I went in for surgery with the hopes of having a sense of closure to this whole process. Instead it was as if I had stepped right back into the throes of some old “cancer vortex” emotions. This was not how I thought I would feel.
I woke up from surgery, feeling groggy and sore, which I had expected. As far as I could tell at that time- surgery went as planned. My port was gone and so were the expanders. DrDP said that all went well-phew! The radiated side was her biggest challenge as she had predicted. The radiation caused a lot of damage to that area but she worked her magic. She was able to get the implant into the ‘pocket’ and move my right breast pocket over to even things out. She thinks we can both be very happy with the outcome. Needless to say, I have more bruising on the radiated side than my prophylactic side. I got a quick peek in the hospital before I was discharged. DrDP wanted to see how things looked before she sent me home. She wanted to check the incisions first , so she undid my surgical bra. I was so nervous to look down. When I did, I couldn’t help but start to cry. Even with all the swelling, they looked more real than I thought they would. My cleavage was back- well, sort of and they fell a lot more natural than the expanders. Of course I am still without nipples- reconstruction is a long process.
G took me home to rest which is exactly what I did for the next few days. I was a lot sorer than I had thought. I forgot how surgery messes with your whole body including your mind. I had hopes for the weekend of going for a nice Fall drive with G and maybe the movies. But when the weekend rolled around, I didn’t want to do any of it. I was quickly slipping into a bit of a depression. It took me a day or two to realize it but it became clear on Monday when I was home alone.
I was able to shower after 48 hours but waited an extra day. Mostly because I was too tired and dizzy from the pain medicine, which then triggered my vertigo. I think I was also not really ready to see my new boobs in the mirror. Body image has always played a large part in the process. Up until now, it has all been temporary so I was not as attached to the outcome. This time, this is it. It is what I got.
All the feelings started to come back. It is as if this surgery stirred up dormant emotions of isolation, fear and sadness. I was home alone a lot over that first week so that did not help. I couldn’t drive yet and was instructed not to walk anywhere either. Because I work from home, I always try to get out and about during the day so I have some sort of social interaction with the outside world.
The fear - did I make the right decision to have reconstruction? Had I opted out, I would have nothing to recover from. Will I heal well and will the implant settle in comfortably or will I need more surgery?
The sadness crept back. Being cooped up at home by myself just reminded me of all I had been through. It may be the end of this chapter but for those that have not been following along closely; this has really been hard for me and the ones closest to me. G has been there by my side every step and we are both exhausted. “You are in the home stretch” they tell me. Am I?
I slowly started to come around. I am beginning to get use to the new view and feel of my new body. The swelling has come down – for the most part and my vertigo has subsided. My mind is getting clearer every day.
I had my one week post surgical follow up with DrDP and she was pleased with how well I was healing. I was relieved to hear this and even more relieved that I do not have to wear that surgical bra anymore! I will see her again in two weeks. We will hopefully be discussing my future exercise plans. In the meantime, light walking is it. Very light walking.
Over the weekend, G and I went to our friends Halloween party. It was a last minute decision. If you recall, I have a thing for my super hero alter ego, Wonder Woman. I already had the Wonder Woman costume. And when I went costume shopping I could not find anything new that was comfortable, so Wonder Woman it was. I had some pain that night but it was worth it being out with some friends and enjoying myself. I actually wore one of my wigs from treatment when I had no hair- I never wore out in public when I was bald. Some party goers were shocked when I told them it was a wig. It’s funny to me how confident I was wearing that wig that night when I actually had hair underneath.
|So glad there was a good excuse to put on the costume.|
It is amazing how different I feel after only 10 days post surgery. I am sure now that I am able to get out more regularly, I will just feel better every day and as soon as I am able to have some sort of exercise – I’ll be back to my old self in no time.
Thanks for reading.