i’m 2 weeks out of surgery and slowly getting more energy and less soreness. many women told me the swap surgery would be a small thing compared to the mastectomy. while mostly true, having my port out and liposuction on top of it made it more difficult. it’s just this week that i’ve been able to bend over and tie shoelaces. i have 8 incisions and sets of stitches around my torso where they removed fat and several around my breast where they grafted it. that is in addition to the port, implant, and drain incision. true to form, my doctor said i’d likely get my drain out by tuesday after surgery. it hung on until friday. my bandages came off and were swapped out last friday too (happy valentine’s day!). while life post-sponge bathing felt good, it still felt gross to wash my body…all these new shapes and stitches poking out like fishing line. i cut my first shower short because my body was giving me the heebeejeebees. and looking at it, with the bandages and bruises was a similar experience.
right before they wheeled me into the OR, my surgeon came in and performed his permanent marker trick on me….circling my right breast (“just so that we’re sure”), port, belly button, and where each of my hips meets my torso. he then had me turn around to see if they might remove fat from my back too but then decided he’d have enough from my front side. i’m standing there topless with my paper gown draped over my bottom half, feeling like a freakshow. the only thing i could say is, “you know how to make a girl feel special.” the joke went over mildly.
also, it was only then that i thought to ask what i come out of surgery with. he explained that beyond the stitches, i would be wrapped up in velcro, with a compression girdle and a compression bra that, lucky me, snaps in the front.
the surgery went mostly well. my breasts almost line up and are almost the same size (although it was tempting to try out a DD on one side)(or not at all). i got off the pain meds as soon as i could to stop pooping rocks. the only surgical complication is that because of radiation, several areas of the fat graft didn’t work and won’t work. so my skin is wrinkly and concave right above my breast. at first, it didn’t bother me because i couldn’t see the full extent given surgical swelling. but now, it does bother me. it actually grosses me out. when wearing a tanktop, it’s noticeable.
i clearly had high expectations that my new breast would look like my old breast.
so i’m still sitting with that feeling of being let down and of a sad, wrinkly concave reminder of my disease.
but also working on a different, and true, story. i had breast cancer. of course my breasts aren’t going to be the same after treatment. it’s a scar of my experience. a different reminder to be present because tomorrow could bring a bomb to my life, and all that i know of is what’s happening right now in front of me.
it’s ok to be sad though.
to add salt to the wound, the sports illustrated swimsuit edition came in the mail this week. perfect timing for a fragile, post-surgery, menopausal me. not that i ever had aspirations to become a model or that my 5’3 frame would facilitate it. but i realized that these imperfections take me out of the running. that they might be something someone notices about me and wonders about. i know…it’s absolutely, utterly, completely ridiculous. but logic and emotion don’t often sync up. so i cried over the sports illustrated swimsuit edition. that might be a first for that magazine, to have tears on it instead of other bodily fluids.
and the effects of liposuction on my stomach aren’t actually noticeable. double bummer.
on the good news front, the silicone implant is so much softer than the expander. it’s like a grenade was replaced with a gummi bear (because it was – ha!). and now, i’m a card-carrying (yes, i really have a card) silicone implant owner.
and on the slightly weird front, when i flex my pec, my whole boob moves up and down.
a new talent, ladies and gents!
happy, sunny weekend to you all. sending warmth and hugs to the murray family and healing energy to several more of you.