it’s complicated.

just when i started having more energy, just when i was making travel plans and work trips, just when i was reconnecting with my MBA professors about wrapping up coursework, just when i started feeling more reliable as a co-worker, just when i had a fun getaway to phoenix to make me feel almost like a normal person….
i found blood in my bra. an emergency call to the surgeon and a sunday night office visit later, it turns out my incision split open and it’s infected.  ugh. ew. vomit. my breast was red, hot and annnngry.
the surgeon stitched me up right there, got me on antibiotics, and we’ve since been getting a plan in place. the plan has changed upwards of 10 times already today…information is imperfect and new facts keep coming to light.
but for now, tomorrow at 1pm, i’m having surgery. they will remove the infected implant and see how far the infection has spread. if it’s still contained, they will clean it out and replace the implant with a new smaller one so that the skin isn’t stretched as much, and stitch me up. if it’s spread, they will clean it out and stitch me up, leaving me with a wrinkly tiny breast for now.  then, either way, the next step will be within the week, to go back in and have another surgery where they remove back tissue and place it around the incision. this allows healthy new skin to strong arm the flimsy, sickly radiated skin. if they end up not being able to put an implant in tomorrow because of infection, i could get an implant during the second surgery.
roger that?  i know, it’s a lot.  and the shittiest part of it all, is that it STILL might not work. and i’d be stuck with that wrinkly tiny breast.
one other option on the table was this surgery called a DIEP flap. it uses a person’s own stomach tissue and fat, and recreates a breast. the chance of success is very high, because a body rarely rejects its own tissue. as of last night, i was ready to do this, despite a really long surgery and tough recovery…mostly due to an abdominal incision that stretches from hip bone to hip bone. but then, i unearthed a little fact that this surgery is not recommended for women who are planning to have children.  screeeeeech on the brakes. yep, it might screw with my abdominal wall. when talking with the surgeon today, i told him i pictured the worst case scenario of having this alien baby pop out of my stomach during future pregnancy. he said it’s maybe not that severe but still, he has never had a patient do the DIEP and then have a baby.  and as usual, the BAYS community has been nothing short of amazing in helping me navigate all these options.
i’m riding another roller coaster. cancer–the gift that keeps giving. in an eerie way, i feel like I’m getting diagnosed all over again. breaking apart plans and living with a lot of uncertainty. i’ve been coaxed back into the lull of life and then, bam! 
some of you may be wondering about why i’m doing all this in the first place. but i ask you: how would it feel to be unable to fit into your own clothes ever again? or every time you dress notice a hugely deformed marker on your body as a big reminder of cancer and its ongoing grip on your life? sure, reconstruction surgery is cosmetic. but there is significant mental and emotional health around it as well. that’s why it’s mandated for insurance companies to cover it. it’s like an exclamation point at the end of the most tough of treatments.
my first instinct was to blame myself. “oh, i should have listened to the doctor when he told me not to lift anything for 2 months (even though that is completely impractical).”  but he confirmed that it was a situation just waiting to happen with my radiated thin skin and there’s nothing i could have done to avoid it.  except not doing belly flops into a pool (his words), of which i haven’t done any.
i’ll be staying overnight in the hospital 1-2 nights to get IV antibiotics and monitor healing.  i’ll also get more of those fucking drains.  here’s a picture of me after the last reconstruction surgery, all bright-eyed and full of hope about healing (no comments on the ‘fro or fancy Velcro contraptions). i’m trying to reach down and find some of that energy heading into tomorrow.
so to recap: cancer sucks.the end,meaghanps MaPP people, this doesn’t mean i won’t be connected to what’s going on this week…it’s getting too exciting up in BC to be away from you all for too long!

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