Taking stock…

Pete has been away in Joburg this week on stock take duty, and even though I’m used to him being away for a few days every month – it REALLY sucks when it’s over the weekend.

What doesn’t suck is that he leaves me presents! So very shallow I know, but WHO doesn’t like receiving a huge bouquet of flowers and WHO doesn’t like being left with a gift bag filled with goodies AND cards for every day he’s away with the sweetest messages and beautiful quotes. I mean REALLY……..WHO?

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The suckey-ist thing about the whole situation though was seeing my plastic surgeon yesterday, to discuss the next step of my reconstructive process, without him being there to hold my hand…

But yesterday morning I put my big girl panties on and headed to her office.

Now, I honestly can say that I love my plastic surgeon! For someone who has a constant waiting list of people trying to get in to see her and whose diary is booked up months in advance -she is one of the kindest, most caring and down to earth people I could ever have hoped to have on my team.

Just after my diagnosis Pete and I found ourselves overwhelmed, scared and pretty much still in shock sitting in her office. Having been advised to chat to a plastic surgeon regarding reconstructive options before going ahead with the surgery, we once again had no clue who to contact.

My surgeon suggested a few names but when we mentioned we would prefer the surgery done at a specific hospital group, he said our best bet was to contact Dr B. He did however also warn us that we probably wouldn’t be able to get an appointment with her before my scheduled surgery. He did mention though that he was operating with her that afternoon and that he would chat to her about my case – but basically, not to hold out much hope.

He must have been rather persuasive as by the time we got home from seeing him and completing the pre-admission forms for the hospital, we already had a call from Dr B’s receptionist asking if we could possibly come in and meet with her the next day at lunch time… We found out later that she has a specific interest in post mastectomy reconstruction and she had made a VERY special plan to see us to discuss our options.

So there we were ……..sitting in her office not even sure what to ask or where to begin. She walked in and said, “Shame you guys have had a crappy week!” I just knew right there and then that we were in the right hands (literally and figuratively). It was just so refreshing being treated as human beings and not just as another patient sitting in a very long line.

So today with a waiting room full of patients she put her arm on my shoulder and asked me how I was….

We sat for a long time going through my book full of questions (chemo brain has certainly improved, but I still don’t trust my memory!): intense radiation over a shorter period of time duration vs less radiation over a longer period and what this means in terms of possible damage to the tissue, skin, implants and muscles; the reasons she would prefer not to do nipple reconstruction before radiation; how nipple reconstruction is done (I could feel my toes curling); what size implants to order; how she would try and remove some excess skin under the right “boob” where the lymph is not draining properly. She asked how my hair was growing and how I felt after chemo. She also took a few pictures and despite them only focused on my chest – I found myself smiling stupidly in every photo she took ***slaps head***

Now although I know that this surgery has always been a reality, it is a scary prospect considering all the healing already done and the fading scars…to think of those been opened again and starting the healing process from scratch is beyond comprehension.

I had imagined that the implant exchange would be done at the end of the month as April is a busy time of school and public holidays, not to mention knowing how busy she is. So imagine my surprise when she opened her diary and found a spot for me in (less than) two week’s time………….!!!!

“She had a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach, like when you’re swimming and you want to put your feet down on something solid, but the water’s deeper than you think and there’s nothing there”
Julia Gregson

“If you dont know learn how to be scared, you’ll never really learn how to be brave.” Simon Holt

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened”.

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.” Martha Washington

” No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” Aesop

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3 thoughts on “Taking stock…

  1. Its important to take stock – these past few months make our “steel” stocktake seem rather small in the bigger scheme of things. Although I wasn’t with you yesterday, I will be there on the 15th and on the days ahead which I know will be challenging but we will get there. Its a journey I would not wish on anybody but you continue to fight it with such grace, courage and determination – you are truly amazing.

    Stay strong, only 2 sleeps to go xxx

    “Before I knew you, I thought brave was not being afraid. You’ve taught me that bravery is being terrified and doing it anyway.”
    – Laurell K. Hamilton –

    “You are not a victim. No matter what you have been through, you’re still here. You may have been challenged, hurt, betrayed, beaten, and discouraged, but nothing has defeated you. You are still here! You have been delayed but not denied. You are not a victim, you are a victor. You have a history of victory.”
    – Steve Maraboli –

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  2. Dear Pete and Janine
    I know I am not the best at keeping in contact but I do read your blog from to time and you two are often in my thoughts and prayers. you are going through everyones worst nightmare yet your marriage remains an inspiration. to go through this with such dignity, courage, strength not to mention a sense of humour is nothing short of extraordinary. it brings such a lump to my throat and you have my greatest respect.
    sending you both so much love and wishing you both all the very best for the road ahead.
    love kate x

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