Welcome! Read Me!

This blog is created to give you a central location to answer any questions you have about my current and upcoming treatments and reactions. It is also created to help me make Lemonade out of the Lemons I have been given, so I will keep this as positive as I can.

Friday, December 30, 2011

And The Beat Goes On...

I have been meaning to get an update out here for a while now, but I have not wanted to put something out here just to have what I say completely change... And that has happened a lot lately... I have mentioned a few times my issues with Stitches. Well, since my surgery in mid July I have had 20+ sets of stitches. And if you do the math... there have only been approximately 24 weeks since then... so... I can honestly say that it is a lot of stitches. It is crazy since it will look perfect and have no issue one day and the next it is a gaping hole. All I can say is radiated skin and skin that has been attacked through Chemo does not react the way that it would have before all of these wonderful experiences. Well, earlier this year My doc (Dr R) realised that my skin was simply not cooperating well enough to handle much more so I went in for a small surgery to remove a small portion of the transferred fat to allow me to not have so much tension on the skin and the stitches. After this procedure I went a full week without needing stitches! It was awesome! Then about 3 days into the next week the stitches burst again... So I was back to my weekly stitch up. Dr R said that we will end up with another surgery more than likely, but I wanted to hold out for as long as possible so that I might have some PTO available from work. Since I have just started this job it is a really slow process, and I can't afford to take the day off unpaid if there is any way to avoid it... So I opted to just continue with the stitches to hold me over until we could go in for something more serious... Well, my skin decided to make my decisions for me once again and about a week before my birthday it decided that it didn't like being stitched at all! I ended up with 2 "massive" holes (the smallest was about the size of a Nickel, and the largest was about a quarter size) and so when I went in for my weekly stitch up Dr R told me what I expected to hear. We needed to do something more major, a lot sooner than I wanted. In fact, his suggestion was the very next day. I knew it needed to happen so I made it work, but I can't say I was Excited about it. This wasn't quite as major of a Surgery as the one I had just previously had so I was able to have it completed in his office instead of in the Hospital or Surgical Center. I even drove myself to and from the procedure. I will tell you right now I have gotten "used to" the whole stitches regimen, but there is something SOOOO Not Right about being Absoluetly and Completely AWAKE while having surgery. This is not for the Squeamish for sure. And I have NEVER considered me tough in that way (for example, I completely Froze when my nephew broke his arm while babysitting him and it didn't even break skin...) But I guess after making weekly stitch visits I have gotten a little desensitised to the whole thing. I actually had to try not to laugh during the process though because Dr R kept cracking jokes, and when there would be a strange noise he would apologise that I had to hear that and the best was when he said, "Um, Doctor, my body has never made THAT sound before!" hence giving my exact thoughts a voice... It is not good to get a fit of laughter going while you have someone with sharp instruments near your chest... so I held it in. Once he got done He gave me a wonderful Drain friend again. Ugh.... This is definitely NOT what I would say is my favorite part of surgery, but I can say that this time it is in a location that is not nearly as irritating... Last time it was IN my arm pits, and this time it is coming out the bottom of my breast. (I know it is a wonderful visual... Sorry!) But this is actually a wonderful thing since I do not have to avoid sleeping on my side! And Side sleeping is really the only way I can possibly get any real sleep. And the drain actually releases even more tension on the stitches to allow them to heal even betterby removing any exces fluid. After surgery I rested for a little while, then I went to work that night. It was Awesome! (yes I am being sarcastic) But at least I got the next day off, so I could rest more and take my lortab. :) I was hoping that I would be able to get my drain removed before Christmas, but... alas... when I went in for my follow up I was still getting just enough drainage that he wanted to leave it in until the next appointment... which unfortunately, because of Christmas and New Years, isn't until the first week of January. So I have the wonderful fortune of trying to look normal with a drain strapped to me for 3 weeks. There are a few people at work who actually know that I had surgery, but most have not heard my whole story, so they probably just think I have some crazy growth coming off of my side. But I was able to get the OK to wear pretty much whatever I feel like so that I can be comfortable and make it a little easier with the concealing when I am wearing a baggy T shirt and big ol' flannel shirt over it. Anyhow... None of the new stitches that I got then have burst so far, so this is officially the LONGEST I have gone without stitches since July... And so far the stitches are holding strong while I am waiting for my appointment. And next week I will hopefully get this drain removed and I can pretend to be normal for a while until the next surgery comes in to play.
Also next week I will be going in to see a Lymphedema Specialist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. I have been trying to convince myself that the issues, that I believe are lymphedema related, would just go away, but they haven't so I have broken down and I will just go and get it checked out finally... I will try to update after all of that, since I expect next week to be a good week of a lot of info.
For now I will say Good Night... (or good morning as the case may be) and head off to bed.

***Sorry this is so long and "informational" I will try to get more "Lemonade" in it next time. :)


  1. No stitches is "lemonade"! Good luck at your appointments! Hopefully lots of good news :)

  2. I agree with Suzanne. No stitches is lemonade for sure! :)

  3. Oh goodness. What an ordeal. Hoping everything recovers quickly and you're on the mend

  4. Melanie,
    I just love you! I really do, I am not just saying it. I love that you put it out there. You share the yucky part. I know it isn't easy, but as a friend, i love knowing that if you need help you will ask me. I am learning so much about this nasty disease from you, but I am also learning so much about you and why I think You are fantastic!