemo?  more surgery?  I will  have to look that up…

Signing off with an apprehensive excitement…

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  • Life in Rehab
    December 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    You hang in there. I think about you often, and I remember the roller coaster I was on 5 years ago. I’m sure that’s pretty much how you’re feeling. But this will be behind you before you know it, and you’ll have your life back, but with a secret sense of triumph.

  • Cathy M~(checkitoff)
    December 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    will keep sending prayers your way! hugs, Cathy

  • The Damsel In Dis Dress
    December 5, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Thinking of you right now. I hope everything goes smoothly for you. Last week I celebrated my six year anniversary of being cancer free. How well do I remember the fear and everything else that goes with a cancer diagnosis, but you are facing it with such bravery.

    Anyway, I remember loving to hear about people who had come through and beaten the thing, so I’m here to say it can be done.

  • Hilra
    December 4, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Hello, Amy, thank you so much for sharing your story. I may sound a bit trivial, but I decided to comment only to give you a tip about lessening the scars. I know that this is not the most important thing for you right now, but the time will come, when you will feel you are recovering, you have your new implants and everything and you would prefer to have less scar tissue.

    In two different surgeries, I had a little difficulty in the healing process. My first surgeon suggested me pure rosehip oil (rosa mosqueta), and it was great. It is hard to see my scars. The second time happened very recently and the oil did the miracle again. I suggested it to a friend who had a burn accident on her leg, and it is amazing how her skin is smoother and the redness lessening since she started applying the oil.

    Sorry if I’m being intrusive, we don’t know each other, but as I had a major breast surgery years ago and felt so frightened when the whole thing was turning to something gross, that for me rosehip oil is a miracle on itself. Even my kids ask for our “magical oil” when they have a cut or scratch. It is also soothing, so helps in the first stages of the recovery.

    Apart from that, I’d like to say thank you again, for your openness. Now, I have to go, because I have lots to read in your blog yet 😉

  • The Polka Dot Closet
    December 4, 2010 at 3:20 am

    Wow, you learn something new everyday. 20 years ago my girlfriend (32 at the time) had the stretch your skin for months, ouch and tattoo a nipple, double ouch, and now you get it done all in one surgery…..breast cancer treatment has come so far. She had 3 lymph nodes that were positive. She is now 52 and has never had any illness since. She was and always has been and amazing athlete, Boston Marathon, mountain climbing. The whole cancer thing never took her out of the game to long. I am so thankful for you family that you did not had the gene. She was positive for the BRAC gene (I think that is it) Her mom and 2 aunts had breast cancer, when she got it, her 2 sisters were tested for it and both were positive and had prophylactic mastectomies. When the tissue was tested after surgery, one of the sisters had Ca in her breast tissue, that she did not even know about. She has 5 children, each was tested and given the results after college graduation, 2 of the girls and one boy were positive. Both of the girls in the last 3 years has has prophylactic mastectomies, both of them are in their early 20’s, they just did not want to spend time worrying about it. Lord I am a chatty, tonight. The moral of this story is, don’t panic about a lymph node,like my friend, I am sure this won’t take you out of the game for to long.


  • Craftberry Bush
    December 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Sweet couragious Amy..thank you for inspiring so many people including me. Continue to have faith, and we’ll continue to pray for your health…..xo

  • Sarah
    December 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    What an amazing attitude you have! My mother has been struggling with cancer this past year, and while it is hard for us all to see this, her attitude, like yours, keeps everyone strong. Thanks for being brave enough to share with everyone, and stay strong this holiday season!

  • karen gerstenberger
    December 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    That is wonderful news. I am so thankful that you like this surgeon. That is very important, to have confidence in your team (you already know that – I’m just affirming). They make so many leaps forward in medicine all the time, and I love hearing that you are going to benefit from a simpler procedure/reconstruction.
    God bless you and your family as you take this one step at a time.

    December 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    What an amazing inspiration you are. I am sure you fear but your joy and zest for life really come through in your words. You’re a postive soul. That I can tell and I don’t even know you. And darn it you’re cute as a button 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us. I will pray for your full recovery! Rock on sister.

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