What it’s really like, post-mastectomy.

I struggled with my decision to publish this post.  I’m a very positive person and I hate to admit when I’m feeling the weight of this heavy life, but then I remembered the promise I made in one of my pre-surgery posts on here- I don’t want to lie, or lie by omission. So here’s a less-than-positive post.

This has been a tough week. The toughest since a year ago when I was in the process of planning for my mastectomy.  One thing I learned at FORCE, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is that I should be seeing a gynecological-oncologist as opposed to a regular gyno. So I got a referral and made an appointment.  Now, leading up to it, I’m emotional.  This is a completely different situation now, because I’m not fighting for a surgery, I’m just taking the steps to protect myself.  So why am feeling this way? Why am I crying over this? I haven’t cried since the night before surgery (happy tears, when Jimmy Howard surprised me).  I think it’s because the organs I have to protect now aren’t disposable like my breasts were (disposable to me, at least).  I can’t very well just go in and cut out my uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.  I want to have children one day.  I’ve gone so far as to look into egg extraction and freezing (boy, is that expensive), so that I can get rid of the tubes and ovaries yet still carry biological children.  I know now, though, that “bravery feels like fear”.  I fear for what could happen, but I’m brave for taking the steps to make sure that ‘could’ turns into a ‘will not’.

I’m glad that I’m struggling with these feelings now, though, as opposed to in the Dr’s office (he thinks I’m too young to be consulting with him anyway. Imagine his reaction if I was sitting in the exam room crying).  So for now, I’m gonna be emotional and eat lots of ice cream and get a massage.  (Ha, the stereotypical breakup routine, except I’m breaking up with my body parts).

I’m still grateful that God (or whatever/whomever is in control here) gave me this gene for it has taught me more about myself in the past 3 years than I ever imagined possible, but sometimes it’s stinky. Right now it’s really stinky.  I’m still recovering (7 weeks post-op now) from chopping the girls off and it’s been difficult.  More difficult than I’ve made it seem to others, even my own family.  Recently my plastic surgeon told me something, “Kelly, you’re being too positive about this. I have women coming into my office thinking they’re going to bounce right back because that’s what they’ve seen you do”.  So, again I mention the ‘lying by omission’ clause in a post a few months ago.

Emotionally, yes, I bounced right back. At least initially.  Now, after lots of time to think and reflect, a great deal of the recovery sucks.  It sucks not being able to lay on your stomach.  It sucks not being able to hug your family as tight as you want to.  It sucks to be in the beginning of a fantastic relationship and not being able to cuddle.  But it’s getting better.  And all of these things are temporary.  I get my implants on August 14th, and then the rocks will be gone and I’ll (hopefully) be able to do all of these things that I can’t right now.  Physically, I can handle it all.  It still hurts sometimes, especially around the incision sites, but just like anything else does with time, it’s getting better.  As for psychological recovery, I’ve rocked it.  But that’s all mindset.  It’s all about how I went into this, boobs-first with no looking back.  I am the one in control of my future here.  I chose a breast-cancer-free life.  And that is why despite the lengthy post above talking about all the negatives, I am happier than ever before.

“No one tells you that bravery feels like fear. The bravest and most important acts you could ever make are those in which you fear of never having done them at all.”
– Mary Kate Teske

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2 thoughts on “What it’s really like, post-mastectomy.

  1. Hey, you gotta remember that you are human. You are allowed to feel down about all of this, you have done amazingly, but allow yourself the tears, get them out, grieve for what you have been through so you don’t repress all of these emotions and have them come and bite you months from now. I can’t imagine going through what you have at your age. I found out that I was BRCA2+ when I was 22, and am just planning my PBM for this summer and I will be 28 by then. It is a lot to wrap your mind around. But just remember, you are doing awesome. You are awesome. And you will make it through this 🙂

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