Thursday, August 20, 2015

Reconstruction Rant

In 2009, I made the horrible decision to start reconstruction. After chemo, I had begun to gain weight and being flat on one side made me feel uncomfortable. I talked with my husband and embarked on a 6 year journey that has brought so much emotional and physical pain. 

The first reconstruction was very unnatural looking and was actually painful. A new type of gummy implant was used that suctioned itself to my chest wall and made hugs or any other type of pressure to my chest uncomfortable. I dealt with it because it was better than looking so lopsided. I didn't think to ask if I could opt for a mastectomy of the left side and ask for the gummy to be removed.

In 2014, that decision was made for me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer again, this time in the left breast. Since this was my third time with cancer, my team and I decided to do a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy. My new plastic surgeon explained that he could remove the painful implant and replace it with a newer and more comfortable implant. I was so excited and felt that for the first time since 2007, I would feel normal. Look like a "normal" female. 

I wish I had a crystal ball. The last year has been filled with tears. When the bandages came off, I was left with a breast full of scar tissue, but looked so much better than the original reconstruction. I couldn't complain and was satisfied with it. My newly reconstructed side from my recent mastectomy...I can't tell you how shattered I feel whenever I look at it. I hate crying when I think about it. I hate not wanting to look in the mirror without a shirt. I hate that other Dr.s I go to ask me when will it be corrected and I have to explain again that I am tapped out of surgeries. I hate that I am now in debt over a muscled peck because it is not a breast. I hate that I am crying right now. 

I feel so petty when I think about it. I have lost so many pink sisters, as well as warrior brothers and children. However, my body does matter. I did and still am paying for this financially and emotionally and it's bothering me to the point that I am venting here today about it. 

This summer, I made the decision to not spend one more dime on reconstruction and put my experience in the deal with it category. Yesterday, one of my pink sisters changed my outlook on it. She reminded me of her own problem with hers and helped me come up with my plan to overcome mine. My family and I are now in the designing stages of a tattoo that will cover the muscled peck so that when I look at it, I will see beauty instead of sadness. For the first time, I'm excited about what could be...as soon as I find a tattoo artist in the area that I can trust to help me. The search is on.

At the end of the day I just want to say, we go through so much, lose so much, gain so much, and to say that we should be happy to be alive isn't what I want to hear. I put me into someone's hands and I just wanted to look normal, not voluptuous, didn't ask for lipo, facelift, or anything. I just wanted a piece of me back. I won't put myself through removing the implants and staying flat, although that's my choice. I have a new plan thanks to my sister Denise. She probably doesn't realize that through our conversation yesterday, she helped give a little piece of me back. 

Moving on and hopefully up from here.