Tag Archives: exchange surgery

One Year Survivor / Post Exchange Surgery


Today is officially my one year survivorship date (according to my doctors).  I use the date of diagnosis, they use the date of surgery.  One year ago today I had my lumpectomy.  I came home with the most purple boob I’ve ever seen. smiles.  But rather than focus on what happened then, I am basking in the fact that I am here, healthy, cancer free one year later.  I am a survivor… and I continue to stay that way.

It has been three weeks since I had my exchange surgery where they take out the tissue expanders and put in my “foobs”… to which I chose silicone implants.   I am thrilled with the fact that they are so much softer and more comfortable than the expanders, the shape, contour & symmetry are good, but I am disappointed in the size. I had the largest implants put in (800 cc) which should be a “d” cup.  When I went to get fitted for a bra last week I am barely a “b”.   I contacted my plastic surgeon and he said that what happened is during the expansion process while they were stretching my skin, it also pushed my ribs in (which explains much of the pain I was having).  Therefore the bulk of the implants are filling in that area, not projecting out.

I’m teetering here.  Clearly I wanted larger than what I started with, and now I have less.  I am tired of all of this, want it over, but at the same time I want to be happy with how I look.  I’m also leaning towards just accepting this because I am truly grateful that I am not disfigured from the mastectomies.

I’m going to meet with my plastic surgeon to discuss options.  It’s looking like another surgery…. ugh.

But my healing has gone very well.  If I lift things (which I’m not supposed to do for a couple more weeks) I get pains on the sides, but all in all, they are healing well.  I’m hoping the incisions turn to almost invisible as they were 8 months after the mastectomies.   My doctor tells me I have healthy good skin that over a year will fade to barely nothing.

So, that’s the update on the foobs.   Tonight I will celebrate my one year mark with students.  They do not know it, but we will toast to good health, friends… and more good things to come!


Another milestone


Monday, April 12th

I had my exchange surgery on Friday.  Out came the iron turtle expanders that felt like concrete constantly in my chest and in went Mentor silicone implants.  It wasn’t an easy day.  I got sick from the pain meds, was sick all the way home (trip from hell)… but made it.  This was surgery #3 since my diagnosis of breast cancer. 

One of the positives of surgery for me is….. I love being knocked out.   The surgical team asked me… Do you want to count backwards Donna?   99…..

I expected this to be much easier.  Came home with drains, and frankly? They suck!  They hurt…   I was supposed to get them out today but NOPE… still draining too much…. Dr wants to see me tomorrow… sighs…   Off to Boston.. and I surely hope these drains are gone upon my return home.  I feel like crap. 😦  My pain level is high tonight and my patience is running low.  So I’m going to work a gratitude list….  As frankly I do not think I have much positive to contribute tonight…. This too shall pass, this too shall pass.  Just thought I’d share a picture of my surgeon…….. 😉

A-Art, Acceptance, Attitudes, Amarjah

B-Brody, Boston hospitals/health care, Blueberry muffins

C-Caring, Chloe, Character, Coconut macaroos, clh, cruises

D-Dad, Doug, Darlene, decisions, Denise, Dylan (bobness)

E-Emotions are not facts, Energy, Ecru,

F-Friends, Family, Faith, Forgiveness, Fresh fruit

G-God, growth, gratitude, george

H-Health, Hope, Honesty, Humility

I-Intelligence, Interest, Intrigue

J-Jim, Jelly/Jam, Justice, Jennifurr

K-Karma, Karla, Karen,  

L-Love, learning, lessons, life, living

M-Mom, mischief, memories, music

N-Nurturance, Nature

O-Openmindedness, ominance

P-Promises, polka dots, product (for my big hair), perseverence


R-Rest, Relaxation, Respect

S-Socks, Sharing, Sex (though I wonder if I remember what it is)

T-Trust, Today, Tomorrow, Treatment

U-Understanding, utilizing my skills/talent

V-Violets, Videos

W-Wishes, Wisdom, Warmth, welcomings

X-Xrated thoughts lol

Z-Zanax, zoos, zest, Zoe

Changes within me


Thurs, March 25th 6:30am

I’m usually up at this time long enough to let the dog out, take my morning meds, feed the cats, let the dog in, and then back in bed for a few more hours….  One of the important (to me) perks of self employment.  This morning, however, I am heading to Boston to meet with my plastic surgeon, preop appointment, and some tests.

I am changing.  There are obvious changes in my body, but more important, inside, at my core.  The calmness and clarity that settled in me is comforting.   I still catch myself obsessing some about stupid shit, but in general, the diagnosis of cancer and the journey through it have brought about many positive things/changes.  For one, self worth.  I have never been the one to take care of myself.  I say I did, I believed I did, but now I know, it was superficial.  Somehow being diagnosed with a potentially fatal and quite chronic disease can bring you to a point of growth in about 10 seconds or less!  These are gifts.  Today I am eating right, I am exercising, I am active, I am resting when I’m tired, I am mindful of my time, my days, my life, and making much kinder and softer decisions for myself.  Those who love me are on the side lines rooting me on.  At this point (but it can change tomorrow), it isn’t about fighting the cancer, I have done that, it is about living my life to the fullest, growing, and actually doing the things in my life that I have said for years, I wanted to, or who I wanted to be.  I am becoming.  I am.  I am alive, today I am well, and excited as hell to have a second chance.

This morning I will see the sunrise, I will drive to Boston and meet with my plastic surgeon to discuss my exchange surgery scheduled for 2 weeks from tomorrow.  “Exchange” meaning, they will take out this iron turtle expanders that have been in now since July… the very expanders that every week I would go down and get an injection in the port that is inside of these suckers, of saline… to stretch the skin, tissue and muscle…. a grueling lengthy process… and they will be replaced with soft silicone implants.  Deep sighs.  This is exciting.  A new chapter in this journey, and one that will allow me to sleep on my side and belly again!

view from my oncologists office....

You know, there was one thing that stood out for me about myself after my mastectomy(ies).  I had just had my breasts removed, but after the healing from the surgery, I had never felt more whole in my life.  Interesting, huh?

I’m also scheduled for a bone density and I believe one other thing…. Lord only knows.  ?? ?

Please come to Boston for the springtime… I’m staying here with some friends, and they’ve got lots of room….. you can sell your paintings on the sidewalk.  Buy a cafe where I hope to be working soon… Please come to Boston, she said No, but you come home to me!”  Boston is not my home, but it is and has been an important “port of call” in my life.

Onward, upward, to a new day….