Trigger Warning: plastic surgery, breast reconstruction, breast cancer.
I met with my plastic surgeon today.
I met him in October the same week I met my oncologists prior to my first surgery. He told me what might happen in treatment, showed me how my cancerous breast would shrink up, and told me to come back after radiation. He was not wrong about how much my breast would shrink. It shrunk significantly.
My body is still reeling from radiation. It blows my mind when I stop to consider what I have actually been through with my body in the last 6+ months. I have been waiting for this appointment ever since then. Seriously, I have been waiting to talk to him about reconstruction ever since. I had no idea what he’d say, or what surgery he’d recommend, or if I would even choose to do it in the end.
I have always loved my body, even though at times I’ve fought with it and struggled with it. I have loved it through all of the things it has done.
Wait–in my Reclamation course we are learning not to call our bodies “it.”
I have named my body Jenny. That’s the name I used until I started high school and the name I had when body shame hadn’t pushed me down too much. Jenny is full of lifeforce. She is the quintessential me. She is in love with everything, especially her body.
So, Jenny has done some amazing things in my life. She has jumped and played and danced and sung.
She’s made babies. She’s had incredible sex. She’s climbed mountains and she’s learned to run and to ski and to do fun things. She has worked with debilitating back pain. She has recovered from broken bones. She has learned to rest, and is still learning to rest. She has done some yoga and is still learning to stretch.
In short, I am in awe of my body’s ability to bounce back.
In my plastic surgeon’s office we talked about what he was going to do. He’s going to do a lift on both sides and a reduction on the non-cancer side. In short…I’m getting the best possible boob job I could be offered, even without cancer. That’s what he said, “if you came in asking for the best surgery I could do, this is what I would do.”
I’ll have a scar on both sides like an anchor. I’ll be sliced around my nipple, down the middle, and under. Eventually it will mostly fade and I’ll have a line for a scar. Given that I already have a pretty significant scar 2″+ horizontally down my cancerous breast, I don’t think it could be much worse.
I won’t need drains for this surgery. I’ll have interior dissolvable sutures and it will be taped/glued on the outside. He said it’s a more major surgery than the partial mastectomy (that’s what they called my lumpectomies today), but I should be ready to be back to the world within a week afterward.
Friends, it is really really weird to be on this side of cancer. To be looking forward to a surgery. To be feeling like maybe I am going to be okay. I have this twinge of panic now and then, a deep seeded fear that it will come back. But I cannot do anything about that.
I’m going to look forward to wearing little tops and having small breasts and having less back aches and deep indentations in my shoulders from my bras. I’m going to look forward to the future instead of fearing it.
Because what other choice do I have? Living in pain and sadness all day, every day for the rest of my life?
No thank you.
I’m here to sit down on the life bench. I acknowledge pain and honor what she teaches, I sit with her and am still. I turn to the other side of me where joy sits, smiling, waiting for me to laugh.
Both are necessary.