Four weeks ago yesterday I had my bi-lateral mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction and I’m happy to report that I’m feeling better every day.
The healing has been going incredibly well, and I credit the work that I did with my naturopath for that. This is not woo-woo stuff, it’s not something that you “believe” in, it’s science, people. I’ve been getting immune-boosting treatments for months now and it helped me sail through a major surgery. I had zero bruising, I started scarring immediately and my drains were all out within days. These are all signs that your body is healing very, very well. I’ve documented a few of these treatments on the Natural Medicine page of this website, and I will be elaborating in future blog posts. This is the single most important thing you can do for yourself if you are facing a major health crisis. Period.
OK, I’m finished with that soapbox moment, let me give you the rest of the update. The pathology report came back from the tissue they removed from my breasts. As we knew, there were three tumors, one on the left and two on the right. Normally breast cancer tumors stay in the breast tissue, but one of the tumors in the right breast had started to infiltrate the skin. This is unusual, the doctors did not expect it and they are not sure what caused it.
When you have cancer, one thing you always want to hear is that the pathology report showed “clear margins.” That means the entire tumor (at least the entire tumor that they know about) was removed with a margin of normal tissue surrounding it. Well, that was not the case with this one tumor that is behaving badly and had started to move into the skin. It’s not a huge deal, my breast surgeon just needs to slice out a little more skin, a very small area, then we should have it all.
The next step in this process was another surgery anyway to fix some cosmetic things around the scars, so it’s easy to combine this additional skin removal with that. My next surgery is scheduled for December 15. This surgery, and any others I may need (they say 3 or 4 additional surgeries are usually needed) will be minimal compared to the first one. My plastic surgeon said if what I already did was a 10, this will be a 4, so no big deal. It’s an outpatient procedure, I will be home that night.
This surgery will involve liposuction in order to sculpt my body around the scars since there are some very strange things happening with the shape of my body! The fat that is removed will then be grafted into my breasts to fix imperfections. This is all part of the normal process.
I welcome advice or information from any of you who have had liposuction, either for cancer treatment or cosmetic reasons. If you have any tips or tricks for getting through it, please email me.
In addition to a few more surgeries, I will also be meeting with a radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist to see if they recommend any additional treatments. I haven’t really started thinking about those possibilities yet, just trying to deal with the surgery part first.
The very best advice I was given and that I can give to anyone going through this is to just take it one step at a time. Focus on the treatment you are doing now and don’t worry about the next thing until you get there. Take your time and ask lots of questions, even though it gets tiring and you will feel like you want to give up, you are the best person to make these decisions.