Linda is recovering very well. She still has limited use of her arms (to avoid stretching healing tissue/muscles) but other than that is up puttering around the house and visiting with friends. It truly amazes me how resilient the human body and spirit is to injury.
I've got to tell you though, it has been a tough week for me, more so mentally than physically. As strong as she has been, it *really* sucks watching her go through this. It is absolutely the best thing we can do to ensure the cancer won't come back, so it is well worth it.
Just look at her, as radiant as ever, and she's even pain-killer free here in this picture taken today. Incredible!
Our son referred to her as "Robot Mommy" as she had an inordinate number of tubes coming out of her chest, sides and abdomen when she came home. She had a fanny pack to carry around the pain pump and Jackson-Pratt drain bulbs. Quite the fashion statement. I removed her pain pump on Tuesday when it ran out, 2 drains were removed on Wednesday and the last 2 drains were removed on Friday. She is now back to having the standard number of orifices. In a couple weeks, she starts filling the expanders, which should take about 4-6 weeks to fill out completely. After that we wait 3 months while her muscles and tissue get used to the expanded size. After 3 months, the expanders are replaced with the final implants, or as they are known in the breast cancer community, foobies (for fake boobies). The results can be truly amazing.
We visited with Linda's oncologist on Friday. In contrast to what Dr H. had expected, it turns out the new cancer was biologically identical to the first cancer. It may not even be a 'new' cancer, just another site of the original tumor. It is still triple negative (ER-/PR-/Her2-), still aggressive (about a 7-8 on a scale of 3-9) , but was only about 1cm. Dr H. gave huge kudos to the radiologist who read the mammogram for catching the almost imperceptible tumor. Kudos indeed!
So what's next? Well, Dr. H wants another PET scan to get a baseline, and if that baseline proves clean, there is a very good chance that Linda will *not* have to do more chemo. Enough so that Dr H. put off getting the port put in. In this 20 month roller-coaster of good and shitty news, not having to endure chemo would definitely be one for the + column. Fingers and toes crossed.
This is a blog that another lady has been kind enough to share.
Breast Reconstruction with Expanders
It has been incredibly helpful for us. The fear of the unknown has been one of the hardest aspects of this journey. By documenting her mastectomy and reconstruction, Lianne has truly given us a gift that is immeasurable. Thank you.