Well I am now 4 months and 3 weeks post-op...Where are on earth has the time gone? I have had one expansion and I'm due my second one later this week. I think it's time to update don't you?! I am guilty of being rather lazy when it comes to updating here but, apart from things being hectic at home (Mum has had some corrective surgery, decorating my sons bedroom, being made redundant), I'm so afraid of my readers getting tired of hearing the same old thing..."It hurts", but unfortunately there is more of that to come. I hate to think anyone thinks I'm turning this into something negative, because in the grand scheme of things it really isn't! But I think everyone should be aware that it's not always so rosy, but please remember this is my OWN experience...everyone is different!
On Valentines Day (for any overseas readers, 14th February) myself and my wonderful partner, Andy, headed down to London to see Prof. I was really hoping to be given my first expansion, but due to the problems during my recovery, I know that Prof wanted to see how I was first before agreeing to expand. Luckily he said it was ok to go ahead. So this is what happened...
He chose to do Lefty first, (this is the one which housed the infected Seroma!). So first he had to find the port, he did using a magnet which looked like a little egg-timer. He said the maximum they can inflate at any one time is 100mls, but tried with 50mls first. I have to say...it was bloody painful! I don't know if that's just because I have had problems with this side in the past, or whether it is just my luck! But he thought it was going ok so tried another 50, however he could only get another 15 in. I think he stopped because he could tell I was in quite a bit of discomfort. So altogether 65mls which he said equates to about a cup size. My first reaction when I looked down (I looked away for the needlework!) was "Wow!". I suddenly had developed a bit of a cleavage! WOOHOO!! He put the same amount in righty which, I have to say, didn't hurt as much! And that, believe it or not, is all it takes! It really is that simple.
I hate to sound "Same old, same old..." but I still get pain, twinges, aches. I don't know if I will ever be completely free from all that. Don't get me wrong it doesn't keep me up at night, or prevent me from doing anything, and it's nothing that a couple of pain killers now and again won't sort out.
So, I am due my second expansion later this week. Prof said at my last appointment that he thought I may only need one more and then be ready for the swap...I'm not so sure. I guess neither of us can be sure until we see how much I can take at this next expansion. But I can't imagine, if I only get about 50mls this time that I will be ready. To me they look like they need a bit more shape, they look kind of...flat. Even though they are a size...erm...Gosh, I don't even know WHAT size they are! How bizarre is that?! I must change that. Isn't it funny how, (ladies who have had this procedure will probably know what I mean here...) you suddenly stop measuring your boobs by the actual size and start instead by measuring mls (I'm currently at 265mls, this much I DO know! But what that is in actual bra sizes I've no idea! ha)...or number of expansions... First Lady - "I've had 2 expansions now", Second Lady - "Oh really? I'm just waiting for my first", Third Lady - "I'm done expanding and waiting for my swap", First AND Second lady think - "I can't wait to have my swap". On this journey, you learn to be patient!
So that is currently where I'm at with the old boobies! I am growing to like them, but some days I do look at them and don't like what I see, but I'm sure I had days like that pre-op anyway!
Luckily I have fantastic support from friends and family and count my lucky stars every day to have been blessed with them! And also from National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline, who have helped me no-end! It is so good to be in touch with other ladies who have gone through the same surgery for the same reasons. If you are reading this and you feel alone...PLEASE DON'T! If you would like to get in touch with me to have a chat about things please do! I run various support groups on Facebook which you can join and speak to others in the same situation. You can also find me on Twitter.
Well I guess that's it for now. I will update shortly after my next expansion (I promise!).
As always, thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment, and share. The more people this reaches, the more people will be made aware of the options available to them regarding BRCA1!