As a pre teen many young girls with visions of the perfect cleavage will take matters into their own hands and add to the bounty that nature provides or in some cases fails to provide. My own young girls talk often of the day they will have boobs. Let’s be honest, in the view of society, they are the “visual” things that makes a woman. MIllions spent each year on the perfect bra, marketing telling every woman that is what makes you “sexy”.
For well over a year after the mastectomy and DIEP surgery, once I could finally wear a bra, I was limited to one that was padded. Even after a year of healing, scars can still cause a good amount of discomfort. As I would look in the mirror I felt like some teenager who was trying to increase what nature had provided. The difference here as we all know is that what nature provided to me had plans to attack. What I have instead is created by amazing plastic surgeons.
A few weeks ago I decided it was time. The perfect bra, no lining, no padding. For the first time in almost a year and a half I can look in the mirror and see only me. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am happy with the reflection in the mirror, other than the few pounds I could stand to lose 🙂 but hey who doesn’t right?
Everyday since July 2, 2012 there has been a “new” something. Since that date I have achieved many milestones. I remember first being able to finally sit up without assistance, and the first time walking around the block with the girls. There was lots of pain, many tears and worlds of relief knowing I made the right decision. This milestone may not seem like much to many but to me, it is about comfort and confidence and therefore huge. And shopping in VIctoria’s Secret again in pretty cool also 🙂
I recently got into a conversation with someone in which I once again talked about my surgical history with the bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. I share my story often and openly in the hopes that it may help someone else. I am typically met with some amount of shock followed by questions which are usually the same. Interestingly one of the first tends to be “was it painful”. Other typical questions surround BRCA testing, family history and what lead me to make the radical decision I did to have the mastectomy.
So, back to the most recent conversation. For the first time I was asked the question, “what if you made a mistake and the surgery was not needed.” I found that to be an interesting question especially since lobular carcinoma in situ(LCIS) was found. Even after discussing the pathology this person stuck to the yeah but “what if” question. A quick reply was what if I did not and 5 years down the road I was diagnosed with Breast cancer?
I do not live in “what if”. This is why I had the surgery. I never wanted to look back with regret. SO to help land my point I tossed out a few other what if questions.
What if the Declaration of Independence was never signed?
What if Martin Luther King had never been born?
What if women never gained the right to vote?
What if we had never pushed the norms of technology?
All of these questions sound just ridiculous. Life is all about decisions. They are not always easy or comfortable and there will always be someone standing off to the side just waiting to second guess or challenge. I am not sure if I swayed the person’s opinion nor do I really care to be honest. You make decisions everyday, at the end of it all you can only hope you made more good than bad.
Today is a very special day for me. The sun is shinning, the sky is blue and the temperatures are low, the makings of a wonderful day. I got up early showered and did the normal morning routine. Next I prepared for yet another doctors appointment this time a follow-up to the endometrial ablation done July 19th. This may not sound very special but indeed the day truly is. Why you may ask?
The appointment went well, things seem to have gone well and all pathology benign thankfully. Good news for anyone leaving a doctor’s office but for me much more. See, for the first time in over 2 years I do not have the next surgery plans in the making. I do not even have a doctor’s appointment scheduled. I almost feel as if I am forgetting something since I have nothing to schedule or follow-up on. My life and my check book have been consumed for so long and now a breath of fresh air. Not so fresh for the check book yet as there are still outstanding bills but we are close.
When I say consumed I thought maybe a quick recap was in order:
June 2011 Needle guided ultrasound biopsy leads to full surgical biopsy due to abnormal results. More abnormal results found leading to the rest of the year spent with oncologists, genetic specialists, mammograms and breast MRI’s until decision finally made.
July 2, 2012 bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction.
August 2012 Breast revision surgery
November 2012 Further reconstruction and revision. Also in November the ever interesting colonoscopy and the memorable first pelvic ultrasound.
January and March 2013 further pelvic ultrasounds leading to the ablation in July.
Doctors appointments, follow-up appointments, blood work, scans tests and calls. In between it all worry, pain, tears, looks of pity from others and stress on the family. This has been my life for more than two years. I will be honest, today I have felt a little out of sorts. I can not explain why. It is almost like the medical issues have “defined” me for much of the recent past. Maybe I am a bit reserved afraid that if I get too happy about it something bad will happen. I am sure it will pass…as the reality sets in, doctor free. I look forward to the future, with nothing planned except maybe a Disney trip!