Preparing for Exchange Surgery

I’ve been considering writing a post about how the craziness of Covid-19 is affecting my breast cancer treatment, but honestly, I am one of the lucky ones who it is not affecting any more than the average person. One of the big concerns for cancer patients is the increased risk associated with being immuno-compromised, a major side effect of chemo and radiation. Since I did not have either, I am not immuno-compromised. I am also far enough out from my surgery (almost four months) so that is not an issue either. The third high risk category is those people with …

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Travelling with Tissue Expanders after Mastectomy

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, my first thought was how it would affect my travelling. Okay, no, it wasn’t actually my first thought, but it would definitely have been up there in the top ten. Travel is my passion. It is also my work. Not being able to travel would have a huge impact on my future. It really wasn’t an option for me to stop travelling. When I knew I was going to have a bilateral mastectomy, I chose to delay it for various reasons, one of them was because I had a trip to Bali …

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Second and Third Expander Fills

I had planned to give an update after my second expander fill, but the appointment was so quick and I didn’t really get any extra information from my surgeon so it didn’t seem worth it. Instead I am going to summarise both fills in this one post. The second fill was done about ten days after the first one, only because I had to change the appointment day to suit everything else I was doing. I was only in the office for 5-10 minutes. I didn’t even sit in the chair and chat, it was straight to the bed to …

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My First Expander Fill

I’ve been looking forward to this for a few weeks now. It’s the start of the next phase of this cancer journey. I’m no longer healing from the last surgery, I am now getting ready for the next one. The appointment was actually quite quick. The filling process took all of five minutes at most. First my surgeon used this little device to find where the valve was located in each breast and marked it with Texta. Then he filled a syringe with saline, stuck it straight in and added 50ml of saline to each side. I did mention that …

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Six Weeks Post Mastectomy

I couldn’t decide if I was going to write a six week update or wait a few extra days until I had my first fill done and post an update then, or do both – but in the end, I was travelling and working on the day of the six week milestone, so the decision was made for me – this is actually a six week three day update! Look out on another post on the fill very soon. The six week point was significant because the restrictions regarding movement had to be followed until then. The main restriction was …

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Four Weeks Post Mastectomy

Since my last post I have come along in leaps and bounds, improving every day. I finally saw my surgeon again for my follow up appointment. He went through all of my pathology results explaining exactly how lucky I have been. Not only were my lymph nodes clear but there are a couple of other indicators that were also clear. This means he does not recommend that I have chemo. In his opinion the small increase in the chance that the cancer would not return is not worth the risks to my ongoing health, wellbeing and quality of life. I …

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Two Weeks Post Mastectomy

If, before my surgery, you had told me that two weeks after my mastectomy I would be pretty much back to my normal life I would have laughed at you. But that is how things are. Warning – If you do not want to see my boobs, or post op pics, this is not the post for you! I have seen dozens of people in support groups on line who are barely able to move after two weeks and struggling even at the six week mark. I knew I would heal quickly, and that I have a high pain threshold, …

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One Week Post Mastectomy

This time last week I was still waiting to make my way to the hospital for my surgery. This week I am relaxing back at home, now in recovery mode. Yes, it’s been a pretty full on week – I mean, all major surgery would be. But it’s not been anywhere near as difficult as I made it to be in my mind beforehand. I won’t go into all the details of the surgery, you can see that in my previous post. By day three though I was ready to be out of the hospital. I was listed on their …

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My Bilateral Mastectomy with Tissue Expanders

Nine weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, but that’s how long it was for me (by choice) between my breast cancer diagnosis and surgery. Nine weeks also isn’t very long at all when its the last bit of time with your boobs. Right now I am three days post op, and I am feeling good enough to share how my “Bilateral Mastectomy with Tissue Expanders and Right Lymph Node Biopsy” went. Warning – there are graphic photographs ahead. If you do not want to see my boobs, or post op pics, this is not the post for you! Click …

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Optimistic, Realistic or Burying my Head in the Sand?

Clearly cancer is a physical ailment – I mean, my cells are mutating and trying to kill me! But so much of the treatment and recovery relies on the way the whole process is dealt with mentally. No one wants to hear those horrible words “you have cancer”, but once you do there is no going back. Unfortunately there is no way to turn back time or to magic the cancer into thin air, no matter how much we all want to. And we all do. Want it more than anything. All we can do now is choose how we …

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