Friday, May 1, 2015

So, it's been a while since I've posted. That's because I totally moved past the breast cancer. I had my 3 year anniversary on March 22nd and everything is still good. I don't really think about it too much nowadays. I'm so thankful for finding it so early and stomped it out before it got bad.

About a year ago, I started having other "female problems". I'm in full menopause, yet started having some sporadic bleeding. Just like a period, about 3 times a year. My gyno said it's not a real period because I'm in full menopause and can't have a period now. I went through 3 ultrasounds over the year and 2 biopsies. Given my history and all signs pointed to uterine cancer, she wanted the biopsies done. Nothing was every found as far as cancer. I did have a couple fibroids and the lining of my uterus was thicker than it should be.

Last fall I had another "period", which led to another ultrasound & biopsy. This time it showed that the fibroids had grown considerably and the lining got quite thick, all in a 5 month period. They couldn't figure out why and said maybe they never will, but again, because of my breast cancer history, she thought it was time to do a hysterectomy. We decided to wait until after the holidays and then I did some procrastinating, dreading another surgery. I had the operation done April 20th, almost 2 weeks ago.

I firmly believe that breast cancer and female organ problems and/or cancers go hand in hand. I've heard of too many people since my breast cancer diagnosis who end up getting either uterine (endometrian) cancer, ovarian cancer or some other kind of female organ cancer. I did not hesitate to agree to the full hysterectomy.

The healing has kind of taken me by surprise. My grandma, my mom, both my sisters, a niece and several other female family members have had to get hysterectomies and some of them told me how easy this was going to be, compared to my bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. And yes, it was MUCH easier than that was!!!!!! Lord, yes!!!!!!! I was told I'd be sewing by the end of the week (had the surgery on a Monday), that my sister went canoeing a couple days after hers, etc, etc. Well, I have been quite sore! Hubby had to help me out of bed.....lift me up to a sitting position....for the first 4 days. Same with getting up from the recliner. After that I could do it, but still VERY painful!!! It's been a lot slower than I anticipated, which has been very frustrating. I am feeling a lot better now but honestly, still not 100%. I thought I was and then today I decided to do some housework and I think the mopping did me in. We have all hardwood floors except the bedrooms and I think it was too much. (I'm also beginning to think I have some kind of infection...bladder? UTI? but won't go into that). I had planned to clean out the car after this long winter but I was having some pain low in my stomach after mopping and decided not to take the chance of ruining my weekend. Just frustrating. I'm pretty active, REALLY tired of sitting around and just wanted to do some spring stuff since it's such a beautiful day. Oh well, in time.

Anyway, I just wanted to write this post for my memory and for anyone who may still run across this blog, to educate anyone to not let your guard down. Always get tests and anything you're supposed to be getting because you never know!!


Monday, March 25, 2013


Saturday was my nipple tattooing! I wish I could say I was done but I have to go back in a month for round one...possibly the only round...of touch ups. We got there and there was a sign on the door saying, closed until 4pm for a private session. I didn't realize that was for me!! She sent home all the other tattoo artists and locked up. We had the place to ourselves. I thought that was really nice of her!

 I wore temporary ones in there and I wore two different colors because we were trying to decide what color to go with. We ended up deciding on in between the two. She got set up and said, I'll get started and you can decide how it feels. I didn't really feel it. One good thing about being numb!! I could feel the vibration and a little of the "scraping" that I felt on my wrist tattoo, but no pain. So off she went. It took about 30 minutes for each one. By the end I was feeling a little raw and ready to be done. She was pushing and pulling on my breast a lot too and I'm not crazy about that with these implants either, so I was ready to be done. Still, not at all what I was fearing and if anybody is reading this and trying to decide whether they want tattooed nipples, it's not bad. And it'll be so much better than the temporaries that only last 1 1/2 to 2 weeks and then look ugly and weird, all peely.

After she was done she said, now, don't freak out about the color. They will lighten up so much you'll probably think they are too light. That takes about a week to 10 days. I can already see them getting lighter which is good because they were BRIGHT pink!!! Like that bright pink lipstick you see!!! We will make color adjustments when I go back and she will also fill in any places she might have missed and stuff like that.

They were super tender for the rest of the day. She put bandages on them and I had t wear them for an hour, then wash with warm soapy water, air dry and apply aquaphor 3-4 times a day while the drying and scabbing process takes place. Lovely looking right about now haha. I did quite a bit of bleeding, I was surprised. The right one is still red and a little swollen and Matt is telling me I need to switch to neosporin for a couple days, that I might have a slight infection. While vacuuming this morning, I could feel that the muscle was sore. As she was tattooing I could feel it in that muscle and going up my shoulder. Not pain, I could just feel it. Hopefully that straightens up in a day or so.

All in all not a bad process and I'm glad I did it. I didn't know I would have to go back and not thrilled with that but it won't be as detailed as this time. Then I can finally say I am DONE with this!!!


Friday, March 22, 2013

1 year anniversary!

Well, it has been one year since my surgery. All day I've been telling Matt, one year ago right now I was in pre year right now we were on our way and my phone was ringing off the hook, only I didn't want to talk to anyone because I was doing really good mentally and I knew one call with a cryer and it would be over!

It doesn't seem like a year already. I remember every detail so vividly. Heading to the hospital, feeling really good about it all. I had thought I'd be a mess that day but I wasn't. I was glad to be getting it over with after all the time it took to find a dr that would do my surgery. I am soooo glad it's all in the past now. No more worry, no more pain of healing, just back to normal. My new normal. I can't say I'm still adjusting to my new boobs, but they are so different from my old ones in so many ways that sometimes it's surreal. They are still pretty numb, although they have softened up a lot. I really, really love them. Some things are really different. Like it kinda hurts to hold something against them. If I'm trying to carry something heavy and you rest it on your chest, the pressure against them isn't comfortable. Even the cat doing his picking stomping thing on them can be uncomfortable sometimes. But overall, I love them. I feel normal now with the size, not embarrassed. I love that.

Tomorrow I go for my nipple tattooing. I am choosing permanent tattoo's instead of the one's you get from the plastic surgeon. I have read and heard from a few women that those only last about 2 years and you have to get them retouched with color. I am having the same woman who did my wrist tattoo do my nipples. She said she guarantee's them for 10 years before they fade. I just want to be done. I'm tired of the temporary ones, they don't last very long and are kinda pricey. I'm nervous of what it's going to feel like and look like, but I'm ready. I have been thinking about what I want to do about nipples for a year now. I've worn the temporaries in varieties of colors and I've went without them for weeks, trying to see what I prefer. I always come to the same conclusion...I want them done permanently so I don't have to think about it anymore.

I will try to get on here tomorrow evening, perhaps Sunday and write my experience.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Nipples & Sweat

How do you like that title? LOL. Nipples because I made my appt to get my nipple tattoo's. I'm a bit freaked out about it. I'm afraid of the pain. My breasts are mostly numb so I don't think I'll feel too much, but I know what it felt like on my wrist. It wasn't bad, really, just scraping feeling. But the thought of doing that to my breasts is scary.

I have been going back and forth with it for some time now. I've been wearing temporary one's and not thrilled with them because they peel off so easily and that's a little bit freakier than nothing at all. They're expensive and only last no longer than 2 weeks. I highly recommend them though for the beginning, until you decide what you want to do because they are temporary and you can try different colors to see what you will want. But for a forever thing, not so much.

Well, I liked the facebook page of the place I got my wrist tattoo and seen they were having a customer appreciation sale for one day a couple Friday's ago. BOGO cosmetic procedure. I called her and asked if nipples were included (oh the things I never thought I'd be asking about!!). She said yes, she would do that for me. Well, we were set to get a snow storm the next day so I told her if it wasn't too bad, I'd come buy the gift certificate. I thought that would buy me some serious thinking time. And if I decided I was too chicken, then I just wouldn't go. So she says, since we're getting a storm, I'll sell you a GC today. There goes my excuse!! Me and Matt drove over there and bought the GC that night when he got home from work. I ended up paying $200 instead of $400, which to me is a deal I couldn't pass up. I was going to do it eventually, when I got my nerve up, so what better time? I put the GC in my purse and had fleeting thoughts of, ok, I can decide when to do it. Then she says, you want to go ahead and set your appt now? GULP. I said, um ok, sure. We decided on March 23rd, a Saturday so Matt can go with me. And ironically, 1 day after my 1 year survivor anniversary. I hope I like them!! I hope she does a good job!!! She did say when she seen my temps, oh, I can do much better than that!! So hopefully she can!!!! Worries me cause they are permanent!! What if she messes up?! Oy!!!

Another thing I've been wanting to do and finally did is call my plastic surgeon and ask for my before picture. I felt awkward calling and saying, hey, could you send me the picture of my boobs Dr A took? I just felt weird doing it. I finally called and asked the girl and she said she would clear it with the dr and call me back. She called me the next day and said he printed it out, did I want to pick it up or have it mailed? I said, mail it please and she said, let me make sure I have the right address. I said, yes! Let's make sure my picture doesn't go to someone else!!!!!!!! My head isn't in the shot, so no one would know who's boobs they are but still!!!! I got them the very next day. Me & Matt were going somewhere and stopped at the mailbox first. I opened it in the car and was SHOCKED when I seen it!!!! I said, oh my God! and showed it to Matt. He said, wow, they sure were big! LOL. Then he asked me, so, do you feel better about what you did now or worse? Do you miss them? I said I have absolutely no regrets what I did. I don't want to die from breast cancer and I don't want to spend the rest of my life doing mammograms, ultrasounds and MRI's every 6 months. And no, I don't miss them AT ALL. I love my new small, NORMAL sized breasts!!!!!! I love, love, love them. It's a whole different world not carrying those things around!!!! Every once in a while I go look at that picture and every single time I have the same reaction. I can't believe how big I was. No wonder I have back problems!!!!


Monday, January 21, 2013

I finally figured out how to get this picture from facebook onto here. I got my first tattoo at age 51!! I got it last September, on the 6 month anniversary of my surgery. I didn't do that on purpose..I didn't even realize it was my 6 month anniversary until I was filling out the paperwork and then realized it was 9/22. Perfect day to do it!

I loooove my tattoo!!!! I never thought I'd get one, ever!!! I had been thinking about getting one for a couple years and was going to get one to represent how I feel about FL. When we had to move back to Michigan I was soooo depressed for a long time and was trying to think of something to get. Then I got diagnosed with breast cancer and it shifted my thoughts to a different kind of tattoo. Matt kept telling me to get a pink ribbon on my new boob lol, but I didn't want that. Then I read an interview with Kelly Clarkson and she has this on her rib cage only without the pink ribbon as the Y. I had seen a billboard about dense breasts and the danger they are to women and they used the ribbon as the Y and I loved it. I had heard that a lot of breast cancer survivors were using Kelly's song, Stronger, as their anthem so I looked it up on youtube and watched the video. I LOVED IT!! That's when I decided to get this tattoo. The bracelet is from my sister friend, Tracy, a birthday gift.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Life

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately. Women who when I was getting my surgery, they were just finding out they were BRCA positive, or they were trying to decide what to do. Now a few of them have had their surgeries and are having a hard time. One isn't healing as fast as she wants to, infections, etc and very discouraged. I say to her, hang in there!!! Things get better and life goes back to normal. Don't regret doing this for yourself, your family, because very soon you will be all healed and living life again and you will be thankful to not have to worry about breast cancer.

All the decisions we have to make before surgery is tough. I'm thankful to be past all of that. I can't wait to read when they are past it all and feeling normal again. It takes time. I think I healed extraordinarily fast and well. I really didn't have too many problems and some of the problems I did have resolved themselves pretty much on their own over time. Matt and I remembered about the torture strap the other day. We both had forgotten about that horrible strap I had to wear for a few weeks because my implants were too high. Looking back, I don't think it did much for me. Same with the lipo I had done under my arms. I felt like my breasts were in my arms way back then but I think what it was, was they were still swelled up and they are high now. My old breasts suffered from being too huge and gravity had left lol. So I didn't feel them next to my arms. It just took some time to get used to. When my plastic surgeon discussed lipo with me when I complained, I thought he was going to do it on the sides of my breasts. I was surprised to come out of surgery and find out it was under my arms. Just takes time to adjust to this new life. Now that a year has passed since diagnosis and 9 1/2 months since surgery, things are all back to normal and I'm ready for a new phase in my life.

P.S. I'm going to try to post a picture of what I did for myself after surgery.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Time Flies

Well, today is my one year anniversary. I can't believe a whole year has passed since I found out about my breast cancer. It definitely doesn't feel like it. It was such a horrible, sobering day. I'll never forget it, every detail. I was so scared, so lost. I didn't know what to do. There were a million decisions to be made and I was so lost as to what to do.

Looking back now, I can't believe how much I held it together through all of this. Things could have been a lot worse. I couldn't caught it a lot later than I did and had to have faced chemo and other scary things, but thank God I did yearly mammograms and caught it at it's earliest stage. They had been watching area's in my breast for a few years because I had a lot of calcifications and had very dense breasts, meaning it was very hard to see. The mammo tech explained it like a really dense fog and how you can't see through it. That's how they'd see my mammo.

I was just talking to Matt about this and wondering if this radiologist caught something that had been there the last year, maybe more, or did it just turn into cancer last year? I always had to go back for second looks, ultrasounds, etc, because they couldn't see good enough. Did they just let it go every year because they couldn't see it? Or was last year the year it went to cancer? I'll never know how long I had cancer before it was found. I'm just SO THANKFUL it was found. and found early.

I have absolutely no regrets for getting the bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. None, not one. Especially since they found signs of DCIS in my right breast. I am so thankful I don't have to worry about it coming back in 5, 10, 20 years. And thankful I don't have to be checked with MRI's and ultrasounds every 6 months. After all, the MRI didn't pick up the beginnings of the DCIS, so how comfortable would I feel depending on it to find anything else?

And, as a bonus, I love my new breasts. Yes, they are partially numb and that can be bothersome sometimes. Sometimes they itch, which I don't understand because how can something that has no tissue inside itch?? And when I scratch I can't feel it. That's strange. They are hard now. They have softened up over the past 8 months, but they are still pretty darn firm! I LOVE LOVE LOVE not owning any bra's!!!!! Very freeing!!! Especially in the summer!!! And this summer I bought my first non underwire bathing suit!!! And was amazed to just pull it over my head and over my boobs and it was on!!!! loved that!!!

I've learned a lot over this past year. Things COULD be worse. Life is short. Don't sweat the small stuff. Live like you were dying. Love freely. Laugh. Life is good. I'm happier now. when you're faced with thoughts of death and leaving people behind and you get pulled back, you are thankful, happy, content. I sometimes wonder, why me? Why did I get spared? Why did I get a second chance? So many people don't. They find their cancer late...any kind of cancer..and it's too late and they suffer and their families suffer watching them suffer and then agonize over them suffering and then they're gone. I'm so thankful I got this second chance and I plan to take every advantage of it. Matt got diagnosed with diabetes a couple months ago and we're changing our lives. We're changing the way we eat. Eating healthier, more fruits, more veggies, more chicken, less red meat. For the first time in a long time I feel like I'm taking care of myself. I want to LIVE. I want to be healthy. And not to be cliche, but I want to see my grandchildren. I want to be an old lady someday and they come stay with Grammie and have memories of me with them. I have so much to live for and thank God I get that chance!!!!

Happy healthy anniversary to me!