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I am ONE YEAR post mastectomy...with updates.

Today is a big day for me. One year ago, I kissed my babies goodbye at school, and went into surgery. I knew life would change, but I really didn't know what would happen.  It has been a big year, and I am sure glad it's over.  Read on for even more updates!

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A few weeks pre operation



You can read about why I chose to have a prophylactic mastectomy here.


That morning, I was stressed.  I had been horribly stressed for a few weeks leading up to the surgery.  Surgery is a big deal.  Anesthesia is a big deal.  There can be complications, and death related to them.  I have three little kiddos who need me, and this decision felt selfish, crazy, but also necessary (if that makes sense).  I had to hope that I had all of my ducks in a row, and all of my babysitters, etc. would be where I needed them.  My aunt and cousin flew in from CA the next week to help, but we had a few days of not a lot of help to get through.

I walked into that surgery center shaking.  My surgeon was running late, and I was nervous sweating with no deodorant. It was LOVELY.  I met with both surgeons, they marked me up,  and they gave me the good drugs.  I woke up to find out that things didn't go as planned.  You can read more about that, and my recovery here.


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On our way to CA after my surgery.  I wasn't sure I could make it.


What I didn't really say, or at least glossed over, was how hard that recovery was.  It hurt so badly.  All I wanted to do was cry, and I am not a crier.  I didn't want anyone to see me naked (except my Aunt), and I could barely look at myself.  It looked deformed.  Even when the expanders were fully inflated, they looked awful.  They felt worse.  They have a hard plastic edge. Imagine that pushing into an inflamed chest wall, incisions, and getting slowly expanded with saline.  It hurt.  It hurt until they were removed.

Six weeks post op, we went to CA for a family thanksgiving.  I was still sleeping in a chair, and could barely move.  I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to do it. Just sitting on the plane seemed insurmountable.  I did it.  The trip was great, and just what I needed.  I'm not saying it was easy.  Sleeping at that point was still a hot mess.  You can read more about that crazy ass fall (including the hubs defending his PhD dissertation here).  Everything I wrote is truthful, but I think I was more upbeat and positive in my writing than what I felt.  I was trying so hard to get back to normal, feel ok, and face my next surgery.

Yeah that.  I had to have the permanent implants put in in another surgery.  You can read all about that here.  I expected the worst.  The last surgery had been so horrific that I planned it all out.  I had help right away.  

You know what?  The  mastectomy reconstruction surgery was easier.  


The pain was better.  We knew what to expect with my skin allergy, so none of that stuff went on my body during the procedure.  Everything felt better.  The spacers were gone, so it didn't hurt around the edges anymore.   But, I don't have any sensation.  The loss of that has been surprisingly upsetting and odd.  It's odd because when something brushes against my chest, I can't feel it.  The only way I know is pressure on my chest wall.  Frankly, its unpleasant.  I feel it inside my chest by muscle.  That feels kinda gross.  I look different.  


They aren't horrible, but they look like fake boobs.  Foobs.  Not the good kind, that don't look fake, but like fake-fake.  Its fine, I just joined the silicone club, but I don't love it.  That, and my kids were standard kid honest about it.  Dude, kids are brutal.  "Mom, are your boobs always going to look like that? Kinda weird?"  Yup, along with telling me I have a squishy booty, they are just a factory of self esteem building over here.

I wrote about my six months post op here.  


Me at my conference in May.  Lots of fashion tape, and just getting stronger.


I go into a lot more depth about my scars, and show you some real pics.  It was really real.  Not much has changed since then, except now they bounce.  Don't laugh (much), that was a big milestone.  I just wanted to look normal!

So here I am, one year later.  No more mammograms.  NONE.  The surgical oncologist gave me a hug, and says she never has to see me again.  It's freedom.  


There has been a ton of work behind the scenes to get strong again.  As you can imagine, I wasn't able to do anything but walk for 6 months.  And once I could use my arms again, my range of motion was awful.  I happily found reformer Pilates, and will gladly shell out the dough.  I am stronger, more flexible, and happier than I was six months ago.  I have lost friends, made new ones, and solidified old friendships.  It has been quite a journey.  Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me, and I shared my journey with a woman going through something similar.  I have answered every email, every message, with joy.  Nothing could make me happier than to help someone through their own mastectomy journey.  


As a matter of fact, I was at a conference in May.  A woman onstage (Mary Katherine Backstrom for those of you who know who she is) was having a mastectomy the next week.  She had won an award, and was so scared.  I ran up to her after, gave her a hug and told her she would be ok. She yelled, "You look so NORMAL!"  Best compliment ever.

Virtual hugs everyone.

So here I am, almost two years later.  We have now gone through a pandemic, (well almost through) and I still have the foobs.  Obviously, as they aren't going anywhere.  I purchased a Peloton (you can read about that here) so that I can continue my journey of health.  It took sooooo long to get strong again, especially in my upper body, that I just am not willing to go backwards.

One big change is that I am considering the fat transfer surgery (so those of you who have gone through it, please let me know what I need to know).  I don't feel like I have PTSD about being hurt medically anymore.  Not being glib, for a while I would have panic, and cry at the thought of going to the doctor.  Even the dentist was a struggle.  All of that is better. 

The fat transfer surgery will add a layer of my own fat around the implant.  You know...like real boobs.  Right now you can see the outline of the implant, and I hate it.  For a long time it didn't even matter.  It's kind of huge that I have come so far that I DO care.

xoxo

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