Breastless

It’s been a week and 2 days since my implants were removed.  This has been such an emotional blow for me.  I had my real breasts removed on January 29, and had tissue expanders placed on June 4, so I was boobless for a while this year; my memory of that time was that I had sort of gotten used to it and I remember thinking it wasn’t so bad after all.  Now I remember that it was bad, and it’s just as bad and scary and shocking now as it was the first time.  I still can’t look behind the gauze.  One night last week when my husband was changing my gauze, I accidentally looked down and tears just poured down my face.

A week and 2 days ago I had my second horrible experience with the nursing staff at the hospital (Valley Hospital in Las Vegas.  Yes, it was so bad that I want to advertise how bad it was).  I am tempted to go into all the details about what happened, but I am trying not to feed the negative energy beast that can so easily rear its ugly head inside of me right now.  Let’s just say that I awoke to the anesthesiologist throwing a fit because the computer wouldn’t work and then the nurse got frustrated, so she left to take her lunch break.  Another nurse came to give me some pain meds, but he had another patient to take care of so he told me if I needed him I’d have to holler.  And they sent me home with someone else’s discharge papers.  There were several things in between being told to holler for help and getting the wrong discharge papers, but again, maybe another day.  Oh, I did tell my nurse that I was quite certain I was having a much shittier day than she was having.  That gives me a little satisfaction.

Apart from all that, this surgery itself hasn’t been too bad.  The pain has been manageable with meds and I am recovering pretty well, physically.  I saw my surgeon on Monday; he was pleased that there is no sign of infection and wants me to come back next Monday to have my stitches removed.  Upon leaving, his nurse (who I have mentioned is absolutely fabulous) came out to the front desk where I was making my follow-up appointment and asked me if I was ok.  She must have picked up on my distress earlier when I was getting dressed and muttered something about not knowing how my husband can stand to look at me.  She told me they can refer me to someone if I need to talk.  She was so kind.  I almost fell apart right there in the waiting room.  I don’t like to cry in front of people, so I kept my lips tight and just said “thank you” before the tears came forth.

In the days leading up to this surgery, I had made up my mind that I should wait at least 6 months, possibly a year, before deciding if I want to give reconstruction another shot.  For some reason, I feel like I need to learn to be comfortable with my boobless body before I get implants.  Something tells me that this is my opportunity to learn to love myself, maybe even like myself, beyond my physical appearance.  But now I have this boobless chest.  It is concave.  It is ugly.  It hurts.  My range of motion is limited.  It is ugly.  Did I mention that it is ugly?  Choosing something to wear every day is such a challenge.  I have 2 shirts that sort of camouflage this imperfection.  Scarves are a godsend right now. 

Despite all this, I have to remember how lucky I really am that I am alive and well.  I can go shopping for some new clothes before I return to work next week.  I could wear a padded bra or get a prosthesis if I really want to.  I have health insurance.  I have an amazing husband who loves me with or without breasts, I have 2 beautiful little girls.  And I am disease-free.

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