My name is April Bhattacharya and I’ve created this blog to keep family and friends updated with my journey. I hope that others out there that are facing these same decisions find my blog encouraging and informative.
After losing multiple women in my family, including my mother, to breast cancer, I chose to have genetic testing. I found out in March 2010 that I tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation. This does not mean it causes breast or ovarian cancer, but it leads to an increased risk for its development. I have an 85% lifetime risk of breast cancer and a 40% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. The general population’s lifetime risk for breast cancer is about 12% and less than 2% for ovarian cancer.
After doing much research, discussing things with my husband, talking with doctors and genetic counselors, I came to the conclusion that a prophylactic (preventative) bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts) and reconstruction would be my personal best decision. By having this surgery I reduce my risk of getting breast cancer by 90%. I have also taken on a vegan diet. At 23 years old, I am empowered to take steps to prevent breast and/or ovarian cancer from taking my life early. I am grateful to be a woman with options that could change the future of my family.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
2 Weeks Post-Op Revision Surgery
The day before my surgery I found out that my report time was 9AM, but then the morning of surgery I get a call at 8AM asking me to come in earlier! I had just gotten out of the shower and there was no way I was going to get my hair dry, get dressed, drive and park in time to go any earlier than 9AM. The lady on the phone said okay and to get there as soon as I could. I told her I would be there at 9 like I was already told to and that calling me at 8 is a little last minute to change my report time. This made my morning a bit stressful and then when I got there the staff was acting like I was late! My nurse was rushing to get my IV and everything ready and said, "It's really important you are on time for surgery." I was so frustrated because I was on time!! Ugh. But oh well. When I got my papers in the mail to give a review of my experience I let them know how rude I thought that situation was. Hopefully that won't happen again.
Anyways...this surgery was similar to the exchange surgery. I took the Emend again a few hours before to prevent nausea. They also gave me Ketamine and the Scopolamine Patch again. The surgery lasted around an hour long and it took me a little under 2 hours to wake up. I went home right after I woke up. This time I was a little rushed getting out. I didn't really feel all the way awake...I could barely get myself dressed and walk to the bathroom...but the nurse was rushing me out saying, "Are you getting dressed?...You need to go home..." I wanted to tell her to be quiet and let me come to a little bit more and/or help me get dressed. I was at the day surgery building again like last time, but this experience just wasn't as good as before. My surgeon and his team were great! But the staff and nurses for that building were just not too pleasant this time.
I had Cephalexin for my antibiotic. My surgeon said it's not as strong as the Sulfameth that I had last time but I didn't care! I was not going to go through days of a horrible migraine again from the Sulfameth. The Cephalexin did just fine : ) And I had Tramadol again for pain and Zofran to prevent nausea from the pain meds. I took all of these meds until the Saturday after surgery. I only had a normal, minor headache coming off the anesthesia so that was great! I'm so happy I haven't gotten sick like I did when I had my PBM in December. That was rough. This revision surgery was the easiest so far!
I've had way less bruising this time. Just a little yellowish right on the inside curve where the main part of the revision was. The Heparin shot bruise on my thigh was disgusting again haha but those always are. I still have a little bit of a bruise from it right now. But my chest doesn't have any bruises as of today. I was able to take my steri strips off the day after my first follow up with the PA which was on Monday the 8th. I have one little suture sticking out of the end of the incision site that I will go get removed on Friday the 26th with the PA.
I had a follow up with my surgeon on Wednesday the 17th. Everything went really great! He said to continue to stick to my restrictions for the full 6 weeks post-op. Same as before...no lifting, pushing, pulling more then 10 lbs...no jumping, running, anything that would use my upper body. And this time around he has me wearing an underwire bra all day and all night. I started this the day after surgery. It was a bit painful that first week because the revision area was tender and the underwire was right on it. But it feels fine now. I have occasional shooting pain and itching on the inside, but its not too bad. It is uncomfortable to sleep in a bra, but its helping hold the revision in place for these first 6 weeks. I'm wearing balcony bras so the wire is higher in the middle to help keep the implants apart and in place. I've spent more money on bras than I ever have haha but I guess thats just part of the process...learning what's comfortable, good fit, different brands, etc. I've started using my scar cream and lotions again. Everything is going pretty great!
At my appointment we talked about the nipple reconstruction and I think I'm going through with it! I'll post more details on this next time when I upload my revision pictures. I wish I could see someone in person that has had the nipple reconstruction to give me some peace of mind about it...but I'll think I'll be happy with them. If all goes well, that procedure will be my last surgery! Shooting for an October date. Woo Hoo! If there is anyone reading this that has had the nipple reconstruction and is willing to email me telling me about your experience I would really appreciate it : )
Monday is our 2 year anniversary!! I'm so excited to take a break from life for a few days and enjoy sometime with my husband : ) I got a pedi yesterday, went to a friends wedding tonight and then off to celebrate our marriage! I'll post again after I see the PA to get my suture removed.