Monday, June 17, 2013

Paint Me a Picasso

Today I'm feeling pretty dumb. I started radiation in March. My plastic surgeon didn't get to finish filling my expander before radiation began which meant that my fake boob was quite a bit smaller than my real one.  Radiation lasted for 7 weeks and when I finished my expanded breast was the same size as my real breast. I didn't even realize it until last night in the ER. The ER doc poked a needle into the infected area of my breast to get some discharge to swab. Well, that tiny hole became a drain for an unbelievable amount of serosanguineous fluid.  (Serosanguineous fluid is a yellowish/pinkish colored fluid). Every hour the nurse had to redress the wound because the gauze pads were drenched in the nasty stuff. By the time I was discharged  it was still draining. The nurse sent me home with a bag full of supplies and by the time I got home I had to redress the wound again. I'm not kidding you...I think I lost at least a pound from all the fluid that came out of me and my breasts are back to being lopsided. 

The most amazing part to me is that I didn't realize how much pain I had been in until all that pressure was relieved. The pain started with 2 weeks left in radiation. I was having horrible pain. It had become painful to even wear clothing that put pressure anywhere near my breast.  I'm talking even the smallest amount of pressure...even the pressure from a camisole tank top was uncomfortable. Another interesting fact is that the headaches I was having started at the same time as the pain in my breast. 

This morning I took the kids to VBS, called my plastic surgeon and informed him of the new situation. I went in to see him immediately. He took a look at my infected foob (fake boob) and informed me that the skin is dead and will have to be surgically removed. The expander will have to be removed as well unless by some miracle the infection has not spread to encompass the expander. Chances are slim to none but that's what I'm hoping for. Surgery needs to happen very soon. He also referred me to an infectious disease doctor. I love my plastic surgeon by the way. He is so quirky. Anyhow, I went and saw the infectious disease doctor and he thinks the infection is staph. He prescribed 14 days of IV antibiotics. He called in the prescription to Walgreens Infusion and they delivered the IV supplies and the antibiotic to my home and then Walgreens sent out their best nurse to set up my IV and teach me how to administer my own antibiotics. That amazing nurse just happens to be my very own amazing sister, nurse Cyndi. Pretty awesome right?  My sister really is amazing. Besides being a Peds nurse at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, she also works for Walgreens Infusion.  Oh yeah...and she also has her own mobile phlebotomy business too. So she always draws all my labs for me and saves me from sitting in another waiting room. I don't have to tell me...I'm blessed to have her.  On top of her 3 jobs she also has a husband and 3 kids. She also somehow managed to go to almost all of my chemo appointments with me too. I wish I could send her a cruise. 

My plastic surgeon called me after he had spoken with the infectious disease doc and they have me on the surgery schedule for next Wednesday. Cut out the dead skin and remove the expander. I will once again resemble a boob. That guy would have loved to paint my portrait. I'm sure of it. Actually, I think this one might be of me. 


  1. Love the Picasso! (I was lopsided for over two years.) Sounds like everything is heading in the right direction now which is wonderful, but I'm so sorry for another surgery!
    ~Jenn Stewart

  2. I love the Picasso, too! Sorry for yet another surgery. This journey through cancerland sure has its hills and valleys, doesn't it? Praying for you, and glad your sister's your "person."

  3. Ugh, I'm so sorry this happened to you. Sucks. Hope the infection heals quickly and the surgery isn't too bad. Hug hun.

  4. Hi Rebecca,
    I am so sorry for all you are going through and all you have been through. I think of you often and you are in my prayers. Congratulations on your new home, that is wonderful! I pray your surgery goes well and that all of the infection is gone and that you are completely out of pain. God Bless your sister Cyndi!! I know in difficult times it is hard to see the blessings, but you are blessed and never forget how beautiful & precious you are to the one who created you! :-)
    Lisa Gallardo