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Welcome to the DebiLyn Smith blog site. If you like what you read here, check out her website at

Friday, August 30, 2013

Back to the Boob

I think I've slipped from the normal pattern of breast reconstruction into a new category called "something else." The usual fill to maximum 200 ccs of saline to make my right breast the same size as my left, has turned into filling the expander sewn into the right breast every 3-5 days with another 100 ccs. Like a balloon, it blows up before our very eyes. Two days later, the surgical side of the breast is deflated again. The good news is all this hassle is expanding the skin bit by bit, enough that when surgery happens on September 11 (no, the date did not escape me) there will be enough extra skin to swap the temporary saline bag with a permanent solid gel silicone one.
But I had to share the fact that a long weekend is almost upon us, so my good doctor Sandi filled the boob again after only two days since the last fill. I can definitely feel the difference once again, almost too heavy on the right side, like I can tip over. That may be a wee bit of exaggeration.
I must also commend Sandi on her success at finding the port. Now that the skin has stretched, I no longer receive a freezing for the injection site. It's a quick check with the magnet finder for the metallic port-site and then a "quick poke" and Sandi is pushing the plunger down on the syringe, which no longer vibrates from effort, but goes in smooth and quick. We're done in minutes. See you next week!
A tip for anyone going through this- a syringe usually only holds 60 cc's, so what we are now doing is filling two syringes- one with 60ccs and one with 40 ccs. Once the needle is inserted into the port, Sandi uses the first syringe but she does not remove the needle from my breast. She unscrews it from the syringe and replaces the empty syringe with the next filled one. That saves her having to find the port twice. Works great for me! I didn't have to watch that long point coming at me twice.

Have a fab labor day long weekend everyone. I think I'll take this big boob to the lake and show it off while I can. No-one ever looks at your stomach rolls when there is an anomaly around.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Dream Wedding

Finally one of our four children has "taken one for the team." With all this talk in my book about wanting weddings and grandkids, our oldest daughter Lindsay had the family flown by helicopter to the top of Mt. Begbie in Revelstoke, B.C. There, upon a large flat rock with a background drop of waterfalls, glaciers and mountain scenery, she said "I do" to her best friend and partner in adventure, Jeff Zeitz (rhymes with heights). They will enjoy the most scenic wedding photos imaginable, especially with their love of dramatic mountain scenery. Complete with blue sky, sunshine and a handsome heli pilot.

The maid-of honour's dress flying up around her ears was one of the favourite stories along with a few "borrowed" flowers from another wedding's floral arrangement to make two  new corsages when ours froze, picking huckleberries until our tongues turned blue on the family hike the day before and the backword 'Z's on the pies all blended to make it an unforgettable occasion.The picture site will be announced for more glimpses of the bride and groom- the professional ones!

The honeymoon is in Squamish at a mountain climbing course so they will be able to climb Mt Begbie all the way on foot next time, using ropes and caribeeners. We asked that they call after the hike and not before!

We can hardly wait for the next wedding August 2nd of our other daughter Karly to her beau Matt McCrae of Victoria. Look for your Save-the-date cards in the mail very soon!

On that front, while in the hotel's hot tub this weekend, our son Lorne professed his intention of spending the rest of his life with partner Deb Austin, ring yet or not,which  had us sighing with content and the hope of the next part of the picture, the grandkids, falling not too shortly behind.

What about Kelly? Kelly seems perfectly content with his own company. Can't argue with that! Literally.

I think the floating feeling is going to continue for some time.

At least until the next surgery for the replacement of the breast expander with the real silicone breast implant on September 11. Yes, on 911. I have a feeling its going to be a good day for one of us.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Limp" the Boob Along

Quick up-date for anyone new. I have been going through breast reconstruction with the use of a surgically implanted breast expander in my breast. This expander has a bag which is filled gradually over the weeks until the anticipated size is reached. It is then left inside for two months for the skin to fully stretch to the desired size. A second surgery removes the expander and a silicone replacement that resembles the constituency of a gum drop, is then sewn in and voila- a full boob.I get back what cancer took from me!

 My exisitng nipple, although pointed to the far right will come a bit more left, but not enough to point in the proper direction. I figured that appropriate for someone that gets lost in a paper bag. Like a tattoo or street sign bearing my name, I now have my own individualized body part!

  A recent mishap caused a tweak in "the plan." A small leak has occurred which is exacerbated by sleeping on my stomach or any pressure on my chest.

My surgeon called it "limping the boob along," meaning a  rush operation will be requested, pending date September 6 but until then, we need to keep the breast with the expander inside filled to capacity as much as possible. This is instead of facing a second surgery to replace the expander and saline filled bag. We're going to try and make what we have work. Whew! Two more surgeries would have been hard to take. My right side is down for the count for 4-6 weeks. Hard to ski with one arm.

SO...I go to the Kelowna emergency on Monday morning (whatever was I thinking. What a line-up!) to eventually face a very handsome, super cheerful 13 year-old (?) doctor that said, "really?" Once I explained the technique required, he had the needle into the appropriate docking spot in one try and filled me with another 100 cc's of saline. It felt super large, jutting beneath my arm slightly. It felt wonderfully full and almost larger than my left breast. Definitely firmer, higher younger looking. Oh joy, oh JOY!

I will have to have it re-filled on Friday, the day before our daughter's wedding, to better fit my dress. Another emergency ward, another doctor who will most likely repeat the word..."really?"

Who else gets to go on a holiday having to limp their boob, instead of their spare tire, along? It is so typically me. Sigh.

The Boob is Staying Afloat

What welcome news I have for a change. I am pleased as punch to announce that when my doctor returned from holidays and re-filled the flattened bag inside my cancer-operated right breast, it managed to stay afloat over the weekend. Being careful to avoid sleeping on my stomach, or diving chest first into water from up high on the two storey lake raft seemed to help and on Monday there was still roundness to the bottom half of the breast. A call to my surgeon's office said to get in and get it filled to capacity- another 100 cc's. Total 200 cc's over a week, which is maximum for the bag I was given. If it continues to seep out (being only saline right now, it is never a problem. It will keep me hydrated if nothing else.One less glass of water I have to force down!) then I can keep getting it refilled at various emergency hospital areas. It is to stay inflated for 2 months before surgery removes it and the skin will have been considered stretched enough for the permanent real (I use that term loosely) implant which will be filled with silicone.

For now, the excitement of looking down at a filled bra is such a great feeling. I never dreamed or dared hope that this moment would ever come and here it is. I feel whole again! What a perfect day (except for the argument that I'm spending too much needlessly towards the book publishing. It sucks having a husband as your accountant. One I paid for would never talk to me like that-ha. Yes, I tried to fire him but it didn't work. Actually, if it weren't for Barry, I'd be in trouble with the tax people and it's only been three months in the Biz!He makes sure the eyes are dotted and the tees are crossed. I have to account for every frigging nickle. Excrutiating!)

Nothing compares to having your body back in one piece again.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Blowing Up The Boob

Ah, the boob saga sagged a bit, but it continues on once again. With Dr. V safely back and refreshed from holidays abroad, we set to the task of trying to refill the breast again with more saline. Since its collapse shortly after the last fill, it was assumed a hole had been accidentally poked in the bag that holds the saline.

When I called the surgeon's office, the receptionist replied, "I'm afraid it's more common than you think." But this stage is simply all about stretching skin. We're trying to slowly blow up the breast big enough to replace the saline bag with a permanent one- a thicker, tougher, unsinkable (my new personal life preserver!) silicone boob. I bet I will be able to bounce off of it, it sounds so impermeable.
But I digress, talking about what I can, might and will do with my new right breast once we get all this behind us.
On Wednesday this week I am before the surgeon who will decide between more surgery to replace what is in there and starting over again, or to keep topping me up if it's only a slow puncture ("Maybe it's hissing in there but we can't hear it, like a slow tire leak?" I said to Dr. V) Time will tell in the morning how deflated I get (morally and physically) Maybe I'd best sleep on my back?

Stay tuned for the next  saga of "the bouncing breast..."