From boob-lish to boob-less

Well, the bandages are off. This picture I’m half crying, half laughing from the shock of what I look like. The skulls on my breast are covering the about 50 stitches I have in. They’re also covering the fact that you can see my crushed ribs. The implant was so infected for so long, that the pressure of the implant was sitting on my ribs, crushing them. They will heal over time, and once the implant is in you won’t be able to notice it. But for now, you most certainly can..

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No such thing as luck

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When ill luck begins, it does not come in sprinkles, but in showers.
-Mark Twain

This quote is the story of my life. When I was younger everyone used to say “you’re so lucky!” And I was. I’d always win at bingo, scratch offs, had great jobs, family, friends.. I honestly had the best luck. I guess as I got older, my luck started to dwindle down. Then being diagnosed with cancer, my luck basically became non existent.

Last week was the BEST I have felt in a long long time. I was starting to feel semi normal again. I was going to the gym and exercising, walking over 5 miles a day with my best friend.. I was starting to feel alive and healthy again. It was actually a relief. I’d find myself waking up with a smile every morning, which is something that hasn’t happened in a very long time. Then the week started to come to an end. I was very tired, having migraines, runny nose, and just feeling like I was in a daze or a dream. Saturday I didn’t get out of bed till about 5pm. Sunday I was still in a bit of a fog but I knew I had a doctors appt Monday, so tried to ignore it.

8:00am Monday morning my alarm goes off. Nothing like starting your week off with a doctors appt, and nothing like starting your morning off waiting for your mother who is ALWAYS LATE. She was only a half hour late this time, not too bad for her.. We finally get to the doctors around 11am.
“Good morning Allie!” Every one says as I walk in. I’m there at least twice a week so everyone knows me there. I should get a job there for as much as I’m there! I never have to wait, they just bring me right back to the room where my gown is already waiting on the chair for me. This doctors appt was simple. I was just there to get my stitches out from last surgery. As I’m laying there in my gown taking selfies, I hear the door open with my doctor saying “how ya feeling champ??” He comes over and opens my gown to see how I’m healing. I look up at him to see his eyes wide open in shock.
“Don’t just look with your eyes crazy, what’s wrong??” I said to him. He says to me “how have you been feeling?” I told him I haven’t really been feeling well the past few days. He then replies with a shaky voice saying “well, it looks like your other breast is infected. I’ll be right back.”
He leaves the room.
So now I’m sitting there freaking out. He tells me my other side is infected, which it shouldn’t be.. Then walks out of the room. About 10 minutes later he comes back in the room and says “ok! I cleared my schedule, let’s get you into surgery.”
WAIT, what?! Now?! I was there with my mom, who was then a hot mess. Justin wasn’t even there with me. I said to him “no, I can’t do it now. Justin’s not here and I’m not prepared for it!” I went to the doctor just thinking I was getting my stitches out.. Not a THIRD EMERGENCY SURGERY!

He then explains to me that the infection is so bad, that my breast looked like it was going to burst open, and we couldn’t wait. He also looked at me and says “this is so rare, I’ve only seen this happen a few times.” Ummmm are you kidding me?! My doctors like 70 years old, and he’s only seen this a few times?! And you know what? That’s not even the worst part. The worst part is, that he was only putting me under LOCAL ANESTHESIA! The surgery was such an emergency that we had no time to wait. Just my luck right? As if I haven’t been through enough already. “Whatever, let’s just get this over with doc.”

Setting up for surgery all I see are needles, scalpels, gauze.. I start freaking out. Thank god I had Xanax. The doctor looked at me and said “take two” Ha! Fuck my life, seriously! I lay back and he starts injecting the local anesthesia into my breast and sides, hurting beyond belief! Him and the nurses assured me I wouldn’t feel anything during surgery. I just wanted to say “really?! Have one of the nurses get on the table, open them up, then let them tell me they don’t feel anything!” At this point, I was pissed. Pissed I had to get another surgery, pissed justin wasn’t there, and even more pissed I was gonna be AWAKE!!

The nurse strapped my legs and arms down to the table, and put a cloth up so I couldn’t see what the doctor was doing. Little did they know, they’re operating next to a window, so all I had to do was glance into the window to see what they were doing!! The doctor peaked around the cloth, looked at me and winked. “Here we go!” He said out loud to the nurses. Let’s just say it went down hill from there. As he opened me up, all I felt was blood and ooze leaking down my side and onto my back. Local anesthesia my ass! I felt almost everything. As I feel the blood dripping down my sides, smell my skin and feel it burning from the tools.. I’m on the table screaming “fuck! I feel that!” Or “ouch I’m gonna kill you!” He kept injecting me with more local which seemed to do nothing. I screamed out “remind me to never do this again!!” The doctor and the nurses laughed and he said “you seriously are so strong.” No shit doc! Who else can say they have been through what I have in less than a year?! If anything is gonna make me strong, this would be the icing on the cake. After about an hour of torture, he tells me he’s stitching me back up. Thank you godddd!!! Theres so much more that I could go into gory detail about, but I’ll keep that to myself..
I sit up after surgery and after them wrapping me up.. I look down to see my whole chest and ribs completely wrapped, NO BOOBS, and of course another drain in my side. I’m thinking to myself, why did he wrap me like this, and what did he do?? The nurse walks me back to the room where my mom was waiting for me. Giving me the biggest hug trying not to cry she says “I love you my little super woman.”

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So, about that bad luck.. Turns out this infection was worse than the last one. That’s why I wasn’t feeling well. It was so bad, that it made it’s way to my ribs.. The infection obviously traveling through my blood stream, reaching into my ribs. Needless to say, I am in a huge amount of pain today. I go back to the doctor tomorrow (Wednesday) to find out more, and hopefully the cultures will be back to see what the infection was this time. It scares me to think that last time they said the infection was gone, and now this time it’s somehow traveling through my body. And the fact that this is rare! I swear, all the rare side effects, happen to me!! Worst luck ever.

November 12th, will mark a year that I have been living this nightmare. They say everything gets worse before it gets better.. 8 miserable surgeries later, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say I’ve been tortured enough. So much for me having a normal week, and waking up with a smile.. Now it’s back to doctors every other day, being scared to go to sleep, and waking up with my blood shot puffy eyes. I feel like it’s only right at the end of each blog, to ask everyone to still keep praying for me. Although I’m not sure it’s been doing anything, just knowing I have everyone on my side means the world to me.

Time

I do believe that when we face challenges in life that are far beyond our own power, it’s an opportunity to build on our faith, inner strength, and courage. I’ve learned that how we face challenges plays a big role in the outcome of them. I look at these photos and think, How quickly time can change. I went from being a gym rat, to a hospital rat in the matter of months..

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Lucky #7

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In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed.

Times like these are when I need to remind myself how blessed I am. Blessed for all the love, positivity, and support. But times like these I also am reminded of the hell I’ve been going through, the hell my body has been put through, and the nightmare I’ve been living.. A friend sent me a quote stating “I admire people who chose to shine even after all the storms they’ve been through.” To be honest, this past “storm” is one I won’t be able to shine through for a long long while..

August 11th was my 1st emergency surgery. My last blog explained how The doctor tried to save my expander from the infection that spread through my body by opening me back up, washing me out, and deflating my expander. 50/50 chance she said it would work. And of course my luck, it did not work. This past Thursday I stayed at a friends. I went upstairs to wash up and get ready for bed. After washing my face, I looked down saying to myself “god Allie you’re such a mess!” As my shirt was filled with water from washing my face. I then glanced back again and realized, that’s NOT water. I slowly and hesitantly lifted up my shirt in the mirror, crossing my fingers it wasn’t what I thought it was. I looked up to see my incision opened back up, pouring out fluids. My expander was obviously infected AGAIN. This time, it was so infected that it broke open my stitches from my last surgery, and reopened my incisions. I knew what this meant.. ANOTHER surgery.. Story of my life. I put cotton balls on my wounds, and wrapped myself with Saran Wrap until the morning so nothing leaked out onto my shirt or sheets.

Friday morning, I wake up to see everything leaking through the cotton balls, and slowly making it’s way out of the Saran Wrap. Pissed off as hell, I call my doctor, just knowing what he’d already say. Just so happens, he was on vacation but was nice enough to call me back. He told me to get to Hackensack hospital, and he will have one of his doctors waiting for me there, and they will admit me. Justin was working, so In a panic, I get my shit together, and wait for my brother to take me to the hospital. As soon as I get to the hospital, the new doctor was already there waiting for me. They quickly admitted me, and had me wait in my own nice private room in the ER, until my room upstairs was ready.

Thank god for my port in my chest. The best decision was to get it. Instead of getting an IV in my arm, hand or wrist, they access my port and put the IV in there. It’s the same port where they take blood from, and give me my toxic chemo through. One quick prick to my chest, and my IV is started! First thing they did was put me on one of their strongest antibiotics to try and help the infection. About 10min into the antibiotics I look at my brother laughing and say “Matty Bear, my butt itches!” Both of us laughing he responds “your so stupid, you probably forgot to wipe!” Of course that would be his smart ass response. As we’re laughing, I start to get hot and a little more itchier.. I looked at him again, this time a little more seriously and said “ummm lift up the back of my shirt, whats my back look like?” He lifted it up, and low and behold my entire body was broken out in hives. I started itching and freaking out while pressing the nurses button. It felt like fire ants were crawling all over me and attacking me, that’s how bad it was. After about 10min of pressing the nurses button and no one coming, my brother runs into the hall to find all the nurses in a circle bull shitting, having a conversation. “Uhhhh nurse! My sisters having an allergic reaction!” At that point I hear feet running, and all the nurses running into the room quickly flushing my IV and pumping me with some strong ass benedryl. One doctor says “stop itching!” I looked at her like, bitch I’ve been ringing this bell for 10min.. you break out in hives all over your body and bald head, and you try not to itch! As the meds go through my IV, I start to dose off. At that point, I’m not even going to lie.. It was so bad, i couldn’t breathe, I felt like I was dying. I was preparing for the worst.. In and out of my drugged up stooper, I finally start to feel a little better. I couldn’t help but laugh and say to myself “only you Allie, only you.”

Finally, after the nightmare, I go up to my own room, where justin was waiting for me. When I say own room, I’d rather be back down in the ER. I had Chatty Cathy as my damn room mate. Nice lady, but was obviously there for days, and needed a shower. Bad. Anyways, The infectious disease doctor came into see me and told me there has been a bacteria growing in my body which was causing the infection, and causing it to get worse. He said he will take more tests during surgery Saturday am, but won’t find the results out till Tuesday. My surgery was scheduled for 7am the next morning. Joy. My 7th surgery in 10 months. Lucky #7 I kept telling myself.

Those of you who’ve stayed in hospitals, know you can’t sleep. Every 20min they’re waking you up to take your vitals, see if you peed and how much, if you pooped, give you meds, do this, do that. It’s so annoying, and all you want to do is sleep! But then again, that was impossible with Chatty Cathy snoring away, or complaining about something. At that point, I just had to get out of my bed and roam the halls. While walking the halls of the hospital, I pass a small chapel. I couldn’t help but just stand there and stare, wondering if I should go in. I walked passed a couple times before finally making my way into the chapel. It’s hard to pray to god, when I’m not really sure if I believe in him. After all, I am in this situation. So I decided to pray to my loved ones in heaven. Ive never prayed in my life, and I prayed so hard.. I prayed for this to be over, for my body to be rid of cancer, to be rid of these toxins that have been pumped through my veins for 3 months straight, and to rid my body from these infections.. I’m not really sure how much more of all of this I can take before I completely break down and give up..

Saturday morning I wake up to them rolling me down to the surgery room. My IV was already hooked up through my port, so I don’t remember much. The anesthesiologist rolled me onto the surgical table, and that was the last thing I remember. “Allison, surgery is over” I hear in a soft voice. There’s nothing worse than waking up from surgery groggy as hell.. But to be woken up groggy as hell, and to wake up to being called Allison.. I wanted to scream. Everyone knows only my mother calls me Allison when she’s mad at me. Surgery was over about 10am, and they rolled me back up to my room. Where of course, justin was waiting for me. Looking down through my gown, all I could see were bandages, and another lovely drain coming out of my side. I wanted out. I wanted to go home and be in my own house, with my own bed, my own shower, my husband and my pup. Of course, I had to stay a few more nights so they could monitor the infection. I haven’t been sleeping much anyways. I keep having nightmares and flashbacks of my double mastectomy. I keep looking back and remembering being alone on that stretcher, crying as I go into a major surgery that I knew would change my life forever..

After a nightmare of a day, it slowly, but finally came to an end. Sunday morning I wake up to one of my doctors removing my bandages. I didn’t want to look because I didn’t know what to expect. I start to glance down, and as I do, the tears start forming in my eyes. It’s nothing like I ever pictured, and nothing like I could ever have imagined. My whole left breast, everything was gone. It now looks like a cereal bowl. My breast is completely sunken in. No expander, no muscle, no breast tissue. Meanwhile, my right breast is now up to a size D from all the fills. They didn’t do both breasts because they said the right one was fine and they didn’t want to compromise that side. It’s one thing if this was just a few weeks. Nope. It will look like this for at least 3-6 months, until my body is completely healed, and until the chemo is completely out of my system. Which also means an 8th surgery to look forward too..

This entire process I’ve been so strong. I’ve been a role model to most, and a hero to some. This 7th surgery, I don’t think I’ll ever be the same. That smile on my face I always have, is gone. Whatever little confidence I had left, is completely gone. I look at myself in the mirror, with my bald head and sunken in cried out eyes, and can’t help but feel any other way. I’m to the point where I’m so tired. Tired of the surgeries, tired of being strong, tired of being sick. Everything that can possibly go wrong, has gone wrong. I don’t want to be seen looking like this. I used to get stares because of my looks, my beautiful huge implants, my body.. Now I get stares because I’m bald, scrawny, and now only have one breast at 28 years young. Yes, it’s temporary.. But it’s taken it’s toll on me. All I’ve been doing is breaking down and crying. I honestly feel bad for myself at this point.

BUT- There’s a small little part of me that keeps saying “Allie, man up. Your parents didn’t give you the middle name Faith for nothing.” Truth is, that’s the only thing keeping me semi together right now. I have to have faith that things will get better. After everything I have been through, I think i deserve some kind of good faith coming my way.. I’ll continue to pray to my loved ones watching down on me, in hopes that it will somehow bring me a miracle. And all I can do is ask everyone that has supported me thus far, to please continue your prayers In hopes that this nightmare will soon be over with..