Wow folks is all I can say, what a year this has been. This time last year I was sick to my gillsin the thralls of chemo and bald, today I am resting in my bed looking down at my cancer Christmas present, a boob lift, a boob implant and a bit of liposuction thrown in. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me feel to look down and not see a crater where my old boob used to be. Only 25% of women opt for reconstruction after Breast Cancer for me it was a decision I made the minute I realised I could get reconstructed. Now instead of looking in the mirror and seeing the devastating visual effect (and reminder) of having had a mastectomy, I see a (nearly) beautiful pert pair of boobs and say FUCK YOU cancer you big ugly sneaky bastard!!!
As you can probably tell I am in great spirits at the moment and looking forward to sharing the details of my operation with you. I am still recovering, battered, black and blue, little sore but my mindset is brilliant! Well….. long long time ago…. I can still remember how that music used to make me smile…… sorry getting side tracked.
The night before the operation I stayed with my wonderful folks in Kilmacud as it would be handier to get to hospital in the morning as they are only ten minutes away. Went to bed at a reasonable hour and think I actually slept okay. Got up 6.30 showered playing special attention to Floppy Fiona last time to wash a really big boob No brekkie for me was fasting my Dad drove me in and I arrived on time and reported to St Marks Day Ward. I had been a bit anxious for a few days before the operation but the day of the operation I was in great form and ready to take this great step. Bring on the Dancers I said!!
I settled in nicely to my blue guna and had a wonderful Irish nurse looking after me she made me feel totally loved and relaxed. I had a visit from a doctor working with my plastic surgeon and she asked me how big I would like my boob to be, I said “as big as you can make it”. I said j”ust please don’t make it really small” as feel I would lose my whole identity after having big boobs for so long. Then my plastic surgeon came along and warned her team that I write a blog We briefly discussed the operation which consists of a boob reduction and lift (Mastopexy), an implant exchange (exchanging my tissue expander for an implant on the new boob) and liposuction (the fat would be used in my new boob around the implant). I was hoping the person doing the liposuction would be using a Dyson
There was a few jobs ahead of me so I waited around for around two hours, mine was quite major surgery I was told so was scheduled later in the morning. I got wheeled down to pre-theatre area and met the wonderful staff down there. Met my anesthetist a lovely man and met my fab doctor again who kindly drew lovely markings on my boobs for the operating table. I felt so happy and safe (getting teary eyed here) leaving my boobs in the hands of this lovely lady. I must say the nicest doctor I have come across, no airs and graces, great sense of humour and a woman who inspires me. Anyhow moving on got into the room outside theatre for the drugs. Unfortunately as always problem getting a vein told the person (not sure if doc or nurse dealing with me) don’t bother with one part of my arm, he gave me the knowing look as if to say “hey I know my job, or hey I can get a vein no problem” well he didn’t and it really fecking hurt as always. I will never ever, ever, ever let anyone again try to get a vein from that part of my arm. In the end I got gas and maybe when they knocked me out they got a vein. I remember breathing the gas in, then him saying it will start to smell funny (which it did) and then nothing else….. (thanks be to Jaysus)
I woke up around three hours later in recovery ward with a lovely nurse looking after me, she was helping with the pain I was totally out of it. I remember her saying on the scale of 1 to 10 how is the pain “maybe an 8 I said”, then more drugs hows the pain now “maybe a 7 I said” I got down to a six…. Even though I was really out of it and talking shite I remember there was a man beside me, would say around 40 or 50, he was moaning with the pain “oooh ahhhhh nurse” the nurse was doing the same thing with him giving him more pain relief and asking him how it was on a scale of 1-10, between the moaning and groaning he managed to say “still a 10″ this happened three times, on the third time I couldn’t help it I think I laughed out loud the nurse just sort of looked at me. Not sure what he was in for probably an ingrown toe-nail or something I found it highly amusing anyhow
Back to Marks Ward still fairly out of it. I was in as a day case but in my own head I had sort of planned that there was no fecking way I was leaving within a day. However speaking with the nurse that morning I sort of realised that I was going home whether I liked it or not, it made sense in one way as she explained I could end up on a ward with really sick people and get infected etc.etc. I think it’s a bit of both with the health system its 50% to get you in and out in a day turnaround and 50% to make sure you don’t get infections. Another lovely nurse looking after me she was asking are you ready for some tea and toast I’d say “Oh yeah” then conked out again, finally I woke up long enough to handle tea and toast.
My plastic surgeon came to visit and I showed her what I was looking like she seemed happy, was hard for me to really see with bandages but I did notice new one way smaller than the old one. I was informed that I would have to have another operation probably in February (would have had to have one for nipple anyhow), in this operation I will have a little more liposuction (just fine by me) and more fat will be injected into new boob to even them out and I will also have nipple construction – I was happy enough with all that and she seemed happy with her handiwork….. yay I have a cleavage again I spent years hiding the fact that I had cleavage funny that!
My sis came in around 5 to collect me/bring me home to the folks, however at that stage there was no way I could go anywhere. Still fairly out of it and on IV for pain and oxygen too (it’s all a bit of a blur) think she got a bit of a shock when she saw me. Anyway I perked up when I saw her and starting talking gibberish and I think I kept her entertained. I was dying for a cappuccino or Coke Mia went and got both for me. Nurse came down and said would be the worst thing in the world at the moment and that the anesthetic hadn’t worn off properly. We donated the coffee to the nurse (she had a great sense of humour and we had a good laugh) and Mia had the coke. Hour or so later another nurse came along a lovely Filipino nurse and took control, she was joking saying I was the last left on the ward we made a couple of attempts of me getting out of the bed without success as I nearly fainted, then finally she linked my arm and I made it to the bathroom. OMG have never seen myself so white before it was really scary like the blood had literally gone from my head. I lay back on the back she opened the window for me to cool me down, finally we reckoned we were ready (this was around 7.30pm) after a photo for the blog of me in the wheelchair I was wheeled down to the entrance and Mia picked me up.
Back to my folks for some potato waffles (and an egg I think) and a cup of coffee which I was gasping for. We had decided that it was best for me to hang on in my folks for a day or two to help me recover as at home no matter how good your kids are you just don’t get enough peace and quiet. Jonas was able to work from home so he took control of the nuthouse for a few days and did quite a good job I must say Big thanks to Jonas’ workplace also who have been extremely considerate to our family situation and have helped us cope.
Well life back with Mam and Dad was just wonderful. First night they gave me their bed downstairs (as close to loo), I had lavender sprayed all over my pillow to help me sleep, new PJ’s, a hot water bottle in my bed, a bedside lamp was to be left on all night to make sure I didn’t fall if needed to go to the loo, bottle of water and painkillers. I got totally and utterly spoiled rotten and ended up staying til Saturday evening as my Dad said Three Nights B&B in St Patrick’s Ward In those first few days I have to admit I was extremely sore and could literally hardly move I would have to call to my folks to get them to help me out of the bed. I was totally exhausted and still quite weak from the operation. I stayed in bed a lot and listened to the radio (something I never do and must say really enjoyed it), I got fed, we chatted, watched TV and generally really enjoyed each others company. On the Friday I said to my Mam maybe we could go to Stillorgan Shopping Centre in the morning just for a coffee to get out of the house for a while, she was all on for it. That night I had a really bad night, was quite sore and literally never slept a wink I was up at 6.30am getting breakfast. I was starting to feel a bit sorry for myself and getting a bit emotional I said to my Dad don’t think I am up to going out for that coffee he said of course do what you feel. However something inside me told me to get up off my sorry arse and get it in gear, I got up, got showered and dressed and said right let’s have that coffee. Was the best thing I did as it kick started I think for me the whole healing process. We went out for a couple of hours (little bit of shopping to thanks Mam!) and had a really lovely time. I felt this trip was the turning point in my recovery. I got picked up later on that evening and went home to a fab clean house, Christmas tree and decorations up – thanks guys
God I ramble……. anyhow I am now nearly a week over my operation and I really feel I am on the road to recovery. I hope I am not tempting fate but I feel I am over the worst of it now and it really wasn’t as bad as I expected. I have been very lucky my sister-in-law Mairead who is a nurse just lives down the road and she had been great to me and has changed my dressings twice for me. I am delighted with the results so far Floppy Fiona (Dancer) is now as pert as anything and the size was better than I expected still a nice handful Cancerouse Chloe (Prancer) is getting there still needs some more work but she is up there with Prancer.
As always the support I have is amazing and it keeps me going so take a bow all you lovely people reading this. I can’t imagine this time last year I was so sick, bald and slap bang in the middle of chemo, one year later and I am in great spirits and have come so far. As I mentioned before, usually reconstruction is not recommended for a year after radiotherapy however me being pig headed (and not one to wait on things), I took my chances (and there was a 35% it may fail) and went for immediate reconstruction which is not the norm. The tissue expansion (blow jobs) were really really uncomfortable and painful this was due to my radiotherapy. However now I look down at my new boobies and the memory of that pain is fast disappearing and I reached my Goal…..
New Boobies for Christmas
Good things that happened to me
- Maggie got her poem about me publish in Irish Parent Magazine – so proud!
- Floppy Fiona is no longer Floppy
- Cancerous Chloe is gone and replaced with new boob
- My big operation is over and I am on the path to recovery
- I got the best TLC possible from my folks
- All Christmas shopping done (before op) as cant drive for a while
- My ole love handles are looking a lot less like handles
- Lovely visit from cousin Terry thanks for lovely flowers
- Great to see Emer and Grainne while in Rathmore
- My hair is growing fast alebit upwards
- Its nearly Christmas I am alive and in a good place and cant wait to spend Christmas with my family and friends
I’ll be back in touch before Christmas until then my friends enjoy the preparations.