Sunday 1st January 2017

Happy New Year 2017 Everyone!

I feel I should be a bit happier and excited at the prospect of having a new year ahead of us again. But I’m just not feeling it for some reason.

Maybe it’s not having anything really nice to look forward to yet? Or maybe it’s the gloomy weather? I’m in a bit of limbo as can’t plan much until I know what’s happening with surgery.  But maybe it’s the way the universe is making me go day by day. Who knows what our life plan is! So I just need to go with it I know!

And, of course I’m grateful to still be here and have my family safe and well around me.  But I’m missing the excitement this year – I didn’t even manage to stay up to watch the fireworks at midnight! I couldn’t keep my eyes open!

I suppose 2016 proved to be pretty rubbish again all round, not only for us but for so many others.

But there was lots of good that happened too that kept us going through, so I will be trying to focus on the good times to remember last year by…… finishing my Herceptin in the summer, our wonderful holiday to Cornwall, some great family and friends times together, my mum moving to Colchester (it’s like having a new best friend to hang out with), and finishing the year with our new puppy Dill (although many of you will know that even he has come with trauma!)

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Just before Christmas I must admit I was so worn out that I felt I could have slept all through the festivities – especially as I caught an awful cough/cold virus that everyone seems to have had. So we planned for a low key two week rest with nothing much organised. Luckily the kids were happy with this being teenagers that need sleep too and just wanted to chill, plus Phil had to work his way through anyway!

Of course we went out with friends and family a bit but nowhere near as much as we usually would. In fact I’ve felt a bit boring! So, sorry to everyone that we haven’t managed to see – I just find it all too much at the moment. But I’m still on task to try and sort myself out so we’ll get together with all our lovely friends and family at some point I hope! Please don’t get worried if you don’t hear from me much though – it’s needs must – I really do need to hibernate – winter is proving difficult for me!

But on the whole I do feel a little better. Whatever I’m doing is helping even if it does mean hibernating and being boring. So long as I get a really good sleep every night I can bumble along and keep on top of the pain which is what I need to do to get through the next step.

So before the holidays my mum came with me to a meeting with Dr Naranjan – who is a senior plastic surgeon at Broomfield Hospital and trained Dr Griffiths who will be doing my surgery –  there was also a junior doctor and another lovely lady consultant and a nurse, but as usual I can’t remember their names. My brain is mush! But it was great having my mum with me as she’s been through the DIEP surgery herself which means she can really understand what they are talking about. We asked lots of questions!

So the outcome was positive.  Dr Naranjan agreed I would be suitable for surgery, which is great but this still needs to be finalised by Dr Griffiths. It isn’t urgent so time can be taken with planning.  Although the implant is constantly painful I have actually got used to it.  So long as I don’t overdo it I can manage this pain.  But I know it will get worse if left so needs to be removed sooner rather than later.  I am very worried that this is major surgery and I could be left in worse pain if it goes wrong, but it’s a risk I feel I need to take.  So I’m glad I’ll have some time to grow some tummy fat and give them more to sculpt with, but also to get my head around such major surgery. So we’re probably looking a few months yet (I hope!)

Unfortunately my surgeon Dr Mat Griffiths (, was on holidays so I will be meeting him again in a few weeks to go through the plan in more detail and get his final agreement to surgery.

Dr Naranjan did discuss adding in a small implant to boost the new boob and match better to my left side.  But I really expressed my unhappiness of this idea.  I’ve had it with painful implants! I don’t need breasts, I just don’t want to hurt any more! When we discussed this further and he realised I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia he agreed with me to avoid implants.  He said that it was worth a thought that a few women have had major problems with the implants as they have caused unexplained widespread pain as the body fights against the foreign object.  Interesting. So we shall see if this makes any difference – but worth a thought. It was good to get his opinion too as he is very experienced.  He confirmed that the implant needs to be removed and seemed quite positive that I had enough flesh to sculpt a new small boob from my tummy.  Then reduce the left side to match later on.

So surgery will be to:

  • Remove implant, strattice and scar tissue
  • DIEP – side to side chunk cut across my lower stomach to remove a big smiley face of skin and some fat (which I am continuing to grow!)
  • Reposition my belly button and join my stomach (like a tummy tuck except I don’t really need one – but I can see how many women could see this as an added bonus!)
  • Then graft my tummy flesh to produce a small boob in place of the removed implant.
  • This should take about 6+ hours if all goes well.
  • But up to 6 months to be back to health (this is when I’m going to need so much help please!)

At the next meeting, mid January, with Dr Griffiths I should get more of an idea of when surgery will be and more details.

I’ve also got to have another mammogram to extra check the left boob before surgery.  And an appointment with Dr Loo to discuss medications.

Maybe this is why I don’t feel so excited about 2017 as it’s starting off with lots of scary appointments!

So I need to get my ‘brave face’ on again and get on with it.

Focus on the good stuff….. family, friends, baking, sewing, swimming, movies and popcorn, doggy walking and snuggling….. lots of stuff!

I’m secretly hoping we may get a little holiday in before surgery too, but best not to plan as it doesn’t usually work out anyway! We shall see……

Really hope 2017 brings more good than bad for everyone but most importantly good health!  Thank you all for your ongoing kindness and support x love to you all from us Britten’s x





2 thoughts on “Sunday 1st January 2017

  1. Wishing you all the best Tracey, I am hoping to have the DIEP reconstruction this year too – will be avidly following your blog love Dawn (from the surgery)


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