Monday, October 10, 2011

Third boob

Well. Saw my oncologist today - just a six month check-up and blood work-up. Blood is excellent, as always, so that's a good thing.

We talked about a movie I just watched (rented from Netflix) called 'Living Proof' - about the dream of a researcher that became Herceptin, one of the cancer drugs I received. It was very well done, made me cry, made me laugh, and taught me a lot about the procedure of creating a new drug, getting approvals for testing, and more testing, and more testing. It shared
the heartache of loss, the frustration of the amount of time it takes to accomplish anything within the rules when the researcher just 'knows' it's going to work, and the joy at the successes. It was a hell of a movie.

After all the poking and prodding of a regul
ar check-up, we chatted about the progress on my breast reconstruction. It seems to me it is taking FOREVER, and I'm so tired of the entire procedure - so tired of it that last week, when I was in for a fill-up, I told the plastic surgeon I'd had enough - let's just get on with the trade-out of the skin expander implant for the permanent implant, and do the reduction on the other side and just get it all over with.

Well, that's all well and good, but it looks like late December, DECEMBER!, before we can get the first step scheduled. I just wanted to cry.

But the oncologist and his PA, who I really lik
e a lot (she always makes me laugh), raved about the new boob, said I just have to be patient (yeah, me, patient!), said everything is progressing beautifully. Linda (the PA) also suggested I talk to the plastic surgeon about putting an implant in the left side when he does the reduction, so that it will stay as 'perky' as the new boob - otherwise after 6 months or so it will be a smaller, droopy mate to the perky new one. Now that's something that never would have entered my mind - haven't read anything along those lines anywhere - but she was adamant that it's necessary for a decently matched 'set'! At least it's not an additional surgery - it would be done at the same time as the reduction. That's one thing in its favor.

Then I brought up my third boob, which con
tinues to make me crazy! They both took one look and said, in perfect unison, "oh, it's just a hematoma" ... they poked and prodded some more and said that for sure it's a hematoma, and that it happens to some degree in most of the TRAM-FLAP surgeries they see. Linda said it usually just reabsorbs into the system over time - sometimes in a couple months, though sometimes it takes a couple years.

So I immediately came home to look up anything I could find online about it. You know, more and more, I find the internet as informative and frustrating as when we used to try to look something up in the dictionary when we didn't know how to spell it! I didn't know to look up hematomas when researching the TRAM-FLAP because no one had mentioned it. And none of the sites I found initially ever referred to that possible complication. Now I googled 'hematoma' together with 'TRAM-FLAP' and it's everywhere.

And my major question is why, oh why, didn't my plastic surgeon, who reorganized my insides, recognize it or have anything to say about it? WTF?!!

OK, I got that out of my system (temporarily at least).

I asked why it didn't show up on the CT-scan, and they said that it's really not distinguishable even to the trained eye because, one it's not even soft tissue, it's just blood, and two, it's not the type of thing 'they' look for, unless they're trained in TRAM-FLAP surgeries and are expecting it. They were looking for a hernia, and that wasn't there. A big soft mass of blood ("grapefruit size") just doesn't show up on a CTscan. Great.

So what do we do? Nothing - it will take car
e of itself, in time. As you might imagine, that isn't a very satisfactory solution for me. But the oncologist and Linda did convince me it's not to be feared, it's normal (within the realm of by-products of surgery), and it can't harm me. The website link I highlighted above does mention there is some surgery to remedy the beast, so I'm going to look into that, just out of curiosity.

And yes, I will casually mention it to my plastic surgeon, and try to be nice about it - as in why the hell aren't you aware of this f
ucking possibility and why did you make me find out about it on my own after fretting about it for six fucking months! Yes, I'll be gentle on him. :o)

To end on a slightly happier note, my hair has finally grown out enough, and filled in, that I have been able to shape it into something resembling a hair style! Not bad after almost 17 months of (patiently) wa
iting for it to grow in!Of course it doesn't stay all soft and fluffy for long - it's still pretty limp and the style sort of disappears after a couple hours, but it's a huge improvement from what I've lived with for the last year and a half!!!!!

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