A year ago I was getting ready for bed knowing that the next morning was double mastectomy day.
When the surgeon first explained to me my surgical options, “double mastectomy” came out of my mouth before she could finish.
Even though my breasts spent many years being good to me, when I found out that cancer was in one of them, I knew they both needed to go.
And I knew that it would be painful, and strange. But so many people said, “well, one of the bright sides of breast cancer is getting a set of new, perky boobs!” And the delusional part of me believed them.
My plastic surgeon did a terrific job. She was able to save my skin and my nipples. Many women don’t have that option. They were able to carve the breast tissue out, and slide an implant in. But the truth is: these new boobs are not pretty. There are dents and ripples. And they always feel cold. And you could stab them with a steak knife, and I wouldn’t feel it. My plastic surgeon explained that I have really only had phase one of reconstruction. Phase two would be filling in the dents and ripples around my implants with fat from my hips. She could smooth them out and make them pretty with a fairly simple procedure.
BUT one of the side effects of this procedure is that the fat can bead up and form tiny lumps in your breast. Tiny lumps that you might feel in the shower. Tiny lumps that might steal your breath, and land you back in waiting rooms. So I said, “no” to part two. Because I never wanted to feel a lump on my breast again.
(Although, if you follow my blog, you know that this happened to me recently even without the hip fat!)
So I’ve lived 364.5 days with cold, foreign, dent-y, sensation-less boobs.
And on some days I feel a real sense of loss.
But on most days, I am grateful. So grateful. Grateful that my cancer was in a part of my body that could be carved out. Grateful that they could put me back together. Grateful that I am not defined by body.
I can’t believe it has been a year. I so desperately wanted to know that it was going to be okay. And it is.