Saturday, June 5, 2010


Kelley says..................

I guess since my mother had a mastectomy I am more informed about this than most people. I didn't really think about this before. But I am finding that so many people really have no idea the details of what having a mastectomy really means. I am guessing people are pretty curious about what has really happened to me. So I thought I would just try to explain it the best I can. There are so many different surgeries. But what I had was a simple bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.  

The day before my surgery, I had to go see my plastic surgeon. I went in and he took a purple sharpie and marked up my breasts in the exact places so he could know exactly where he wanted the skin to be removed. Basically, they remove a section from the middle including the nipple and then go in and remove all the fat and cells that they possibly can not only in the breast but up to the collar bone, under the arms and back around the sides. If you hugged yourself real tight, where your hands would be is what I am talking about when I say back around the sides. This is why I am so sore in many different places. When they removed the skin from my breast area, they cut nerves so I do not have a lot of feeling in that particular area. However, I do have feeling in all the other places. 

They also removed lymph nodes which were clear of any cancer! The lymph nodes are the first place cancer spreads. Our lymph nodes are what helps fight off infection among many other things. Since I have had some removed, I can never again have blood taken from my right arm or my blood pressure taken from that arm. I have to be extra careful not to cut or injure myself on my right arm as well.

After the breast surgeon was done with all of the above, the plastic surgeon came in and put in tissue expanders beneath the skin and pectoral muscle. It is kind of like a saline implant with hardly any saline inside. Once I am healed up from the surgery, I will get a little more saline put in. This way, my skin can stretch and grow slowly over time. I will go in every few weeks to have more saline put in. Then, I will have to go in for a second surgery which will be day surgery to have the tissue expanders removed and silicone put in. Then, I will be done with reconstruction. Unless of course I want to get nipple reconstruction and I really don't know when that will be done, if it will be during or after. But, I am not worried about that right now. The complete process will take up to one year.

That is all I can think of to tell you. But you are always welcome to ask me any questions you like. I hope one day all this information will help other women and their families and friends to be better prepared for what is happening to themselves and their loved one. Really, as far as the pain goes, I don't think it would be too terrible if it weren't for the drain tubes. Which I still have two of by the way!!!! And I am officially SICK AND TIRED of them!!!! But I am SO keeping my fingers crossed that I will get them out next week. I will be so glad when they come out so I can wear some normal clothes and not look pregnant anymore. Of course the holes where the other ones came out just now are almost healed up. So, it takes a while for holes in your body to heal obviously! But, I am ready to get on with this.

I did have a slight break down again today. I am guessing that this must be normal because it seems to happen about every 5 days. I think when I get a glimpse of my new reality, when I realize how my life will truly never ever be the way it was, that is when it is the hardest. And with these drains in, there are just so many things that I am limited to doing. I mean, they just hurt and are uncomfortable. The more I heal everywhere else, the more I feel them there. Besides the fact that I can literally feel the tissue expanders inside there which is a totally and completely GROSS feeling. When I bend over to try and pick something up I can feel something too. Can't really explain it though or think of anything that would help give you an idea of what I am talking about. Just trust me when I say it is a yucky feeling.

Well, I hope you feel more informed. I am happy to share this info with you. 


1 comment:

  1. I didn't know any of that. Thank you for explaining! I've been thinking of you and praying for you.

    This morning at church, Avery saw both Heather and Rachel at different times. When saw them, she would like hit them or something and then look up and me and say "Mommy, I like her :)"

    Love and Miss you!