Yep, that's what my grown daughters and my 13 year old granddaughter accuse me of all the time....giving TMI! So, I will warn you upfront....this may be TMI for you and you might want to skip this post. But, from the beginning, I have wanted to keep this blog "real", sharing the "good, the bad, and the ugly". Today is the ugly....lol!
I had my nipple reconstruction last Thursday. I had to leave the bandages on for 48 hours...then I was to take off the gauze and the surgical bra and shower and wash the nipples with soap and water, then clean them with dilluted peroxide, and then apply some ointment they gave me....twice a day. And I have an antibiotic to take three times daily.
Ok, so I unwrapped everything on Saturday afternoon (Christmas Eve) and got to see my nipples. I thought one of them looked so different than the other one right from the get-go. It looked like it was full of blood, whereas the other one looked the way I thought it should. But, I figured with the peroxide and ointment, it would probably clear up. And with Christmas I knew the doctor was out of the office until Tuesday (today!). I wasn't too worried at first.
But, I kept waiting for it to look "better" and it didn't. Instead, it turned black. I actually thought it was dried blood at first and tried to pick it off. Ok, that didn't work...and then I thought it was a scab and tried to pick at it. I know...gross...lol! It was apparent that I wasn't going to get the black part to budge.
I was going up today anyway to take them some of the apple dumplings since I missed them last week, so I decided it would be a good idea to see if he could take a look at it for me. If he says it's ok...then good, I'll have "peace of mind". Also, my skin around both of the nipples was getting real red. It doesn't hurt or anything, but the redness made me concerned that maybe it was getting infected. Up to this point I have escaped any infection.
Ok, the verdict....basically the nipple that has turned black has "died". I told him I thought it looked like it was rotting off and he had some "fancy word" he said I was dealing with and I asked him what that meant...and he basically told me it was the medical term for my "rotting off". Ick, I know it sounds gross! He doesn't sound too overly concerned though, so I did leave with "peace of mind". Basically the blood flow to the end of the nipple wasn't good for some reason. Without blood flow, it dies. But, it isn't all dead...just the end of it! He actually tried to remove it with some "tool" but couldn't get it to budge either, so at this point he just left it. There is still some good looking skin at the bottom of the nipple, so he said he'd "fix it" on my next visit. He did mention that it was going to be a lot smaller than it was suppose to be...he mentioned it being a "bump" and he will have to make my other one match it. Oh joy! Well, I really didn't want BIG nipples, so I guess I don't have to worry about that now! And the redness....not infection....so that was good news! He said I was having a reaction to the ointment and to quit using it and just use vaseline instead. So, until I go back to see him, he doesn't seem too concerned and says he'll "fix" it then. Wow, this reconstruction is a journey all of it's own! All will be good in the end! :=)
This is Cathy and I at the Komen Race in Evansville in October. I coud kick myself because I had my camera in my purse today and didn't even think to get a new pic of us and our new friend!One bright spot today is that as soon as I got in the office and sat down....another cancer friend from Evansville walked in the door....Cathy Brown! Neither of us knew the other was going to be there today, so it was a great surprise for both of us! And we had a little bit of time to chat before we got called in. Cathy just had her bilateral masectomy and is at the beginning of her reconstruction. It was soooo good to see her....made my day! And I'm thrilled that she's having her reconstruction done up here (she lives about 3 hours away, but wanted to come to the best).....she will have to come up here every two weeks for her "fills", so we can catch each other for lunch when she heads this way! We also met another lady while there who had breast cancer at the age of 40 and is now 65 and is having reconstruction! How awesome is that? She said she was busy working and never had time for the reconstruction and now has retired and decided to do this for herself! What an inspiration she was!!! I can't imagine going back after 25 years to have it done. Good for her!!!!! :=) In talking with her, she gave us some perspective on how much things have changed since she had cancer 25 years ago....from the treatments to the support. It made me feel even more appreciative of the research that has taken place and the support system in place now. There was a time when breast cancer had to be hush-hush.....whispered. Oh, how times have changed and I am so thankful!
Well, that's my latest medical update. Not what I expected, but I can deal with it. Not much I can do about it anyway, right? I've learned not to stress over things I cannot change. It's a waste of my energy. I'm not in pain from it, so all is good. The only pain I'm really experiencing is some aching in my shoulders and arms and legs....so much that some nights I can't sleep. I'm pretty sure it's the Arimidex causing this, since it's one of the main side affects people get. So, I'll be speaking to my oncologist soon to see what I can take to combat it.
Until next time.....be thankful for your health and take care of it! Get your annual check-ups! Get your mammograms!!! Take time to take care of YOU!