Tuesday, December 11, 2007

an encouraging word

i never would have though that plastic surgery would be the best news, the most encouraging, hopeful information i could hear. yet, it was. yesterday i met with dr. reid mueller at OHSU and he was wonderful. warm, easy to understand and totally reassuring. although it was a lot of information to process, i left there with a lighter heart just knowing that no matter what the outcome is, plastic surgeons have ways of making magic and fixing things.

of course, i have already come to terms with some compromises. i will have to accept scars. no longer will i have these perfect (to me) breasts. mine will tell the story of this journey i've been on. that seems ok right now.

i sure as hell will have earned the scars.

for now, in this round, i am fighting to keep this breast. but who knows what the future holds? i hope i never see breast cancer again. but i won't be surprised if it comes back. i am going to live the fullest life i know how, with the knowledge that you never really see your opponent until you are at the battlefield. and if it comes back, i have the experience to beat it again.

yesterday i learned that even with a radical choice like a mastectomy, there are options for reconstruction that i would feel comfortable with. i don't ever want implants, those silicon and saline pillows of stuff freak me out. do you know they actually put them under the chest muscle? i could barely touch the examples in dr. mueller's office. the great news is, i am a good candidate for using my own body's tissue and muscle to make a new breast. they would take it from my belly, where i happen to have a bit to spare. mind you, i am not taking this route now, i am not going to get a mastectomy, i am not having a total reconstruction. but it was deeply comforting to know how it could be done. way more gracefully and naturally than i assumed.


this round, i may possibly lose my nipple and i certainly will have two radically unmatched breasts. those issues can be fixed, although the outcome of reducing one of the breast will certainly be better then having a new, non-functioning nipple. cross that bridge when i come to it, i guess.

i hope i get to keep my nipple, i would mourn it's loss.

dr. mueller won't be able to start reconstruction for me until months and months after radiation is finished, assuming i do choose radiation. so this saga may be another whole year in the making.


V Kingsley said...

Hey Tay - I just left this on the michfest bb but didn't know if you were checking that.

So here I am thinking that I might be able to come visit with you - lalala clueless - wondering why the notices and email haven't been answered - I didn't even think to check the brown boards! Oh dearie dear. Cancer. So. You have begun a new chapter of life. It is different for every author and I will read your blog to see how your journey unfolds.

I certainly understand why you might not want to meet up with us at Terri's. Our thoughts will be with you though and if the US mail delivers as they claim - Dani will be sporting a new Twirl Girl belt buckle for the trip. (shhh - it's a surprise)

If you ever want to talk - any time - I will listen.


or if, in some insomniac moment, you care to read my condensed journey (complete with the line: "People swore by a wide variety of drugs, physical and mental practices, religious rites and miracle cures. Most of the 427 suggestions offered to me were not personally useful....I am not a fan of advice.")


May you have the busiest week of your life and may you be reminded of the river of birds on the 18th. We will be carrying you.

Love, V

Tay said...

oh, V!

Forgive me for not responding, I have been very overwhelmed. Hosting you in my apartment would have been a stetch before the recent events, now that's just a crazy idea, as i am going to be fresh from surgery (again) when you and your clan hit town.

I have read your journey, it alwasy makes me cry. Especially the parts about how others have held you through it all. And I've thought of you many times the past couple of months, you are an inspiration of healing!

How wonderful to find someone not a fan of advice...you REALLY get it, how deeply comforting that is.

I may not be up to a big gathering, especially when that requires so much explaining to all those I have not seen in ages, but if you and yours want to come over for a glass of wine, hot chocolate, bev. of your choice, it would be great to see you.

let's plan something by email. I'm so glad you found me here.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

So glad that you had your visit with the plastic surgeon, and the part about using your own body tissue seems wondrous and incredible and is a potent reminder of all the body can do, including so many beautiful things.