As you know, for some reason my right expander, which was the non-radiated side ended up getting infected. I had surgery September 30th to have the expander removed, infection cleaned out, and a new expander replaced. October 5th I woke up with fluid leaking and obvious signs of infection. So, October 5th I had surgery to completely remove the right expander and allow healing for a few months before replacing another expander. The next few following weeks, my right expander began to be extremely painful and start showing signs of infection. I was going regularly to my surgeon to be followed and do everything we could to prevent infection and save the expander. There were several reasons we decided the expander reconstruction plan. First of all, I am a 29 year old young woman. I was very terrified as this was all happening so fast to have “nothing” on my chest but scars. I thought if I could have expanders I would at least to the outside world look like any other woman. Secondly, we were trying to avoid a huge 15hr reconstructive surgery. So, we gave it out best shot. I pushed through pain each day, the best I could, with a smile on my face for months. The few weeks following the removal of my right expander I could feel the infection developing in my left expander. Well, that’s not necessarily true. I could feel that something wasn’t right. My surgeon was doing anything and everything he could think of to save my left expander, and I will forever be thankful to him for that. One evening after leaving his office I cried the whole way home because I know what I had to do. I knew at that exact moment that I was done. Done being in so much pain I couldn’t live my life, missing playing with my boys, playing with my husband, chasing the boys, and the simplest of things like cooking dinner, sleeping, being able to sit up on my own. laundry, unloading the dishwasher, big hugs from tiny boys, etc. You get the point. The pain was running my life. I could barely breath without being in tears, much less yawn, or sneeze. So. that night I decided I would be calling my nurse and telling her I want the left expander out, I cannot possibly continue each day in so much pain, and I wanted my life back as much as possible. We scheduled to have the expander removed Tuesday October 25th. In the meantime, the pain kept increasing, and what appeared to be infection keep spreading. I sent pictures of the infection site to my surgeon and he admitted me to the hospital Monday to receive IV antibiotics all day/night leading up to surgery Tuesday. I was in so much pain they kept feeding me full of pain meds. I don’t handle pain meds well. At this time, I am in so much pain and I’m also very sick to my stomach. Much of the day including in pre up prior to going to surgery, and also following surgery, I threw up lots of bile. Which if you weren’t aware, you use a lot of chest muscles when you throw up. This does NOT feel good. I slept the entire night following surgery (minus being woke up for vitals constantly) which was a great sign. I haven’t had more than 2-3 hours of sleep for about 2 months from the pain. When I woke up this morning, I realized I felt better than I had in 10 months. I was so sick and in pain from both neo-adjuvant chemo, my bi lateral mastectomy, and radiation. Then, the extreme pain from the expanders. As of today, I feel ‘good’. I can answer when someone asks me how I am and answer “I feel good”! Now, of course my ‘good’ is much different from all of your feeling ‘good’, but I’m thankful for what I’ve got. When I had made the decision to have the left expander removed it was a very emotional decision. Even though I had pushed through so much pain and hell, I felt like this meant I was giving up. I also was very disappointed in myself for going back wards after pushing so hard to make the progress I had. Maybe the hardest part was being scared of having no breasts, but being covered in scars. It sounds so ridiculous I know. But being 29 years old I want breasts, I want to feel sexy. I’ve been learning just what ‘sexy’ really is, and I’ll tell you, breasts or scars women are sexy. I gave absolutely everything I had to the entire expander process. But I knew when I woke up in my hospital bed this morning, in the least amount of pain I’ve felt in 10 months that we more than made the right decision. I’m just as beautiful covered in scars, and I get to slowly get my life back!!! Next week I will go in and have my drain and stitches removed and continue to heal. We’re hopeful for smooth sailing from now on! I’m learning the embrace the new and true beauty that is now my body. Depending on how well I heal, we will have the big reconstructive surgery I tried to avoid in about 8-12 months. Although, my husband says I’m gorgeous and beautiful the way I am and that means the world to me. I’m still a 29 yr old young woman that wants breasts. So, when the time is right we will make it through the surgery just as we have everything else that has come our way. For now, I’m going to heal, embrace my beauty, enjoy regaining my life, completing the remainder of my treatment to ensure a long life of love with my incredible husband and boys, and enjoying our new home and slice of heaven.