T Minus one day

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm

So the trade out surgery is happening on Thursday and I am grateful and relieved.  After much debate there were a number of issues settled as we approached the trade out of the expanders for the ‘permanent’ implants.  I use quotes on permanent because truly, there’s no such thing, implants have to be traded out every 10-15 years.  But that’s ages away, hopefully by then I’ll be living in a small village in England or Iceland or Alaska, happily putting my son through college or graduate school and not really giving a rat’s ass if my fake boobs are perky or not.  And who am I kidding, they’ll always be perky.

But these were the issues under debate:

1) Silicone or Saline.  Silicone is preferred by my surgeons.  They are more durable in terms of how long they last and they have a more natural look and feel.  But my neurology team had concerns, quite valid ones, as to whether silicone might trigger my MS should a leak occur.  After much consideration, we were at a stalemate.  With no conclusive evidence that one poses any more risk than another, my GP broke the tie and we are going with the silicone.

2) I was not as forceful as I needed to be with my surgeon about my breast size.  I know I joke endlessly about it, but the truth is I have had DD breasts for 20 years and I don’t want large breasts anymore.  My plastic surgeon, with concerns about proportion, was determined to maintain the size but god help me, I really hope I’m not overweight for the rest of my life and then what happens, I lose weight and still have giant breasts.  No, thank you.  So I wrote him a note saying that I have really been turning this over and over in my head and that I want C cups.  So, as of Thursday I will have silicone C’s if all goes as planned.

3) As you may recall, my doctors had made the decree that hormones were off the table in terms of dealing with menopause which came on fast and furious post surgery.  There were a myriad of concerns about hormone replacement, the worst risk being an increase in blood clots that I had developed after my last surgery.  But those concerns paled in comparison to the weeping mess my gynecologic surgeon was faced with last week.  I, who run a notoriously low blood pressure, was running at 191//119 and when the nurse asked me to close my eyes and imagine the ocean, all I could see was me drowning in waves that wouldn’t stop crashing toward me.  I reminded my doctor, I am one who swims, not one who drowns.  So he reversed the hormone decision, said I was in the throes of a seismic hormonal shift, and that clots be damned, he is giving me a low dose hormone replacement therapy as soon as I am finished with the next round of recovery.   It will mean I will have to also stay on a blood thinner for as long as I take the hormone, a trade off with which I can live.

4)  My MS, lest it be completely ignored, has reacted to medication shifts, menopause, metal and plastic body parts and high blood pressure with relative calm, with these few exceptions.  Nerve pain in my arms, fatigue and vertigo that may or may not have contributed to me falling last week, hitting my head on the sidewalk and getting a concussion.  If my health wasn’t already a comedy of errors, this thrust it into that category without any question.  The two best quotes from my doctor.  “Amy, it’s a good thing there’s bad luck or you’d have no luck at all.”  and, “I might just have to make you wear a helmet.”  For the record, at the end of my visit with him, my blood pressure was back to a normal 115/80.  Most likely because I laughed uproariously at my misfortune and thanked the universe for giving me such great doctors.

So hopefully Thursday will bring an end to the hardest parts of this journey.  There will be two small follow up procedures which should be complete by June.  If you think of it, throw a thought into the ether for my old friend Jeff who is having surgery tomorrow, and another for me on Thursday.  Hopefully we will all be at our Thanksgiving tables next week with scads to be thankful for.



  1. Amy!
    I’m Rachel’s friend in Seattle, I think she once sent you to my BC blog… I’ve been following yours and I want to thank you SO much for sharing your experience and putting in very profound terms the vast information of your medical and emotional journey. This is the part of cancer that we should all know about, how it turns lives upside down and inside out all in an effort to hopefully outsmart what ultimately feels like unknown odds/best-guesses. I just can’t believe you have to balance MS, motherhood, job, etc… HERO is all I can say…

    I’m finally commenting because I can very much relate to your menopausal joy ride. I wasn’t a terrific candidate for tamoxifen, so instead they put me into menopause by knocking out estrogen via shutting down my ovaries with Lupron injections and I also took Arimidex to inhibit other estrogen production. It’s very hard to describe how it feels to wake up one day and suddenly be in menopause, isn’t it? As my doctor says, “There’s a reason why the body naturally eases women into it over five+ years…” The closest I can come is telling people is it’s like driving a semi-truck 90 miles an hour into a brick wall. That brick wall’s name is Menopause and she is one freakin SOB. But I love your weeping-crashing-drowning-waves analogy much better and I’m stealing that… I absolutely 100% know what you mean.

    I was supposed to take Lupron et al for five years and after one year I literally could not take it anymore and got off them. I no longer knew who I was, I felt like I was myself on the outside (well, sort of — all that was changing too) but with someone else trapped inside me.

    Somehow my husband Rodney gracefully rode my emotional roller coaster, a spectrum from sobbing terror to giggling delirium that usually could occur over any given three minute period of time. He was kind but confused about my outrageously overly-dramatic bawling binges because I couldn’t oh say, find a pencil. All accompanied by frequent panic attacks which were humiliating at school especially. Sex life was out. Pain aside, it also wasn’t even a thought — it was like I had hormonal amnesia. And I’m not sure I slept that entire year either.

    I DIED laughing reading about your Dr’s helmet-comment because I almost killed myself being so uncoordinated during that time. I’m in PT right now two years later for a sidewalk dive I took back then. Rodney would literally call out sidewalk cracks like they were land mines and pick things up as I stood there crying because I couldn’t believe I dropped my cell phone yet another time. Have you seen the Seinfeld episode when Jerry is dating Bette Midler’s understudy? (Wikipedia: Jerry is dating Gennice, the understudy of stage performer Bette Midler, who bursts into tears for foolish reasons (for instance, when she drops her hot dog at the park) but not for expected reasons (such as when her grandmother dies). Rodney says that year was that one, long Seinfeld episode.

    My doctor was not thrilled I wanted off the juice but he was very understanding and supportive, especially when we decided every other part of my life/body was now falling apart instead (I’d stopped exercising, craved only comfort foods, bad joint pain, was horribly depressed and going crazy, grades were plummeting, wasn’t that into insomnia, liked being married, etc.) To make a waaaay too long story short, Amy: I APPLAUD YOU for trying the hormone therapy despite the risks. You have so much more on your plate than the average bear it’s ridiculous. You need your mind clear and your soul fortified and you do not need some other alien-being driving (drunk and homicidal) behind the wheel right now. Give yourself this gift of sanity and sleep. I’m also glad you stuck to your C-Sized-Guns too, you are making great, instinctive and wise decisions. I wish you yet another great surgery and recovery and although we don’t know each other (well, we met for seconds at Rachel’s wedding) know that I have been thinking of you. I give Rachel lots of hugs that I hope are transmitting beams of hope and support down the west coast to you! –Jenny

    • Jenny,
      This is one of the most amazing responses, thank you so much for sharing all of this with me. Like you, knowing that there is someone else out there
      who made a mortal enemy of the sidewalk because the hormones whacked you out- somehow it makes me feels less alone. When I was in my twenties I went on Lupron for six months- that shit was NUTS. I am so appreciative for everything you shared here, I am going to read this over and over today- it may the very thing to keep me calm going into tomorrow. Thank you, thank you, thank you…

  2. Oh Amy thank YOU for deepening my understanding and insight of what whole families have to cope with when they’re dealt the Cancer Card(s). I actually grew up in a MS hospital where my mom was head of public relations and cannot understand why on earth this all has to go on for you. You are amazing. Btw, the concussion is outright genius black comedy, thank you for providing that hilarity.

    Rachel and I met up a few weeks ago and something we talked about reminded me of the below and I forwarded this to her — maybe you might enjoy it as well in light of your special activity scheduled for tomorrow.

    During the height of my stuff, I must have listened to this woman on Story Corps 1000 times. Whenever I was down (see the 1000 times), I listened to Dottie Copeland. She’s my freakin hero. Personally I’m not really into the whole “battle/war” analogy, it’s just not my bag, but this woman faces surgery as such a unbelievable badass I think everyone needs to hear her before going in for anything. Even when I hear her now I still crack up, my whole soul swells, and I feel like I can stand strong on two feet and do anything:

    (Btw, wait till you hear how she tells her husband that she has cancer…)

    GO GET ‘EM AMY!!

    • I just arrived 40 minutes early to a meeting so I listened to her and the rocky theme and now I shall touch up my make up! She’s awesome, now lets go get a hamburger.

  3. first of all, I had never heard any Mumford & Sons music and now I want to hear MORE. I haven’t listened to the storycorp piece but I am crying over the Rocky theme video. shit. how long are you going to be out after this surgery? maybe we can visit this weekend if we are finally germless. Love you.

  4. Amy = hero + Jenny = hero

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: