Sunday, July 8, 2012

Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again

Tuesday, July 10 marks the day of my second reconstructive surgery.  It is also a very poignant time in my journey; I have finished chemo, radiation, and my double mastectomy.  Now, it's time to put me back together again!

I have been looking forward to my surgery for some time; not only will the rock-hard tissue expanders be removed, but my port will be taken out (this is the plastic plate inserted under my chest skin where they administered chemo). My surgeon is going to do some adjusting under my arms and I am hopeful that some of my nerve damage will be alleviated. Getting over this hurdle signifies that the heavy lifting is finally DONE.  The physical heavy lifting, that is.  Emotionally, I think it is going to take a little bit longer to recover from the trauma.

When I head in to surgery, I am not nervous for the pain or the results.  I have an amazing plastic surgeon - the best, in my opinion.  Dr. Ewa Timek is in plastic surgery to better women's health and research how to make lives with breast cancer easier.  She spent ten painstaking hours in my last surgery, doing delicate, intricate work on my lymph nodes.  Due to her precision and care taking, I have never suffered from lymphedema.  I trust Dr. Timek's intuition and artistry to "put Humpy Dumpty back together again"!

I am nervous for what impact this will have on Evan.  During my last surgery, he was five months old; he didn't raise his arms up at me to lift him off of the floor; he didn't cry "Mama" to get him out of his crib; and he didn't expect me to get down on the floor to play with him.  Now that he is almost fourteen months old, his expectations have changed.  Nothing gets to my heart faster than seeing his big crocodile tears fall down his face when I am not able to do something for him.  It's going to be tough to not be able to lift him on demand.  For those of you that know Evan, he isn't much of a "sitter", so I don't think he will even want to let me cuddle him.  Maybe I will have Brian put him by me when he is sleeping, so we can spend a few quiet moments together.

Brian and I spent some good quality time at the grocery store yesterday, preparing for the next few weeks, since I won't be able to lift groceries.  It felt like we were stock-piling for the next Y2K disaster.  When we got home, Brian asked me if 4 boxes of Frosted Mini Wheats were really necessary.  What can I say?  Cereal is a comfort food for me.

I am excited to feel like my body is "mine" again, instead of belonging to medicine and doctors and examinations.  It is going to be a great feeling to not have tissue expanders stitched in to my chest wall; so going forward when I move, they don't have to move with me.  Evan probably won't realize that laying against me while he is eating, can be comfortable, since he can only remember the rock-hard structure that sits atop my chest right now.

My surgery is scheduled for five hours, give or take.  This is a huge improvement from the last surgery, which was twice as long.  Brian told me when I came out of the last surgery, it was traumatizing for him because I looked like I was dying.  He said my skin had no color and I was completely out of it.  I don't remember that much, but it makes me excited to come out of surgery this time with some witty comment to surprise him.  "I have fake boobs!" might have a nice ring to it.

I'll be sure to keep updates on my recovery and all of my excitement that I am anticipating!  Turns out all the kings horses and all the kings men are actually one person, named Dr. Timek.  And she is going to put me back together again!


  1. To all of Erin's friends, family and followers:

    Her surgery went well today and she is resting peacefully in the recovery room. I'm sure she will add more details in the coming weeks as she recovers. Thanks for your continued thoughts, prayers and support. You'll never know how much they mean to her and our family.

    Tres Kline (Erin's Dad)

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