Sunday, June 5, 2011

on my tip toes

I'm home. Back from the long dreaded surgery. The bilateral mastectomy. The girls are gone for good. The anxiety is gone. The tears are gone, at least for now. I'm calm, sleepy, a little fuzzy, a little sick to my stomach today. It's kind of a comfortable state to be in as I sit here and try and write, fighting the urge to close my eyes. Yet, it is ok to take another nap. Nothing is expected of me and dw is taking good care of me. I have good thoughts and well wishes pouring in from all over the country. Friends and relatives helping out close by. Rugby 7s on tv, books and magazines galore. Good food and treats nearby. Short walks with the dog.

I feel pretty good. Hoarse yesterday from the anesthesia and breathing tube but much better today. I've already switched from the pain pills to straight up tylenol because I think that is what is making me feel dizzy and nauseous. I am more in discomfort than in pain and most is in the armpit area probably due to my drains. I can feel the plastic tubing under my skin which is odd. I have limited range of motion but can lift my arms up over my head a little. Hence, I am standing on my tippy toes to reach things. Nothing heavy, just to grab a toothbrush or the like. I am already cleared to do some easy stretching. My recovery will be much easier than most because I have chosen not to have reconstruction, aka,  I'm flat.

Yeah, I've come a long way in this journey. Initially I was dead set on getting diep revision. That is when they make new breasts out of your belly fat. I wanted realistic looking boobs that would grow or shrink as my body fat did and would be warm or cold depending on my own body temp. After my hysterectomy, I changed my mind about adding more scars to my body and undergoing such a major operation. I thought about going the expander route and getting silicone breasts, like my wondertwin. Hers do look nice and all but I just don't have it in me to go through that tedious process of fill after fill and yet another surgery. And I want to avoid any cutting or manipulation of my muscles. So here I am trying out life without boobs. I can always change my mind and get reconstruction later. So far, so good. I imagined myself waking up from surgery and not wanting to look at my chest. Or else, taking a look and bursting into tears. Neither one happened. First chance I got, I went into the bathroom, stripped down and opened up the velcro bra they had put on me. There was a bunch of gauze underneath that happened to fall out into the sink so I threw it away and threw the bra away while I was at it. I don't look so bad. I have a long steriostrip (tape) going across the length of my chest covering my incisions. A little bit of bruising and some pen markings left over from surgery. They never do clean you up very good afterwards which always bothers me. You'd think they could wipe off all the gunky tape residue and yellow stuff off of you since it's a little hard for us to get at. So what's it look like? I will post pictures eventually when I feel motivated enough to get out the camera and download them to the computer. I am used to seeing a flat chested woman since one of my residents is flat so maybe that is why it looks ok to me. I look thinner, and fit. Not that my boobs were huge but they added curves to my body. Now it is flat and you can really see where the sternum is. The tape is  nice because it hides the scars and distracts you from the fact that there are no nipples. I think it will be more of a shock when the tape comes off and all is revealed but I'll worry about that later. Right now I'm ok and relieved that I am done.


  1. To borrow a quote from Charmaine, "while medicine has boundaries, courage does not." Love you, Sissie.

  2. I've been thinking about you, knowing you must be done with your surgery now. You sound wonderful, and strong.
    You know, a couple years ago I had a medical thing where one of the "treatments" was a hysterectomy. I was dead set against it, knowing even at 39 I still wanted to try for kids. Long story short, I went in for one procedure and woke up having had a hysterectomy after all. And, while it wasn't my choice, I was okay with it, knowing that at least now, I could move on once and for all. No more "what ifs" has been very liberating. I wish that for you.

  3. I'm so glad you made it through surgery! I was thinking of you and wondering how you did. Since you didn't have reconstruction, there should be alot less pain- I've heard all the pain and discomfort comes from recon. Since my right expander got taken out I've experienced some of the weirdness and almost fascination with my flat side. I was almost a DD before surgery so feeling my flat chest is weird and amazing all at the same time. Good luck with recovery! It's all downhill from here :)