Imagine my surprise when I received a letter today that said “Your treating doctor requested that you be placed onto a surgical wait list to undergo BILATERAL EXCHANGE FROM EXPANDERS TO IMPLANTS”
Placed onto? What the fark???!!!!
The letter continued … “We aim to deliver the best and most timely care to all our patients as quickly as possible.”
Most timely? Quickly? Pfft.
I understand the issues with public health, I really do. But Pffft!
You see, I was PLACED on a surgical waiting list back on the 1st November 2013. True.
It’s been nearly three years since I had my first expander jammed in my chest. And 2.5 years since I met the second one. I was so appreciative of the work of my surgeons. They removed my cancer and gave me an instant chest. I went onto the surgical list a few months later. And there I have sat with these uncomfortable, lumpy, rotten things since.
For all of this time, its been too painful to lay on my stomach. So I’ve neglected visits to the chiropractor, the massage therapist, and bodyboarding with the kids.
I guess I’m supposed to feel lucky that I’m still alive and even need my reconstruction finished. There’s plenty who didn’t get this far. Plenty!
So after I mustered up enough strength to hide my disappointment at this letter and not get prematurely upset, I rang the hospital. Turns out, the lovely Elective Surgery Access Manager felt my pain and put me on hold.
When she returned to the telephone, she offered me an apology for having me wait on the phone so long. Then she gave me a Plastic Surgeon surgical consult date (I’ve had two of these already) and an implant exchange surgery date. I didn’t know what to say.
So I said “Wow! Thankyou so much!” or some similar drivel.
Now the question is, what will they look like when finished? I’ve spent so long in this body that doesn’t feel like my own anymore. My rock hard, contracted, scar effected mounds, with nipples that point in such grossly different directions will need a lot of work to look reasonable.
And what will be of the 28kgs I’ve gained through hormonal treatment and chemically induced menopause since these Asian sized expanders were inserted? At least they were in proportion when all of this cancer treatment lark started.
What I’m looking forward to most will be the delight for my children when they snuggle and discover my chest is no longer like hugging a concrete freeway bollard. That will be the best!
Happy 41st Birthday to me. It would appear I’m (actually) having exchange surgery!
That is terrible that you have had to wait so long… The system sure us broken … When you have cancer it is all these things people dont know about when they think all is well… What a crazy system … Lets hope you feel so mych more comfirtable once this is done .xx
Thank you Helen. Hope you are going okay! x
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OUTRAGEOUS that you’ve had to wait this long! I’m sorry! (But glad you get to finally make the exchange– yay!)
I can’t believe you’ve had to endure the discomfort of expanders for 3 years! You my dear are a saint. This past year I have undergone a double mastectomy, expanders, implants and my ovaries removed as a result of breast cancer. I agree with you 100% – Those expanders are incredibly uncomfortable. Like two volcanic rocks, hard heavy, indented and incredibly painful to lie on. Unable to lie on my side or my tummy (my ususal sleeping position) I was on my back for months. So I booked my surgery for the exchange pretty much 3 months to the day!
The implants have been a vast improvement over the expanders I can now sleep on my side and my tummy. Whilst still a bit “wonky donkey” – they’re a bit indented in places particularly if you’ve slept on your side or tummy and still quite firm – they are much better than the dreaded expanders.
I hope you don’t have to wait much longer – fingers crossed.
Ps. I came across your blog just after I was diagnosed early last year. I love it! You are brutally honest but manage to find such humour in your life and what lit has dealt you. I have felt your pain and related to so much of what you have shared and then I have laughed in equal measures. Just what I needed. Thank you for sharing your story, it has really helped me in so many ways. Xx
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you are travelling okay now. Lise x