Making The Cut

I never filled everyone in on the whole surgery experience.   My double mastectomy was Friday, November 4th.  That whole week was busy and hectic with appointments and trying to organize kids pickup and other daily routine type things.  Tuesday of that week started with a visit to my regular OB for my regular checkup.  Wednesday, I did pre-op which is basically 8 billion questions and more blood samples.  Thursday, I met with the high risk maternal/fetal medicine physician. They took blood samples to run a billion different tests, and did an ultrasound.  Baby Doodle, looked great, and the Dr. said she saw nothing of concern regarding the baby’s growth and appearance. Yay!!! Now, to go home and eat myself silly until my midnight cut-off.

Eating did not pose a problem as I had co-workers drop off enough food and supplies to get us through an apocalypse! My mom came in town Thursday evening and it was pretty much business as usual.  I had one last snack before bed knowing it was going to be a long day without food the next day, and then proceeded to perform the pre-surgery disinfection process.  The hospital provided me with a few packages of wipes with specific instructions to thoroughly wipe down my body.  1. The wipes are freezing. 2. They leave a sticky film. 3. Said film becomes itchy and begs to be scratched.

On Friday morning I woke in good spirits. I helped get the kids ready for school, extra hugs and kisses of course.  As I got dressed, I took one last look at the girls in the mirror, “It didn’t have to end like this, but you went rogue, and left me no choice.” My mom picked me up to carry me off to the hospital while Dave dropped off the kids.  My surgery wasn’t scheduled until noon that day, but check in was at 9:00 am.  I was already dreaming about bagels and milkshakes before we even got to the hospital.  Off to pre-surgery my mom and I go. Another package of disinfectant wipes, a pee sample for a pregnancy test, positive, surprise surprise.  Hospital gown, slip proof socks, gargle, spit, swab of nostrils, IV inserted and down to another waiting area.  Dave showed up by the time we got to the second waiting area.  They sent for a nurse to check the baby’s heart rate, everything was good.  I met the anesthesiologist, he gave me the run down. My nurse navigator “L” came and checked on me, met my mom, and told me she was praying for me.  Then the star of the show, my surgeon came and introduced himself to my mom. Went over what we were doing, bilateral mastectomy, port installation. He also let me know that today’s surgery music choice would be Pink Floyd. ddevito

Shortly after that the CRNA came and talked to us, and then started me down the hall.  We burst into a stark white room and 10 faces came at me and started with introductions.  Just a reminder, during my last surgery, I had already been given something prior to going into the operating room, this time I didn’t get the “pre” medicine so I was completely coherent when I arrived.  There was someone putting pressure cuffs on my legs, I had to wear a lead blanket over my belly for the x-ray, the table is narrow so they tie you down, my arms are being strapped in a T position, cold electrodes are being placed all over, the CRNA is a little too firm with the oxygen mask and keeps reminding me to breathe. If I breathe I might embarrass myself and ask to leave.  In the corner stands my surgeon thumbing through his playlist, and then starts, “Let It Go”.

“UGGGGGHHH”, I mumble through the oxygen mask, as the anesthesiologist administers his cocktail.  I hear lots of what’s wrong, and there is a pause in the bustle as the surgeon walks over.  “Dr. P, I hate this song, are you trying to be funny? Is this dedicated to my boobs?”  Laughter all around.   Beeping and keys clacking, “are you awake Khim?”


I made it!!  I felt like there was an elephant on my chest and in my daze thought that maybe they’d forgotten to actually remove my bosom, but one look at the much flatter hospital gown squashed that theory.  I had four drains attached to me like unwanted tentacles and their insertion points were the only areas that were painful/bothersome. I stayed overnight, got one more ultrasound to confirm Baby Doodle was okay, and everything looked great there, and then I was on my way home Saturday afternoon.

A couple of days later when I was home alone, I undid my bandages to take a look at the breast less me.  I’ll admit I cried, just because the scars were overwhelming, and the tentacles didn’t help.  It was a short cry, because without the distraction of my chest, my belly was so much more obvious, and what’s going on in there is more important than my vanity.  isaiah669

As for the results of my surgery, the Dr. says he was able to remove all the cancer from the right breast, and the left breast had no cancer in it, they took one more suspicious lymph node.  So no new concerns or scares and now the next step is chemo beginning in December.

During my recovery, I received so many cards, care packages, messages, and texts and they all were so uplifting and appreciated. So many people stepped in to help around the house, with dogs, picking up kids, and meals, and my whole family was completely overwhelmed by the generosity.

Getting Some Things Off My Chest

The big surgery is scheduled for November 4th so there has been a lot going on this week and there is a lot going on in this blog be warned.  I think I am less nervous about the whole surgery and anesthesia portion this time, because I’ve been wrapped up in trying to navigate the after, my days’ post-surgery being The Young and the Breastless.  I am still 100% okay with my choice to go all in or all off should I say.  Let’s be honest the girls take up a significant amount of my torso real estate, so it is going to be strange with them gone.  Are my kids going to shrink away when they come in for a comforting hug and are met with ribs? Not to mention my lack of chest is only going to be emphasized as my belly grows bigger.

Oh wait, some of you don’t know about that part. The title does imply I’ve got tea to spill.  I found out shortly after my post-op in August, that I am…. pregnant.  I’ll give you a minute to let that marinate.


I know you have questions so let me try and answer the most common ones.

  • How does this affect the whole cancer nonsense occurring?
    • Well, to be honest it is not ideal, I have estrogen and progestin positive cancer cells, so being pregnant I have basically created an all you can eat buffet for the cancer.
  • Is it safe to have surgery?
    • Yes.
  • Can you do chemo?
    • Yes, once I am in the 2nd trimester, there is specific protocol “safe” during pregnancy. Quotations because it’s chemo, and chemo is evil, but it’s what I’ve got to work with right now.
  • How far along are you?
    • 13 weeks.

Y’all when the doctor told me I was pregnant, I felt like that scene in Saving Private Ryan when the bomb goes off and Tom Hanks is walking around, and there is no sound for a whole five minutes of the movie.  Then I heard that heartbeat and saw that tell-tale bean shape moving around in the ultrasound wedge.  When I had to break the news to my parents, I felt like a teenage girl breaking the news to her parents.  They handled it well though, my dad took it like a champ and my mother was actually speechless for a short time.

I am not going to lie to you when I first got my diagnosis, I made sure to pray very specifically.  I often prayed for complete healing, life, and for God to help me be aware that He was working in me.  I also had been reading a book that focuses on Ephesians 3:20; Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”

Now, I know God is all powerful and creator of all things, but I can’t help but think that He had himself a good little chuckle as He was knitting this little person in my womb.

I found a very helpful organization that connected me with a physician in New Jersey who has been researching the journeys of pregnant women and cancer for last several years. I got to talk to her on the phone and ask a ton of questions.  Hope for Two  also connected me with a sponsor, I now have a friend who had a very similar diagnosis and experience with finding out she was pregnant.  She is a survivor and her daughter is doing fantastic, so it is a blessing to have her to talk to.

When I started writing this blog, I worried about it getting old or boring talking about such a not fun topic.  Well, I think it’s fair to say that there should be no more concern that I can’t keep it interesting.   We’re going to keep on praying, just praying for two of us now. (Feel free to pray for a boy too, thanks.)  Much love and many blessings to you all out there!