Implant Surgery

I had my exchange surgery 5 days ago. I had my expanders removed and replaced with nice squishy implants! I also had a little bit of lipo and fat grafting under my armpits, as it created a fat pocket where my lymph nodes were removed. This procedure was outpatient and I was home the same night. It took about 2 days to start to feel really well. For the first 24 hours home I mostly slept and didnt get out of the recliner. 5 days later I am feeling tons betterm just a little bruised and sore but can get up and around just fine.

I saw my plastic surgeon 2 days after my surgery. I can now shower and he told me to massage my implants and “make them do the hokey pokey” when I can to prevent scar tissue from building up around them, especially the radiated side.

However, for the next 8 days I still have to wear this awful front closing tight bra thats stuffed with foam under my armpits for compression on the lipo areas and a tight band that velcros across the top of my chest. Its very uncomfortable and hard to cover up. So pretty much I just undo it occassionnally or in the shower can massage my implants. It leaves implants in my skin and I am really hoping it doesnt dent my implants. I cant wait to take this thing off. I also cant drive til next week.

I think I am going to try to go back to work in a few days. I see my doctor tomorrow for another checkup and see if he will release me to return to work with rides of course (on thursday he was iffy about it).

Thats really all the updates for now.

xoxo

365 days.

365 days ago…one year.

Its been one year today since I heard the dreadful word first told to be: Cancer.

lastyear

My last year has been overrun by this word. I have been sick, tired, sad, mad, confused, optimistic, pessimistic, worried, scared, happy, furious, hurt more times this past year in regards to cancer.

Today I try not to focus on these things. These past feelings that overran my life this past year. Today I focus on the future. The future of being Cancer Free. I have been anxious and overrun by worry recently of the chance of cancer coming back in some form and having to go through hell again. But I dont want to be worried all the time. I want this next year to bring nothing but health, happiness, and a brighter outlook for my future.

This past year has gone by so fast. It seems like just yesterday I heard those words. I remember those feelings. But on the other hand, it seems like a lifetime ago as well, because SO much has happened in a 365 day span.

I could not have gotten through the past year without my family, friends and fiance. It was a tough year, the hardest of my life, but I am trying to stay optimistic that this next year will be wonderful.

Its hard to believe this was me last year, on Dylans birthday the week before I was diagnosed..and compared to this year on Dylans birthday

dylansbady2013 dylansbday

 

Very different, in so many ways (I miss my hair…)

On some great things coming up, I will be having my final exchange surgery in just 10 days, changing out these awful rock hard expanders for nice squishy implants. Excited is an understatement!

My sister (and nephew) and neice will be here fo 2 weeks in April, I cannot wait to see them!

Dylan and I set a date and picked a venue for the wedding: April 25, 2015 at a beautiful outdoor venue in Porterville, Ca.

My hair is growing..still so slow in my eyes, but its getting poofy and big. I WILL be dying it in the near future lighter (not as blonde as I was)..but to give myself some feeling of having this hair on purpose at least :)

hairmarch

 

Heres to a great new year for me…hope to continue feeling good, staying healthy and hopefully never hearing the C word told to me again! XOXO

Becca

3 month check up

Tuesday I had my first “3 month checkup” with no active treatment. I finished chemo 7 months ago, radiation 2 months ago, but everytime I saw my doctor I was getting some form of treatment, something killing the potential cancer cells. Not anymore. No more treatment. Now just check ups-waiting and watching.

To say “nervous” is a mild understatment. I am notorious for getting myself worked up. The last week I felt the anxiety kick in. Monday night was awful. My head spinning, thoughts running through my mind. I kept invisioning (or trying to) good results and blood work, then my mind kept drifting off to the thoughts of being told my bloodwork was suspicious and needing a scan or something and I literally thought I would have a panic attack in bed at midnight that night. I kept having to push the thoughts out of my head and all I could do was pray.

Tuesday was another story. I was so nervous I made myself sick to my stomach. I actually had a very slight fever in the doctor office, probably due to working myself up. My doctor comes in and feels all my lymph nodes, stomach, chest etc., just chit-chatting away like its not a big deal, not realizing how freaking nervous I am. I actually had to ask him if my bloodwork was fine. He was like “oh I havent checked it yet.” Insert freak out #2. My heart started racing. But then he said ya everything looks good, normal! I of course am crying…I told him I feel good, I am taking a lot of preventatives and better care of myself, but each of these appointments you will always worry. Now I have hopefully at least 3 months before I see him and before I get this anxiety again.

I hope it goes without saying (those of you who have never had a cancer diagnosis), that every day has anxiety, fear and worry. Its like being locked in a prison inside your mind that no matter how hard you try you cant get out. I can become distracted, and I definitely feel more normal than not, but everyday is filled with concern about a headache here, or a bruise there, or a sore muscle after working out…you always overanalyze every ache and pain as a potential threat.

My doctor did say (up anxiety again) and reminded me that TNBC, the type I had, has a highest reoccurence rate by 3, then declines and rapidly drops off at 5 years..so I am 7 months out from chemo…the next 2.5 years will continue to be fearful…I pray every night I continue to stay cancer free. I now take: Turmeric capsules, Gravila capsules, Vitamins, drink lemon water to balance pH, drink Dandelion, green, nettle and pau de arco tea regularly, no sodas, no donuts, as organic as possible, i juice reguarly, eat an apple a day (you know, to keep the doctor away)…i began working out reguarly again. Anything I can to get healthy and STAY this way.

I want to see my wedding day. I want to have children (which is another thing still in limbo-mother nature hasnt kicked my ovaries back into gear yet). I want to grow old.I want my long hair back…( I have about 2 inchs of wavy dark curls now!)

The day ended on a good note. Since my appointment went well, I was able to calm down to keep my 5:00 appointment to go try on wedding dresses! (it is exhausting and they are heavy and hot) haha. No I didnt find the dress, but got some great ideas of what I like. I wont commit to one unti my final exchange surgery, which SHOULD be next month! Just waiting for insurance approval to scheudle it!

Before I end this post, and to anyone reading, if you believe in Prayer, please stop and say one (at least), not only for me, my health and piece of mind, but for my friends in the cancer community I have become a part of: One young woman just lost her battle to over 3 years of fighting, a few recently finding out they are now battling stage 4 cancer, another friend going for another surgery to remove a growing lump after beating cancer last year, a woman and her sister both finding out their cancer is back within a day of each other..So many amazing people with so many unfair circumstances, and sometimes all we can do is ask for some extra prayers and positive vibes.

Fear.

I dont know when the fear of reoccurence will ever lessen, if ever.

I am 6 months out from chemo-5 months from surgery and 2 months from radiation.

I think all through treatment it was a fear, but at least I was actively fighting it. Now, I am trying to eat healthier-taking supplements-juicing off and on etc and hoping and praying it wont come back.

Now that I am engaged and trying to get excited about planning my future, planning a wedding, I find it hard at times. I keep having to push the thoughts out of my mind. Its hard for me to commit to making plans in the far future because i feel the next 2.5 years I will be on edge wondering and waiting if I am truly free of cancer.

Every bump-ache-hurt…I freak out. THis morning in the shower the back of my head hurts in a spot. I could have easily bumped it. It doesnt hurt bad. But even something simple like that, I shouldnt have to have an anxiety attack over and its hard to kick those thoughts. Having aches in my hips, had them for months, but doesnt ever get worse (which is a good sign) but hard to not know what is causing it-but then i have moments of clarity and remind myself my body went through hell and back, it takes awhile to feel really normal again.

I just had my first real case of being sick this whole year, getting a sore throat-cough etc. Even on antibiotics it took awhile to kick, which shouldnt be surprising, but at the same time-i started to worry, like maybe this is something else? I need to slap myself sometimes.

I have heard of so many sad stories recently of peoples cancers coming back, so maybe thats why I keep getting these fears. Like I said now that i am engaged, I fear so much more of it coming back adn not having the wedding and future I am so excited for.

I see my oncologist Feb 6th, so I am sure if/when I have a good and normal check up I will hopefully feel a little bit better and have my mind set at ease.

xoxo

296 days ago..

296 days ago is when I was diagnosed with Breast cancer and my world changed forever. In thinking of that number, 296, it doesn’t seem that long of a time ago in days..but at the same time it seems forever ago. In that 296 days this has happened:

1 Pet scan

3 Breast MRIs

1 Port placement surgery-put under

1 Port removal surgery-put under

1 scar revision of port scar

2 breast/lymph node biopsies

6 chemo treatments

28 radiation treatments

6 neulasta shots in my stomach

2 echocardiograms

Countless blood draws..lost count at 17

14 oncology appointments

1 double mastectomy with expanders placed which resulted in a 4 night stay in the hospital

2 CT scans

1 blood transfusion

5 expansions in my expanders

5 lymphatic massage therapy sessions

10 appointments with a Plastic surgeon

5 appointments with a breast surgeon

6 radiation oncologist appointments

2 mammograms

6 appointments with a radiologist

5 Ultrasounds

(and only 34 missed days of work)

(And at least one more surgery to swap my expanders for real implants (hopefully march 2014) still to come…)

thats a lot of appointments, a lot of poking, a lot of medicine, a lot of doctors….this year has definitely been a year to remember..both bad (for obvious reasons) and good. I am looking forward to saying GOODBYE to 2013 and welcoming 2014 with a new outlook, (and new look altogether too I guess), new life, new plans and healthy. I pray my health continues and I remain cancer free!

now I get to plan a wedding! I cant wait!

Good things come in 3′s

The past month has been very eventful, but in a good way! I ended radiation a month ago. My skin has healed really well. Its still a little bit “discolored” but was told its “normal.” All my doctors say it all looks good and I see my plastic surgeon in January again to schedule my next surgery for my implants. We are aiming for March!

Since radiation ended, I also got a promotion at work. I have been extremely busy and stressed with work, but its a good stress to be so focused on work and not being sick or worried with my health. I am so thankful that I was able to work as hard as I did through treatment and be as healthy as I was, because all my hard work paid off! I am very excited for this new opportunity.

And last but certainly not least, I GOT ENGAGED!!! Dylan and I have been together 5 long years, and this past year has by far been the hardest and most challenging, but he was there every step of the way and never wavered on our relationship. He proposed Christmas eve morning in Pismo while we were overlooking the ocean. I was so surprised! Not to say I haven’t been waiting and hoping for this moment for quite a long time now, but I had NO clue he was doing it then. He didn’t tell anyone, everyone was so surprised-pleasantly of course! It was a wonderful way to end such a crappy year, and is definitely a great start to 2014. Both Dylan and I had a tough year, and I am beyond excited to have a year full of wedding planning ahead of me rather than focusing on cancer. I can’t wait!

engagement

Radiation. Done.

Today is the day, I am  not only done with radiation, 28 rounds to be exact, but I am done with cancer treatment! no daily medication to fight cancer, no more daily doctor visits..what the heck am I gonna do with myself? Its definitely emotional to be done, and I am feeling a little indifferent. Maybe its because I am still burnt as heck and hurting under my armpit that it doesnt seem like I am done..Maybe its because I still have little hair and look like a cancer patient..Maybe its because I still have these rock hard expanders in for a few more months..but regardless, I am done. I can fall back in to living my life without cancer and treatment being at the center of it.

I am red. and burnt. But my doctor says I actually fared really well throughout treatments, and that my skin looks like some does after only half their treatments, hard to believe it can get worse! Its only painful under my armpit thank goodness, and should heal in a few weeks; though I may be left with a long standing “tan” square for awhile. burn

So this Thanksgiving, I am definitely thankful for quite a lot. I have a long road a head of me still; another surgery, follow up appointments and I am sure YEARS of anxiety and worrying; but I will be thankful for those years and thankful for any time I continue to stay healthy and cancer free. I worry all the time about the cancer coming back; I hear with time it will get better, but truthfully, I know that with my type, age and aggressiveness of it; IF it were to come back the next 2-3 years will be most likely. I am doing my best to be vigilant about my health; getting back to working out (though i had to stop recently because of my burns and irritated skin); juicing, adding lots of cancer fighting foods and tricks to my diet and daily routine (turmeric, lemon juice, alkaline drink mix, green tea, dandelion tea). I need to make a lifestyle change, to continue to ensure myself many more years of health.

My hair is growing, slowly but surely. I feel it is slow, especially when comparing it to others at almost 5 months post chemo (holy moly, its been almost 5 months already?!) But its looking a little more like a short hair cut rather than a  “hey I had cancer and definitely use to be bald” hair style.. my goal is by new years to go wig less. I have gotten braver and gone out a handful of times no wig OR hat, but I still dont feel like myself without them.

New years resolution: Retire my wigs

Okay. lets be real. thats not gonna happen; I wont RETIRE them, but maybe definitely decrease how often they are worn and embrace the short hair.

hairnov hairnovemberThe second picture, the top two is beginning of November, and bottom is now; 3 weeks of growth!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me;followed my blog; been a friend to me during this difficult year. I plan to continue this blog, but now that treatment is over, I HOPE I wont have much to blog about besides boring stuff, getting back to normal life, getting healthy and moving on from this.

xoxo