elated inflated. The first ‘expansion’ is over and wow, what a process. My friend, Jenny, sent this today in honor of the occasion.
Today I went with Ashley, Jennifer and my mom to Dr. Potter’s office for an 11:15 appointment. (And for all of those wondering…yes, Ashley drove and I’m so happy my büber driver is back.)
(Jennifer, mom, me & Ashley yesterday. Today, humidity prevailed.)
First of all, let me just say that the entire process of breast reconstruction is SO BIZARRE. The best way to explain what I had done today is for you to watch this 30 second G rated video. (You can thank my friend, Kim V, later. HYSTERICAL)
Anyway, we went to Dr. Potter’s office and ended up meeting some nice, new friends in the waiting room. My sisters and I had just commented that it’s so weird to sit in a plastic surgeon’s waiting room (in Dallas of all places) and wonder what everyone is there for. It is quite possibly the best people watching I’ve ever experienced.
And I’ve been to the mall in Killeen.
However, after meeting our new friends, whom I would have NEVER guessed were there because of cancer, I realized I can’t assume why anyone is sitting in that waiting room. One of these girls had more energy than my sisters and I combined, and the other was so young and beautiful. You really just never know what the people next to you are going through. Jen used to always say Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate. And today reminded me of that truth.
While we were waiting for our names to be called, our new friends ended up swapping beauty tips with us (remedies for hair growth, lash boost, etc). And before you roll your eyes with judgement, these products take on a whole new meaning when touted by those who have lost their hair and eyelashes to chemo. Later, Ashley told me they asked for my name so they could put me on their prayer list. Someone please hand me the kleenex. Now that I have theirs as well, I will do the same (‘Jennifer & Christie’ in case you have a list too). I was so struck by how quickly I felt connected to these women if even for a brief moment. Cancer is funny like that. It acts as a magnet that forcibly pulls people together whose lives have been affected by it.
Before we met Jennifer & Christie, I started tearing up in the waiting room. I was distracted this past weekend with Father’s Day and my sweet dad’s 80th birthday, so this was the first time I’d really given this “fill up” any thought. How does it work? Does it hurt? Why did they suggest I take a muscle relaxer? Ashley is good at shutting down my tears and began searching YouTube for how the process works. Once we saw the process, all of my fears were allayed and I felt much better. Ash and YouTube for the win.
Once in the exam room, I asked how many times I would be getting inflations over the course of this reconstruction. The PA said approximately 3-4 times. Then she began the process. She simply located the expander they placed during surgery with a special device. Then she inserted a butterfly (tiny) needle which has a small tube connected to it. Lastly, she injected a small amount of saline into the tube. I started flinching when it got tight, and thankfully she said she would stop. Then she repeated the same steps for the other side. I was mesmerized by the entire experiment, and could not believe how quickly I went from 12 years old to Dolly Parton.
(The Growing Up Skipper Doll)
My sisters quickly asked if they could be next.
After all was said and done, the PA said ‘Well, maybe you’ll only need 1 or 2 more expansions instead of 3 or 4.’ I have no idea where she got that idea.
Upon leaving the office, the conversation went something like this:
Me: Well, that’s one down! Jennifer: Or Two down! Mom: Or Two Up!
And that’s why I love my family. Especially when we aren’t wrinkly.
Now I’m back at home in bed resting in PJ’s awaiting my muscle relaxer to kick in. I could not be more thrilled that the first of these inflations is over.
Thank you for your prayers, texts and concern. Please keep them coming. I should receive my results from the Oncotype test this week (which will determine my likelihood of having chemo) and I will keep you posted on that as well.
Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,
PS: I purchased a heavy duty air pump for Trevor as a Father’s Day Gift to fill up our pool floats, bikes and gazillion basketballs. NOT EVEN THINKING. Something tells me in light of this whole process, he may be tempted to use it for purposes not included in the manual.