Tag Archives: DIEP Flap

Occupational Hazard

Here’s the deal.  If I were to read in the newspaper the word “pastor” showing her “reconstructed breast” in the same sentence I would be checking it out too….lol!   I don’t know why I find this so hysterically funny but I do.  I’m actually super glad this article came out in Chicago because if my congregation caught wind here in Michigan that I was showing my chest around on the internet I’m sure I’d be dooced. 

The whole blogging and writing about my breasts thing is sometimes a bit weird for me as “clergy” girl.  As I was talking to my plastic surgeon last time, we were discussing the implant option because I am a bit small for my size, and I told him it might just be an occupational hazard for me.  I mean, if I worked at hooters…..not so much.  But I’m a pastor and I preach and I don’t think my congregation wants Pamela Anderson in the pulpit.  Ok….so he’s not going to make me THAT big, but still….implants?   So when and if I decide to do this I will NOT be asking my church to pray for that surgery because can you imagine….everyone checking out my breasts that next Sunday.  Seriously.  It will be one of those very secretive events and because it would only be a little bit bigger I think I’d get away with it without too much distraction.  Don’t believe me?   It is so  natural for people to glance at my chest that I am becoming very used to it.  If I say I’ve had a mastectomy (glance) I then tell them I’ve had reconstruction.  And when I had my mastectomies and told someone I had just had mastectomies (glance) and was wearing my prosthetics, I always had to explain they were the fake ones.  And even now with my new reconstruction (glance) whenever I tell someone….they want to look!  We with breast cancer are very much used to the glances.    And just so you feel better, go ahead and glance, by the time I finished breast cancer treatment I was so comfortable with talking about breasts that I would flipantly throw around the word like it was as comfortable to talk about as my kids or my car.  I have to remind myself that some people just aren’t that comfortable with it. 

So I’m sorry to say, that if you came to my blog site looking to see my bare chest, well, you’re not going to find it.   Not that I really haven’t shared almost everything else in this blog, but I have not posted my breasts.  Nor is this saying that I never will.  I mean….for the sake of the greater good I might think about it.  But probably not.  There are all lines we won’t cross and nudity is that line for me.  I’m thinking my parents are pretty happy about this line I’ve drawn for myself.  I’m sure it makes them proud.  In fact, I told my parents about the article and of course they wanted to read it, so I had to email it to them and I had to write extra in the email something like this….”but Dad….I promise I did not bare my chest to the entire world on my blog.”  Because, although they are not blog readers, and this includes mine, they surely do not want to find out their daughter is going topless on the internet….lol!

And just to clarify, because I think it was a little misunderstanding, that I did in fact post a blog about my post-surgical wound after my reconstruction with pictures and it is so gross I think about taking it down everyday.  But the emails I get from people going through this tells me I should keep it up for the next gal going through this crud.

So if you are facing a DIEP flap reconstruction, I am happy to send pictures of my reconstructed breasts directly to YOU, and not the entire blogosphere.  So email me privately and I would be ever so happy to email you faceless photos….because it’s always good to know what to expect.  And I for one am totally thankful for women who sent me pictures of their body after mastectomies and for all the faceless women in the plastic surgeon’s office that helped me visually prepare for what I was going to look like.

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Egg On My Face

I think the only way I can properly describe the course of events over the past week or so is that I’m wearing “egg on my face.” 

Over the past week when I’ve emailed my plastic surgeon, he hasn’t emailed me back. 

I had emailed him on Monday and heard nothing, then I called and they got me the appointment and when I went to see him I told you guys all about it and how nice he was, etc.  Well I left feeling better. 

On Friday I emailed for the results of my culture.  I didn’t hear anything so I called.  Nothing.  Then on Monday I called again.  This time a nurse calls me back.  We talk about the culture and “digger”.  She suggests I email him another pic.  So I do that.  Nothing again. 

I’m not an angry person, but what I am is an emotional person, especially when it comes to “digger” for some reason.  So I emailed him again, this nice letter about how if he’s too busy it’s totally fine, I’ll try to find someone local….yada yada yada.  What you need to know about Dr. D. is that it seemed really odd that he wouldn’t get back to me, but I was beginning to think I was just really becoming a nuisance to him and he had decided to cut ties.  It’s odd because before last Monday he ALWAYS got back to me.   The Sunday after my surgery we emailed him a picture and he asked me to send him my phone number and he almost instantaneously called me.  So the fact that he was not responding seemed weird to me.  But I also feel somewhat dramatic about digger and how much emotional drain it’s causing me.  I keep thinking….”for heaven’s sake Jen….buck up, it’s not CANCER!”  So I keep going in this emotional circle of “it’s not so bad,” then a few hours later I freak because it’s not at all what I want to see.

Anyway.  Last night I get a call from Dr. D  and here’s why I’m wearing egg.  He responded to EVERY ONE of my emails.  I found them later in my spam on yahoo.  Not only that but I had a pile of emails from other people as well.  So I don’t know what happened.  I use outlook and I had been checking my junk email, but hadn’t thought to officially go and look in spam on my yahoo account. 

So he was super nice as usual.  I feel like a complete idiot!  But once again I’m relieved I am not left stranded with “digger.”  He has vowed to me that he will see me through to the end of this reconstruction journey and for that I am ever so grateful. 

And here’s the really great news that had me flying high last night!  He says it looks great from the picture I sent and he thinks it’s only a matter of weeks before digger (he does not use the term digger BTW…..lol) seals and completely heals over!  Even looking at it today I am definitely seeing that it is getting smaller.  

Tomorrow I have my three month appointment with Dr. Liepman.  I am excited to show her the new me!  But as usual, a little nervous because facing these visits always reminds me how fragile we really are. 

And on a very weird side note to my ramblings, I went to pick up my parents at the airport tonight and ran in to my old family doctor, which if you read my blog with any regularity, know that I was deeply grieved when he left in the middle of my cancer treatment.  I was so floored to see him.  I hope he is doing well.  He looked tired still, but maybe that’s because he just got off a plane.  Anyway….I think I told him like 50 times how much we all miss him.  I hope he knows we miss him as much as a doctor as we do as a friend.   I hope he’s happy in Oregon.

And on the way home from the airport I got to tell my mom about digger since she’s been gone for three weeks and all I kept hearing was “infection,” and “gangrene,” and all the other stuff it “could have been” and I’m so glad she’s been off traveling for three weeks in Europe, does not read my blog, and was not here going crazy about me and digger, because it would have made me WAY more stressed….lol!

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I’m going to be released from the hospital today.  Sometime this afternoon.  My doctor is very pleased with what he sees and how I’m moving around.  Once again….I am a model patient….(now if only I could have been a model student)….lol!  Really.  I am quite certain the prayers I receive are a big part of my ability to recover so well.  I just don’t know how it could happen otherwise! 

On Friday I thought “Oh God….what have I done.”  Seriously.  I don’t often pray prayers like that but that was what was going through my head.  The pain was incredible, the itching was incredible and when they made me stand up I felt like a ton of bricks.  I could barely move my feet.  It’s amazing to me that 4 days later I am walking (but slowly) and able to get in and out of bed without excruciating pain. 

I’m not sure we’ll be able to get internet at our hotel…..and I’m not sure we want to pay the $10 a day to have it….lol!  So you may not hear from me again until I get back home…..which should be on Wednesday.   My doc wants me to stick around for two days nearby, just in case.

Thanks so much for all your prayers!

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Feeling a Bit Better

I’m happy to report I’m feeling much better.  We’ve found a medication that does not cause itching and this has relieved a lot of my pain and stress.  I was able to get out of bed a handful of times today and walked around the block in my section of the hospital.  I had visits from two dear friends.  My friend Beth Setty lives here in Chicago and came by yesterday and a friend of mine, Kelly Stevens Page from Michigan happened to be visiting family and came by as well. 

I’ve been able to examine myself a bit more closely today and I’m pretty happy with what I see.  It’s really nice to have breasts again.  Meleah….who often says “mommy, I miss your nana’s”  will be happy to have them back.  They make great pillows for little ones….lol!   I actually think my chest area feels better now.  I’m wondering if the new skin from the transplant meant that I actually lost some of the radiated skin and this might offer relief to some of the areas that were still sore from radiation. 

The tummy tuck is quit interesting.  I have a new belly button.  I think they cut out the old one and sewed it back in after they pulled my belly fat south.  The scar line runs from hip to hip and is right on my pelvic bone.  He went very low for the scar.  Bikini in my future…..probably not….lol!  This is by far the most painful part of the surgery.  It makes me wonder if this feels similar to a c-section?  It hurts to cough….man…it hurts to burp!  I’m very cautious when I move about.  But I can tell I feel better than yesterday and so I think everyday will be a bit better than the one before.

Thanks for your prayers and positive thoughts.

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