Friday, December 30, 2011
Let's talk about Boobs, baby, let's talk about you and me....
I've been thinking a lot about them lately. Mostly because I'm approaching the end of my chemo, which means that I have started thinking about reconstruction surgery. I've been having very conflicting emotions and feelings about the surgery. My plastic surgeon says this should be the fun part, to look forward to after all the crappy stuff is over. And I AM looking forward to having this tissue expander out of me, even though it only bothers me occasionally. I had one fill already, and despite my doctor and husband's recommendation, I really don't think I want to go any bigger. So this means that I will have one more fill and then I can do my reconstruction.
It's funny how much different this process feels on the other side of my mastectomy. Prior to, I was constantly annoyed by my boobs; they were saggy, droopy and stretch-marked. They were the one thing I couldn't do to improve by exercise or determination alone. If I wanted nicer boobs, I would need surgery. I waffled on this point quite frequently. On the one hand, it would be nice not to have to put a bra on in the morning before I went down to meet my houseguests or neighbors. On the other hand, I was approaching 40, married, and really didn't have any reason to need to have perky naked boobs. Plastic surgery at this point in my life seems a little pointless.
Still, it was one of those things that vexed me when I looked at myself in the mirror. When I found out that I had breast cancer, and further, that I would need a mastectomy, I thought...I finally have a good reason to get a boob job! Yey! Perkier boobs! What I didn't realize until afterwards is that reconstruction is not the same as renovation or augmentation. When I am done with all this, I will have what looks like a boob, but is definitely NOT a boob.
As I am nearing the end of my chemo, and life is treating me a little more gently, I've been lucky enough to feel better and be more active. I'll be bee-bopping through my day (well, I'm not QUITE up to bee-bopping, but considering the previous state it sure feels like I am). Anyway, I'll be going about my day, and I'll see something pink, or related to breast cancer and it hits me like an electric shock...I had cancer. I had CANCER! They cut off a piece of me. I will never have a left breast that feels like a real breast. In fact I really have NO idea what it will look and feel like when I'm done. Right now, I can flex my boob! Since the tissue expander is under my pectoral muscle, if I'm doing something athletic, I can get my boob to flex. It looks totally bizarre. I wonder to myself, will it do this after my surgery, too? I have to think it will. I have to admit, it kind of gives me the willies, but there is nothing I can really do about it.
After all that, they will perk up my righty. I'm so glad I decided to keep it, it reminds me of what a breast should feel like. But after my surgery, this one will be scarred, too. It makes me nervous now to take the risk of losing the boobiness of my remaining boob. In the process of getting my perkier boobs, I might lose some more sensation, and deal with more scars. Ultimately I'll have something entirely new to call my own. I realize I can't just get one done and not the other...well, I CAN, but it seems a bit stupid to come all this way and not get a matched set.
Still, there is a part of me that loves my old saggy untampered-with right boob. I wish I had realized how perfect they both were before I lost them.