the good, bad and ugly!

short and sweet about what’s going on with the recovery and stuff.

I had a follow up doctor appointment yesterday and received some good and bad news. On Monday it will be four weeks since my expander/ implant exchange and fat grafting surgery. I’ve been frustrated because at this point with the last surgery, I had been doing PT faithfully, lifting my 2/5 pound weights, and walking on the treadmill anywhere between 2-4 miles at a crack. This time around? Walking from my car to house (vice versa), work and that’s about the extent of it.

Its frustrating but I have to listen to my body. It’s best I stop and smell the roses instead of putting myself several steps backwards. It’s key I don’t do much upper body stuff right now so I let the fat grafting from the donor site (belly) adhere/”took root” to the boobs, it’s new site. I needed a lot of grafting done on the left boob to even out dents and ridges. It appears some spots are dying and may need another round of fat grafting. Potentially. Not thinking about that though. Also, my implants are larger than the expanders so I need to let the pec muscles stretch a little more and settle in.

I asked Dr S yesterday when the restrictions would be lifted and why I was still having such terrible abdominal pains at the fat grafting donor site. I sat there topless while he examined me. The new girls look great and he took time to admire his artwork. My chest was a blank canvas that he turned into something I can honestly say I’m growing to like.

He noticed my stomach was still swollen and sensitive to the touch. I’ve been wearing yoga pants and loose bottoms since day one and have only worn jeans a handful of times. Anytime I wear jeans or something tighter, my stomach is in excruciating pain.

After talking about restrictions and things I got some good and bad news…

Good news:

1) I can bike on the trainer, but can only sit upright – no aero position. I only have a triathlon bike so promised him I wouldn’t ride aero and would use my arms to support myself. Just because he said I can bike easy doesn’t mean I actually will…keep reading.

2) no swimming for at least 6 months (ok, just kidding). Not sure when I’ll be able to swim, but there’s no rush. I have no desire to get in the pool anytime soon.

3) I can start running again in two-ish weeks. Tentatively speaking. Depends on the bad news…

Bad news:

1) I can start wearing “normal” bras again. I hate shopping – it’s depressing shopping for new ones so I gave up. Sports bras or nothing it is.

2) I have nerve damage in my lower stomach area at the fat grafting donor site. At this point, we aren’t sure if it’s a temporary or permanent thing. This one sucked to hear, but it’s out of my control and there’s nothing I can do. I’m hoping it’s not a permanent thing.

The nerve damage would explain why my lower stomach area has been swollen still and hurting. At least I have some answers now.

If the spots of fat grafting I mentioned above do fail, I will not be doing another surgery or round of fat grafting. After being in this much pain still from it the first round, I’m not dealing with it again. It’s not worth it to me. I’m fine with debts and ridges. It’s my new norm and there’s a story to tell.

So, with that, I’m excited there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I desperately want to be done with this and move on with my life. I want things to go back to normal…well, let’s be honest, I’ll never have that normal again (which is sad at times and I still tear up about…like right now), but I want to get on with things, figure out my NEW normal and start loving my body again. I’ll bounce back in the multi-sport world, but there’s no pressure or stress to get back in the game. I will race again, but not at the old intensity.  I just don’t have that in me right now. Heck, I might just throw in the towel for the year and come back swinging in 2016!

Anyway, there’s a little glimpse of what’s going on in my world.

There’s times I feel broken with this and everything going on…but…I remember this…


Cheers to another day! Knowledge is power. Thankful to know and be proactive!

Reflections on 2014

Last night, my brother Tim and I went drifting in his mud truck. It was perfect weather for it (and it was his birthday). There was a nice layer of packed snow on the roads and it was snowing also. I love the thrill and adventure from things like that. On the other hand, my Mom’s overly cautious attitude comes out. I could barely get into my brother’s lifted mud truck. He had to get out, walk around the truck, hoist me up, and get me situated. Heck, he was trying to tell me to use my core and upper body to pull myself up. Ahh, hello! My upper body doesn’t really exist…I think he forgot I had surgery a week ago!

Anyway, we started driving on some country roads and ended up in town. So far it’s all good!! We drifted around corners. He’s turning the wheel this way and that way. I asked him a few times if the truck would/could tip over. Tim reassured me numerous times it wouldn’t based on the frame and massive tires. This truck is huge.

I shut up.

We drifted in and out of a subdivision, the whole time my hands were tightly gripped to the “oh sh**” grab bar. I was having fun, but hanging on for dear life. In the meantime, we’re doing donuts and circling here and there…until we were mid-circle and his truck died.

We both laughed. His battery conked out on him. After all, the truck had been sitting for a few months now and was winterized. It was to be expected, right?! His friend came to the rescue and jump-started Tim’s truck.

Life is full of unfortunate events. Those unfortunate events can be something simple or even complicated lasting even years. I’ve always told myself that everything happens for a reason, whether I know now, in the future, or never know why. Sometimes I try to figure out the why, but never get an answer. I’ve looked to friends to get that answer, but to never get it. I’ve looked within myself for the answer, only to be frustrated I don’t have an answer why. I’ve given up looking for the answer. Sometimes the answer is right in front of me. Most of the time, it’s hidden never to be found. I’m learning to be okay with that.

2014 was a very difficult year. A year where I hung on to things, drifted here and there, unsure of what was to come, and even stalled in the middle of the intersections. I had to have friend’s come a jump-start my battery and put things in perspective for me. They had to recharge my battery. I hung on for dear life, and at times wanted to throw in the towel. But I couldn’t.

I could probably say 2014 was the worst year ever. It brought me to my knees more times that I can remember. It left me breathless at times, tired, drained, unsure, hopeless…

But you know what, when Tim and I were drifting, I could have let go of the grab bar. I didn’t. I could have given up on the crappy things that happened in 2014. I didn’t. I hung on. I hung on for dear life and took whatever was thrown my way.

2014 wasn’t my worst year. It was my best year. It wasn’t an easy year, but I pushed through and handled what some would run from.

I found out Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer while out for a jog one cool March day. Her breast cancer was BRCA1. I got my ducks in a row, did the genetic testing and I, too, was BRCA1 positive. I had an 87% chance of getting breast cancer in my lifetime (now it’s 10% since having my PBM). How scary knowing breast cancer was in my future at some point. I had some extremely difficult decisions to make, and decisions I would never wish on anyone.

I got to meet some amazing professional triathletes and develop a good friendship with one in particular – Meredith Kessler. She’s an outstanding and beautiful person! I broke some personal bests in the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and sprint and half Ironman triathlons. I have some new PR’s to chase down when I’m completely healed and fully back in the game.

Why do I say it was my best year? It was my greatest year of faith, courage, determination, compassion, strength, hope, trials, survival, patience, bravery, and friendship. I’m alive. Healthy. Thankful. Each day is truly a gift that I don’t want to waste. I am made up of so many great things, and my year taught me more than I ever wanted to be taught at one time. I’m still learning much about myself through this second surgery and recovery time. My body is healing; it’s resilient and will bounce back. I’m accepting and coping with my new norm. It’s taking time and that’s okay – there’s no timeline and deadlines.

2014 taught me I’m a fighter. I can handle anything thrown my way. I held on and lived to tell it with my story. My friend gave me this awesome shirt as a present and it said SWEAT – She Will Endure All Things. My motto for 2014 and many more years to come!

Goodbye, 2014. Thank you for so many things. The year may have ended and the new one is well on its way. I will always be reminded daily of my 2014 year. My Previvor journey isn’t complete and there’s an ending still waiting to be written. Who knows, I may not get that ending this year either. I’ve decided I’m okay with where I’m at right now – no real ending; no perfect cadence to my unfinished symphony.

Cheers to a new year! I can’t wait for the awesome adventures and randomness it brings. I had some pretty lofty plans for 2015 (like completing my first Ironman), but that was all pre-surgery/BRCA stuff. Those plans and goals can wait until 2016! Perspective. My motto this year is flying by the seat of my pants. I have a few things planned, but, for the most part it will be rather spontaneous with racing and things in general.




Ahh, Implants!! Phase 2 of a PBM…

Monday morning, December 29th, I had surgery to swap out my rocks (expanders) for nice, squishy implants. I woke up super early and followed doctors orders – shower with this special soap and put this prescription patch right below the ear. Done!

Mom and I arrived at the hospital around 5:30 and I checked in immediately. After that, we went to the third floor to the ambulatory surgery center. The nurse assistant, Daphne, took me back to my room and I changed into the gown, walked to the bathroom for that happy dance (pee in a cup), and back to the room where I settled in. Daphne and I got to know each other pretty well after my first surgery when I had to go to the ER and spend the night. She and I caught up on Monday. She’s a breast cancer survivor herself and I got her to commit to doing Team Phoenix. I told her I’d train with her and help her get back into fitness. She hasn’t done much and was really excited when I said I’d do whatever it took to help her!!

The nurse eventually brought me two pills to help combat the nausea and an Ativan to calm my nerves. Shortly after that the anesthesia doctor came in for a visit and to confirm what he was going to do. He was already aware of what happened last time and reassured me he was going to give me a different anesthesia so I wouldn’t get sick. My favorite nurse came in and we chatted. Valerie is another sweetheart and puts me at ease every time we talk. She’s kind, compassionate, and encouraging. She’s always telling me I made the right decision and how proud she is of me.

Dr. S came in a few minutes before surgery was to start to mark my chest and my stomach for where he’d be taking the fat out. The incision would be through my belly button and he’d pull fat in the general area and transfer it to my left boob area. The left needed the most work; it sunk in badly! He also marked the right and left love handle just in case he needed to pull fat from there as well.

The nurse and anesthesia doctor wheeled me out of the room and down the hallway to the operating room. I actually remembered it this time because I hadn’t had the knock-out medicine yet. He couldn’t give it to me sooner because I needed to be marked and plus my IV needed to be flushed a few times. Speaking of that, it hurts like none other…and as a result my hand has a HUGE bruise on it. Ouch! I made it to the room, met the team, and even made it on the operating table all by myself. They moved me, hooked me up to machines, put a few patches on me…and la-la land I went…

3 1/2 hours later, surgery was successful…AND, he even got me bigger than anticipated. Sorry, no Pamela Anderson boobs. 2 1/2 hours on the left, 1 hour on the right. The part that hurts the most, believe it or not, is the stomach where he took the fat. He had to take more than anticipated (no arguments there). Originally he was only going to have to transfer fat to the left boob, but the right needed work after the implant was put in.

My stomach from the belly button down and to the right hip is really swollen and bruised. I look like I’m 4-5 months pregnant. It hurts. I can only wear loose bottoms otherwise I’m in excruciating pain. My arms and chest don’t hurt as badly as the first surgery, but there is still pain. A lot of bruising at the fat grafting incisions. Total incisions this time were 8 – one under each boob, 1 fat grafting incision at belly button, 3 fat grafting incisions on left boob, and 2 on right boob.

I’m incredibly thankful he didn’t have to take fat  from my left love handle area. He marked it and the incision would have been right on my tattoo I got shortly after Sarah was diagnosed and I found out I was BRCA1 positive. I’m super elated I didn’t have to have drains this time around. Like I’ve said before, drains suck BIG time.

I had to leave the original bandages on for the first few days, so I didn’t get to take a look. I’ve seen them now and the foobs look good. Actually, let me clarify, I’m happy with how they turned out, but haven’t come to terms or accepted the new girls. I hope, someday, I can learn to LOVE them. Every day I have to put new gauze and tape on over the incisions and wear this Granny surgical bra to keep the girls tucked. I won’t be cleared to do things or go back to “normal” for anywhere between 2-4 weeks.

It is so awesome to no longer have rocks in my chest! I can’t even describe the feeling. This surgery was a breeze compared to the first one. There’s still a lot of pain involved and I’m taking a few steps back, but it’s completely worth it. I’ll be back to working out, eventually. My body needs to heal, considering I had two major surgeries in three months time. There’s no pressure! I’ll bounce back (literally and figuratively)! Ha!

Anyway, that’s all for now. One of the side effects of the nauseau medicine is blurred vision at night. So, with that, I’m going to take a pain pill, get comfortable in the recliner, and pass out for a little bit…hopefully…lack of sleep seems to be the story of my life again.

Sweet dreams,

Tits (aka: Firm Jugs)


my Grinch face as my mom and sister affectionately call it. I was three sheets to the wind and had no idea they took this…funny though…

image image image


beautiful, huh?! what the stomach looks like…