Friday, September 30, 2005
All in My Head or All in My Chest?
I have never met anyone who claims to enjoy surgery. It's quite the opposite. I am one who gets terribly sick from the anesthesia and dreads the thought of going under, no matter how much I look forward to the end result. Last December 2nd, exactly one month after finishing chemo, I had my bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction (don't let the "immediate" fool you). I did not dread the surgery. It was a milestone I desperately wanted to reach. I counted down the days with joy as I knew this was the only way to know that I was indeed free from localized breast cancer. Since it didn't show up on mammograms, I didn't have clean margins from the lumpectomy, and I had fibrocystic breasts, I feared my breasts and wanted them gone. December 2nd was a happy day for me (until I woke up, but that's another story).

Ever since that surgery I have both anticipated and dreaded the thought of finishing my "immediate" reconstruction. Yes, I want these hard, uncomfortable, ill-fitting tissue expanders out. No, I am not enticed at the thought of groggily coming out of anesthesia in a puddle of my own "nausea." Maybe the months of dread of the latter, or the months of lack of sleep due to the former, contributed to a somewhat challenged immune system, and a post-nasal drip cough turned into perhaps the worst cough and bronchial spasming lungs I have ever experienced. After the 14th day of continually worsening symptoms, I decided to go to the doctor just to be on the safe side. Two breathing treatments, two inhalers, a megadose of antibiotics, and a return appointment for daily breathing treatments later, I felt as though oxygen might actually be entering my lungs once more. Viral? Psychosomatic? Who knows for sure.

I'm stocked up on vitamins and ready for the next countdown: First week of Novemberish. Apparently, "Frank" 'n "Stein" will still be with me for Halloween. How appropriate.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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