January 6, 2020 - Big Girls Don't Cry
It's a Lie! It's a Lie! We do cry!
Just when you think it's smooth sailing, you get gut punched. Last week was a week of highs, I mean really highs, and then the lows hit.
The scan results still stand, which is the most important thing of all. There is no evidence of disease and, I am not losing sight of that. However, when we talk about the "Breast Cancer Journey", it is a nice way of describing a really crappy curvy road of treatment and recovery. It is a long journey, and it is not always a pleasant one.
WARNING: The following post may contain descriptions graphic in nature. It other words, I am completely oversharing and this time it may gross you out. Continue at your own risk.
I have had a setback. I am not sure of the magnitude, but hope to find out this week. On Friday, it seemed overwhelmingly large, but today, it seems more manageable. Now that I have built up the suspense, I'm sure you are wondering what the heck happened?
Last Friday night, I was happily snuggling with Mason and Jamie. I know, I know, TMI, but snuggling is the best. When I got up from the bed, I noticed that my arm was wet. Wet? Wait, what, wet? What in the world? I then looked down at my shirt and there was a rather large wet spot over my left breast, i.e. the "cancer breast". I'm not proud, but a few very choice words were uttered rather loudly by me. I knew immediately, that the wetness was coming from my breast. I knew I sprung a leak!
As it turns out, this stems from my mastectomy and first phase of reconstruction in July. We knew that I had developed an area of necrosis in my left breast. Necrosis is essentially tissue that did not respond well to the first phase of reconstruction.
"Did not respond well" is a polite way of describing DEAD TISSUE. Yuck! It has been bothersome, a nuisance, but something that I put in the back of my mind because I knew it was temporary. The original plan was to remove the necrotic tissue during my final phase of reconstruction, which would happen much later this year. Or so I thought...
Well, Friday the dead tissue cried "uncle", or more like, "let me out of here"! I'm not sure how to medically describe this, but let's just say that I now have a hole on the side of my left breast. It is an open wound about the size of a pencil eraser. It is not from the original incision. It is a lovely new hole. It has been oozing and leaking since Friday. If anyone is curious, it is not leaking blood, but rather a yellowish liquid.
Don't you love the disgusting graphic nature of this post? I would describe it in more detail, but I'm trying to keep this post PG-13. We have photo's, but you can thank me now, as we will not add them to my digital footprint on the world wide web. No one should see that. Well, maybe my doctors, but that is it!
Where does this leave us? What about the port removal? What about radiation? Well, I have been in contact with my Plastic Surgeon, Oncologist, and Radiation Oncologist. I am currently scheduled to have my port removed on Wednesday, we are hoping that remains the case.
We are going to squeeze in a visit with the plastic surgeon on Tuesday. Nothing has been decided, but in early phone calls with each doctor, it looks like the consensus may be to have surgery to "debride" the area", allow time for wound healing, then begin radiation.
Debridement is the removal of unhealthy tissue from a wound to promote healing. It can be done by surgical, chemical, mechanical, or autolytic (using your body's own processes) removal of the tissue.
I am scheduled to begin radiation on Monday, January 13th, but the doctors are reluctant to radiate an open wound. Radiation will not promote healing, but rather will hinder it. The quickest path to healing will be to have surgery to remove the dead tissue (again, I might add). Once the wound is healed from surgery, then radiation can begin. This is not ideal, but who the heck wants to walk around with a leaking open wound? Not me! I have been there and done it, and it is not fun.
The course of action has not been officially decided, but I have visits over the next few days that will solidify the new plan. Once we have a solid course, I will provide updates.
In the meantime, I have gotten over my "weekend" of depression. I am back on track to get this wound issue resolved. Big girls may cry, but it's almost always tears of anger. The tears have dried up, my anger is abated, and I'm ready to get back to it. We may have hit a detour in the journey, but the finish line hasn't moved!