Sunday, August 22, 2010
it's Sunday morning and what do I find myself doing?
Looking at bilateral mastectomy reconstruction before and after photos. Good Sunday morning to you too! Sheesh. This is pretty heavy. Please don't misunderstand me; I'm not talking about the scars, bruising, or overall pain, that I can handle, I've had a reduction and remember well those initial weeks of healing. Besides, most of the pictures I've looked at so far, 8 months or so from the first surgery you can barely see the scars. I know how to take care of that part of it and besides Tim and I are the only two who have to look at them on a regular basis and he loves me regardless so I'm not concerned about that.
What I'm concerned with is the reaction *I* am going to have that first time at home right after the surgery when I see a completely flat (or relatively so) chest with horizontal lines where the nipples should be. Now that, my friends, is going to be super weird...and scary...and sad...and possibly a little traumatic. My sense of who I am in terms of my beauty has already been tested with the loss of my hair and even though I know that in the end this is what must happen for the benefit of my long term health, and while I *also* know that in the end my body and my life will be given back to me and I'll be even stronger on the other side...it's still going to be weird, scary, sad, and a little traumatic so forgive me if I cry a bit.
You never think, when you're 13 years old or so and starting to get breasts, that someday they'll be taken away from you. Sure you may think about implants, but that's strictly a cosmetic procedure most times where a teeny tiny incision is made, the implant slipped in, you're sewn up and good to go. It's also a conscious decision a woman makes on her own. She *decides* to go through that surgery, it's not forced upon her, especially not in a bid to "save" her life. This, on the other hand, is a decision that essentially has been taken out of my hands. This entire cancer thing has been that; out of my hands and out of my control, I'm just along for the ride. I think this is something the universe is trying to teach me...
So you're 13, 14, 15 just going along when suddenly the girls appear! You're overjoyed, a little embarrassed, and slightly confounded on what to do with these things that have appeared on your chest. So you have an awkward relationship at first. Torn between wanting to show them off and wanting to cover them up. Proud to be looking more womanly, yet geeked out now you are looking more womanly! Then you move into your late teens and early twenties and start to put the girls on center stage. It was fun to explore the power that a large set of knockers (or really any set cause let's be honest...guys aren't picky ;) gave me. I was in college, I was young (oh lord was I young), and I was free. Low-cut, skin tight, glitter covered...that's how I liked 'em when we went out. What can I say...it was a phase thank goodness! :)
I then took a slightly different path from the average girl. I decided to downsize my girls. Many of you know that I had a reduction done, oh I guess it's been about 8/9 years now. Best darn thing I ever did for myself. While I won't discuss the size I was to the size I am, I will tell you that the reason I had it done was I had reached a point where I was tired of *them* always freaking being the topic of conversation, as well as the stares, and the comments. Oh the back aches, the shoulder grooves, the overall uncomfortableness in anything I wore, the awkwardness in exercising, and don't forget the permanently numb spot in my back that caused my fingers to tingle as well as the tip of my nose. With the reduction came a higher sense of self-confidence and comfort; I finally felt proportioned correctly, and more balanced overall.
So now I'm in my early thirties and was really hitting my stride in the self-confidence/beauty area, when WHAM! cancer reared it's ugly head, and I now have to reconcile myself to the fact that for whatever reason the universe has decided that I must go through this journey and experience of losing the one thing that really and truly defines you as being womanly...my girls. I know, I know...my boobs don't define me, and as I stated above I know it needs to be done and in the end I'll have them back (and hopefully be rockin'!)...it's just gonna be one weird ride with many tears. Before you judge, I suggest you explore feelings of what you would think/how you would feel if you had to go through the same thing...I bet you'd feel pretty similar to me.
If you wish to view before ad after pictures of women who have gone before me, here's a link. http://www.smartplasticsurgery.com/reconstruction/photos.html Please note that these are post-surgery pictures of the nude breast. As a public school teacher I feel I must state that I am in no way putting porn on my blog. These are medical pictures of women who have had bilateral mastectomy's with reconstruction. This link is posted for educational purposes only. I believe all women and girls need to be educated on all stages of a breast cancer journey. This is one of them.
Currently I'm feeling: Good but being lazy so I'm a bit sleepy
Procrastinating: Cutting Oops passes, cleaning and the grocery store
Reading: In between books at the moment. Any suggestions?
Watching: "Fact of Faked; Paranormal Files"
Doing to make me smile: Getting ready to go upstairs to take a bath then do a nice long yoga practice