Filling station #1: 150CCs

petrol_station_attendant_2

Before I got my boobs chopped off and no one really understood what or why we were doing this, Mr F told people that they’d make my boobs bigger via a pump inserted into my body. His plan was to secretly pump my new Foobies up whilst I slept so he could finally admit, for the first time in 3 years, that he was actually a boob man and wanted to go out with a girl with gargantuan breasts.

I’m not sure how many people actually believed him but it gave him a good laugh.

Inflatable boobs

So as we discussed last time (https://imgettingmyboobsoff.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/post-op-follow-up-with-silver-fox-plastic-surgeon/) yesterday was my filling day. I hope you watched the video I posted as this will help walk you through today’s process of pumping up the Foobs.

I woke up on filling morning and popped a couple of Panadol. I used to be someone who would only take pills under extreme circumstances. In my mind, pills = weakness. So what if I’m up all night with crippling period pains. Oh right, yes, it’s a silly approach. That’s why now, prevention is the name of the game and the trick is to take the pills BEFORE the pain.

I went for a walk and did my stretches before jumping on the bus to the hospital.

I arrive at Silver Fox Plastic Surgeon’s office and am ushered into the lovely nurse’s room. Before I sit on her dentist chair and take of my top I spy what I think is possibly the biggest syringe in the world, full of 50cc of saline. Oh, I see. That’s going into my chest? Got it!

big syringe

Nice nurse looks at my artist formerly known as total eclipse of the nipple and is pleased. It really is just a small, partial eclipse now with a tiny, tiny, flaky yet healing scab. Good news. I also ask whether it will pop out again at some point? She informs me it will. This is good because as well as being a little flaky, it also looks like it has been steam-rolled into my new Foob.

steam roller

Silver Fox Plastic Surgeon walks through his adjoining doors. His beard is slightly shorter. Still looks good.

He does his little magnet thing on my boob to line it up to the  incision site on the expander under my pec and draws a little blue, X to mark the spot. He then points an incredibly long, yet thin needle towards my chest, informing me it will sting just a little. It kinda does but it’s not too bad. I then have an odd sensation of my baps getting bigger . Again, not painful, but a little odd.

Less than 10 minutes later I’m done and I actually have visibly bigger boobs. They say that more than a handful is a waste, and yes my hands are abnormally tiny, like a carnie, but I now have more than one of my handfuls. Mr F made a good point; imagine you could have done this as a teenager!

Silver Fox is off on holiday next week so my next appointment for expansion is in two weeks’ time. Just enough time to get used to these new bad boys. A new rack every two weeks. I could get used to this…

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Establishing Routine In Recovery

Routine

Those who know me, and those of you who don’t will probably have guessed, I’m not a person who finds it easy to sit still.

Before I left London I had a pretty full on job, with a decent commute, a busy social life, I taught seven fitness classes a week and trained for a marathon. I left the country to try to chill-out, which relatively, I think I’ve achieved. Even so, I still have a decent social life, I exercise 5-6 times a week and I have a pretty full-on job, in PR.

For those of you who are not familiar with PR, it is a job that has no completion. Your to do list will never be done, many outcomes you desire are out of your control and it was recently voted one of the most stressful jobs in the world.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2256652/Want-easy-life-Dont-firefighter-PR-exec-enlist-military-reveals-new-ranking-stressful-jobs.html

I do urge some caution as this story was probably developed by people who work in PR. However, with this reputation it successfully attracts stress junkies like me, who may moan about being busy, but don’t know what to do if they’re not.

It is in this context I present myself to you as a patient in recovery. It’s probably obvious that I don’t like to sit still and left to my own devices and my mind will run riot. This is why, now I’m home, it’s important for me to set some sort of loose routine. Each day I have committed to do 3 things to help focus my mind, give my day some sort of purpose, and to help track my progress; Meditate, walk, and stretch / exercise.

Meditate

meditate

I talk about meditation a lot on here, but I’m not a person who finds it easy – and generally I will cry it off if I can. I know lots of people say ‘I physically can’t meditate’. This is essentially bollocks. I find it difficult, but I taught myself how to do it and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

I first started mediating during my testing  for the cancer gene: BRCA. Combined with being made redundant, looking for a new job, moving house and temporarily breaking up with the love of my life, I thought I might have a nervous breakdown. I swear meditation saved me from this and I emerged from this period stronger and more cantered than I think I’d ever been.

So now, it’s more about keeping me balanced. I have a lot of time to think, so softening that for a bit helps me keep focus. And by that I mean, not looking at my boobs and imagining loads of stuff is going wrong with them, or convincing myself that my nipple is still going to fall off, or that a sneeze = infection.

I am using these meditations from Oprah and Deepak at the moment – because for a short time they are free, but they are pretty good, and not too long!

Walk

Walk

As a self-confessed exercise junkie, I have been surprisingly OK with not going to the gym. Being perpetually tired and stuck in hospital helps. However, since I have been home I have committed to going for a walk each day. There’s a park round the corner and if I go first thing I can reward my return with a cup of coffee.

The commitment helps my day have some kind of purpose, and going just a little further every couple of days gives me the feeling of progress.

What’s more, early autumn in Sydney is my FAVOURITE time of the year. It’s sunny but not too hot and, touch wood, it doesn’t rain as much as it does in Jan and Feb.

Stretching / Exercise

I call this stretching  / exercise as it’s really not exercise, but ‘exercises’ to help me get the strength and range of movement back in my arms.

My prophylactic, nipple sparing mastectomy with expanders involved the surgeon inserting the expanders underneath my pectoral or chest muscle, which protects the expanders, and in turn, will need to stretch as they expand, ready for the implants.

If you can imagine, the pain feels as though you have done 100,000 press ups, morning and night. This then means you use your arms less and so your range of movement invariably becomes a little more limited.

So doing the exercises each day is important. Again, it provides purpose, but they also stretch out my very bruised and tight Foobs and as the exercises become a little easier each day, I have another way of measuring my progress. The hospital gave me some exercises while I was there as well as a DVD called‘Strengthen Your Recovery: Pilates program following breast cancer surgery’. It’s really very good. And whilst I can’t wait to get back to the spin studio, it is a great resource for aiding my recovery.

 

Questioning my decision: The Battle We Didn’t Choose

I don’t really know how to write this post. As you know the last couple of days haven’t necessarily gone to plan (my plan at least) and I had a moment where I questioned whether what I’d done the right thing undergoing my prophylactic bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy?

This morning I came across this man, Angelo Meridono’s photos that capture his wife’s battle with breast cancer. They are the most beautiful photos and have moved me beyond articulation. They capture his wife, Jennifer’s strength, courage and pain.  The Battle We Didn’t Choose.

I then read his wife, Jennifer’s blog where she writes about her treatment, her cancer and its effects on her body http://mylifewithbreastcancer.wordpress.com. Throughout she is eloquent, courageous and for me, truly inspiring.

Jennifer sadly passed away on 22nd December, 2011. She was 40 years old.

I am humbled by Jennifer and Angelo and the pain they have and will be going through.

So as I moan about staying in hospital too long, pesky drains and plastic surgeons I think I’ve lost perspective on why I set out to do this in the first place. I am not brave or courageous and not proud of my mindset over the past few days. Jennifer and Angelo’s story is a stark reminder of how incredibly lucky and privileged I am and my intention is hopefully finding clarity once more.

X

 

 

Day 8: What Happens After Drain Removal?

Yesterday was Good Friday, 8 days after my operation and 8 days in the wonderful Royal Hospital for Women.

The day started well as I accepted the ward breakfast for the first time since I’ve been here. This featured a very hard, yet tasty, hot cross bun. The reason for it being my first ward breakfast is partly because I’m an incredible food snob and also, I have started to combine my morning walk with a lush Campos coffee and nice sourdough toast and Vegemite – as opposed to processed white bread and instant coffee. Please don’t judge me.

Campos

I was still on a high from the removal of my right-side drain the day before. And despite the drain levels on my left side doubling from the previous night, the left-side fluid had turned very pale so I was confident that it was doing its thing.

Riding on my wave of positivity, I was about to embark on my first half-shower in 8 days, when I took a peek at my blossoming foobs (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Foobs).  After a slow start I’m pretty good with them now and have become increasingly familiar with them over the last few days. So imagine my surprise when my right boob looks like it’s got a blister on the side of it and feels like a water balloon to touch.

red_water_balloon

For the past week the many surgeons who come to visit me, breast and plastic, have stressed how bad it is if my smeggy bodily fluid collects in my breast cavity. The unwavering message I have taken from multiple conversations is fluid (or smeg), in breast cavity = bad!

So the only natural reaction from someone who’s still on a quite strong meds, has been cooped up in a hospital for 8 days, and has a dramatic disposition at the best of time is to FREAK OUT!

I ask my lovely nurse, who is a small women in her 60’s with an Australian accent like someone from 80’s soap opera, Sons and Daughters, seems a little concerned. However, when I ask her to call a Dr she nervously says we should wait until they come round this morning. Hmm, I have already mentioned how Australia officially closes on Good Friday and I imagine that applies to surgeons too, so waiting is not really an option I want to entertain.

Next step, call Mr F crying, saying my boob looks like a water balloon. He’s just woken up. Is not a Dr and is not really sure how to help me.

Destination number 3, go to ballsy, 20-something Irish nurse who’s been saying I should be allowed to go home since day 3. This is a good stop. She looks at it and says, don’t panic, I’ll call the Dr. Great response.

I sit and wait, cry a bit more, and eventually a plastic surgeon, who I have never met and looks around 23, arrives. My relief is minimal. My plastic’s team aren’t the warmest bunch, but at least I know them.

Child plastic surgeon (CPS) looks at my boob. I am holding my breath and waiting for the worst until he shrugs his shoulders and says… well, it’s quite normal for a bit of fluid to collect after your drain is removed. It will disperse over time.

WHAT?

This clearly wasn’t the answer I was expecting and I hate to say it, but work Trisha comes out to play. (Brief summary; work Trisha can be very nice, but she’s also quite pushy, doesn’t like to be taken for a ride and generally wants to know that people aren’t taking the piss. Sounds like a dream, right?) So I begin to quiz CPS on his diagnosis. I use words such as ‘with all due respect’, ‘please try to appreciate where my concern lies’ and ‘I’m sure you know what you know what you’re talking about, but please understand, I’ve never met you before.’

He clearly thinks I’m a bit of a dick, but reassures me that it’s not a lot of fluid. They could drain it out but that involves sticking a needle in my boob, which involves sticking a foreign object in there, which increases the risk of infection = the pinnacle of  this is a bad thing and something you don’t want to happen. OK. He leaves and the ballsy Irish nurse tells me that he is good and he’s older than he looks. She also makes a valid point that if he gives me bad advice and gets it wrong, his boss, my main silver-fox plastic surgeon, will be pretty peeved.

My lovely 2IC breast surgeon then comes shortly after that and confirms that he is not worried by the fluid. He then recommends I start applying Betadine to my bruised looking nipples, once a day. It makes them look more bruised in the short-term but I trust this is an effective way of keeping them infection free!

So everyone leaves and I’m reassured (I’ve also triple and quadruple checked with my friend from Pink Hope http://pinkhope.org.au/and my step mum, who is also a breast surgeon), but still a little teary. It’s at this point the nurses urge me to escape from hospital for a few hours. They can clearly see I’m going slightly mental and losing the plot. So with more information and less tears I call Mr F and ask him to break me out!

And here I am, patient on the run, complete with name tag and smegggy drain bag at the beautiful Bronte Beach, Australia. One large skimmed latte, poached eggs and avocado on sourdough please. And order is restored.

Breakout

 

 

Oops, much better now: Day 4 Day and Day 5 Morning

Right, so you’ll be pleased to know, I am in much better spirits today. As I also was yesterday afternoon so apologies for that little dent in my spirits as I hit the wall of the Macquarie ward.

crazy

After pouring out my soul yesterday I had a nice visit from my two, no frills friends. This is not an insult to them or anything to do with their appearance. It’s due to the fact that they are two of my friends I know I don’t even have to speak to when they come or make any effort, so in short, no frills. They took me for breaky on the grass and we watched patients, hooked up to their IVs, puffing away on their cigarettes in the hospital amphitheater.

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I am not one to judge, especially as when life throws you a hundred curve balls, sometimes a cigarette is the least of your worries. However, I am glad I knocked my once social habit on its head years ago. Especially as smokers have more chance of their nipples failing post-surgery due to poor blood circulation. (you may pick up that as well as bowel watch, I am also on my own private-ish nipple watch)

I then slept for a couple of hour’s yesterday afternoon.  The first time in the day, since surgery.  Bliss! Even on waking, with eyes full of smeg, I felt a heap better than I had that morning.

My two friends, northern K and German K came to visit in the afternoon. They brought with them a lovely zebra plant with the famous last words ‘you can’t kill this plant’… I have killed every plant that has been introduced to me in this way. Then more importantly, German K washed my hair and plaited it. This is important because:

I smell;

Wash

It’s been a good few days and I’ve only been able to wash with these wonderful, Bed in Bath wipes. They are essentially like baby wipes on speed. Massive! The packaging says, ‘for a complete bath’, which is a ‘complete lie’. Until the drains come out I can’t shower, so I have been festival washing any skin that hits the air. I still have the surgeon’s marker pen on my chest, as well as the black sticky marks where plasters have been. I have been wearing the same surgical socks for days, and whilst, as you know, I have been changing my pants daily (yesterday was luminous orange, today, turquoise) I am starting to hum. Thanks to the pesky drains coming out of my pits I can’t use deodorant and I’m too scared to try and shave them in case I catch something (small mercies that this is definitely wouldn’t be one of my breasts.)

Before the op I worried about how attractive my boyfriend would find me sans boobs. I hadn’t taken into consideration this might be mainly because I’m gross. A fact, which Mr F confirmed last night.

Bowel watch:

Day 5 and there is still no sign. This is now, the main question anyone is asking me. My pain is well under control, and so it seems, are my bowels.  Victorian control! Despite laxatives, multiple walks round the car park, stomach massages and a couple of squats, there is no movement. My stomach is so swollen it is now more prominent than my deflated chest. However, whilst I’m still able to breathe and not in pain, I’ll resist the urge to double dose on the laxatives.  Do not fear – I’ll keep you updated.

Drain gate:

Whilst it’s a bit minging, I fear it’s difficult for anyone to really understand what I mean when I say I have drains coming out of my armpit, so see below for a graphic visual. These lead into the cavity of my chest, where all the potentially cancerous tissue and fat has been removed and where my expanders are currently sitting behind my pectoral wall.

drain1

Blood coming out of the drains is a good thing because if blood collects in the cavity I have to go back under to open up my wounds again and the risk of infection is high. Also, as the Dr’s keep saying, it’s better out than in. However, before I can go home, and essentially before they can start filling up my expanders and giving me new boobs again, the drains need to run dry.

drain2

It is this area that is causing the delay. My right side is doing OK and the volume of blood and serum that collects in the bag each night (that they change at 12am) is decreasing. My left side on the other hand remains pretty heavy and the blood is darker. There is nothing wrong per se, as long as it’s draining out, but it does have to do its course before I can continue with mine.

Infection = bad! Especially with expanders as if this happens, they have to remove them and it could be a while before the reconstruction process can begin.

Day 5

So a day 5 begins my aims are as follows:

  • Walk
  • Read – I usually love reading, but have been too hyper until now to settle down with a good book
  • Meditate
  • Keep on an even keel…

2 Aims For Day 3

GoalI have 2 aims for today, my third day after the mastectomy. One is to look at my new boobs – or lack thereof. The other is to move my bowels for the first time in three days.

Boob Watch:

I have had little peeks of my deflated breasts over the last few days.  Drs come and want to look and my support bandage keeps slipping down. However, I have not been brave enough yet to go full frontal and look at what my chest is currently doing. I’m not going to lie, I’m not hugely looking forward to this moment, but I have to look because a) they are part of me, b) I need to be familiar with what’s happening so I can tell if anything is going wrong and c) they won’t look like this forever so I should just suck it up.

I have no real game plan for this, I just need to do it.

Bowel Watch:

I promise I won’t gross you out with this. It’s bad enough I’m broadcasting about my deflated breasts, let alone my bowel movements. However, I have not been in 3 days and as a healthy, coffee drinking girl, this is not like me. I haven’t done anything wrong, it’s the wonderful painkillers I’ve been on, plugging me up to numb the pain.

So this is my game plan on operation, get things moving down south:

  • I have done my exercises for this morning (I’ll share these in a separate blog post). I have progressed onto the exercises for patients 7 days after their surgery as days 2 – 7 were too easy.  Don’t tell Mr F! I also threw in a few squats and lunges.
  • I have drunk my first glass of prune juice for the day. Look it’s not gross, but it’s full on.  Read here for why prune juice is amazing. Essentially it makes you go to the toilet and helps fight cancer. GO PRUNE JUICE! http://www.wisegeek.org/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-prune-juice.htm
  • I am going for a coffee in the sunshine. I have been told to move more today and move I will. Sod that regular sized coffee I had yesterday. Today it’s large, skimmed latte to have here, but in a take-away cup, followed by a walk round the car park.

Wish me luck. I’ll report back on my missions. Hopefully I won’t be crying / full of prune juice by this evening but I’ll let you know. x

Prune

Day One: Surgery Day

blogger

Mr F has told me that I’m only allowed to write a very short blog due to the fact that since I have come out of recovery, I have not stopped and have been bouncing off the walls.  So as he’s been amazing and I need him to do quite a lot for me, I am going to listen to him and limit this blog post to the highlights of today:

  • 5:50am: Alarm call – read messages on Facebook, cried
  • 6:45am: Got to hospital, paid $270 to get a room on my own – it’s more expensive than a posh Travelodge (p.s. I don’t actually have my own room at the moment despite this – but can’t be bothered to write about it)
  • Get changed into my gowns, me and Mr F debate whether I should wear pants for surgery or not. He wins, I put my pants back on
  • Go down to theatre and sit on a bed. About 3 mins later it’s time for Mr F to leave. This is much sooner than we thought. We say our goodbyes, he looks more worried than me. I am wheeled off
  • Starting to get hooked up when my plastic surgeon comes down to tell them he hasn’t marked me up yet.  I walk to a little room, protecting my modesty at my derriere, conscious that I wore terrible pants today. He marks me up with those really toxic pens that people in Merthyr Tydfil use on the weekend… The drugs begin
  • 8am: I’m back and a very charismatic, Maltese anesthetist comes to pump me up. He’s shouting at people to get all number of drugs and, before I know it, unknown substances are pouring into my body, via my hand
  • 08:10am: In the theatre, it’s freezing! It is now that I have a little ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME’ moment. I have been the most positive patient in Randwick all morning so this is a contrast.  Have a pep talk with myself, which is aided by the anesthetic.  We debate whether I’m going to Miami or Cardiff… I choose Miami … OUT COLD
  • 12ishpm: Wake up in recovery and want to see Mr F. They won’t let me leave until my heart rate goes up – it’s at a worrying low level – I inform them that I am incredibly fit and so my resting heart rate is amazing, and low. After a while they buy this and move me to the ward
  • 3pm: Mr F is waiting for me, he expects me to be woozy, I’m high as a kite and so excited to see him.  Have my first glass of water in 17 hours. The water goes through the gas tubes in my nose
  • I have a support bandage on my chest – looks like one of the boob tubes I was fond of wearing to Astoria when I was 17. Two drains coming out my armpits. A morphine button to my left – ACE
  • Mr F sets me up for any eventuality – WI Fi hot spot, iPad, Heat magazine, mobile phone, laptop

  • 5pm: I get a little Hangry. It’s been 20 hours since I’ve eaten anything. I also start telling Mr F that for breakfast tomorrow I’d like a skimmed latte with fruit and yoghurt for breakfast. He sighs – this is going to be the cue for when I push it.  Note to self, don’t piss off the carer
  • 5:45pm: FOOD! Chicken soup (reminds me of uni), small cheese sandwich, vanilla slice and a cup of tea. Mr F has a sandwich and half the vanilla slice
  • I crash for a second. Food had made me realise pain.  I cry for 2 seconds, press the switch of pain relief love, am happy again
  • 6:30ishpm: I decide to write a blog post. Mr F is not that impressed. My breast surgeon comes to see me. He is impressed, for him, this is a positive thing. He’s going to check on me over the next few days to see if my nipples look like they’re going to survive… Good luck nipples!
  • 6:45pm: I tell Mr F to leave as a) I want to write my blog post and b) I feel bad, he’s been here a while and has done at least 48 patient duties – which he has excelled at I might add
  • Mr F goes to leave and I start crying. Oh

And here I am. Nearly 12 hours with no boobs and everything is OK. I feel like I’ve done one million push ups and my range of movement is really limited, but my head is good and at this moment in time, there’s no regrets.

Back tomorrow. (p.s. this blog aint short, sorry)

What Happens Pre-Admissions Clinic?

Just over a week ago I received a letter from the hospital asking to confirm my presence at my operation, BY FAX!  Who has a fax machine anymore? Well it turns out Mr F does, which is good because the thought of going to the post office during my lunch break is not dissimilar  to shopping in Argos on Christmas Eve.

Anyway, Mr F saved the day and yesterday I went to my ‘Pre-admissions Clinic’.

fax-amarys

Weights and measures

I first met a lovely nurse who measured me; 161cm, which is good to know as I still work in Feet and Inches. She also weighed me.  I wanted to tell her that I’d just had lunch and I have a rule about going to the toilet before stepping on the scales… However, it seemed frivolous so I got on there and ignored what they said, safe in the knowledge I’m at least 1KG lighter when I follow my own ritual. Finally she sticks a thermometer in my ear and sends me on my way.

Mind my mouth

I am sent back into the waiting room – Twitter is a wonderful thing to pass the time. After a while the anesthetist comes to see me. She asks me a few things, like am I allergic to anything.  I’m tempted to crack my joke about the horseflies (which is true) but the audience doesn’t seem right at the moment. She then asks how much I drink.  I am really smug at this point and harp on about how I’ve been sober all of Feb and March.  She doesn’t seem impressed and probes as to how much I drink normally.  I fess up that it’s quite a lot, to which she looks relieved and scribbles something down.  Apparently one of the drugs may tip me over the edge if I’m not used to alcohol   It seems my indulgence has some benefits.

Finally she asks if I have any crowns or caps.  I do, I have lovely teeth that I paid a lot for having knocked them out at 18 months and gone without any until I was 12, when some wonky brown ones grew back.  She informs me that they might chip them… Urm… no you won’t! I ask her if I’m able to claim if they do? It may be nothing in compassion to how much it’s going to cost to chop my boobs off, but I could do without the expense of new teeth. I think she picks up on the fact that this isn’t a joke, and kinda says, yes I can. Mmm, I will be reiterating this point on the day of the operation.  I clearly have everything in perspective.

Dougie Howser

Doogie_Howser_MD_neil_patrick_harris_kid_doctor

More waiting and a bit more Twitter until I am met by a young Dr, who I know must be about 27, but she looks about 12. We go into a room and she starts by saying she’s not looked at my file.  Oh, that’s OK then. She sees that I am having a prophylactic nipple sparing mastectomy with tissue expanders and so starts asking when I found my lump. So I tell her I have no lumps, I instead in possession of a faulty BRCA2 gene. She looks a bit blank and starts asking about my family history. (Insert much repeated family history wrap up here). She still seems confused as to why I am having this operation. It’s at this point I realise she has no idea what my lovely gene mutation is or means and so I begin to relay that statistically I’m pretty likely to get cancer of some sort at some point, that’s why they screen me, and that’s why I think this is a pretty good idea.  She seems to get this now, and is not surprised at my negative reply when  she asks if I have any questions for her? Only how old are you and would you like me to come with you on your rounds? (I didn’t say this I promise).

Puncture wounds

A bit more waiting, I’m even checking work emails now (kidding work. I was doing this all along) until someone decides to tell me to give blood.  I am given a map to navigate the hospital and find the blood clinic. On arrival I am lucky enough to see a man move an Oreo from his forehead to his mouth on Minute to Win It before I am introduced to a nice Indian man.

Oreo

Once you have been to hospital a few times you turn into your Dad i.e. tell the same stories with the same lame jokes over and over again.  When it comes to blood, I always insist on telling people how tiny my veins are and how they look good but I’d make a rubbish junkie AH HA HA. Anyway, the nice man simply smiles at me as if I’m an idiot (fair call) and in what seems like 3 mili-seconds produces 3, perfectly formed vials of my blood. Ah, thanks.

So quite a few bad jokes and a little bit of annoying, I know everything Trisha later,  I am sent on my merry way. And that s what happens during a very long, pre-admissions clinic.

Shopping for a Mastectomy: Part 2

Welcome to the latest installment in the series, ‘Shopping for a Mastectomy: Part 2.’ Otherwise known as my way of asserting some sort of control over my situation through the process of buying things. Now I’m no expert on shopping for a mastectomy, not having had one yet, but I have gained inspiration from my blogging friends laurennicole333 and Mogatos, and I have read A LOT of sources. So whilst some of these items are, I’m sure, very useful for someone undergoing a mastectomy, some may be a little frivolous and nice to haves, not need to haves.

Detachable shower head

Whilst my boyfriend has very kindly offered to hose me down in the garden, I think the best way for me to wash, without getting my bandages and dressings wet, is with this nifty, hand-held device. To be used in the comfort, and privacy of my indoor bathroom.

Check out the picture of someone washing their dog in a bowl. Comforting image for things to come…

Shower

Facial wipes

Before the hosing, I’ll be washed with the help of the nurses, a sponge bath and what is also known as a Glastonbury shower.

wipes

Dry shampoo

And without the ability to wash, my hair may become increasingly shiny, but I’m afraid that will be down to grease, not healthy vitality.

Dry Shampoo

Instant hand sanitizer

Infection is a real risk me for post-operation so I will be uncharacteristically particular and insist that any visitors, as well as Mr F, sanitize before enjoying my post-operative, drugged up, yet stimulating company.

sanitizer

Digital thermometer

On the subject of infection, chief temperature taker, Mr F, will make sure all is well and I am hopefully staying well within room temperature.

Termometer

Comfy pants!

I don’t know why, but I am keen to wear brand new knickers, each day, during my stay in hospital. So I have bought 8 pairs of comfy and brightly coloured Bonds underwear for every night I’m in hospital, to brighten up my day.

Pants1

Ugly pajamas

It makes sense that I’ll need button up pajamas when I’m in hospital as I’m unlikely to be able to lift my arms over my head. However, the majority of button down PJs are toweling  and believe it or not, Australia has a tendency to be hot so toweling is definitely not an option! Outside of that, my options were pretty slim.  None the less, I did find these relatively lightweight, yet ugly pajamasfor just $15 from our trusty Kmart. I have supplemented them with 2 singlets with big arm holes, in case I feel like I need to break out.

However, on first viewing of my night-time apparel, Mr F has insisted I spend a decent amount of money to get real silk pajamas that may stand more chance of a) looking OK and b) letting my skin breathe.

PJs

AMAZING slippers of love

Look! They have hearts on them! Something for me to spread the love as I escape from my hospital ward to the posh coffee shops in the private hospital on Level 9. A mere $8 from Target.

Slippers

Adult sippy cup

This one’s amazing. I don’t even have to tip it and it’s got a special little gizmo in it that cools the water as you drink. Oh, and it’s pink.

Sippy

So I think I’m pretty much sorted. What’s more, I even managed to tick off another item on my ‘Mastectomy To Do List’, with a fabulous new haircut. Yey me!  I’m going into hospital, not hiding, after all!

 Me

The Luckiest Girl in the World


Lucky3

I have been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received over the past few months and am incredibly grateful for it. Friends old and new have really touched me with their generosity and kindness.

The more people who know what’s happening, the more I get asked how I’m feeling. The most common thing I hear when I tell people what I’m about to do is how brave I am.  These words are of course, very kind. It’s just, I don’t ever really feel brave.

For me, taking the test was brave. Especially, as from my Dad’s side of the family, I have inherited the Ostrich gene. Symptoms include putting things off and not wanting to deal with overly hard situations. Side effects vary from unopened letters from the bank, overdue visits to the dentist and to late tax returns. So for me, taking the test was huge.  Besides, I’d always assumed I’d die at the age of 40 anyway, so what difference did a piece of paper make?

OK, so my life probably would have rolled out quite differently to how it is today – or somewhat like it had in my 20s. Moving from job or location every two years, drinking more than a healthy amount, exercising within an inch of my life, unable to sustain a decent relationship for any notable period of time and carrying round a massive chip on my shoulder.  Yes, it doesn’t sound much fun, BUT, it was familiar, so again, for me, the test was the brave part.

So now, the best descriptor for how I feel moving into the operation, is incredibly lucky.

I’m lucky to have had the most inspirational woman for a mother, albeit for too short a time, who was honest enough to speak to me about my risk.

I’m incredibly lucky that my late uncle was selfless enough to take a test that has given me information that may dramatically prolong my life, whilst he was coming to the end of his.

I’m lucky to have a supportive father and stepmother who financially and emotionally have enabled me to get to this point, from way across the pond.

And I can’t believe my luck to be with someone who, both emotionally and physically, is supporting and enabling me to take the most life changing step of my adult life.

I’ll never forget a conversation I’d had with a neighbour not long after my mun had died. My mum had always found her a bit tactless, but with a good heart so had formed a polite, location based friendship with her. Having gone over to tell her about my mum, she said, “Trisha, don’t you worry. By the time you get to your mum’s age, there will have been all sorts of medical advances, I’m sure you won’t have to suffer the same fate.”

I wanted to smack her in the face . Of course I wouldn’t suffer the same fate, I was 21 years of age and invincible!

The funny thing is, she was right. And as a result I have the power to change my fate. So maybe I don’t have the opportunity to feel brave. I’m too busy feeling grateful for being one of the luckiest girl’s in the world.

   Lucky lucky2

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