Margot Update 2

August 20, 2003
(seven days after surgery)

Hello everyone,

I have such good news to share. I got the pathology report back yesterday and they found nada, niente, nothing in the lymph nodes and were able to get a clear margin from around the mass so..........................I am a very happy camper and so very relieved! Doesn't mean I won't have to have some sort of preventative treatment, won't know that until I see the Oncologist in a week or so. He will need to evaluate the receptor tests (to see what actually fed the dreadful thing) and see about the Her-2 neu which I only half way understand at this point. What I do know is that the results of these tests will be evaluated by my oncologist and will suggest the best possible after surgery treatment. So still not sure of that but I do know now that it will not have to be the most aggressive form of treatment and that is a very good thing. The doctors and nurses are happy with the pathology results so I am too!

I go today for my first post-op appointment with the plastic surgeon. He calls me "her highness" - maybe I should wear the rhinestone tiara Betsy Edwards gave all the Royal ambassadors! Hope fully got one of those nasty drains out. The right one is still very active, I'm sure because that is the side that did not have any lymph nodes removed so am moving my arm more and also that I am right handed. Still taking a pain pill every 6 hours or so - those remaining nerves are looking for their lost partners! No real tear inducing pain though. A bit tired - no surprise there. Lower back and legs are giving me the most problem since I do have arthritis, have not been able to take the medication for that because of surgery so joints re inflamed and inactivity. Went out walking yesterday with Jaime. She aid I was "clipping right along!" Saw my male neighbor for the first time yesterday, his wife is a nurse and had been over and I had even showed her my surgery but I hadn't seen him. Wondered how he would act. Known him for 16 years. He was at his mailbox when we came around the corner. I wondered if he would try to get back inside before we got to him or if he would wait to speak. He actually got in his truck, pulled out of his driveway and pulled up next to us on the street. Made a bit of small talk, said he was glad to see me up an out and I could see he was being very careful about not looking at my chest (or lack of). I had one of Harold's shirts on (didn't have to worry about there being no darts!) and my lovely drains which sit on my lower chest so make me look pregnant - just imagine the sight (turquoise plaid no less!). I have decided to tackle all these issues head on so I said to him, "Recognize Harold's shirt? If fits me better now than it does him!" He laughed and all the uncomfortable (not much but a bit) of tension disappeared!

Sunday was a busy day, lots of company and my sister (Nurse Martha) took off the bandages for me. We all gathered together for the unveiling - me, my sister, Jaime and Jennifer. After we looked and my sister was so very excited about how I looked (remember she worked for a plastic surgeon for 5 years) we called Harold in and we all discussed what was there and Martha explained why she was so excited. Mind you, they look like deflated skin bags to me!!!!!!!!!! She was so happy because the surgeon doing the mastectomy left the inframammary fold that is under the breast and cannot be reconstructed so if I ever do decide to wear a bra again (only once in a while, mind you) it fits under the fold and won't tend to slid up a created slope. You never know, I might go from industrial satin to lacy black since I can! Both are the same size and there is no redness of any kind at the incisions which are also much smaller than I expected. They still have steri-strips on them so I can't actually see the incisions well. She says because they were able to leave the fold and because I look deflated now I will look much more natural with the reconstruction as they won't have to stretch my skin so much. My sister and her friend (and also my neighbor) were the first callers on Sunday. Because they are nurses, I ended up showing them my chest although still bandaged at that time. That is when Martha discovered I had folds. I seem to have lost some of my modesty! Then I showed my family and then my next door neighbor. Harold is beside himself. He thinks he needs to find me some shirts that tie down so I will keep my shirt on! He is convinced I will go topless when I get my "new ones!" Just kidding, although he is teasing me about it. Never fear, I would always ask if you look curious before whipping my shirt up so you don't have to be afraid to be alone with me! I just figure, if I can help alleviate someone's fears or just plain curiosity about what it looks like (within reason, of course!) I will be happy to show. I am also creating a digital photo disc (kind of like a step-by-step for a painting project!) that will go from the first time I took off the bandages until the reconstruction is complete. Only from my neck to my waist. When I am done, if you ever know of anyone who needs to see that for her own reassurance of what a "pleasingly plump," average looking, 55 year old woman went through, I will be happy to make a copy available. I look nothing like the scary pictures I have seen in books! Not attractive mind you, but not horrid either.

If I am too graphic for you now that the initial surgery is over just email me and tell me to put you on the "short list." Not everyone I know gets this much detail and it may be too much for you. My intent is to let you all know the journey so it is not so scary. I also want you to know that I feel all the warmth and concern and prayers that have been coming my way. I felt so much at peace at the time of surgery and still feel as though I am enclosed in a bubble of caring thoughts so there is just no room for any bad thoughts to get in! I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for creating that feeling for me.

Love to all,

Margot (member of the ITBC, soon to be Perky Polly!)

After reading through the updates,
if you have any questions please email me


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