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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Slipe, Sliding Away...

Remember when I was freaking out, when I was afraid to sleep in my bed after my most recent surgery because I was afraid I'd roll onto my slide and one of my implants would slide out of place?

Such silly worries.

And that isn't what has happened at all, well not quite or exactly.  Yet, it amounts to the same thing.

I've had continuous pain on my right side, very reminiscent to PMS-y breast tenderness, but intense and shooting, and worse at night to the point that it disrupts my sleep.  That in itself was disturbing because it also was slightly reminiscent to the pain from my tumor.  On top of that, my new right breast is lower on my chest than the left one.  It's also softer.

My assumption was that the left had settled and the right, which is the side that I had radiated, hadn't quite yet.  But that didn't explain the pain on the right.  If anything, there should be pain on the left.

My anxiety was cranked up a notch when I called for an appointment with my surgeon and, after describing my symptoms and concerns, was given an appointment within a few days.  Not only that, the receptionist was willing to work around my schedule.  Very unusual in and of itself.

As it turns out, the pain is caused by an awkward settling of the right side coupled by some weird nerve regeneration/degeneration/healing/something....and I can take more pain killers or learn to live with it.  I'm basically going to have to learn to live with it.

As for the being lopsided part...the right side, being unradiated, is probably settling "normally" and the left side, having been zapped for 6.5 weeks, isn't.  The collagen is damaged so the skin and muscle don't stretch like they should; therefore, the implant isn't settling normally, resulting in the lopsided look.

The solution?  Raise my right side to match the left since the left isn't going anywhere.  But the right side already has the smallest "pocket" available to it.  It's squishier than the right because there is more space for it to spread out.

Since the pocket is already as small as it can be, how does the surgeon raise it?  here's where it gets disturbing.  The only way to raise the implant is to stitch it to my rib !!!!  Yes, that is worth four exclamation points.

I'm totally grossed out and disturbed by the idea of having something stitched to my rib.  And it needs to be done sooner rather than later.  The surgery itself is simple.  Dr. W. will go in through the incision that is already there and move things around and stitch the implant to my rib.  She said this was going to be ouchy.  When a doctor makes a point of saying that something will be painful, that's a pretty good indication that it is going to suck.  She said "pinchy and owie" for a while.

Yippee.  I can not find words to express how happy I am to be facing a fourth surgery since all this started.  Now I need to fix my syllabus so that I don't have to grade over Spring Break since it looks like I'll be sidelined.

As well, this puts a kink in my New Year's Goals...I never did get around to writing that blog entry, did I?  One was to run a 5k each month and another was to complete the Glass City Half Marathon and if I did well there, to consider the Chicago Rock-n-Roll half marathon.  I'll be missing March and April, so the Glass City run is out of the running.  Surgery at the beginning of Spring Break means nothing jarring for at least six weeks, or until the middle of April at the earliest.  Dr. W said it could be several months before anything jarring is comfortable.

Crapola.  This does not make me happy.  I won't even go into how much I hate general anesthesia and believe that it messes with my head for at least a month.  It certainly wreaks havoc with my sleep patterns.  I'm still not fully sleeping normally, when I sleep.  When I do sleep, rolling over or moving around is bound to wake me up anyway because of the pain on the right side.

There really is no silver lining to this.  I'm grateful, though, that this isn't life saving surgery, that I have the insurance to cover it, a job that allows for it to easily take place, and that it's simply a comfort issue as opposed to cutting more cancer out of my body.  I love my surgeon.  I love the medical facility.  I wasn't really expecting it.  But I can cope.  And I will.  I'm just not quite ready to be happy or chipper about it yet.


Kirsty said...

That totally sucks Dawn. I'm so sorry. I cringed several times reading it. No need to be chipper or silver lining about it, you've been through enough. I'm really sorry.

Lara................... said...



marie said...

I'm sorry, geez even the fake ones are lopsided.....

PaperYarnGirl said...

Oh Dawn, that totally sucks... well, except for the reasons you pointed out :-(

Carrie said...


Only because it's really present in my mind at the moment, but would pool running be an option for you before regular running? You're fully submersed, so there's no real bouncing.