Post-op 1 and a little reality…
Well, good news is that my incisions are healing quickly and the bruising is rapidly dispersing. Most of the sutures came out and now I’m just taping myself back together in a few spots.
Although we aren’t at the end of the road, we are on the downhill side and what I am looking at is my new reality. I’ll be honest, a large part of me wishes I’d have left well enough alone and just adjusted to the mastectomy scars.
For all those (mostly guy friends – but a few ladies too) who have images of surgically enhanced breasts from the magazines and movies, it’s not like that. In fact, no amount of my own research looking up post mastectomy reconstruction really prepared me for what is now my new reality.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a gifted surgeon, however that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like Sally from The Nightmare before Christmas. My surgeon was clear in the beginning, the goal is to get me looking as normal as possible with clothes on… I know, I knew, my normal has been forever changed.
So, what is the dealio? As I mentioned previously, the fat transplant went to the left breast because so much tissues was taken from that side during mastectomy that they were having a hard time getting both breasts to be the same size in the operating room. The good news about this is that when I am relaxed just standing there, they look very balanced and even. More so than the natural ones actually. So, clothes on, mostly look fine. Depending on the neckline of the shirt I am wearing.
Unfortunately without any fat transferred to the right breast, I get this strange tugging and a large indentation that appears to be my skin and muscle adhering together. Annoying thing is that this happens with just the slightest flex of my pectoral muscles, which happens on a regular basis throughout the day. If I am cold and shiver, indentation. Pick up my laptop bag, indentation. Can’t wait to see what this looks like when doing pushups and pullups in the future…
I am struggling with this. Struggling. Hmm. Borderline depressed, but the pain is wearing me down too…
Part of my mind says, “Give it up, this is just vanity talking. What does it matter? You are alive and relatively well aren’t you? It’s no big deal. Why can’t you let it go?”
The other part of my mind says, “It is identity, not vanity. This will be odd and disgusting in many of my clothes. What will I have to toss from the closet? What kind of bathing suit am I going to be able to find to cover this? How freakish and unattractive.”
Now keep in mind, when I say unattractive, it is not the perception of others that has me spinning on this. Self confidence is what is sexy. Self confidence has everything to do with how you perceive yourself (in my opinion… for me). The fact that “disgusting” and “freakish” enter my mind when thinking about my own appearance really tells me that I need to talk to the surgeon about resolving this.
Now, let’s talk about pain. This has been INCREDIBLE. Still is. Unbelievable. I am still swollen from the abdominal liposuction and fat transplant. Pain is exhausting. This week I have dosed with the prescription pain meds and rested and even then, I have not really been pain free, just able to sleep.
I am thankful for the new job that just let me be and let me figure out survival this week. Everything is difficult. Not supposed to lift more than 5lbs, but have a compression garment on that is easily more than 5lbs of tugging to get up and down. Using my abdomen hurts… so adjusting myself in bed has been a chore… can’t use the arms, can’t use the abdomen… so reserve inchworm with the legs. Legs are still swollen. I don’t even recognize my own body.
It really is odd, how you go through this process with no concept of what the final result will be.
Next appointment is the 28th. Will tackle some of these issues then. For now, I am happy to be upgraded to lifting 10 pounds – whoop whoop
#strongerthancancer #embracingtheadventure #killerleftboob #hawtrightboob #breastcancer
3 thoughts on “Day 303: Post-op 1 and a little reality…”
I wondered whether you’d feel it was worth it, after all the pain. But it’s not (yet) after. And the pain’s still there and dragging you down. I wouldn’t have tried it at all, probably, but I’m 70, and I NEVER looked like you do! I’ve had a number of years to shift to the inside instead of the outside in my mind. It makes choices like these easier. It really seems as if killing the cancer was much less than half the battle, in terms of your physical impact. Hang in there. Time will tell you whether you made the best choice. And I’ll bet you did.
Thanks Linda. Very true that the pain is dragging me down and you are right, a few years from now I likely won’t remember the pain so vividly. Cancer is a mindf#@% – watching your body be modified and never knowing what to expect… things that chip away at your confidence but probably shouldn’t – grasping for normal and no longer knowing what that is…
I have so much empathy and respect for people who suffer from chronic pain. It takes all I have to smile and get through the day sometimes. It is amazing how it tenses every muscle in your body. I had no idea.
All that being said, I really do have much to be thankful for, including good friends like you. Someone close to me keeps telling me “Be kind. Be patient.” and reminding me that this is temporary. 🙂
Your courage, your honesty and your strength is inspiring. ❤