Well, today I saw my plastic surgeon because it felt like my spacer had fallen on the non-radiated side, and I wanted to make sure that wasn’t abnormal. After waiting over an hour because he was in a procedure that ran overtime, he came in with a med student. I’m pretty sure she must not have seen radiated skin too often; she seemed uncomfortable seeing me. In fact, even the nurses seemed uncomfortable looking at me. One of them gave me a blanket as I was waiting because they keep it so dang cold in those offices. She tried to drape it over my shoulders but finally gingerly handed it to me instead, saying she didn’t want to hurt me. It wasn’t like I was sitting there topless either. I guess the triangle of very red skin peeking above the neckline gives it away.
At any rate, my plastic surgeon has a much different take on my skin than my radiation oncologist. He wasn’t pleased in the least. I got a lot of tips on skin health, including the urging that I drink collagen-infused protein shakes twice a day. Apparently, I can worry about losing weight later. He also said the radiation is melting the stitching across my incision, and if it pulls apart any further, I need to see him right away so he can put in another stitch or two. We then talked about a time frame. I knew that I’d need to let my skin heal for 6 weeks after radiation before seeing him again. But he said with the amount of damage I have, we will also have to do my fills slowly. He thinks it will be a full 6 months before he can do my final surgery where I have my spacers swapped out for the final, soft implants.
Friends, I cried the entire drive home. I barely made it to my car before the tears started. Six months? Another six months with these uncomfortable spacers reminding me of this stinking “journey”I never wanted to be on? UGH. Remember at the beginning of the year when I thought my timeframe had all of this completed by Christmas? Silly, naive, optimistic me. Then I readjusted my thinking to be ok with Jan, maybe Feb. Now we’re looking hopefully at April. I hope it’s not an April Fool’s joke.
So…where’s the gratitude today…Well, my ride home was only 10 mins, so the crying didn’t last that long. I also reminded myself that I have 6 more radiation treatments to get through, and they are targeted differently, so the skin across my incision will now be spared. Hopefully that part can begin healing. My doctor said not to worry about gaining weight, so I’ve been given permission to be my pudgy self. Oh! and the reason for the visit–the fallen spacer–was a non-issue. It’s just my skin on that side relaxing as expected and readjusting the spacer underneath. If I’m honest about it (what else can I be at this point?!) that side does feel better than it did a month ago. So maybe I’ll get used to things after all.