Houston, we have a problem

WARNING: NSFW / graphic content below.

Before I tell you about what has been happening for the last few days, I just want to say to those that are considering this procedure, preparing for one, or have already started the process: women who undergo a mastectomy, whether prophylactic or not, don’t always experience complications. Actually, I’d say that most do not, based on my involvement in a few online support groups and interaction with women in my local community. Everybody’s experience is different, because of different doctors, hospitals, body condition, other health issues, activities during recovery, nutrition, etc. There are many factors. Each person should consider their scenario and discuss concerns they may have with their surgical team.

Another thing to keep in mind is that usually the people that have problems are the ones that speak up. You know – the squeaky wheel thing. There are so many women out there that have had a completely complication-free experience and have beautiful results! You can’t tell that they’ve gone through this journey unless they tell you! Those women usually don’t linger in the support groups, stop blogging about it, move on, and just leave it all behind them. They are DONE and don’t have to think about it again.

Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here

Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. Upon my return from vacation, I started working out again (cardio) and I also began using Kelocote on my hypertrophic scars, as I mentioned in a recent post. Both of these activities began on Sunday. The following Wednesday I saw Dr. M and things looked good. The next day I noticed a bit of redness around the incision on my left breast. By Saturday there was a small area in the center of the scar tissue from my bout with necrosis that had turned blue. I emailed Dr. M and got this response:

Yes, this is a significant problem. Need to see you tomorrow.

HoleBy Monday afternoon, I had a hole. By early evening I had chills, sweats, and a fever of 101.7. Panicked, I called the after-hours service to page Dr. M and he called back immediately. The plan was to continue on the antibiotics, take a couple Tylenol, and sit tight unless the temperature spiked past 103, at which point I’d hightail it to the ER. Within two hours the temperature dropped below 100, but I knew what was coming: the implant had to go.

My surgery was at 5pm on Tuesday, October 15. Dr. M cleaned up the incision and removed the implant. I am left with one breast and another drain! I really REALLY don’t like drains, but who does? What’s next? We have to let everything heal for at least three months before we being talking about restarting reconstruction on that side. I’m am so bummed by this humongous setback!

Why did this happen?

A combination of things may have caused this, but it’s hard to say exactly which was the straw. In Dr. M’s experience, implants are usually (but rarely) lost due to complications from three major things: radiation, smoking, and/or trauma. I fall into the third category. The necrosis I experienced in January produced a lot of scar tissue, which has poor circulation. My use of Kelocote on that scar tissue introduced chemicals into the equation. On top of that, I started working out again. My body protested against the combination of old and new trauma. So here I am, uniboobin’ it for at least three more months! Good thing it’ll be during winter and I can camouflage things a bit. I present a foob and a drain:

2013_10_16 closeup

32 thoughts on “Houston, we have a problem

  1. Bryna Siegel Finer

    I think I’m just over-emotional from recent removal of ovaries, but this made me tear up a bit. I feel so bad that you are going through this when you are clearly trying so hard to do what’s best for your body and your health. Why can’t that boob just behave already? I’m glad to hear that you’re getting good medical attention, but it must be so frustrating.

    1. Mogatos Post author

      😦 Thank you, Bryna. Yes, it’s frustrating and it just really sucks, but what can I do other than focus on the positive and do my best to help my body heal. Magic wand anyone?

  2. Lannis

    Oh NO! Couldn’t happen to a nicer girl! Ack! I feel for you, Mogatos… I fell into a depressive slump, myself, after discovering my complications, so I can commiserate if you’re feeling sad about this particular point of your journey. But there IS an end in sight! Stay strong!

    And yes, since I’m one of those with complications, too–it was one of the reasons I chose to blog about it. But I’d run the entire gamut (complications and all!) again in a heartbeat. The journey is so worth it for me.

    There will be an end to your story, girl, and it will be a happy one. Just hang in there a little longer!

    1. Mogatos Post author

      Thanks, Lannis! ❤ I'm more frustrated than anything. After all this pain and time now I have to deal with THIS and pretty much start all over on that side. Ugh!

      I'm with you though .. I'd do it all over again even if I couldn't change a thing.

  3. dglassme

    My rock Mogatos, so sorry to read this 😦 I know this has to be devastating with nowhere to go but, forward. Keep pushing kiddo, don’t lose your faith in a good outcome, it’s out there, it will come.

    1. Mogatos Post author

      Thank you, Diane. It’s a bump in the road .. a big one, but I’ll get through it just fine. I know it. I’m keeping my eyes on the ultimate prize of a long life without breast cancer. What’s another six months, right? 😀

      1. dglassme

        Glad to read you can keep the heavy glass in your hand. Went for my post op today, Michelangelo said everything looks good, as expected. ~D

      2. dglassme

        This has captivated my thoughts since reading it. Of course I was quick to ask Michelangelo all kinds of questions about my implants and how to tell if it is getting infected. This so saddens me, not because I don’t get it happens but, because it happened to my friend who has been leading the way. Keep your eye on the prize my dear, you are unquestionably in my thoughts. ~D

      3. Mogatos Post author

        Happy to see that all went well at your post op! Thanks so much for the positive thoughts and encouragement, Diane. This and all the other notes here make me smile from ear to ear! ❤

    1. Mogatos Post author

      Thanks! YOU are one of the people that I want to focus on the first two paragraphs of this post! I really hope and send tons of positive energy your way so that you never have to experience any complications, Tammy. It’s important to know what the possibilities are though.

      How are you doing a week out? I hope your recovery is going well so far. Are you taking pics daily? I highly recommend this so you can really keep an eye on things and compare from day to day.

      1. tammycarmona

        I’m doing good. I am taking pictures! I’m so worried about something going wrong! I feel like I’ve been through enough this year! I hope you heal quickly! Thank you for the post!

  4. Robin Axelson

    Again, I am so sorry! And like Byrna, I teared up! I do hope this is it for complications. Just after I heard about this I found out my sister couldn’t get her second fill because of infection. But we both say we would do it again. I knew I could count on you for pictures!

    1. Mogatos Post author

      Oh yes, I’ve definitely got the pics!
      Uh oh. How are they dealing with your sister’s infection? I hope it’s not too serious and they can treat it with antibiotics alone.

    1. Mogatos Post author

      Thank you! I had my drain out this morning, so I’m already feeling sooo much better. Now if I could just conjure up a new breast, that would do it! 😀

    1. Mogatos Post author

      Thank you! I got on antibiotics on Monday before the hole appeared, but it may have been too late.

      You’re doing well after your surgery, yes? Look like pain is going away? I LOVE the new hairdo!

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