Poem

We are born with breasts
Really just nipples on flesh
We grow and they grow
Young girls check each other’s
We start harnessing them in training bras
We compare
I felt mine were never enough
Always small; a little pointy
Never perfect
And certainly not worthy to be objects
Of any mans affections
But men were affectionate
They never felt particularly good to me
Until I was losing them
I never considered them to define me as
Woman
Then I learned they had to go
Lopped off like guillotined heads
Chosen as traitors by my own
Genetic code
My chest left empty
Deflated balloons where soft dense tissue once firmly stood
Then fill after fill into the tissue expanders
Pumping up like the tongues of my middle school basketball sneakers
Expanding and fast forwarding like puberty to stripper status in only
A few weeks
Now hard round expanders sat
Leaving my muscles weak
My entire body newly formed and ready for the final stage
Exchange to implants
Implants with scars
Scars adorned with staple marks
And stitches poking out
Left over remnants of a slowly evolving masterpiece
Now that time has passed
Since my PBM
Complications and reconstruction
I feel a whole lot there
In the way, as I try to sleep
But my entire being still
Longs for them
An emptiness where feeling once was
Creepy nerve impulses
Like spiders when he
Touches me
I still protect them instinctually
His hand creeps over
And my arms automatically block
His touch
I don’t want them to feel this way
Trapped between not feeling anything
And feeling too much
The never-ending longing
For what was once completely
Me
The triumph
Of overcoming of what could have been
A devastating
Diagnosis
The heart breaking realization
And bittersweet victory
There’s no going back now
Only forward
Having lost and gained
More than I ever
Could have
Imagined

-Lauren Nicole Lombardi-

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One week post exchange surgery

The exchange surgery went much better than I had anticipated. Took pain meds for about two days- no biggie. By the following day, I was able to resume most activities with little to no pain. By day 3-4 I was driving and doing laundry no problem. The incisions burned a little and I got the tape taken off on Tuesday with an “ok” to go ahead and “do whatever”! Here’s some pics!

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Last day with expanders above, below is the day of surgery after the silicone 700 cc implants were placed in, and the following several days!

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You can also see my ripple on one side, which my PS claims there’s nothing that can be done about it. Also, it’s only when I put my arms straight up. In addition to an awkward angle and double chin, you can see she cut on the original scars and made less lengthy incisions this time. I also have a bunch of puncture marks where they had to staple the drape to me. Overall, I’m glad it’s behind me and breast cancer can go screw!!!

Last fill and moving forward!

Hello all my happy readers! (Stolen from librarian Mrs. Green who used to announce that over the loudspeaker every morning in middle school!) I got my last fill yesterday, capping me off at 600cc’s on each side! I have a surgery date set for my exchange surgery on 8/22/13! I am really looking forward to being done with this whole process. In the meantime, I am donating some underarm pillows and post-op cami I never used. Please contact me for details. I will send it for free to someone in the US without insurance or who may be struggling financially. I think giving back to other women and letting them know that they have a stranger’s support can be comforting, especially when sometimes family and friends can be quite unsupportive! I want to help someone who may not be as fortunate as I have been. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a pile of bills that may never end, but if I can help out one lady in this shitty position we have found ourselves faced with, I think I’ve done my job. So please, let me know if I can help you with some or all of these small things because its important to me that every woman who has to go through this have a few small comforts and luxuries during such a deeply painful time. Much love for my BRCA sisters Charlene and Jill- some days I don’t think I could make it through without your support! Love you ladies! The RBC forever!!! (Rebel Boob Club!) xoxo

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10 Weeks Out!

10 weeks out from my PBM today! With the whirlwind surrounding Angelina Jolie’s “coming out” announcement of her BRCA status and PBM, there has been so much controversy and discussion surrounding her and her surgery. Let me start by saying, I’m glad she did not have to endure any complications. I am still 100 cc’s uneven from my “nipple revision” and I will post some photos of my “foobs” from today. I am so glad that this genetic mutation has been brought to the surface by such a popular celebrity. I am also discouraged at the same time by a LOT of things I’m reading about her choice to get her PBM. I know a lot of other women who have undergone this surgery agree that they’re glad there’s been a light shined towards heredity breast and ovarian cancer, but also sad to see so many negative comments. I am not going to get on the message boards, the sisterhood’s Facebook page, or the comment sections of any articles and defend my choice. I am, however, going to keep doing what I have been doing: taking care of myself, being there for anyone (strangers or otherwise) who need support while they’re going through the same thing (shout out here to Charlene & Jill who have courageously joined my in the RBC: The Rebel Boob Club), and keeping my head up for knowing I made the right decision for ME! I want to also thank these two ladies for staying up until the wee hours of the morning to discuss all of our complications, making me really feel that I’m not alone here, and laughing and crying right along with me through our new group on Facebook! Thank you girls for listening to me bitch and moan, understanding the pain of complications with PBM’s, and for imparting some serious wisdom onto me for sure! 10 weeks out and I’m still in the midst of this journey, but I truly feel that the worst is behind me!

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Scary Nipple Tuesday

Ok, so today I was able to take the tape off the frankenboob. The nasty nipple, well, what’s left of it has left me nearly speechless. I didn’t cry, because I just can’t today I guess. It’s very emotional to see your body mutilated as a result of something you’ve chosen that you were told is a good idea, that it can save your life, prolong it, and help you to avoid cancer. Cancer is a scary thing. Well, now my nipple is a scary thing too. I really hope my plastic surgeon can figure out some way to reconstruct it and make it look like a real nipple again. I feel like my body has been through enough. It’s the first nice day in the 70’s this spring, and I put a bra and a t-shirt on to go to the store. To look normal. To feel normal. Underneath I feel so ugly right now. The bra of course didn’t fit right, but it really never had before anyways. Who would have thought half a nipple would be such a big deal. My mom says to just wait and see and hopefully my PS will have a plan. I’m ready to sue the bitch. But then again, we all know the track record of my patience. There isn’t any. It’s not in my vocabulary. I really wish I reconsidered this and went with the one-step procedure. But maybe that would have had the same complications and outcome as well. I just need to vent today. And nap. Nap will be good.. And with that.. zZZz

Frankenboobs.

My surgery/ one-day procedure went well on Wednesday. I woke up and quickly went on my own to the bathroom so they’d let me leave, as I was DYING for French toast. Well I got my French toast as well as confirmation that even medicated, my psychic dreams are always true. The morning of and prior to them removing 1/3-1/2 of my left nipple, I dreamt a close friend’s father died. My mom knew while I was in surgery and even during my gobbling of the FT, and didn’t tell me. I later found out that he died about the same time I got the phone call about it in this dream. I even texted the dream to a friend prior to surgery. I was mad that everyone thought I couldn’t handle it on top of the procedure. I lost my own dad in ’08 and that was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I’ve lost friends to overdoses, patients to diseases, and boyfriends due to their own stupidity (repeatedly I might add – who would call ME a dumb bitch? I’m the smartest bitch I know!), so surely I was pissed when I was FINALLY told after the breakfast. Anyways, it’s been a stressful week. On the positive side: I can remove the tape from my frankenboob on Tuesday and really see how much has been extracted. I see the PS on Thursday for another fill to my bigger normal bully boob who looks nice lately I may add. Any of you girls with expanders keep poking your boobs? Can’t feel it on the skin but you can feel the expander material push in with your finger?? Actually kind of cool. This back sleeping is for the birds! (To quote my grandmother, the late Anastasia!) Still with the lightning through the armpits, burning sensations, and a general overtone of bitchiness and angst has really settled in nicely over this last month of recuperation. Needless to say, I’m NOT looking forward to going back to work. Just got my first $3K hospital bill! And just found out I’m getting a roommate coming soon in August or September! Crazy week. Crazy weekend. Had the foundation and back stairs painted. Nightmare. The end. Pics of frankenboob to follow: enjoy!!

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Emergency surgery in the morning.

I went to the PS this morning for a fill. I knew with the scab there, she may not fill my left one again, especially since the weird yellow-ey ooze. So she filled the right, which is getting big! I’m still pretty flat on the scab left side. So she then goes at the scab with tweezers and scissors, I won’t even post pics because its so gross. So now I need emergency surgery in the morning. There is no infection, but she cut the scab off and she said its a deep hole down to the Alloderm and she has to cut out 1/3 to 1/2 of my nipple to get rid of this section and sew it back up. Anyone ever have anything like this happen? It’s a one day procedure but I’m more scared for this than the original for some reason! I had time to mentally prepare the first time. This is unexpected and upsetting. Please pray for me girls!! I know I have to “be patient” and she told me to “find some zen”. Unless I can get that shit at Target, there’s none in my life. That’s one gene I didn’t get. I’m sore and pissed off. Furious even. Different hospital too. 9am. Ill keep you guys posted…

*WARNING* not for weak stomachs!

So today is three weeks exactly. Still on lots of meds! PS says I can drive, PCP says no way. Anyways things are looking, well, ugly. Got a big yellow bruise over the injection site of the fills on my right side, the normal side. And all of a sudden before getting in the shower I pressed the scab on the left, bad, but improving side, and gross shmegg/ ooze came out! I was so scared. Used an alcohol wipe, called the doctor, got some replacement lady on the phone who could barely speak clear English and wanted to give me Doxycycline, an antibiotic! No thank you! I want someone to come here and dab it or see it! Geez! So I see the PS Tuesday, I’ll pray it stays ok until then. I’m gonna post some pics now: one of each side and then one of the ooze to the left on the photo of the scab. She said it may be a seroma!? Ahhh!! I hope my body isn’t rejecting these expanders!

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*WARNING* graphic photos

Ok so here is a serious of the progression of my chest so far. Warning: those of you with queezy stomachs or who just ate please turn the page. This is just to prepare any future women of some of the complications of the nipple scabbing up. All in all my right side is like 85% better and my left still needs work. This is over two weeks since my Prophylactic Bilateral Nipple Sparing Mastectomy with Reconstruction including Alloderm Tissue Expanders. I now have 200 cc’s on each side and am getting another fill tomorrow. The bruising moves all around so be prepared. That’s my disclaimer. This is for medical purposes and nothing else, and may certainly NOT be your outcome. My double chin is ridiculous and I better lose some damn weight soon. Maybe weight watchers is in order! The skinnier I look, the less fills ill need to look bigger.. Right!? Lol.. Anyways mom has lots more pics on her page but these are the ones I’ve managed to take on my own! Enjoy my freakish black one. Supposedly it will fall off and a nice new nipple will be regenerated under there with minimal scaring. They also took a small piece of skin from next to that one since it was rather thin!! Whatever that means. Well, I’m off to bed. I feel like there are literally Tupperware containers in my chest. Goodnight!

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