I have several in-progress blogs about puppy, New Orleans, and my oncologist appointment on Monday, but here’s something else. Also, having a 10 week old puppy limits your time for anything, they’re like “baby lite”, constantly trying to destroy your things and themselves, sometimes simultaneously. Anyways…
I met with plastic surgeon number 3 yesterday and I’m officially depressed. First the infuriating/sarcastic part because that’s more fun… (Seriously I just had to step away from writing to stop Wallace from trying to eat the metal trashcan). Ok, so the surgeon strongly recommends I give up my remaining natural boob because I very probably have a gene causing breast cancer in my family that they can’t detect yet which increases my reoccurrence rate. This is not new news and it’s something I’ve discussed with my general surgeon and my oncologist and both support me keeping righty. New PS aggressively pushed the point before finally realizing that it’s not going to happen. I even told him that studies now show that double mastectomies do not increase the chance for survival over lumpectomy with radiation (where you keep both boobs). He agreed with this so his pushing me to get rid of righty is not to do with my life, but to do with having to go through treatment a second time. This is a bit infuriating because I’m the one who had to go through this, the only one, so it is entirely up to me and a very personal decision as to whether or not I am willing to risk going through it again. If he thought it would save my life I could see pushing it, but if it’s because you think I shouldn’t have to go through treatment again, I agree with you, but I get to make that choice. And as a guy, I’d like to ask you if you got testicular cancer and they told you that your left ball was fine and removing it wouldn’t increase your chance for survival, but you could possibly get cancer again in it, would you remove both? And don’t tell me “it’s not the same”, because how would you know?
So that was the negative about the surgeon. He was recommended to me by the head of the cancer survivor program at Ochsner, whom I like very much. He also takes my insurance and has a private practice but is affiliated with Ochsner which is good. (Ok just had to stop writing again to get Wallace to stop chewing on the matt by the sink. I lightly beat him on the head with his stuffed ducky so he’s chewing on that now).
Other than that initial not so awesome conversation, he was good. Seemed very smart and solid. But that isn’t the end of the bad stuff. Here’s the real bad stuff: He agrees with PS #2 that the necrosis is pretty significant on my right breast and needs another tissue transfer to fix. This fucking sucks. Like monumentally sucks. It’s close to a start-over after everything I’ve gone through recovering from the first surgery. It could be 4-6 weeks recovery which makes it a tad difficult job wise down here and life wise. It means another surgical recovery where I’ll have the boob and where the tissue is taken from (probably booty) that will be painful and recovering. Then I will most likely need a third surgery to sculpt it to make it match and look natural. This is normal and usually the second surgery, I am just super unlucky and need a do-over from the first one. He blamed my original surgeon a lot for how things have turned out. I’m not sure how entirely that is true because reading more on flap surgeries it seems like what happened to me is a somewhat normal complication if you’re going to have one. Not that anyone talked me through that. I am however going to get a copy of the surgical notes and take a closer look at what happened. He also wants to fix my scar and belly button, but not in the way PS#2 wanted to fix it. He wants to pull my scar down lower where he says it should have been all along. This will put it below pants and bathing suit line which would be very helpful. My belly button, it turns out, is off center so he wants to fix that too which seems reasonable. Also this would all be covered by insurance.
So I have been feeling depressed and hopeless that I have to still go through this after everything I’ve gone through. I’ve even thought about going the implant route, but I’m trying to push myself to think longterm. It’s hard now. It’s hard to put longterm first when I’ve been through so much. I’ve had 6 months of pain and sickness and tacking on another month, month and a half is just unbearable.
I know the automatic question that comes to people is why not wait to do it then? I think it will get harder and harder to do it if I wait because the more normal life I get into, the harder it will be to return to this. It also takes a toll every day having things look so off and not having full range of motion in my left arm. I can’t see waiting making anything better, I just see it making misery longer.
I’m proceeding with the idea I’m going to do the surgery end of February. I’m probably going to go with PS#3, but I haven’t 100% made that decision yet. Back to status “this sucks”.