An explanation...

Why Foob? I had a double mastectomy, and at the time, the plastic surgeon put "expanders" under the muscles in my chest. Every 2-3 weeks, they were filled with more saline, in preparation for my reconstructive surgery. They were very full and hard. Uncomfortable. One time, one of my sons gave me a hug and then said "Your foobs are hard!" Hee, hee, hee! My kids have this endearing habit of combining words. So, "Foobs" are fake boobs. Which I will still have, even after the reconstruction.

Foob Babe - that would be me!
"The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next." ~Mignon McLaughlin


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Saturday, May 30, 2009

What - no Victoria Secret bra shopping?!

Well, I tried to buy a bra this week. Because my new foobs are not quite the right shape, I thought I could get a bra that would (with the help of "push-up" technology) push them into the correct shape and place.


They don't actually MOVE! And, because they aren't the regular "cone" shape of a real breast (they are round and flat on top), they don't fill out a bra.

I'm really annoyed. Now I have to return the stupid bra.

Stupid foobs.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Everything Just Came Crashing Down...

I had a few weeks, since my last post, to get used to my new chest (and to think a little bit about my reaction). Let me explain...

I had a mastectomy 8 months ago. It was pretty darn traumatic, just like any amputation would be. But, I kept thinking about the reconstruction. It's really the only thing that helped me focus and not lose my freakin' mind. And, I've been through quite a lot since last October. Again, I had that "light at the end of the tunnel" (the reconstrucion) to get me through all the crap that was chemo, expanders, etc. So, I have to tell you, when I looked in that mirror after the doctor took my bandages off, and I saw what I looked like, everything just came crashing down on me - all the horrible things I'd been through... the breast cancer diagnosis, the biopsies, the mastectomy, the chemo treatments, the sickness, the expanding, the pain, the helplessness, the medications, everything. I realized that I'd just been barely getting by without completely going mad - all because I knew that at the end, I'd look normal again. So, you can maybe understand why I reacted the way I did.

I've had some time to kind of analyze my feelings. First of all, why were my expectations so high? Why did I think I'd look completely normal? Well, I think when you're faced with something like a mastectomy, and a doctor tells you it would be best to do it to save your life, and he can rebuild you, then maybe you grab on to the smallest flicker of hope you can. "I can do this awful, monstrous thing because I know that everything will be ok in the end." And then, I didn't let everything that happened to me touch me too deeply, because a) I would have been in a pit of dispair if I let it get to me, and b) it was going to be OK at the end.

The fact is, my expectation was WAAAYYYYY out of line. How could I possibly be put back together and look really good? I mean, if you have to have your leg or arm cut off to save your life, the doctors can do the very best job possible and it still won't be normal. You still will never look right. Why did I think that it would be any different with a chest? I don't know. I think, subconsciously, I was just protecting myself. "It's ok - everything will be just fine." Kind of like you'd talk someone from jumping off the roof of a building - I just talked my mind out of jumping.

I'll be seeing my plastic surgeon again on Monday. I'm doing ok. I'm healing just fine. I've been massaging the implants, trying to get them to soften up and drop down where they'll look the best. We'll wait 2 months, and then look at everything again. I know my doc won't let me be dissatisfied. He'll make me look as good as possible.

I look ok from the outside of my clothes. The only two people who will ever see the imperfections and scars are me and Rick. And we're ok with it. I'm alive. I got through a crappy illness. I'm starting to be myself again, physically and mentally.

I'm happy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not What I Expected

It's been awhile since I updated this blog. As you all know, I had the reconstruction surgery last Friday. I've been in too much pain since then to even think about this blog. Here's what happened...

When I got to the hospital, everyone seemed to be so happy for me. This is a "happy surgery" apparently. To be honest, I was pretty excited. The nurse was an older lady who was very nice, but had helmet hair - meaning, her hair looked like a huge helmet on her head (remember Dark Helmet on Space Balls? Yeah.) When she left the room for a minute, I said to Rick, "She's mocking me with that hair!" Hee, hee. I told her that I couldn't have blood pressure taken or any IVs on my left arm (because of lymph node removal) and I thought she'd get some kind of color-coded bracelet for me to wear (that's what the other two hospitals did - silly me for thinking that!). Nope. She found a surgery pen on the table and said, "Let's just make sure everyone knows that", and then wrote it in BIG letters on my left arm. I still can't get it off! My left arm says... "NO IV's B/P this arm". Whatever. Then we proceeded to wait. For about two hours. Apparently, they scheduled me wrong. Finally, Dr. came in and drew lines all over my chest - "this is what I'll be doing, etc. etc.). He waved goodbye and I went into the holding area. The nurses and anesthesiologist were joking around and then I don't really remember much after that. They obviously gave me weird meds, because everything is blurring from that point on (it's better that way).

When I woke up in my room I was on morphine and other good stuff. Rick stayed for quite awhile, but then went home and I slept. I, of course, had one of those stupid compression bras on and it was pretty uncomfortable. But, I will admit... it was such a relief to have those expanders out. I looked down at my now-sized-large-C chest and didn't see much of anything. Panic. Wait a minute, did they forget to put the implants in?! What the heck?! Now, before my surgery, I realize that maybe I had unrealistic expectations about what my new boobs would look like. That said, I'll continue...

Everything was pretty painful, but probably not as bad as the last surgery (mastectomies). Although, when you are 'in the moment', you can't really remember how bad anything else felt. I had a pain pump in, too. For some reason, it started hurting quite a lot under my breasts - kind of around my rib cage. I stayed the night (pretty miserable - you know how crappy it is in the hospital) and by morning time the pain was worse. Why was I even in pain, when I was on morphine and percocet at the same time?! The nurse called the doctor and he said that didn't sound right - he told her to open up the bra and see what was going on. She did and there was immediate relief. But, you could see by the imprint of the bra in my skin, that they had put a way too small bra on me. Ouch! Ok, so at this point, the bandages were still on, so I couldn't really get a good look, but I wasn't seeing any C sized anything! We got a bigger bra, and then I felt well enough to go home that day.

I left in the afternoon and when I got home things were fine. I stayed on the medicine, but the pain started again. I kind of pulled the bra away from my chest and look down and saw that the pain pump had started to leak blood - lots of it - under the tape - underneath my breast area. Ok, this story is getting too long and detailed. Suffice it to say, I made it to the post-op visit on Monday in tons of pain and not too freakin' happy.

Here's where the title of this post comes in. Flashback: a couple of months ago, the doctor wanted to know how big to make the breasts. I said "Oh, maybe a big C, small D". I had found a picture of the boobs I wanted, so I gave him the picture. He said, and I quote, "You can't have these boobs". Why not?! "Well, this woman has breast tissue with implants underneath. You have no breast tissue. Your boobs won't look like this." I should have taken the hint and figured it out for myself. But, I guess I was just in denial. I'd been waiting so long to be reconstructed, I just didn't want to think about the outcome. Back to the present: So, when the doctor took the bandages off, well, it just wasn't what I expected. It took lots of self-control (not something I have much of lately) to not just burst out sobbing. First of all, before I make any kind of judgment, I'm supposed to wait two months so the implants can "settle". Right now everything it still swollen from the surgery. Nothing looks good. I said, "Oh, I thought I'd be bigger". Doctor said: "I told your husband that's the first thing that would come out of your mouth when the bandages came off." And this is how he explained it (which, if I would have thought about it before, would have made perfect sense and would have changed my expectations)... Breasts are kind of cone-shaped. The implants are round and flat. If you have no breast tissue, then you won't have breasts that are normal shaped. So, in the last few days, I thought about this, and I can see that it makes perfect sense. But, I swear, those photos of reconstruction that I saw beforehand in his office looked fine. I don't know. I am really happy with the sculpting he did underneath my arms and I'm almost sure it will start to look better soon.

Um, I guess all I can say right now is... nothing is as good as you expect it to be: Disneyland (hot, long lines), swimming (water-logged, chlorine), job (long hours, problem clients), an acre of land (too much grass to mow, expensive to landscape), graduation (have to grow up, get a job), new car (high insurance, that first scratch), new boobs after mastectomy (I guess I'm just happy that something is there).

Monday, May 4, 2009


Doing ok with the recovery from reconstruction surgery. The thing that hurts the most is underneath the breast area. It's because the compression bra they put on is so tight and it's pressing on the area where the pain pump tubes go into my skin. So, I'm bleeding from that area (underneath the tape) and last night it started to leak out and so I've got leaking blood soaking my shirt. How annoying. All is well, though, because I get the pain pump taken out today and maybe even the bra thing. Yay!! The incisions are about 6 inches long I think. I tried to sleep on my side last night. Big mistake. It only hurts when I put pressure on the incisions. This is all a good thing, though, because now I have boobs. I'm pressed pretty flat now, so I can't tell what they'll look like. I got the biggest implant they make (800 CCs), which should make me look like a large C I think, but I'm all nervous that I won't be big at all. I'm stressed about that. Hopefully that's not true. I guess the worst part is waiting to see what it will look like.