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Heavy

IMG_0996 4It’s been kind of a hard week so far. Emilia had a tooth pulled on Tuesday. She banged it several times, once on the side of my footboard, once on a bench outside the lemonade stand, and probably a lot of other times I can’t remember. She’s had a filling before and did so great with it but the idea of them wiggling out her tooth was very stressful for her. Of course, in true Emilia fashion, she rocked it. She sat still as they did it and watched Sponge Bob contentedly.  She told me after that it was much scarier in her head. Once she was at the dentist it wasn’t so bad. She’s so wise, so brave and so small.

Today, as I was getting dressed, she walked into my room. I’ve tried to be very honest with my kids about this upcoming surgery and why it’s happening and all of that. She watched intently as I put on my bra.

“So, you’re having surgery. Or are you having stitches?”
“Both, baby. I’m having surgery and stitches. I’ll have stitches here,” I said and pointed to the underside of my breast, and up to the nipple which made her laugh, “and here.” I pointed to my belly then.
“So, they’re going to cut off your boobs and then put your belly there?”
“Yep, pretty cool.”
“Mama, why do you have to have surgery?”
“To make sure I don’t get sick.”
“Do have to have surgery?”
“I don’t know. You might. We won’t know until you’re older.”
“But, I don’t want to have surgery.”
“I know, baby. I don’t want you to have to have surgery, either.”

Statistics say 2/4 of my kids are mutants. My feeling is that all 4 of them probably are. (please please please let my gut be incorrect in this instance) I definitely don’t regret having my kids. I love them so so so so much but it feels so heavy to know that I have probably passed on this mutation to at least 2 of them.  To know that my tiny little five (and a half) year old is thinking about potentially needing surgery is so so so hard. I was blissfully unaware of my mutant status until less than a year ago and my poor babies have to face it head on. I’m SO glad that I know. I’m SO grateful to be able to be proactive and PREVIVE.  It hurts so much to know that my babies will potentially have to do the same. I mean, it’s probably a good thing that 75% of my kids are boys and it’s just an elevated risk of breast cancer/prostate cancer and melanoma. But, Emilia. Damn.

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21 days

in 21 days I will be post op. So wild. The days keep melting into the next. Today was picture day for the elementary kids. Emilia told me the photographer called everyone George. It made her laugh. Lord I hope the kindergarteners had theirs taken first! Fingers crossed. At least they looked cute when I sent them to school.

Tomorrow, Mariah and I are going to go get my pre op testing done. Glad she’s coming with me to keep me company. I am hoping it doesn’t take all day long, but knowing my luck, it will.  Chest X-ray, EKG, blood draw and more will need to be forwarded to my surgeon in NoLa.

Today, I got 2 queen sheets for the airbnb. White, cheap, bleachable. I got some more wash cloths, again, cheap and bleachable, and a hoodie and pair of joggers. I think I’m set as far cozy clothes go. I also got a boppy pregnancy pillow as I heard they’re really beneficial for sleeping.

Let’s talk about sleeping. Did you know, I’m either a tummy sleeper or I sleep with my arms crossed above my head. If you follow me on instagram, you’ve most definitely seen Emilia sleeping the same way. (Side, if you’re not following me on instagram, why not? instagram) I realized the other night that I won’t be able to sleep on my tummy OR with my arms above my head for some time. I hope I can adapt.

I’m not so much nervous about the surgery. They’re incredibly capable and competent physicians. I know I’m in incredibly skilled hands. I’m not nervous for the pain. I mean I’m not EXCITED for it, either. I’m nervous for patience and my general lack of. I’m nervous that I’ll be so frustrated with my lack of progress that I’ll sabotage myself somehow. I need to be reminded that I deserve grace at this time. That I can take this time to heal, that I NEED to take this time to heal. I’m not a down and out kinda girl. I’m constantly on the go and on the move. This stillness is going to be difficult for me. The stillness is what scares me. If you’re the praying type, I could use some encouragement in this area. Just that I will have grace for myself and not worry so much.

21 days, guys. 21 days and I’ll be post op.

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Stockpile

IMG_0403 3You guys, surgery is in less than a month. I have to go get my pre op testing next week. I work Monday so I’m thinking Tuesday will be the day! Blood work, chest x-ray and EKG.

My babies all started school. Emilia is rocking kindergarten. She literally twirled into the building. Owen’s killing it in second grade. Gabriel is loving all of the new challenges at Seaside and 5th grade and Julian’s trucking along in 7th. We have slowly gotten into the routine of school. After a summer of sleeping in it’s been rough! Barry’s been away for annual training and I’ve been flying solo.

 

I’ve started stockpiling for surgery. We are staying at an Airbnb before and after surgery. I’ve ordered my bidet toilet seat from BioBidet. I’ve got an Amazon order on the way! And have stock piled some bleachable wash cloths. I have 2 sets of button front jams, and a button front nightgown that’s definitely going to make me feel like a grandma but hey, it’s paisley. I’m trying to locate button front tops which isn’t something I’ve normally worn due to the sheer size of the tatas. I hate bulging buttons! Getting a couple zip up hoodies and I have a million pairs of cozy LuLaRoe leggings! My friend Brooke is sewing me a mastectomy pillow and a zip up hoodie with built in drain holders.

Somethings I still need to get (so I can keep track):
queen sized fitted sheets x 3
towels
small bottle of detergent
bleach
zip up hoodies
joggers

If you’ve had a mastectomy, or DIEP FLAP what did you find you needed after surgery?

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Birmingham

Yesterday I had my LAST set of scans at UAB. I mean probably. There’s always a chance I’ll need a mammogram some other time for whatever reason but it’s so unlikely. Geri and I left at 6AM on Tuesday to head to Atlanta. They’re furnishing a beach house and I am so honored to help them decorate it! (That’s for another post though!) We got to IKEA at around noon and devoured some meatballs and then shopped until we dropped. For real. 4 times we packed/unpacked the car. 3 separate check outs and so much furniture later and this is what my trunk looked like. IMG_0345 2.jpg

I cannot wait to show you what we have planned for all of those pillows, those seagrass poufs and the rest of the flat packed boxes you can’t see! We stopped at Mellow Mushroom and ate pizza and drank rosé in our hotel room. I was so tired after all of that lifting and master level tetris that I fell asleep so fast!

We got up early and had breakfast at my favorite breakfast spot in ATL (just for clarification it’s the ONLY spot I’ve had breakfast but I doubt I’ll ever try anywhere else because the food is so so so good!) The Flying Biscuit. If you’re ever in midtown go there! You won’t be disappointed. I’ve had the turkey hash twice and will have it again soon. Love you turkey hash. Then, with our bellies full, an epic Beatles, Soundgarden, Kat Graham, and many many more play list we headed to Birmingham.

My first appointment (MRI of my breasts with and without contrast) was at 11:30 and we got to the Kirklin Clinic at 10:00. We took a brisk walk up a really steep hill, and then around UAB and went down to the basement for my MRI. The got me back there a little early, my IV was placed and it didn’t even hurt and didn’t leave a bruise!, and then I got ready for my MRI. Luckily they’d ordered a preauthorization and we didn’t have to wait at all for that! It was pretty painless, I feel asleep listening to the random disjointed symphony.

After the MRI was the ultrasound of good ol’ leftie. I thought I was having a mammogram too but it wasn’t so. I panicked just a little worrying that I’d have to get a mammogram back at home and emailed The Center to see if it would be necessary. Within two minutes, (seriously!) I had a response saying the MRI and ultrasound would be fine! Whew! The ultrasound was pretty quick and the tech was AMAZING! After she got her measurements the radiologist came in, took one look at the pictures and said, “Well, I don’t think THAT’S anything to worry about.” Gotta be good news, right?IMG_0340.jpg

After the ultrasound, which revealed NO CHANGE in the mass!!!! we went upstairs to wait for Julie. Y’all. I LOVE that woman. She is incredible. We laughed, and there was a lot of eye contact. It was so good. She said she’s excited to see what my boobs look like after reconstruction NEXT YEAR! I’m released for a year after my surgery! And she said she’d call me with the MRI results.

Then we went to to Taco Morro Loco and devoured the most amazing tacos. IMG_0344 2

Somewhere between Birmingham and Santa Rosa Beach, my phone rang! It said Birmingham so I answered it. (Who actually TALKS on the phone? I mean isn’t it just for texting, Facebook and Instagram??) It was Julie! MRI results were in! So fast and they were CLEAR! No changes to the mass and it still has the characteristics of a fibroedema. Benign! They’ll send it to pathology when I have my mastectomy to be sure but woohoo!

Today, while I was picking up my last minute school supplies that I forgot about, I got another phone call, this time from New Orleans. I definitely answered that one too! It was a nurse from The Center with pre op orders! OMG! It’s getting real. I’m having surgery in a month! Holy smokes!

PS my little kids have amazing teachers for Kindergarten and 2nd grade. I’m so glad that they’ll be in such caring hands while I’m away and healing!

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Next. Month.

Y’all! I’m having surgery NEXT month! It’s so insane. I feel like my blog posts of late have been a continual groundhog’s day of how is it possible that time is so fast. My kids start school NEXT WEEK! Next Friday but still! Today, Gabriel is at his orientation day. They call it Shark School. Adorable right? He’s nervous to start a new school but he’s also excited. Emilia is beyond stoked to be starting kindergarten and Owen doesn’t want to go to second grade, he wants to repeat first.
Our bucket list is near completion. We are checking off a couple more things this week, and will continue checking things off until they’re done! We are giving ourselves until the official end of summer.
But seriously though, how is time so fast?? I remember summer lasting forever. I’m one of those moms this year. Not excited for their kids to start school. I’ve savored almost every second of every day. I mean, right now, Emilia’s crying because she wants me to pay $7 for Minecraft on my iPad and it’s not happening so she’s crying. This is a moment I’m not exactly savoring but like I’ve loved a lot of other moments today.
This year seemed to crawl by at first. The days were so so so long in January and February. Once I got through my Birmingham appointment it’s like everything has been in fast forward. I go again to Birmingham next week. I’m excited for tacos and spending time with Geri, and seeing Julie. I hope she’s excited that I’m having surgery next month. Or like maybe excited isn’t the right word. Pleased? I don’t know. I’m just glad it’s almost all behind me.
I found out it maybe possible that I can have my ovaries and tubes removed at the same time as my phase 2 in December. I’m waiting to hear back about that but one less surgery would be awesome. I wanted to wait a while to make sure I was done done with babies and I’m feeling more and more convinced that I’m done done. I love babies but I also love sleep. And not changing diapers. So maybe that part of my story is over. Maybe I’ll get a puppy. Who knows!