Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Let's breast it down

Okay well I am back! I feel pretty good considering the surgery I went through. It was a tough surgery and I am STILL healing! I am feeling lots of pressure and I really dislike the tissue expanders. So here is the breast break down.

My surgery was at KU hospital and while we were waiting I had my grandma, my dad and his wife Cheri, Brian's father Frank, my Pastor, and of course my husband. Before I was sent to prepare for surgery my pastor said a prayer which was a powerful feeling and gave me the strength I needed, thank you Pastor Dale!

I really dislike needles and am "one of those patients" so I hear. It always takes at least 2-5 attempts to draw blood or get an IV. So I was a nervous wreck regarding the IV and for good reason b/c it took them 4 attempts! Ugh!

My surgeon removed my breast tissue (which I donated to KU for further research) and 2 lymph nodes on the right and 1 lymph node on the left to see if the cancer had spread. The right nodes were free from cancerous cells but we found out that the left node was cancerous. That was a HUGE blow! I go this Friday to have all my lymph nodes removed on the left side and then will have 6 weeks of radiation Monday-Friday sometime after I heal. The good news is they will let me do my radiation in Manhattan rather than KU!

My plastic surgeon went in and placed an expander under the muscle and shaped the breast with Alloderm(cadaver cartilage and filled them to a size B). They placed drains in each of my armpits to allow the fluids to escape. The surgery lasted about six hours.

It has been two weeks and I still have the draining tubes in and have a constant ache in my chest. The tissue expanders are ROCK HARD and uncomfortable! I am trying to stay grounded to my initial size decision which is hard b/c having your expanders stretched to MY size will be more uncomfortable and a longer process. They will fill the expanders every 2 weeks for anywhere from 2-4 months to get to my size. I am going to try to get as much as my surgeon will allow so I can speed up the process but I don't want to be in too much pain either. Tough calls I tell you!

It's funny how your image of breasts change with each chapter of your life. For instance when you are single they mean sexuality then you have children and they are no longer sexual but for nourishing your child, then after nursing for three years you realize they are just blobs. Am I the only one who feels this way?!  I went back and fourth deciding if  I should show you what my expanders look like but will leave that decision up to you individually.  If you are interested in seeing let me know and I will show you or email you the pics.  I know that my mind always wanders to the worst so I would want to see but I am also weird but you all know that already :)  I hope to help anyone else who has to endure this journey and have no shame in sharing pics but thought this was the most appropriate way to do so. 


Susan Fajatin said...

Thank you so much for sharing Courtney! You are still positive after all that you have endured. My love and prayers go out to you for a speedy and less painful recovery.

Emiko said...


You are my hero! Your faith and positive attitude are an inspiration to all and will help you clobber this. Keeping you in my prayers for a fast recovery.


welcome! said...

What a journey you have been through. You are such a strong woman!! I can't imagine being in your shoes and going through everything. You have the best attitude towards this all!!! I pray that God's Awesome miracles will be shot down from heaven to you and your family and all his wonderful blessings. One day, you will be able to look back and Thank God for being with you through this journey and making you a stronger christian believer. Much Love Jess

Lenay Marteney said...

You continue to be SUCH an inspiration!

Kylee said...

Thanks so much for sharing!! I am so happy to hear that you always have hope and are fighting. Keep your head up, you have been incredible through this whole journey.

Kara said...

Oh Courtney! I'm so glad you are documenting all this- it will be neat to read back on someday when this is all behind you and your new boobs are perky and in front of you! :-) Love ya girl!
ps- I'd love to view some pics- send them my way!

Unknown said...

You are in my heart and prayers always! You are SO STRONG!! May you feel God's presence surrounding you my friend! PS-can't WAIT to help you out with SOMETHING! I need a break from my house OR would love to have some extra kiddos over! looking forward to it!

http://suejacobsen.blogspot.com said...

Hello fellow stamper and breast cancer patient. I am almost 5 years out and doing ok. I had estrogen based stage 3 in one breast, one breast removed, 4 months chemo, 6.5 radiation. Start rubbing your chest with aloe or other types of ointments after the 1st rad. I had mine during the summer, bad timing. Hang in there, it will heal. I opted out for recon; but I could use a reshape of under my arm where they took 17 nodes, 4 had cancer. I have taken tamoxifen for almost 5 years which causes me hot hot sweats. I take other meds for a variety of things. Cancer changed my life and I am working on using it to teach me compassion, love and kindness towards those sick and not apparently sick. My name is Sue, I have been a stamper since 02, I am 61 with 8 grandkids.

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