Thursday, 29 March 2012

Help Create a Film

Help support this film if you can, please. My friends are working on "Valleys", it is about young adults and our journey after finding out we are diagnosed with cancer. They have 15 days to raise $14,000
CLICK HERE  for more information on the project and to donate.  Thank you so much!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Freed From Captivity - Adventures in Reconstruction

I've been in the hospital since Saturday afternoon.  On St Patty's day I forgot to where green, so my left breast (the new mastectomy) decided to ooze green to make me more festive!  I had an infection, the breast turned red, I was in extreme sudden pain, and the smell was not that of roses... EW...

I was attached to an IV and given antibiotics and fluid (I had not been able to eat in 24 hours).  They forbade me from food after midnight because if I didn't show signs of responding to the antibiotics I was going under the knife the immediately Sunday.  I honestly didn't care about the restriction, I still didn't want to eat.  As days came, the word was constantly, "Well, we'll see how you look tomorrow."  Translation: you're stuck here for now because we don't know what to do with you.  The infection could have been localized to only the incision, or it could have ventured into the breast and caused the seroma to be infected, itself.  YEAH!

Did I mention they don't have internet at QEII?  At least not unless you're a Bell client.  Yeah, that makes sense -_-

I was fortunate enough that my phone had Facebook on it so I could not be 100% cut off from my friends.  My husband's work let him have time off so he could visit me as he pleased and care for our son.  Plus I had several friends visit and bring me movies, books, crosswords, and treats.  I literally had a basket of homemade goodies.  I told that friend she should have worn red so I could start calling her Lil Red Riding Hood - haha!

Long story short, the incision is no longer oozing, it appears closed, the breast is still reddish, but not resembling a stoplight any longer, and my blood pressure is back to normal (it had been 78/49).  I was freed with oral antibiotics and a doctor's appointment for next week.  Now to catch up on missing a week's worth of emails/articles/internet reading/mommy time.  The last is my most missed <3

Friday, 16 March 2012


A friend introduced me to a free animating site.  I did some experimenting and came up with this.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Recovering - Reconstruction tips part 1

I am recovering from my surgery on Feb 21st.  I was finally able to get my reconstruction process started.  I found it amusing that the surgery was exactly one year and one week after my original mastectomy.  For those that do not know, I had the second breast removed (my choice) and opted for implant expanders to be placed in both sides of my chest.

They put 180cc of fluid in each of the expanders, I looked like I had A cup breasts for the first few days.  That was the most cleavage I've had in over a year lol.  Since I did have a mastectomy on the left side, however, it started to fill the new void with fluid (seroma), causing the new mastectomy side to fill out to about a D/DD cup over only a couple days.  This is not fluid in the expander, just in the area that used to have breast tissue.  Over time my body should re-absorb it and be only the size of the expander, once more.  There was some increase in size on the right side (the side that had cancer last year).  I looked like I had a full B cup on that side.  This is good news as I see it.  The skin looks like it could easily hold a B cup and I hope to get somewhere close to an oversized C cup or perhaps a D cup.  (Remember, I was once a DD cup).

The issue is that since I was forced into radiation treatments, my skin and the surrounding area may not stretch properly.  I'm discovering that for most that it does not work with the implant expander starts moving up the chest wall, not pushing out properly because of the lack of elasticity in the skin.  For some people it works, others it does not.

A couple of tips I would like to pass on to those that may just be entering their journey with cancer and hope for reconstruction someday:

1. Sign up for reconstruction the second you discuss surgeries, whether it's mastectomy or lumpectomy.  It is better to sign up and after a while decide to not get it than to decide to get it after a couple months/years of deliberating and now need to wait several more years for your consult.

2. Research all the reconstruction techniques that your surgeons can perform.  Some can do the more extensive surgeries like DIEP and TRAM, even the GAP.  But most every reconstruction surgeon can do the implants/expanders.  Talk with them about what you want and what they recommend.

3. Even if your surgeon says their opinion is that a surgery you prefer may not work, discuss the chances of it working.  If the failure still gives you options afterwards, do what you are comfortable with.  Remember 1% chance is greater than 0%!!

4. If you happen to get expanders and the optional mastectomy like I did, make sure you keep a close eye on your bandaging.  If it starts to loosen, and for some reason nurses seem to forget how to secure dressing around a chest sudden (because they can...), get some help to tighten it up.  A loose dressing can cause the pain to increase exponentially.  Ask for more tape to take home so you can secure it again if it loosens too early.

5. Be prepared to ask for help.  It's hard.  I hate it.  But you need to let your body focus on healing.  Ask your caregiver (husband, friend, family member) to get you things, like that cup of tea that you want, to answer the phone for you, to help you lift yourself from the awkward chair.  You do need to get back into routines, but there's no harm in asking for help in the first few days/weeks.  Just make sure you are trying to be as active as your body will permit.  If your body is limiting some areas, work on your stretches and make small goals that are realistic.  *Do not push yourself too far too early*

That's it for now.  I labeled this "part 1" because I know there will be more. :)

Friday, 2 March 2012

Shave for the Brave Halifax - Sponsoring

Please donate to help support Michael Michaud or James Harding who will be shaving at Shave for the Brave at Halifax Shopping Centre April 14th 1pm. Go to, look up either of them up and donate online, or call YACC to donate over the phone. One is my hubby and the other is one of my nephews.  They are both shaving their heads for the Shave for the Brave Halifax.  Thanks for your support!