WHEW, what a long day today was – Left at 9:30 am and got back home at 5:30 pm! But wow what an incredibly informative day! After I blogged on Monday, the plastic surgeon’s office called and actually had an opening this morning, which was perfect since I was already going down there to see the GYN-oncologist. Two for one special, much?
So starting off the morning with the plastic surgeon… I certainly respect the “best plastic surgeon I’ve ever worked with” comment from my breast surgeon – this guy is simply amazing (and says the same thing about my breast surgeon!). Incredible bedside manner, has done over 1000 breast reconstruction surgeries, and is truly an artist in every sense of the word. Whereas I would say I was 99.9% okay with everything after Monday’s appointment, I can confidently say I am now 100% confident going into this surgery. He took so much time to explain the entire surgery, recovery, and reconstruction – it was amazing. Also made my day when he said I didn’t have enough abdominal fat to do a flap surgery even if I wanted (ha! – if that’s not the way to a girl’s heart…) So as discussed on Monday, come August we’re looking at a 5-6 hour initial surgery with lovely (sarcasm) drains post op, then expanders/fills for 12 weeks, and finally the exchange surgery for permanent “gummy bear” implants (silicone that doesn’t leak and feels ridiculously “real”) – I thought it was cool that he actually weighs the breast tissue removed to get a baseline, then adds to it to determine implant size. He agrees with going a little bigger to fit my frame, and I really respected his argument of expanders versus immediate reconstruction in that he wants me to be involved in the decision-making on size, contour, etc. I was told on more than once occasion today that he’s a perfectionist, and let’s just say I am MORE than okay with this! He took a whole bunch of measurements, and I also had pictures taken – let’s just say I mastered the “super woman” pose!
So all in all, the plastic surgeon appointment went better than I could have ever anticipated – I know women that have had to “shop” for surgeons, and I feel so lucky that everything fell into place to end up with a literal dream team – these guys are so humble yet incredible and I honestly don’t feel like I could be in better hands. That feeling, let me tell you, is indescribable knowing the gravity of the situation. So with all our questions/concerns addressed, Mom and I headed to Breadwinners for lunch – yum! And then headed back for round 2!
So I had mixed feelings going into the GYN-onc appointment – I’ve fully come to terms with my mastectomy, but am in absolutely no position to consider an oopherectomy (removal of the ovaries) knowing I want to have kids, and wasn’t quite sure what direction this doctor would be going. Turns out, she completes the “trifecta of badassery” as I have dubbed my three docs! This doctor is down to earth, honest, up on the evidence, and completely personable – she spent over an hour and a half discussing everything, which was incredible. She didn’t shy away from the fact that the science is not awesome on detecting ovarian cancer… in fact it kind of sucks. However, she was very adamant that while risk-reducing surgery is inevitably in my future, she would not touch my ovaries until I was late 30s/early 40s – for this, I love her. And honestly, while the whole kid thing is MY focus, hers is her experiences with young women and surgical menopause. She explained the many options I have, and we came up with a plan that I feel great with – we will start surveillance now and play it by ear whether it will be every 6 months or every 12 months, and simply keep a close eye on everything. She was thrilled that I’ve already reduced my risk of ovarian cancer by 50% (!) by being on OCPs for 5 years continuously, and now we will add in more extensive exams (so much fun let me tell you… NOT!), transvaginal ultrasounds, and CA-125s (a simple blood test). I had the exam and CA-125 today, and will have my first screening ultrasound the same day as my MRI (again with the two for one special fun!)
That makes March 5th the next big day with these tests… and hopefully the last until July if everything comes back clean. July’s gonna be a fun month… seeing everyone (breast surgeon, plastic surgeon, gyn-ONC, neurosurgeon, and neuro-ophthalmologist) before the big day in August. I’ll be out of town the beginning of August so it’s full throttle before then… but I know I’ll be thankful for the distraction, and then I get back and 2 days later it’s surgery day!
I can’t reiterate enough that I have such a feeling of peace with all of this, and also that I’m mentally doing great, and my family too. I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t finish this without saying “thank you” to you all – I walked through the ICU yesterday and was literally showered in hugs. Having you all on my side gives me more strength than you will ever know. I know I have a lot of processing ahead of me in the next few months, but I really feel like I’m in a good place with my incredible family and friends helping me along the way. Dinner tonight with my best friend for the last decade that life kept us apart for a month was exactly what I needed – she didn’t know about the blog so I started from the beginning of this week (it’s been a big week!) and realized JUST how okay I am with all of this. I also had the chance to talk with an amazing person last night – she is one of FIVE sisters that are all BRCA1 positive and have had bilateral mastectomies… what a powerful story! She commented on how some days she totally forgets she even had the surgery… THAT is my goal for this time next year!
Anyhow, yeah… been a big week! But a good one. I’m relieved, empowered, and ready for all that’s to come… and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Will update again soon!