Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pump up the volume

Tomorrow it will be 4 weeks since I said goodbye to my boobs.  I’m happy to report I’ve been doing very well.  A huge milestone was getting my drains removed at the two week mark.  I finally felt free to move around and shower like a normal person.  I’ve had 2 pumps so far.  A pump is where they inject silicone into the expander through a port that will gradually stretch my chest muscle so that eventually there’s space for an implant.  My doctor thinks I’ll be fully expanded and ready for my next surgery in July.  Getting stretched out hurts but it’s not painful… or perhaps I have a different view of what pain feels like these days.  I never had braces but have been told it’s similar to getting your braces tightened.   So far I’ve gotten both pumps on a Friday which has been nice because I’ve had the weekend to relax.  Usually by Monday I’m feeling much better.  These humps on my chest feel nothing like breasts.  They are hard as a rock and because they are not fully blown up, every once in a while they shock me with a sharp pinch in various places.  Mostly they’re like a rock in my shoe that I can’t get rid of.  Just sort of annoying.  The silver lining… They sure are perky and unless my shirt is a bit transparent, I may never need to wear a bra again!  From what I’ve heard, the annoying bits will go away once I get my real implants but the silver lining will stay. Therefore the future is looking bright! 

How am I doing emotionally?  This is mostly up… sometimes down.  It’s very strange because rarely do I feel in the middle.  Mostly… I’m feeling “up” because it’s such an empowering feeling to know that I’ve taken my health into my own hands.  The fact that I’m 95% sure I will never get breast cancer feels phenomenal.  Since I learned my family had the BRCA mutation when I was 23, I had a *very strong* feeling I was going to be on the negatively positive side.  I’ve also been getting mammograms and MRI’s since I was 25 which means I’ve had 5 of each… actually 6 mammograms when you count the time I was called back for additional testing (that really sucked).    The fact that I’ll never have the anxiety of getting screened for breast cancer again is huge.  Because of this surgery, I have reduced my chances of getting BC to around 3%.  Every time I say that out loud, I get happy chills.  J  The “downs” are significantly less frequent.  When I get sad or frustrated it’s mainly because I’m uncomfortable most hours of the day and night.  When I think “uncomfortable” I immediately conclude… ”I can handle that”, and the majority of the time I can.  But sometimes it does get to me.  Like I said early, the expanders feel nothing like breasts.  I have also been having a difficult time sleeping which I’m sure plays into it as well.  I’m a side or tummy sleeper and since the surgery I’ve only been able to lie on my back.  I’m also not able to snuggle with my husband anymore unless we are playing footsy under the sheets.  Footsy was fun the first week, but now I want to snuggle into the nook. 

All in all, I feel lucky there are more ups then downs.  And when a down moment happens, I have to remind myself how fortunate I am that I’m not preparing for chemo or radiation.  The majority of women who get mastectomies start their cancer treatment a few weeks post-surgery.  I’m thankful for where research has gotten us today and am excited to see where it continues to go.  I’m sad every day for those in my family who’ve taken a fall to cancer however I owe those women my life.  Without them, I would have never known to get tested for BRCA.  I am proud to be the one who has stopped this trend of cancer in my family and hopping to start a new trend of preventative health management.  I’m still very glad I did this and would do it again.  

Just before getting my drains out.  

My best friend and bosom buddy out for her birthday last weekend.  After being diagnosed with breast cancer last year she went through a double mastectomy.  We had a proper showing/comparison in the bathroom of Blackbottle.  :-)  

1 comment:

  1. i applaud the candid sharing of your experience. i'm sorry that i'm a few thousand miles from you, but please know that you have my support every step of the way. life feeds us all a shit sandwich from time to time, but when i think of my what you're going through, and how you handle it, i'm humbled by the silly gripes i sometimes have...sending loads of love your way! xo drew