Friday, March 2, 2012

Whew, I a lot to take in.

I had my first ever official Dr.'s visit with a plastic surgeon. It was good and bad. The good was, that I really liked the Dr. He was very nice and took almost an hour to explain everything to me. Surprisingly, I felt super comfortable with him even during my exam. I've done enough research so that I understood what my options were before coming in to the consultation but I still appreciated the full explanation of the process.

From my understanding here is the time line I am looking at:

Surgery 1:
Complete mastectomy (removing all breast tissue but not muscle) by a breast surgeon
immediate reconstruction by the plastic surgeon using temporary expander implants

Out patient procedures: The expanders will need to be filled once a month to "expand" the skin so that there is room for the actual implants. This will take place once a month for 1-2 months.

Surgery 2: 1-2 months after my final expander fill, real implants will be put in. This is an outpatient procedure but time off of work is needed to recover. (time from original surgery 4 months)

Surgery 3: 8 weeks after (or longer if I choose) the plastic surgeon will go back and do nipple reconstruction. Again time off of work is needed. (6 months from my original surgery)

So, adding it up all was a bit overwhelming to me. I am looking at from start to finish at least 7 months of back and forth Dr.'s appointments, outpatient procedures, pain (though minimal at times) and a constant healing process for my body. It is definitely more than I realized when I initially made my decision. I know that it is the best choice for me, but that time is line is if nothing goes wrong. If I have a bump along the road, who knows how long it will be before I can look at myslef in the mirror and be "happy" about what I see.

I still believe that what I've listed is my best option for a healthy lifestyle. I'll be one of the few women in this world who don't worry every year at their mammogram that they will have breast cancer. After a surgeon performs a mastectomy, my chances of getting breast cancer (duh!) are almost zero. Those are stats that I can get behind.

I am not going to lie, I'll put it out there, I am nervous about how I'll be able to handle all of these surgeries, procedures, appointments, pain, etc. AND work a full time job AND raise two children. So many questions are coming up in my mind. For instance, though I may only need 4 weeks off of work for my major surgery how will I take the kids to their daycares if I cannot lift them out of their car seats? (I've heard 6 weeks before full functions come back, lifting, etc.). How do I pick them up and put them in the car each morning? How will I handle working a stressful, demanding job, and then coming home to take care of my two cuties? Will I be able to handle that? Will I be doing a lot a but not doing anything well? Am I expecting too much out of my body? Will I push myself too hard and cause unforseen complications? I dont' know. A lot is going through my mind right now. I am not doubting my decision to do the surgery, but I do have a lot of unknowns about how things will pan out for my family and my ability to give it my all at work and at home. I am sure this isn't the last you all will hear of these concerns. The good part is that I feel very comfortable with this Dr. and though a second opinion is probably a good idea, I am happy that I've at least started the process.

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