August 21, 2012 by Julie
This is how I feel tonight.
I had a great drive to and from Charleston today with my sweet husband. We left early at 8 am and returned around 8:30 pm tonight. It was so great to spend that time alone with him. When you have three children you just don’t get that much undivided attention from your spouse. We had a great spiritual discussion, laughed and I felt really loved by him. I’m so grateful he is so supportive of this journey. I couldn’t imagine trying to convince him that driving to Charleston for a surgery was/is the best plan for me if he wasn’t on board with the plan.
Everything is looking good and healing well and softening as it should. Dr. Craigie seemed pleased with how things looked and said I was ready to finish up. We planned a surgery date for November 27th. The kids will be back in school so it should be a little more manageable than my summer surgery date was. We will finish my nipple reconstruction on the left side, fill up one part of the right breast that needs some fullness and then he will do a revision of the donor site. That revision means they will open up the scar and take some fat from below the scar and fat from above the scar and fill in the concave area. It will hopefully help things to be more proportional. For those who don’t know the scar on my backside goes basically from hip to hip in a V. This should be the final surgery I need. It’s inpatient for one night only because they like for me to sleep on that special air filled bed for one night after surgery. We asked if they could give us a special spa room since our deductible for the year has been “met” (though we are still slowly paying it to everyone). They just laughed.
It was interesting today. Dr. Craigie is a laid back guy. I love that about him but today it made me a little insecure to tell him all that I wanted “fixed”. I think what I realized is that maybe he is used to dealing with “sick” people who are really not interested in more surgery to get themselves back to normal. They are more focused on survival…which I get. I wanted him to sell himself a bit more I suppose but overall I know that he will really do a great job. I do miss Christina…the PA I had for the first stage. She moved to another state to follow her husband to a new job. I could sure use a chat with her tonight. She was such an encourager.
Category The Journey | Tags: BRCA,breast cancer,charleston,decisions,expenses,finances,insurance,mister,planning,plans,plastic surgeon,recovery,scar,surgeon,Surgery,travel | No Comments
March 29, 2012 by Julie
The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction will be having a free webinar on Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT
Sign up here for the free webinar: http://breastreconstructionnetwork.com/rightforme/
From their website:
When you join us on April 12, you’ll discover…
- Exactly what natural breast reconstruction is and whether you’re a good match for the procedures we offer.
- What all the acronyms mean…DIEP, GAP, TUG, SIEA.
- What you can expect in terms of hospital stays, recovery time, and scarring.
- Answers to insurance questions relating to breast reconstruction. Our insurance specialist will be on hand during our Q&A.
One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life.
Take Control of Your Life!
Category The Journey | Tags: BRCA,breast cancer,charleston,decisions,emotions,expenses,fear,finances,insurance,medicine,pain,planning,plans,plastic surgeon,recovery,scar,surgeon,Surgery,travel | No Comments
January 2, 2012 by Julie
January 2012…it’s go time! It’s the new year and that means the ball has dropped and it’s officially rolling. This week I get the kids back in school and I head out to Tennessee to do a little organizing work. Getting a client all settled into her new home in Nashville. I’m looking forward to some immersion in my work and also testing out the waters of me being gone and others taking care of my three little moons while I’m away. That is definitely the part of this journey that has me the most nervous. Next week is a big week. Monday and probably Wednesday too I have all my preop to get done. I have orders for bloodwork, metabolic profile, urinalysis, chest xray and EKG. I then have an MRI on Friday in Atlanta. I need all the prayers one can muster for all of these tests to come back perfect. I’m a little stressed about all the finances of this beginning. *deep cleansing breath* I think while I’m in Nashville I’m going to ask my friend if we can do a little yoga in the morning each day…hoping that I can add that to my daily routine this year and that it can center me the way it did when I was preparing for childbirth.
I don’t FEEL scared but every time I write about this stuff I start crying. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that I’m feeling. I feel a little detached from everything right now….my friendships, my relationship with God, the Mister. It’s funny the person I feel the most connected to right now is the big girl. She’s growing up so much right now and I think I’m really just enjoying her company so much…it’s uncomplicated and just so easy with her these days. I am going to REALLY miss her while I’m gone.
Category The Journey | Tags: big girl,breast cancer,charleston,expenses,family,fear,friends,God,insurance,mister | No Comments
December 10, 2011 by Julie
We had all the bills come in today for Scarlett’s broken foot in October…xrays are not cheap. That on top of the cost of my biopsy, mammogram, ultrasound. We still have so many medical bills from this year, dental bills, etc…and the funniest part is that we were really all well all year. So today as we were discussing the cost of my surgery it came up that maybe we should postpone the surgery another year. I really have no idea how we are going to work another $5000+ into our budget for 2012. So very grateful that we have health insurance and that this is even an option so that I am not facing a $200,000+ cost…but wow…still a lot to swallow. I’m feeling really overwhelmed by the cost.
Category The Journey | Tags: bills,biopsy,decisions,expenses,fear,finances,insurance,waiting | No Comments
November 12, 2011 by Julie
Grateful beyond belief for health insurance but all the little details are so confusing and annoying.
Tuesday I talked to the NOLA insurance people and she said that my insurance is out of network. She said that every single insurance is out of network except for Cigna. That means that my total out of pocket would be $8000 instead of $4000 for the covered procedures. I’m still not entirely clear if everything is covered. I spoke with the Charleston office and they are IN network for my insurance. So I think the path becomes clearer. I am planning a consultation with them on November 28th. The Mister will travel with me and we will meet with both the breast surgeon and the plastic surgeon that day.
Charleston is about a 4.5 hour drive but we will probably go for a couple days before and just get comfortable with the city…see what the hospital looks like, etc. If after visiting Charleston I do not feel 100% great about it I might go to visit New Orleans. I found out on Wednesday that one of my great friends gave birth at the hospital in Charleston…she said it was small but very nice.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,charleston,decisions,insurance,mister,nola,plastic surgeon,surgeon,travel | No Comments
November 5, 2011 by Julie
I spoke with someone from the New Orleans clinic today and I really am undecided about which is a better choice for me. What I want to do is to visit both and do a consultation with each one before I need to make a decision. I am hoping we can come up with the funds to be able to fly to New Orleans and to visit Charleston. I think I will feel more peaceful about deciding once I do this. I am also trying to find out if there are any differences in cost.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,decisions,insurance,plastic surgeon | No Comments
November 3, 2011 by Julie
Today is a day dedicated to staying in my pajamas and researching. I need to figure out what kind of reconstruction I want. I am leaning towards really wanting to reconstruct my breasts with tissue from my own body…not implants. I really like the idea of whatever is in my body being my own…less chance for my body to reject it. I like the idea of having one surgery and being done…not having to replace implants long term. I like the idea that if I gain weight or lose weight my breasts will gain or lose with me. I like the idea of losing a bit of fat from another part of my body in the process of gaining new breasts. I am seriously considering traveling out of town for this reconstruction…there are two centers I am researching…one in New Orleans and another in Charleston, SC. It looks like they both cover my insurance so I would just have the extra travel expenses.
I’d be just like a real life Hollywood star. Travel out of town and have some major plastic surgery and return home a new woman. ha!
Here are the links to two of the places I’m considering. They do so many more DIEP and GAP procedures than anyone in Atlanta. There’s lots of great reading about what it is I’m planning on doing on their websites.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,decisions,insurance,plastic surgeon,surgeon | No Comments
November 2, 2011 by Julie
Yesterday was my first of many doctor visits. The office was huge and there were so many people there. They told me to plan for a 3 hour appointment. My cell phone was charged and ready to keep up with my emails and facebook and chatting with friends. My mom came with me. Sitting in the waiting room was strange…well several waiting rooms really of women all dressed in robes. We all looked the same. It was like everyone was tagged in that one room. If you wore the robe then you were obviously the one with an issue. The non robed women were just there as support people. The office just deals with people with issues…if you find a lump, need an MRI, have breast cancer or like me…are a genetic mutant. So, noone was there for their happy little annual mammogram (ha…as if any mammogram is happy).
I had a mammogram. It was not a big deal. It’s uncomfortable but not painful. I then moved to the next waiting area where I was called back for an ultrasound. Ultrasound can find even more than a mammogram and is good for dense breast tissue. Then I moved to the last waiting area…waiting to talk to my doctor. My mom was with me the whole time…chatting it up with ladies all around me. It was good to have her there but I enjoyed the time alone on my own as well. I like to be alone in these type situations. It feels easier to actually deal with and cope with the problem.
My doctor showed us the ultrasound results and she showed me that I have two areas with cysts. She recommends that I have them biopsied in office soon. I schedule an appointment for November 11th to have that done. It’s a pain to deal with insurance and paying so much at the end of the year but the mister and I agreed that it’s worth it and we would really be mad if we didn’t do something and it ended up being cancer and we didn’t have the 2 month jump on dealing with it. We’ll come up with a way to pay for it or come up with a payment plan.
How do I feel about them finding cysts in my breasts? It is what it is. I don’t feel worried. Should I be worried? I don’t know. I don’t usually worry about things like this. I worry about things I think I have control over and this I just don’t really feel like I have any control over. Maybe that’s why it feels simple.
I wanted to cry tonight. It feels good to cry sometimes. It just didn’t come easy tonight.
I have three plastic surgeons to meet with. I want to speak with each of them and find out what kind of reconstruction they recommend for me.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,decisions,family,fear,insurance,mister,surgeon | No Comments
October 29, 2011 by Julie
I took the Big Girl to the eye doctor’s office today. She failed her vision screening at the pediatrician’s office earlier this year so we took her to get her eye’s checked and sure enough she is just slightly near sighted. Nothing too bad but enough that it probably is a good idea to get her corrective lenses. She knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted dark plastic frames and she was so very excited. We tried on several pair and picked some super cute dark brown ones with a blue green color on the inside. Adorable! I can’t wait for her to get them next week. My little 8 year old…a milestone.
I remember the day I got my first pair of glasses. I can remember the day we picked them up and my mom handed them to me. I remember specifically being SHOCKED that you could see leaves on trees, read license plates and read billboards. I thought for sure my mother just had bionic vision and that someday when I got older my eyes would be able to see those type of things as well. It was a remarkable day in my life. I was 8 years old. I went from being the girl out in left field who couldn’t catch a ball to save her life to being the star of the softball field. I love looking at pictures now and seeing all the many different types of glasses I had over the years. And goodness gracious the year my mom either chose or let me get my lenses tinted ROSE…heaven help me they were awful. That was the same year I got an awful perm. I think my parents were working hard to make me the ugliest duckling of them all.
But today it wasn’t my girl and her new glasses that made me emotional. It was the fact that I got to say “We have a new insurance”. Why is that such a big deal? Because six and a half years ago my husband decided to embark on a new adventure and start his own company. He became an entrepreneur and with that came a lot of hard things. It is not an easy road…starting your own business. He has worked so many long hours. He has had so many sleepless nights. He is great at what he does though. He now has a successful company with seven employees and this month he was able to offer all his employees health benefits. I don’t think most people understand what that means or how that would even feel. It means we are legit. It means he’s doing things right. It means people are working for him and entrusting him with their family’s well being. I am so very proud of him. It was in that moment when the technician told me our glasses would just cost $25 that I just felt this overwhelming gratitude for how hard my man has worked. It means so many things beyond that too. It means that now I get to have my surgery. It means that I don’t have to worry as much about every little health issue since we no longer have catastrophic insurance. Such a simple thing…meant so very much today. Thank you my love.
Category The Journey | Tags: big girl,family,glasses,insurance | No Comments