I know I promised you all a photo of my new hooties (you bunch of pervs!) and I do intend on fulfilling my end of the deal (I am such a ho-bag!). Eventually. The truth of the matter is that I have been experiencing some complications from my surgery which have been very gross and discouraging. I am also a doofus.
The problem is that my skin on my right side (the cancer side) was radiated and therefore somewhat damaged. When I had the expanders in my surgeon was very pleased about how much the radiated skin stretched and how soft and supple it was. Basically he didn’t expect to encounter any problems. Famous last words. This summer, out of the blue, an open sore came up on my boob (and so the gross part begins!). I thought it was probably a skin infection and went to my regular family doc as my surgeon has a long wait time for appointments. I figured if it was something my surgeon should see I would find out then. My doc agreed with me that it was an infection and gave me antibiotic ointment which helped a lot but didn’t it heal up completely.
When my surgeon saw this little sore thingie the day of my implant surgery he said it was a hole in my skin due to the fact that the skin was so thin and damaged it was unable to heal. He cut that bit out so it had new clean edges when I went in for my last surgery and taped it up expecting it would heal up.
Well, it didn’t. As a result I have a bigger hole in my boob since my surgery. It went from under ¼ “ diameter to about an inch long. Then on top of it all this open wound started seeping (high gross factor alert) and I was forced to wear a bra 24/7 stuffed with Kleenex to deal with it. Along with this I have been feeling rather crappy and fluish over the last month too. I am a real mess.
So I called my surgeon’s office and they snuck me in and I had it looked at. The conclusion my surgeon came to is that my skin is just too damaged and thin and unable to do whatever skin does to close up and heal a wound. He said that this is unusual and concerning for him. FABULOUS!!!! I am on nasty antibiotics again and feeling less icky so I might have been fighting an infection. The seeping has stopped, which is nice, but the bad news is that I have to go into the hospital for another procedure this Thursday where, under local anesthetic, he will once again cut new margins and tape the wound up hoping that it heals.
There are good parts and bad parts to this. If it does manage to heal that will be good but I will not be able to have a nipple reconstructed there as everything is too delicate. That means I will be a one nipple wonder. If the wound doesn’t heal I will have to get another very major surgery done where they take skin from my back and bring it around to replace the skin on my front. This is very intense and painful surgery requiring 4 hours in the operating room. However I may be able to have a nipple reconstructed with the new skin.
I have found myself very upset and nervous about this new issue. I guess I just didn’t expect to get through cancer treatment with no problems only to encounter trouble on the reconstruction part. I have had three major surgeries and really don’t want another one. I hate that once again my body has failed me. I just want all this over and done with. I am sick of doctors and appointments and hospitals and all that nasty stuff. I don’t understand why the main implant incision which is just an inch above this wound healed just fine but this little thing won’t. It isn’t fair! I am feeling very picked on by the universe. Fuck, fuck FUCK!
Then on top of this I was a total ass at my appointment and completely embarrassed myself.
One of the many things I have learned over this whole cancer adventure is that I have a very hard time expressing to people that I am sad and afraid. I fall into this very glib and snarky mode when I find my heart and mind are racing over new stressful information or situations. I don’t know if I am trying to be funny or just don’t think about what I am saying and how I am coming off to others. Most of the time I come up with witty one liners but this time I totally bombed. I could say I didn’t know what I was thinking which would be the truth as my brain was just overtaken with thoughts of surgery and infection and blah blah blah. You know what I mean. I was not thinking straight.
So I was standing at the reception desk with my surgeon scheduling this new nasty procedure with his receptionist and I asked him if I could take an Ativan for the procedure. Well, that is what I really meant to ask. What I actually said was, “Can I take a whole shwack of Ativan?”
I should preface this bit saying that since I was diagnosed with cancer a pre-existing anxiety problem has gone through the roof causing bad panic attacks. When I was undergoing cancer treatment by docs recommended Ativan to cut down the anxiety. It really works wonders but in high doses can really zone you out. It is one of those drugs that one develops a tolerance to over time so I have always only taken one low dose pill and only if I was going to appointments etc so I didn’t build up a tolerance and have to start taking more and more for the same effect. I have found that one pill will drastically reduce the likelihood of a panic attack (even though I still feel anxious it just isn’t overwhelming) without sedating me at all. Anything over than that knocks me right out. The reason I wanted to take an Ativan for this procedure is that if I didn’t and had a panic attack I would get the shakes which is something not very cool when somebody is cutting you with a sharp scalpel. What I wanted to know was if taking a single Ativan would interfere with the local anesthetic etc. Pretty simple right?
The surgeon seemed taken aback by my question and said that I wouldn’t be able to drive myself home if I was under the effects of a lot of Ativan. And I said, in a smug and flippant way, “I can totally drive!” What I meant to say was that I can drive no problem if I take one Ativan. I couldn’t and wouldn’t if I took more. He then said in a very angry voice, “That is against the law!” and walked away from me.
So instead of saying I was only kidding (or more accurately sad, afraid and upset) I compounded my stupidity by turning to the receptionist and saying, “I guess he means no?” What I meant to say was, “I would never drive while stoned on tranqs. I am a very responsible and good girl.” The receptionist who is normally the most smiley and gregarious woman wouldn’t meet my eyes and with disgust on her face said, “It is really bad to do that.” And then turned away to ignore me rather than chat for a minute like we normally do.
It was only when I was in the elevator wondering what happened that my brain stopped freaking about my new bad news and I realized exactly what I said. I basically accidentally portrayed myself as an irresponsible prescription drug junkie to my doctor and his staff.
Now I don’t know why I can’t just laugh at my idiocy (it is not like I am never acted like a moron before) and move on. Instead I find myself very upset that I came off this way. I think the issue is that in reality I actually don’t do recreational drugs and I don’t drink alcohol AT ALL. I don’t even eat meat, for crap’s sake. My life is very boring and straight-laced. I would NEVER do anything so irresponsible. It goes against how I live my life.
So along with thoughts of upcoming medical procedures I have wondered if I need to dig myself out of this hole. Do I bring it up again at my next appointment and explain that instead of saying I was scared and upset I incorrectly stated that I basically was a drug fiend? Do I just let it go and pretend I never said anything so assholic?
So that is why you haven’t seen my new tits. Because I am scared and upset and icky and perceived as too stoned to hold the camera straight.