10.11.18 – 6 years later.

6 years later. It seems long, but not distant. Does that make sense? The pain memory has faded, but the muscle memory holds it all. Strange, isn’t it?

6 years later and I find myself in another conference room. On this particular morning, I don’t receive a call from Dr. Huo (thank God!), instead, this conference room is where I busily work away at my new job as a People Partner at a cool company, working with, and supporting, really smart and motivated people. I feel really happy on this particular 10.11.

4 weeks ago I started a new chapter and went back to work. The adjustment hasn’t been that bad. Paul’s been a great support and has taken on a lot more kiddo duty so that I can ramp up. I really love working and I think I’m doing a good job keeping it all in perspective and maintaining balance in my life between the kids, the hubs and self care time. That said, I’m only 4 weeks in, so the train has plenty of time to come off the tracks!

In all seriousness though, things are good, really good. Life seems to have reset itself. This will never be something that I forget, that I don’t think about often. In fact, I continue to take cancer booty calls from PAMF on a regular basis. But, it’s sort of become woven into my fabric. My close friend circle is filled with so many BAYS pals. The lines are all blurred and I love that. I love it. It’s who I am now, and I kinda dig the new me.

This is what 6 years later looks like for me – a full head of hair – lots of chaos – never a perfect family photo – and most importantly, crazy fun with Paul, the kiddos and Maisey, Maise…..

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STATS:
6 years
1 amazing hubs
1 amazing Maisey dog (whose namesake is now pretty well known – Maisey Hirono)
2 beautiful, amazing kiddos
1 amazing new job!…..

 

Soft Tissue Cellulitis

Met with Dr. Hong again today and he thinks I had soft tissue cellulitis. Which is a fancy way of saying I had a bacterial skin infection. I’ll finish this 10 day course of antibiotics and see how it goes. I may need to be on meds a little longer — but we’re hopeful 10 days will be plenty.

My foob is only a tiny bit swollen and angry now. Dr. Hong said it may take a couple weeks for it to feel completely “normal” again.

I’ll take that over surgery any ‘old day.

Thank you universe for cutting me a break this time. I owe you one!

Day 5

Just a quick note to let you know I’m doing way better. I haven’t had a fever since Friday night and the foob is still responding to antibiotics!

I’ll drive down to Palo Alto to see Dr. Hong on Tuesday and we’ll make a decision on next steps.

Starting to become hopeful I won’t need surgery 🤞🏼

Thank you all for your calls, messages and texts. They mean the world to me!

Alrighty, more in a few days.

Xo

Update

We arrived at the surgicenter around noon. Dr. Hong popped out of his surgery to take a look at me. He agreed that I’d had a very good response to the antibiotics.

He said he couldn’t, in good conscience, put me under general and remove the implant without giving it a bit more time to see how it responds.

So we drove back up to the city and I’m back at the ER. I’ve asked to receive another IV shot of the antibiotics from last night (Did you hear the one about the Indian girl who waltzed back into the ER demanding what her treatment be?…..)

Anyway, I’m here and hope it’s not an uphill battle to get the shot. Dr Hong said they can call him to talk to him if it comes to that (I’m sure it will!)

Then, the plan is to stay in constant touch with Dr. Hong. If things go sideways at all, he’ll meet me at the surgicenter and remove the implant. Even over the weekend, if necessary.

I’m definitely still in pain and will stay hyper aware of my foob until this reaches a conclusion one way or the other.

But I’m super happy my health is good enough that we can give this a day or two to see if we can save the implant.

Sorry for the roller coaster ride — this is just my crazy life!

Are you there God, it’s me Andrea

I’m hesitant to post this one. It’s been a long while. I used to post about everything, then somehow it turned into just posts about the good and the bad. Not the in between. Trust me, life’s been a lot of “just the in-between” lately. Just normal life with normal issues.

I know a lot of readers out there are fellow TNBC’rs and look to my blog as a sense of hope. I hope my latest set back doesn’t deter or scare you — just shows you that everyone’s road is different — and complicated…..

Just the facts ma’am:

10 days ago I came down with a low-grade fever of unknown origin. It came complete with teeth chattering chills.  After a day and half and lots of Tylenol and rest, I seemed to be back to normal. Whether or not I was, I just went back to living life normally!

A few days later I could tell I had another low grade fever, but didn’t bother to take my temp. Just went to bed early and got rest. All seemed fine in the morning. So, on with life I went.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon my chest wall next to my right foob was incredibly painful. Trust me, I experience some level of pain and discomfort on the daily with my implants — but I’m used to it now.

This pain was different. Was real. Was intense. Was new. By evening, I could tell I had another full blown fever – but had to put Nora to bed. After she was down I hopped in the shower to warm myself up and noticed that my right foob was slightly swollen, warm to the touch (which is very unusual for reconstructed breasts — they’re normally cool and clay to the touch) and there was a visible redness along the side.

I decided I needed to see a doctor the next day. Garrett got me in at 1:30 and confirmed that something was going on – by then my right foob was visibly larger than the left. He prescribed antibiotics and said if I’m not feeling any better right away to call him and we’d take next steps. He also mentioned that some folks like to involve their plastic surgeons in discussions since an implant is such special property.

As I left G’ office I called my plastic surgeon, Roy Hong. He texted me back asking for pictures.

I obliged.

He called me 30 mins later telling me to go to the ER and have the on-call doctor call him.

After I got Nora home from school. I uber’d to the ER. After a chest X-ray and breast ultrasound, I received a high dose IV push of an antibiotic called DAPTOmycin. That medicine will cover me for 24 hours so that I can go down to Los Altos this afternoon to see my surgeon. (I also took Levofloxacin when I got home from the ER and again this morning.)

It appears that there’s fluid in the capsule surrounding my implant which is causing an infection. There’s no way to fix this issue other than complete implant removal. The pocket will remain empty as it heals for at least 3 months. If all looks good, I’ll have a spacer placed back into the pocket and we’ll start stretching the skin that will have inevitably shrunk over 3 months. It’ll take another 3 months to stretch my skin. If all looks good at that point, I’ll do a swap out of the spacer for a new gen implant and I’ll remove and replace the left implant with a matching new gen implant.

So basically, a shitty 6 months with one fake boob and one nothing, flat side.

I will say that this morning I woke up and had a good response to the antibiotics. The swelling and redness have subsided slightly, but it’s definitely not fixed altogether. Dr. Hong called me at 7am and asked how I was doing. I reported this positive news to him. He said, he’d keep an open mind and maybe my good response to the medicine could buy me a couple days to wait and see before surgery. His main concern is what happens after the antibiotics are done. Will I be up shits creek again? This came on so damn fast it’s scary. I went from normal to in the ER being tested for sepsis within one day.

I suspect he was just being kind this morning when we talked. If there’s fluid in the capsule, he’s already told me in no uncertain terms there’s no cure for it other than removal. And my U/S showed fluid.

So I mentally prepared for surgery. I’ve taken a shower, shaved my legs, put some make-up on (look good to feel good, right) and said extra long goodbyes to the kiddos.

Paul and I are off to Los Altos now. Dr. Hong is booked with pre-existing surgeries but I’ll be seeing his right hand man. I confirmed this isn’t the guys first solo surgery and that he does indeed know what he’s doing ;)!!!! Dr. Hong will be in the OR next door and will see me in-between surgeries to confirm our decision to go ahead or wait and see. (My gut is telling me, we’re a go for removal)

As fucking shitty as this is. And is much as it leaves me asking “why me?” and “I was *just* getting comfortable in this new body and getting my confidence back — why now?” I’m forcing myself to look on the bright side — I’m not being told its lymphoma of the implant, a recurrence or mets. So I’m forever grateful for that.

See you on the other side!

xoxo

Me this am, all “are you F’ing kidding me with this?”

Pic of me just now — I’m all “are you F’ing kidding me with this?” Got my post op button up on. This ain’t my first rodeo….

With You

Janet,

I spent last night with you. We had an amazing evening with Paul, Tina & Jill — by the end of it, we inevitably started to reminisce about you. A lot of tears were shed. But a lot more joy was spread.

After Tina & Jill went home, I decided to spend the rest of the night with you. I rewatched your music video and all of your med talks. To hear your voice in my ear buds was intimate, to watch your graceful body dance with such life — was a gift. It’s like you were sitting right next to me. It was comforting. Thank god for technology, right?

Today, I went back to your resting place for the first time since I shoveled dirt upon you. Today I witnessed the beautiful tradition of your memorial stone unveiling. Today I begin to say goodbye to you my friend. Today I ask for closure. Today is the day that your memory *truly* will become a blessing to me.

Tomorrow, when my tears have dried, I will continue to talk to my children about you. Tomorrow I will continue to keep your spirit alive. Tomorrow I will share with another your passion about end of life choices. Tomorrow I will continue to carry on your legacy.

You are always in my heart and never far from my thoughts. I love you very much my dear friend.

In an interview you were asked what your tombstone “dash” would stand for. The dash between your “born on” and “died on” date. And here’s what you said, “It’ll read: MIT MD Rock* ” FUCKING LOVE THAT

I know you and Harriet planned your funeral, grave and memorial stone WELL in advance. In fact, you planned your death incredibly well. I was very pleased to see that your memorial stone read exactly what you said it would in that interview. It made me smile during a selfishly shitty time.

You were ambitious in your need to curate your death early on. You did an excellent job planing for all the possibilities. But after some time, death just become death. I’m still so proud of you and in awe of you during your last weeks. 

While it may not have turned out exactly as you envisioned. I think you did an amazing job. And I know you helped so many other people along the way. Thank you for being bold, bright and fearless in the face of death.

You are a star shining bright in the sky for me. I love you very much Janet. I miss you terribly.