Sunday, June 3, 2012

3 months post op - 350cc

 right side

front - kinda looks funny, lucky it's not permanent

 kinda far apart - aren't they? Well, it's all gonna be fixed when i get the implants! :-D
but what you think about the appearance of the scars, just 3 months old - don't they look great?

 the spots where they drains were make me worry the most - they just wont fade....
i guess i need a tattoo over them! 

 my little scar is fading too - i'm happy with the results. I know my scars are pretty big - it depends on how big your areola and nipple were. 

with shirt on! Doesn't look so bad huh?

still not there where i want to be... maybe 3or 4 more fills and than i'm done!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Something you might find interesting about recovery.........

to quicken the healing i got some tips from a nutritionist:

Pineapple (no matter fresh or out of can)
Coconut oil for cooking/baking
Coconut water
Coconut milk

I ate every morning a big bowl of papaya, drank a fresh squeezed orange/carrot/pineapple juice and used coconut oil for cooking and baking (i tried coconut water and milk, didn't like it and i think what you don't like, can't be good for you) 
I think it did help a lot - without stretching. physio therapy my arm movement was almost back to normal 5 weeks post op. I started working 6 weeks out - i am a swim-instructor, 4 hrs/day in the water, heavy lifting included, lots of movement....  I am one week away from 3 months post op and my movement is as good as it was before my PBM! 

Also, give your body TIME to heal!!!! I had 24 hr help for about 7 weeks post-op! I did not do anything for 6 weeks after, when i say anything i mean it, i didn't even drive the car for 6 weeks. I really was just laying around and got some good rest and time to heal. That's why i probably gained that much weight! LOL 
Even if you think you are ready to take over the vacuum again - YOU ARE NOT!!! If you want to have a speedy recovery without complication you better listen to your Doc, and he will tell you not to do anything for 6 weeks! 

DRAINS suck big time! Doesn't matter, they are important and there for a reason. I had 4 in total - 2 on each side. Make sure you keep your Drain record up to date and take really good care of them (make sure they show you exactly what you have to do when you empty them and how often)
I had the 2 under the muscle for 2 weeks, the 2 above the muscle for 3 weeks. I made sure that there is no more than 15cc coming out for more than 3 days in a row and got them removed after the weekend so if they would've been an emergency i could reach my Doctor. You're wondering why i waited that long? Because i had one drain showing less than 20cc for two days in a row and at the 3rd day it moved up to over 25cc again. If you do more, you will drain more fluid. If you have the drains, it will drain, if not you will develop a big problem.

Alcohol pads, Anti-septic and other necessary items i got from the Dollar Store, they are the same what you can get in the pharmacy just 10 times cheaper.

SHOWER - oooh a nice hot shower will be your best friend, for sure after the expansions! Make sure that someone is around you when you take a shower as long as you have the drains. It's just easier for you. 
Don't skip one - everything feels much better if you keep your self clean. 
My first shower i took two days after surgery. It was pretty exhausting but it felt awesome. Every time gets easier. 
For the first few showers you might need someone who takes care of your hair - but try to do it by your own.... one day you are able to but if you don't try you wont find out! 
Same thing for reaching for things - just try, but stop before it hurts! Get help if your not able to... there is nothing wrong with getting to much help - just with getting to less ;-)

To reduce the appearance of STRETCHMARKS and SCARS i used Bio-Oil. I think it helped a lot - also to keep the skin moist and stretchable.

SLEEP - i bought a 10" bed wedge. The first few weeks after PBM you wont be able to get out of bed also, because of the drains, you wont be able to sleep on your side. Breathing will be also easier when you sleep upright. After i got my drains removed i tried sleeping without. It was possible, because i usually sleep on the back. If you love to sleep on your side you might keep the wedge longer so you wont turn. Sleeping on the side is very uncomfortable in the first view weeks. Just try it...

ATTITUDE - If you are not ready to give up your boobs - your body wont be either! Make sure you are ready to do this! I think a positive attitude also reduces the healing time and complications. Don't go crazy by all the stories you read about side effects, complications,..... Most woman don't have them and don't write much about  an easy recovery!

CLOTHES - Forget about buying button-up shirts and all that stuff you read about to wear after surgery. Safe your money! One important thing is the SPORTS-BRA what opens up in front... You will find them at walmart. And some comfy big clothes like zipper-hoodies.... All the other stuff, just get creative - wear shirts from your boyfriend, husband, brother, dad.....  The Drains you can attach with safety-pins to your Bra. In the shower you attach them on a shoestring and put them around your neck.  I got tired of the drains rubbing against my skin, so i cut holes in cheap undershirts from my husband. Worked great!!!

WATER - drink, drink, drink... nothing is more important than keeping your body hydrated - especially during healing/recovery time. Your body needs the fluid the close the wounds, fight infections (remember that enough water keeps your blood clean)
You might want to buy one of those cups to make it easier for you to drink. Don't buy it too big, you wont be able to lift much the first few weeks. 

5 weeks out - 120cc total/each and 10 lbs heavier

left side

right side

my little scar - when your skinny, there is not much room between skin and breast tissue, so an accident like that can happen and its not uncommon! You also can see a little spot above my left breast where the layer of skin is really thin now.....

overall not that bad - i expected way worse! My right expander turned a little - i'm right handed and probably did a wrong move in the first few weeks

For 5 weeks i think my incisions look amazing! I started using  "Bio-Oil" at 3 weeks post op twice a day and i think its magic! 

3 weeks post PBM - Drains out and first Fill of 40cc

left side

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

YAAAAYYY I DID IT! 7 Days post bilateral Mastectomy with immediate Reconstruction

The time between the day when i got my results and the day of my surgery was the worst i ever had. With every day the fear got bigger. I haven't had inner peace at all, could not sit still.....
Finally, on Wed. March 7th i went into surgery at 8:45 am! This was the best day i had the last few months. When i woke up, my husband looked at me with tears in his eyes - i just said: "everything is gonna be alright! - i am happy and relieved!" Even i had pain - it felt like someone nailed my chest to the mattress. The breathing was pretty hard - it felt like breathing while laying under an elephant! Overall - the relief was so much bigger than the pain! It still is!
I got discharged the next day as i had my pain under control pretty fast. I just needed the half dose of painkiller what my doctor actually prescribed. 
that's how i look like 7 days after PBM - you see the drains underneath my skin? Glad i couldn't feel them - looks worse than it was ;-) Overall i think it looks good!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Day i got the results

It was a normal Wednesday, 2:30pm, the phone is ringing: "Hi Melanie, this is Jake from the genetics, are you in a comfortable ambiance so we can talk?"
Yes of course, i was at home - the moment he said that i knew the news were not good. But to be honest - i expected that i am BRCA 1+, of course i was hoping for a negative. My mother is BRCA 1+, obviously my aunt was too - otherwise she would have not get cancer that early. My grandma died at age 42, my other grandma at an early age too - all from cancer. I knew the chance to be a carrier of the gene is 50/50... but i expected the bad 50!
It did not really knock me down - of course i'm more worried about everything than before. But i feel relieved to have the results - i am a carrier and finally i get people to listen to me, and get the preventive care i need!!

The decision of getting tested

We moved to the USA from Germany in January 2008. Back in Germany i had a really good OBGyn, very familiar with our strong family history of cancer, she also was my moms OBGyn. I got special care, was able to go for a visit every 6 months, got vaginal ultrasound every 6 months, clinical breast exam every 6 months, once a year an ultrasound from the breasts, Pap test every 6 months, Mammogram every 2 years. B efore i left to the State she wanted to do a MRI of my breasts but i could not get an appointment before i left Germany. So i decided i will just go to the OBGyn over here and will try to get one.
I made an appointment at the women health department and was expecting nearly the same care as i knew it from Germany. I got a NP - she seemed nice, i got my pap test, clinical breast exam and a "Good bye, take care"! Well, that was not what expected - after i had to fill out the form with the family history before i got taken to the room. So i was asking her about vaginal ultrasound, ultrasound and mammogram from the breasts and all those test i always had in Germany. The answer she gave me: "What do you think, you are 27 years old - you are way to young to get cancer!" I broke out in tears and left.
My Aunt died 1989 at the age of 29 after her doctor told her the same thing and diagnosed a breast tumor as a plugged  up mammary gland.
In 2009 i got pregnant - i went in to get my flu shot and a Nurse referred me to a doctor because she thought we match pretty good.. Funny story....
So after i was pregnant i went to my postpartum appointment. 6 months later i made an appointment again, 6 months later another appointment.. At the second appointment she asked me: "What are you doing here again? You were just here 6 months ago! Your not due for the next 2 years!" I told her about my history - finally i found someone who listened. At the same appointment she referred me to the Genetics and to the Radiology for a vaginal ultrasound.
When i went to get my ultrasound i thought, well i'm already here, so i get my mammogram too. I checked in for the ultrasound and asked for a mammogram too. The answer i was getting: "You want a mammogram? Well, we only give mammograms to women over 40. You are way to young for breast cancer"
Here we are again....Broke down in tears because i didn't get what i was asking for, remembered the story of my aunt who easily could have fought the cancer if the doctor would have diagnosed her right. At that day i decided to do the genetic testing to finally get my preventive care i need.