Holy WOW! 5 weeks already?! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, but since I finally reached the end of my emails from when I was gone at work on Friday afternoon (yeah it took a week and half. Don’t judge), it almost feels like I haven’t been gone at all! And then there’s moments like yesterday when I was a complete idiot at Target and thought I could lift a bookshelf by myself that remind me HEY you just had a surgery last month! (Don’t worry Mom I’m fine… and also I get it, it’s statements like that why Dad won’t read the blog. And yes the roommate provided adequate shaming for all of you. And then brought it up to my office AND put it together for me… she’s awesome I’ve mentioned that yes?!) It’s an interesting transition, these weeks-out recovery days, yet simultaneously planning for the next surgery.
So I figured, what better way to mark 5 weeks, than 5 (brutally honest, yet mostly amusing) post-mastectomy confessions?
#1 That last fill? It hurt.
I said mostly amusing. Needless to say, I have a new appreciation for the statement “No pain no gain.” Literally and figuratively. I mentioned feeling a bit of tightness in my last blog post-fill, and went to sleep on Thursday not even uncomfortable, just cognizant of said tightness. And then I woke myself up around 6 am by moving my arm above my head. Actually I take that back. It was the feeling of a freaking machete in my chest that woke me up (no I’ve never been accused of over-exaggerating I don’t know what you’re talking about). But in all honestly, it was seriously the fiercest pain yet. Unlike any of the immediate post-op pain, it was unreal. Like took my breath away and made me nauseous. And caught me SO off guard! I got a shower and returned to bed seriously contemplating if I was going to be a productive member of society that day. I forced myself to get to work, and with tears (but not the crying type… just the what-the-heck-why-is-there-water-coming-out-of-my-eyes type) in my eyes answered every “are you okay?” with “I’m FINE.” I’ve also never been accused of being stubborn, if you’re wondering.
But yeah, sternums apparently really don’t like being pulled and stretched. And that’s what it was, a distinct bone pain – and I found myself feeling oddly grateful that I can’t feel my skin. Because I imagine that would have felt not awesome too. Even today there’s some residual dull aching, but it markedly improved by Friday night. I wasn’t quite getting the “fills hurt” chatter on Facebook/the blogs since my first was really just filling in versus stretching, but let me assure you. I get it now. But thankfully the chatter was also right in that in resolves in a few days. Also, wine helps. Just sayin. And they look fabulous. Fabulous I tell you!! So that makes it all worth it.
#2 I’m kind of enjoying this concept of having boobs.
So in total honesty, I had never considered a cosmetic boob job before. Like ever. Maybe it’s because I found out I was BRCA2 positive at age 20 and (I’ve now realized) subconsciously separated “me” from my breasts, but really I never thought twice about getting bigger boobs – just wasn’t interested. Didn’t really even consider myself that small – I was a B. Not a big B, but a B nonetheless. And it took me awhile after deciding to have this surgery to even come around to the idea of changing my size. My focus was 100% reducing my breast cancer risk while hoping to maintain as much normalcy as possible. I never got offended when people would say they’re jealous I was getting an insurance-covered boob job, because it was usually either joking or ignorant. And it’s so incredibly different I could never really wrap my head around comparing them anyhow.
But yeah, so I did eventually decide to go a little bigger to fit my frame. Little did I know what I was in for – my clothes fit fine before, or so I thought. Who knew THIS is how they’re supposed to fit?! That awkward gap in my armpit? Gone! And the bigger boobs make my whole body look SO much more in proportion it’s unreal, and I (and others) have already noticed my confidence is improved. My friends agree, they’re definitely bigger, but not TOO big, which is exactly what I was hoping for – like you wouldn’t be able to tell if you didn’t know. I’m so pleased with the size, and know once I have the permanent implants they will be that much more realistic looking (right now there’s an odd flatness/gapping where breast tissue used to be and now it’s just rib and then BAM! Expander). And I admit, it’s kind of fun, getting to enjoy the “plus” side to this inherently crappy situation. So darn it, I’m going to!!
#3 I’m celebrating new holidays. And I love it.
The BRCA/mastectomy world involves a lot of terms that may seem foreign to outsiders. It’s almost a whole new language. Words like Boob Voyage, BRCA-versary, or my personal favorite as of late, Boobiversary. I make it no secret that I love holidays. All of them. And I love Pinterest for making it totally acceptable to plan Christmas decorations in March. But I also love that my phone now autocorrects “Boobiversary.” And I love even more, that I got to attend my first Boobiversary party this weekend, for the one and only Amy.
I got a Facebook message a couple weeks ago from her fabulous sister, and let’s just say, we redefined “surprise” – she had NO idea…. see??
It was so perfect, and so fitting. It’s hard to believe her surgery was already a year ago, and that we’ve known each other for 9 months – that’s insanity!! But it was SO special to be there and celebrate such a huge milestone for her. Even though Friday was admittedly rough on my end, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! And let’s be honest – her friends know how to decorate. And she really does have some “nice tits!” Love this girl!
#4 I’ve become a borderline exhibitionist
I never considered myself an overly modest person to begin with (I DID grow up in the competitive dance world… Yes “Dance Moms” style. Minus the insane crazy) plus being a nurse, it takes a LOT to embarrass me. Especially after you’ve had your shirt off for more strangers in the hospital than you care to count over the last couple months. But lately, I have to admit. I’ve become a flasher (okay maybe THAT’S why Dad won’t read the blog…) But seriously. At the full kitchen table at the apartment. Around the outdoor patio. The bathroom at work. Heck, in the car on the side of the road! Yeah that happened *cough* Eryn *cough* (that’s right, got to see both my original BRCA girls in one weekend, even it was only for a couple minutes!). And don’t even get me started on the “tit pic” texting. You ask how the girls are doing, you get a picture. Pretty simple. Or if in person, it’s a “wanna see?!” Someone posted this on Facebook and I laughed because it’s SO darn true!!
But since the last six weeks or so have been basically entirely boob-focused, I have pretty much become immune. My Facebook feed is filled with pictures from a private group that has been SUCH a help through all of this – but the majority are, of course, boobs. And I don’t think twice about it (or even better, post something along the lines of “looking good”, or my favorite comment on my last expander fill pic “bam chicka wow wow”), until someone is looking over my shoulder and I realize oh RIGHT – boob pics are NOT normal Facebook posts (except now they are…) To that end, thank goodness for the blogosphere for assuring me that my new found exhibitionism is, in fact, totally normal post-op behavior. Otherwise I’m not even sure what I would think of myself at this point! I hesitated to explain this concept for awhile on here for the sake of not sounding like I’ve gone entirely off the deep end, but then I read a blog post by one of the women I met on Facebook (I know that sounds shady but it’s really not!!) that I’ve grown to love who’s just over a week behind me in this process, and she took the words right out of my mouth. The best way to explain it is this: I really don’t feel like I’m showing off anything of MINE. There’s certainly no sexual connotation, and I feel no attachment whatsoever to these rocks called expanders. I don’t have much feeling, and what I do feel is entirely foreign and ANYTHING but natural. So it’s seriously like showing off a piece of art instead of part of my body. People are curious, and rightly so, and it’s just so much easier to explain things (like my amazeballs incisions, or where the drains were) when you see them, and since a lot of my friends are in the medical profession, it’s really not even that weird. They’re boobs. Heck, they’re FOOBS. And my surgeon did fantastic work so I’m not ashamed to show them off, so people can see that breast reconstruction can be nothing short of amazing.
But yes, I must confess. It’s happening. And it’s oddly harder to admit that I have no shame. Hopefully in a few months my boobs will feel like mine once again and I won’t feel the need to show them off. Unless asked of course. Because again with the fantastic and amazing-ness.
#5 My behavior in public is currently questionable. Boob behavior that is.
Also related to the above– After living in this boob-centric world, I must remind myself that it is not, in fact, acceptable to grab ones
breasts foobs in public. Even if they hurt. Or if you’re trying to explain JUST HOW HARD expanders are (shout out to Ruthie for being the only one to actually admit how awkward hugs are! And I know, I’ve been on the receiving end!!) The best is when one of my girlfriends is poking them (again with the curiosity and the JUST HOW HARD) and a well-meaning guy turns the corner and walks into that. Cracks me up. Or the size is being discussed. Or the contour. Or the explanation of answering “do you have nipples?” No topic is off the table. And since I can’t feel them… I don’t always realize how the readjusting of the expanders looks! So I publicly apologize. And appreciate that everyone so far just joins in laughing with me!
So there you go, my five week confessions. This post-mastectomy world is certainly a little bit crazy, but I sure am glad to have you all along for the ride!!