Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Surgery Coming Soon

I had my pre-op today for surgery - which is officially scheduled now for August 1st. Whoo hoo! Not that I’m excited for the recovery but I am excited to get this show on the road and have the cancer out of my body. My sweet son, Kimball has been asking so many questions and worried because he knows I will be in the hospital for 4-5 days. Apparently he has overheard me talking to people about cancer, so he wanted to know all about it. I try to take pictures for him and explain whatever I can to help him learn and put his mind at ease. I'm gonna miss these cute faces while I'm at the hospital, but they are my inspiration!

I am so grateful to have received my wish to have the mastectomy and reconstruction done in the same surgery. This is a rare gift that doesn’t happen very often, but since I don’t need chemo or radiation, they can do it. It’s going to be a long day for the medical team (glad I get to sleep through it). I get to arrive at the unsightly hour of 6 a.m. and the surgery will be 8-9 hours - and that is with 3 surgeons, wow! I am so grateful to and impressed by the staff at Huntsman. The experience so far is 100% better than my experience at IMC. 

I was reading my blog from 11 years ago to refresh my memory on the healing process. There is definitely some PTSD from what went on but I am feeling much better about things this time around. And the best part is that my husband can stay overnight with me - even though I will be in the ICU. Seriously a miracle in my book. If you want to read about my experience last time - here it is: https://matchmakeramy.blogspot.com/2011/06/on-mend-again.html
Most people wonder why in the world I will have issues sitting after a mastectomy. Well, the surgery I am doing is quite unique actually. Most women who do reconstruction using their own tissue are able to use tissue from their stomach - (the DIEP flap surgery). But I am lucky enough to only have butt tissue to use, so mine is very unique - it’s called the SGAP. Here’s a link if you’re curious and want to read about it:  https://www.microsurgeon.org/sgap

Thank you so much for caring enough to read this and for the kind words of encouragement and support. They truly mean the world to me!

Monday, July 11, 2022


I finally met with my new breast surgeon today, Dr. Jane Porretta. This has been a long awaited appointment and the reality of my situation hit me a bit harder than expected this morning. It was surreal to be back at Huntsman for treatment after coming there for the past 11 years for my first rodeo and then follow ups that were thankfully, always clean until this last one. 

Gratefully, she confirmed what I expected her to say - a mastectomy is the best next step and that I won’t need chemo or radiation. Just waiting to hear from her scheduler on when the surgery will be. I am literally breathing a sigh of relief and anxious to get this cancer out of me. I am also relieved about her comments that since it is a non-invasive cancer this time, it could live for years before growing. Last time that was not the case. I’m still anxious to get the surgery done but glad it’s not really growing right now. She also validated what my other doctors have said - that this second cancer is completely unrelated to the first. Whaaaat???

Going through this with 3 precious littles and a wonderful husband by my side this time, has really made me slow down and enjoy each moment I have with them. I hope and pray I can remember this even when I am past the worst of it. 
I recognize that there are many going through cancer and other trials that are much worse and so I am humbled by my good news. 

For me and those in need of extra comfort, I share this talk that my brother sent to me this week: CLICK HERE TO READ -  it really lifted my spirits and reminded me that we literally do have angels among us. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022


Yesterday was my appointment at Huntsman with the plastic surgeon, Dr. Agarwal. He came highly recommended by several of you. I really liked him and his team, and he was very thorough in discussing the approach we will take for reconstruction. It was refreshing and encouraging, especially in comparison to my last experience going through this process.  

As we were leaving Huntsman we ran into a sweet couple that are good friends with my parents. They shared their experience with the husband who has been going through cancer and the miracles they have seen. I can attest that the miracles are truly real and like the song by Hillary Weeks: "I haven't seen His face but I have seen his miracles". Without this experience and many others, I am not sure I would have come to realize how much the Lord is truly aware of me and my personal situation. He has truly consecrated my experiences for my good.

Tomorrow I will go in for a CT scan to determine what areas of my body they can take the tissue from to create a new breast after the mastectomy. Dr Agarwal is one of only a few doctors in Utah who does the specialized micro surgery I need. Essentially they are looking for an area of my body that has enough fat, tissue and sometimes skin, that can be cut out and used to make a new breast. The result is a very natural look and feel.  

One of the key factors in performing the surgery is finding the right blood vessels that can be reattached to the chest so that the tissue stays alive after the reconstruction. So the CT scan I am doing will analyze my buttocks and thighs to see if those will be the right donor areas for me (I feel like there are so many other areas they could use too - lol). It is pretty amazing what can be done for pretty much any medical issue through modern medicine. 

Many people do not know about this type of surgery that can be done for someone like me who cannot do implants. My body tends to reject foreign objects and when that was attempted last time I had cancer, it was a disaster to say the least. In 2011 the expander they put in after the mastectomy (with the intent to stretch my chest wall and do an implant after chemo) was extremely painful and also caused a horrible infection that required them to go back and cut out half of my skin on my breast. 

As a result they did the specialized micro surgery that took eight hours and ended with me in the ICU so that I could be monitored more closely to ensure success. This time I hope to avoid those issues and not have an expander by doing the mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time. One of the key factors in deciding if I can do both surgeries at the same time is whether I will need radiation. If I don’t then I will get my wish of doing both surgeries at the same time! Monday I will meet with my other surgeon who does the actual mastectomy. As soon as she gives the greenlight on not needing radiation, I can schedule my surgery for both. 

Stay tuned for more exciting updates on my adventures . . .