5/2/22 Post-Surgery

So many people have been asking for a blog update and I just realized I had one in draft mode from the week following my mastectomy that I never posted. 🤦🏼‍♀️ 

In my last blog post, I was getting ready for surgery. March 10th was the date of my double mastectomy. I was incredibly nervous leading up to surgery. I wasn’t necessarily concerned about the outcome but I was nervous about being intubated- which I had never had done before. 

The day started with getting dressed in the surgical gown and then heading up to nuclear med to get lymph node mapping done. To do this, radioactive dye is injected in your breast near the tumor site and and the lymph nodes closest to the tumor show up as radioactive. This gives the surgeons an idea of which lymph nodes need to be removed. I had heard that this was the worst part of the overall procedure and to be honest, that is probably accurate. It felt like a bee sting and in a few moments, it was

over. 

I remember praying my heart out on the table, praying to god for no more cancer. There are probably a handful of times where I can say that I have clearly heard god’s voice and laying on that table, I heard god telling me that whatever the outcome, it would be alright. 

Going into surgery, I walked right in. Got onto the table and the last thing I remember was them giving me some sort of medication. When I asked what type of medicine it was, they said “just a medicine to make it feel like you’ve had a few Cocktails.” The last thing I remember is saying “well, I certainly like cocktails.” The rest is history. I probably told some raunchy stories of some sort before they actually knocked me out. Fingers crossed they weren’t too bad! 

When I woke up, I was the last person in the Baylis building. The nurses were so surprised that I was up, energetic, and smiling! They said I did better than  people who had way shorter surgeries than me that day! 💪🏼

The soreness afterwards was definitely undeniable. However, the pain was manageable… especially when I wasn’t being a stubborn 💩 and took my medication as directed. 

During surgery, they ended up taking 5 lymph nodes out of my cancer side as well as all of my breast tissue, including nipples. At the last minute, they gave me an option to leave some of my areola which they said would give them good “material” to color match against if I wanted nipples reconstructed later on down the road. I went ahead and went for that option and to be honest, I am very happy with the results. 

As far as reconstruction goes, I did an immediate reconstruction over the muscle with silicone impants. That means, I got implants put in at the time of the mastectomy because I didn’t necessarily care about what size I ended up as. The implants were inserted over my muscle and cadaver tissue was used to make a sling to hold the implant in place. I opted for this type of surgery because of doing CrossFit and working out. All in all, I am incredibly happy with the results. I mean, my breasts obviously don’t look the exact same as they used to, but.. they are relatively the same size as they were post surgery AND perks to not having nipples… I don’t have to wear a bra if I don’t want to! 

About a week after surgery, my pathology reports came back and much glory to god- I had a complete response to chemo! This means that the cancer responded incredibly well to chemo and there was no cancer left in the remaining mass in my breast or in any of the lymph nodes! Having a complete response is huge for TNBC! My recurrence rate without a complete response was pretty high. However, with a complete response, my recurrence rate is about the same as anyone else who had breast cancer. One doctor said about 5% whereas my oncologist said 5-10%. I will take it! 

Having a complete response also means no radiation or additional chemo for me! A huge relief! To complete my treatment, I do have to do 9 rounds of immunotherapy which thus far, I have actually already done 2! So, 7 more to go! I go once every 3 weeks and luckily, the immunotherapy has minimal side effects! 

In the last few weeks, Beau boy had his second appointment at the Neurofibromatosis clinic in STL. Beau is doing great! He saw his neurologist and saw an ophthalmologist to check for optic tumors. So far, fingers crossed, it doesn’t look like he has any growing! We are going to hope and pray that it stays that way! 

In the last couple weeks, I have also returned back to work. I am over the moon to be back in the office and get to see my Horace Mann friends a few times a week! Seeing people physically in the office has been amazing! 

This past weekend, we took Tinleigh to a soccer tournament and did our first overnight in a hotel as a family of four! Beau boy did great and Tinleigh did great on the field! I was super proud of her! I love how much she loves soccer! 

All in all, we have all been enjoying getting back to a new sense of normalcy. Which, has really been a blessing for everyone in the household- especially my Tinleigh girl. 

Prayer requests:

1. Please pray for no cancer recurrence. 

2. Please pray that Beau boy continues to not have any tumors. 

3. Please pray for Tinleigh as she navigates life with less stress (hopefully) on her shoulders. 

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