Kimberley Lauren

Updates on Kim's breast cancer and treatments

Nothing really went as planned with Wednesday’s surgery. All he could do was take the tissue expander out and pump me full of antibiotics and close it up. Somehow that ended with me staying two nights in the hospital even though it was supposed to be outpatient. I’m guessing part of that was so they could give me antibiotics through an IV and because they gave me dilaudid, even though I specifically told them multiple times not to give it to me because it makes me throw up. 

I took a peek under the dressings and it looks terrifying. Because I had already had an expander in, my skin is all stretched out so it’s just kinda folded up and looking pretty freaky. 

I had to talk to an infectious disease specialist, and he said he wanted me on more antibiotics for two weeks before we do anything else. So, probably on the 27 I should be going back to get a new tissue expander, which is supposed to be another outpatient surgery so keep your fingers crossed on that one. 

Fortunately, I’m not in pain. My plastic surgeon said that when I get the replacement, I shouldn’t be in any more pain than I am now. There’s still some discomfort though because I have a drain yet again. Let’s hope everything goes according to plan now.

I went back to my plastic surgeon today. He said based on the cultures, I’m taking the right antibiotics for the infection, and that it is starting to look better. However, he still wants to book an operating room for Thursday to take the tissue expander out and clean everything up. He said my choices are: replace the expander now and delay treatment for another month, or take it out, finish treatment, then have another surgery to replace the expander and start all over.

I’m voting for option 1 but I still have to talk to the oncologist and get her opinion. The surgery should only take a little over an hour and it’s outpatient, so there’s that, I guess.

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been complaining a bit this week. I got the last of my drains out on Monday and mostly everything seemed normal. I did have an open wound that was white and, for lack of better words, gooey. My plastic surgeon wanted me to just use a certain type of soap to keep it clean and then put some gauze over it. Since then the spot hasn’t seemed to be getting any worse, but it wasn’t getting better.

Wednesday morning (afternoon) I woke up with some mild back pain. It wasn’t too bad so I didn’t really do much about it. Then later that night I started to feel crappy and ended up with a fever. It wasn’t high enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room, so I just took something to reduce it. The same thing happened on Thursday except with much worse pain. It went from my shoulder blade, to the area under my armpit (or what is left of it anyway), to the right side of my chest. Normally this pain is caused by getting my tissue expanders filled but that hadn’t been done since Feb. 27 if I remember correctly. 

Then today at my appointment, as I was changing I noticed the entire right side of my bra was soaked. My plastic surgeon said it looks like a superficial infection, but they took some cultures and prescribed me some antibiotics and more pain killers. He also had to deflate my right breast a little bit. He said best case scenario would be that the antibiotics clear everything up and we’ll be able to resume expansion. Worst case and they’ll have to do more surgery to either clean (I think?) the expanders, or they’ll have to completely start everything over.

The physical pain has been so bad that I’ve gotten about 10 hours of sleep in the past two days, I can hardly use my right arm for anything at the moment, and trying to find a comfortable position to sit or lay down is basically impossible. It’s things like this that make me wonder if having boobs again is even worth it. 

Again, I don’t really feel like proofreading so apologies for any typos or confusing sentences. 

Surgery went really well, or perfect, if you ask my plastic surgeon, Pedro. I’ve been in quite a bit of pain even after a week. It got so bad at one point that I had actually wished I was having chemo again instead. 

Going through something like this kind of has to force you not to be embarrassed of your body. You also learn a little bit about who really cares about you enough to pull your pants up and down to go to the bathroom, help bathe you, and empty the surgical drains. So I’d like to formally thank my mom and Kayla for that. For the most part I can do these things on my own, but my range of motion isn’t back to normal, and I can’t expect it to be only one week later, but I feel like I’ve made a lot of improvements. 

Today I went back to see my plastic surgeon. I got my bandages taken off and had them filled for the first time. They (my breasts) look really weird and Frankenstein-esque (they’re called “frankenboobs in the breast cancer world), which is expected but Pedro assures me they look perfect. I had 100 cc’s in the left breast, and 120 in the right. I am fairly certain this is twice the amount than what I’ve read most people get. I was doing fine most of the day with it, just trying to adjust to not having a bandage crushing my ribs and the muscle spasms. That changed a few hours ago. I went to take a nap because I had taken some of the pain killers and woke up about an hour later in severe pain. I felt like my chest was being crushed and needed both my mom and dad to help me sit up in my bed. It’s actually kind of funny now because they put a pillow case behind my back and just pulled. I’m still a little frustrated because I’ll have my drains in until next week and I can’t figure out a good place to put them. 

Long story short: I am still in pain, but things are looking up.

Surgery has been scheduled for the 7th of this month! We’re still doing a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. From what I understand, the reconstruction will take a while to finish and involve multiple surgeries. The first step is just to get a tissue expander in place to make room for the actual implants. I’ll be in the hospital for at least two nights, and possibly longer.

Here are some answers to questions I’ve been getting:

"Are you nervous"
-Not really. I’m just anxious to proceed with my treatment plan. 

"How big are you going to get them?"
-Ideally I’d like to be about the size I am now. I honestly couldn’t even tell you what size bra I wear anyway because all of the ones I own are too small. My guess is a D cup.

*Sidenote: I don’t really care about your opinion, they are not yours to deal with. This is not just like getting implants because I’m unhappy with my size. I would like to feel as normal as possible. Plus, they wont really look like normal breasts anyway. And I’m okay with that.

"Can I touch them?"
-This is mostly coming from my friends and I don’t even know if most of them are serious, but what are you expecting to feel? I don’t really care if you do but don’t touch me while I’m still healing. I will not be held accountable for any injuries you might receive.