It was a no brainer for me. I wanted them gone. I never really liked them anyway. “Lefty” was bigger than “Righty”. They were both saggy. They never even wanted to feed my children, their whole purpose for being. Ok, I might miss them a little, but only during certain moments. And why would I want to keep them if they were trying to KILL me! Really, my own body turning on me and they don’t think that they are going to be cut off or let go, they are expendable. I think back on that day, a year ago 9/11/13, the day my “Twin Towers” fell (ok, I know, really bad 9/11 angolgy) and I feel some conflicting emotions.
I am glad I chose to have the double mastectomy, I don’t regret that. For me having the mastecnomy was not only about removing the cancerous tumor I did have, but also a bit of piece of mind that by removing not just the tumor in my right breast, but the rest of the breast tissue and also removing my left breast I would hopefully not have to relive this particular nightmare again. (There is always a chance of reoccurance however in either left behind breast tissue or in other areas of the body, no one with breast cancer ever forgets this.) But at least in my mind, if I had the double mastectomy I would not kick myself in the ass later for not being agressive with such an agressive beast to begin with.
So, what do i regret? Fake boobs or “Foobs” as they are called in the breast cancer world are not your own. They don’t look the same, they don’t feel the same. In general, they are fake. Reconstruction of your removed breast, however you chose to do it, is a loss. Have I cried over losing my breasts? No. But I still grieve that the ones I have know are not my own. As imperfect as they were, they were still mine, God given. There were no scars cutting from the middle of my chest to almost the side of my back. There was feeling and sensation. There were nipples.
Now it is like a blank, unnaturally round canvas of skin. They are tight and uncomfortable most of the time. I describe it to others as this feeling that you have to run home and take your bra off as soon as you walk in the door because you just can’t stand it anymore. During the first few months after surgery and still every once in a while, with out thinking, I lift up my shirt and reach around to unhook my bra, thinking that will make it feel better. Funny what kind of tricks the brain can play on you. But I guess when you have been doing that practice daily for almost 30 years it becomes habit and your brain hasn’t been told that they are gone yet.
Now, don’t get me wrong… my breast surgeon and plastic surgeon did a fabulous job. My breast surgeon removed all seen breast tissue, which was her job. On my cancer side she removed tissue up to my collar bone, making sure all of her margins for cancer were clear. She also did me a favor by removing the fat roll I had on my side, you know ladies, that little roll that sometimes over tops your bra strap. Thank you Dr. R! My plastic surgeon chose an implant for me that has the most natural look. She steared me away from other reconstructive procedures that would have moved valuable muscles in order to recreate a new breast. And with two young children that like to be held and carried, it was the best decision. (Minus, I just really wanted that free tummy tuck with those procedures!)
I will most likely need another procedure once my “foobs” settle. As time has gone on since my reconstruction on 5/21/14, they have become a little softer and have dropped into a much more natural shape. The procedure would be to fill in what I call my dents. Since my surgery did remove so much tissue, there is actually what kinda looks like a hole between say my collar bone, “foob” and breast bone. My plastic surgeon will remove fat (yippee) from most likely my thigh and inject it into the area to “plump” it up a bit. My plastic surgeons office also offers nipple reconstruction. I think I have decided to have the 3D tattooing done. A local tattoo artist comes into the doctors office and does it there, covered by insurance.
I am happy to be alive. I’m grateful that there are so many choices for women facing breast cancer, in surgery, treatment and reconstruction. One thing that having this cancer has brought to my life is to not take anything for granted, even your saggy, not the same size boobs. 🙂
If you would like to read about my Mastectomy… go here…https://cancerandcasseroles.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/two-months-post-op/