February 20, 2012 by Julie Moon
February 20th…getting so close to being a month out of surgery. It feels so strange. Time passes so slowly while I sit at home but yet I look at the calendar and 20 days have passed since that early morning before my surgery.
Yesterday I was blessed to have a friend pay for a massage therapist to come to my home. She spent over an hour doing healing work with her hands on my body. She mentioned more than once the word “trauma” in reference to my surgery. I hadn’t ever really thought of it as trauma because that word conjures up thoughts of a terrible accident or something that is done to you without your permission. I had given consent for my body to be sliced and diced and rearranged. But if my body has a viewpoint I could see my body feeling like it had a “trauma” done to itself. She helped my body to relax. My muscles are constantly tense and spasming. I don’t know what is “normal tightness” and what is just my body being tense. It’s a new normal completely.
The best part about the day was that after the massage I felt my heart take a turn. I felt positive for the first time in a while. I gave myself permission to be happy that my donor site wounds seem to be healing nicely. I fixed myself some lunch while my mom was massaged (thank you to my friend for including her as well). I was independant for an hour…all by myself and I felt “normal” somewhat. I haven’t really needed many pain meds and last night I found an entirely different way to sleep with many pillows that didn’t encourage swelling in my chest. I would call these times of healing. It really gives me hope for what another week of recovery will hold. I can only imagine how great I will feel when THESE DRAINS COME OUT!!!!! I’m planning a return trip to Charleston with a friend for the grand removal.
Category The Journey | Tags: blessings,charleston,drains,family,friends,nerves,pain,plans,scar,travel | No Comments
February 17, 2012 by Julie Moon
Dr. James Craigie
Dr. Paul Baron
Last night as I was lying in my bed waiting for my body to fall asleep my thoughts turned to my surgeons in Charleston. I started to think through the first time I met them.
I drove from Athens, GA to Charleston, SC with the Mister so that we could visit the city and see if these were the right doctors for me. Some friends of mine who used to live in Charleston recommended a wonderful place to stay and we spent a whole day enjoying the city. The next day we drove to the Charleston Breast Center and first met with Dr. Craigie, plastic surgeon and his PA (whom I had already had over an hour conversation with over the phone…she was amazing and answered all my questions in depth). I already felt so comfortable since I had been in contact with them over the phone. In fact when I had emailed I had gotten a reply from Dr. Craigie himself. They were so amazing. The Mister had so many questions and Dr. Craigie fielded them all. They gave us so much attention and put me at ease. It really was feeling like the right choice. Then I was able to meet with Dr. Baron, the breast surgeon and his PA. Dr. Baron was very attentive to my questions and then at the end of our meeting he leaned over and gave me a hug and said “You’re going to be ok. We’re going to take good care of you.” It was right then that my heart decided. These were the right men for the job. Not only are they amazing surgeons but they were compassionate and caring. I felt as though I had two fathers who were going to care for me like a daughter. We scheduled my surgery for February 1, 2012. I would not see them again until the day before surgery.
They did not disappoint when it came to be surgery time. I met with Dr. Craigie the day before to be marked for surgery. This was the first time my mom had met him and he immediately greeted her with a hug. I felt so grateful for the PA Christina…seeing her was instant comfort. All of my pre-op and post-op meetings with them have been wonderful.
Last night I began to cry. My tears were not sad tears even though I’m still so uncomfortable and unable to sleep on my side. My tears were of gratitude for the healing hands of Charleston. I missed them. It seems so strange for them to be far away and not be able to see them. I am not sure if I will need to go back for a checkup before stage 2 of my surgery. I am grateful that I decided to go to Charleston. I will be eternally grateful for Dr. Craigie, Christina and Dr. Baron. They went above and beyond and took care of the whole person.
Dr. James Craigie and Dr. Richard Kline, The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, Charleston, SC – on facebook
Dr. Paul Baron, Charleston Breast Center, Charleston, SC – on facebook
Category The Journey | Tags: blessings,breast cancer,charleston,decisions,God,mister,planning,plastic surgeon,surgeon,Surgery,travel | 2 Comments
February 8, 2012 by Julie Moon
My Recovery Home
Day 7…finishing up the first week of this new life. What a journey it has been already. Last night was a very hard night. Neither I or my mom slept very well at all. We both had some crazy dreams and I was hot and uncomfortable most of the night. My body feels so tight and swollen and I’m just so ready to be done with these drains.
I saw Dr. Craigie, the plastic surgeon, first today. He greeted my mom and I with hugs and a smile. He prescribed silvadene for my nipple that I may lose. If I do lose it he will be able to recreate something that looks similar…we knew this was one of the risks. That side was the side that got the radioactive dye for the sentinel node biopsy so I think it was harder to see during surgery and not damage. He also shorted my drain tubes for me so that I don’t have as long of tubes that can potentially get pulled on something. I will go back Friday to see the PA and she will remove my two breast drains. That will be great! We will head home to Athens after those are pulled on Friday.
After we left Dr. Craigie we filled our prescription and then drove over to see Dr. Baron, the breast surgeon. I had taken my pain meds as well as a zofran before I left Dr. Craigie’s office and the two of those combined really get me loopy. I feel like I’m floating all over the room and feel like I lose feeling in my legs. It was relaxing but definitely a strange feeling. He is so warm and compassionate and greeted my mom and I with hugs as well. I feel so taken care of by this team of doctors. He examined me and seemed a bit disappointed with the left nipple’s healing as well. I know he was hoping that they both would survive and look as they always have. He did feel great about everything else so far.
I am happy with my recovery so far. It’s not pretty for sure…but I know that’s all part of the journey.
We grabbed a late lunch and headed back to our recovery home. It’s so peaceful and quiet here. I need to gear myself up for heading back to my house which is full of loud children. I love them but it will be a big change for sure. I was out from 10-4 today and I’m very sore and tired now. I hope I sleep well tonight and really am able to relax and rest.
Category The Journey | Tags: charleston,family,fear,plans,plastic surgeon,recovery,scar,Sleep,surgeon,travel | No Comments
February 1, 2012 by Julie Moon
This is the place I will leave my risk of breast cancer. This is East Cooper Medical Center…a beautiful facility. We have met nothing but nice and helpful people. I was there twice today and it will become my new home through the weekend. I am so grateful that I was able to afford to travel here with my mom. I am so grateful for Dr. Craigie and Dr. Kline and Dr. Baron who will perform my surgeries. It will be mind blowing, life altering and life saving. I am so grateful that I do not have cancer and I get to tackle this as a healthy 34 year old woman. I am so grateful that the BRCA test was conclusive and I was able to confidently move foward with this step. I am so grateful for each and every person who is at home feeding, hugging, nurturing, driving, dressing, bathing, teaching, snuggling, and taking care of my dear sweet children.
I feel the prayers and positive energy of my friends. I am envisioning the candles that will be lit for me tomorrow. I pray for peace for my friends and family while I’m under. My wish is that tomorrow not only changes my own life but that it changes many people’s lives. I hope it inspires a woman to get her mammograms or research her genetics. I hope it encourages a husband to be completely supportive of radical preventative measures his wife may want to take for her health. I hope that it challenges more people to participate in the 3day and other events that support breast cancer research. We need more research. We need to find a cure.
Goodbye to the breasts I know and have loved…the breasts that have nourished my three children and have been loved by my husband. I am looking forward to meeting my new breasts…the ones that will carry me into my old age. I suppose if you want to be technical I have known those breasts all along since they will come from my back side. 🙂
Category The Journey | Tags: 3day,blessings,BRCA,breast cancer,charleston,plastic surgeon,surgeon,travel | No Comments
January 31, 2012 by Julie Moon
It was a beautiful day driving here to Charleston today. Sun shining down on us and clear skies…easy sailing. Baby girl has been sick for several days and today she was really happy and perky and feeling so much better. That was exactly what my soul needed. I was so worried about her. My mom and I went out to dinner tonight and these were my two fortunes. I thought they were pretty awesome. I think the hardest part about this whole experience is that it is a bit of a surprise…I don’t know exactly what to expect on Wednesday. I don’t know what it feels like to be in a hospital not giving birth. I haven’t ever been intubated. I haven’t ever had surgery (minus removing a couple wisdom teeth..hah). I certainly haven’t ever spent 5 days in a hospital. I’m definitely unsure of how my body will react to all the drugs. How quickly will I recover? Will it hurt lots? some? beyond belief? less than I could imagine? I don’t feel anxious but I feel calm, serene…I am peaceful but quiet.
I did get a call from the breast surgeon’s office today and they decided that based on my MRI from last week that they would like to do a sentinel lymph node biopsy on my left side during surgery on Wednesday. Just another little bump in the road but another thing that will give us more information and help me have a healthier future.
Category The Journey | Tags: baby girl,biopsy,charleston,plans,travel | No Comments
January 25, 2012 by Julie Moon
I am keeping myself really occupied making plans. I have a full weekend planned and then it all settles in. I wonder when I’ll get the nerve to pack my bag. I think I’m ready. All my labs came back today and I have the all clear. I still have to find myself a pair of slippers…ha!
Category The Journey | Tags: charleston,plans,travel,waiting | No Comments
November 29, 2011 by Julie Moon
The Mister and I traveled to Charleston, SC this weekend to meet with the plastic and breast surgeons. We left on Saturday and were able to have two days to ourselves…without children to reconnect and just enjoy each other before the appointment day. I am so grateful for my sister watching the kids Saturday and Sunday…a wonderful babysitter helping out on Sunday night and Monday morning and one of my best friends coming over Monday after school to keep the kiddos, clean up the house and get everyone to bed before we got home. What a network of great people I have supporting me on this journey. It was reassuring to see that I could be gone for 3 days and things still function as normal. I have to admit that I am probably more nervous about what is going to happen to my kiddos when I’m gone for 2 weeks than I am about the surgery itself…ah motherhood!
The Mister and I were able to eat at some great restaurants, check out some local shops and the market and visit Folly beach at Sunset. Did I mention we slept? Oh the bliss of no children in the house kind of sleep…no naps interrupted by squeals of disagreement over the wii or by a toddler banging her fist over your head because she is hungry. We slept well and we napped. It was glorious!
I feel peaceful. I feel content. I feel excited. I feel nervous. I feel happy. I feel sad. I feel grateful. I feel blessed. I feel spared. I feel sure. I feel crazy. I feel amazed.
No wonder I can’t sleep yet tonight.
February 1, 2012…a day that will change my life forever.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,charleston,decisions,family,fear,friends,mister,plastic surgeon,surgeon,travel,waiting | No Comments
November 24, 2011 by Julie Moon
November has been amazing. I have been blessed beyond belief by my friends. I was able to have an extended visit with one of my besties here…she made arrangements to come without her husband or kids so that we could have just some special one on one time. I truly am grateful. There is nothing quite like hanging out with your good friend for several days straight! I also celebrated my 34th birthday. My friends took me out to a very special dinner and I have a mantle FULL of special birthday cards. This year the birthday cards were different. I really felt like every single one of my friends wrote something really relevant and important. I felt so moved by each and every card. It’s hard to explain exactly but I keep rereading the cards because they are so encouraging. Now it’s Thanksgiving eve and I get to spend time with my family. My parents came to spend the night tonight. The children and i prepared a few things. I chatted in my den, with my parents…listening to some jazz music in the background. I called my brother to schedule our skype date during lunch tomorrow. We will skype he and his wife in for our Thanksgiving meal to pretend that they aren’t in St. Louis but at the head of our table instead. (gosh I really miss them) And then on Saturday I leave for Charleston with my soulmate by my side as my steady companion and we start the planning. So much to be happy about and thankful for. I am blessed!
Category The Journey | Tags: birthday,charleston,family,friends,mister,travel | No Comments
November 12, 2011 by Julie Moon
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