It’s been a while since my last post. Things have gotten better and are, I daresay, GOOD! I can move my arm again. My mobility is severely compromised, which is frustrating, but it will get better over time and I can function normally. Really, the biggest frustration is that I can’t participate fully in yoga. Downdogs are uncomfortable, I can’t bear all of my weight on my right side and I can’t do push ups, handstands or any arm balances, and I can’t get my right arm flat to the floor in lying positions. What huge problems to have, right?
I started taking ballet lessons a couple of weeks ago. After over a year of taking my daughter to class and watching enviously and wishing I could get back to my dance roots, my husband took control and bought me a pair of ballet shoes and some private lessons for my birthday. They are the nicest ballet shoes I’ve ever owned, and I have had so much fun rekindling my love affair with dance.
In July we took a family vacation on the beach, which caused me a bit of anxiety due to being breastless and needing to figure out what to wear to the beach. At this time last year I had tissue expanders so I at least had SOMETHING to put into a bikini top. I never would have imagined it would all go wrong and I’d be completely breastless this summer. Apparently, the Target swimsuit designers must have foreseen my predicament because they had bikini tops with material in the front to cover everything up, including all my dents and ridges. And, wouldn’t you know it, not a damn person was looking at my chest anyway. I’m finding that to be the case in most instances. I am really the only one thinking and obsessing about it.
I’ve been discharged from the plastic surgeon’s care. At my last visit we discussed my re-reconstruction options (I had reconstruction after my mastectomy but radiation caused issues with healing and I had to have the implants removed). Should I choose re-reconstruction, I would be looking at 3 surgeries (first to get tissue from my back because there is no longer enough tissue on the radiated side, a second surgery to put in tissue expanders, and a third to exchange tissue expanders for implants). It will take a year. Hmmmm…seems like I went down this road beginning in January 2013 (just substitute bilateral mastectomy for back-flap surgery as the start of last year’s surgical journey). It didn’t turn out so well for me. After this last visit with my plastic surgeon, my attitude was that it’s something to consider, but nothing I could consider yet. I still couldn’t imagine NOT having breasts (er, Breast Mounds), and figured I’d make a decision to do it in perhaps a year’s time after my body has fully recovered from all the trauma it’s already been through. Recently, and I do mean recently – as in over the last couple of weeks – my attitude has changed. I still can’t look at myself in the mirror without a shirt, but I am actually starting to feel okay about not pursuing re-reconstruction. I am 99% sure I am not going to do it. I don’t know what it was…one night I had a really big cry over not having breasts (the first really big cry I’ve had about this in a while) and the next day I was like, hmmmmm….do I really need to go through that crap again (not to mention what my family went through) just to have a couple of mounds full of scars, plus new scars on my back? Not to mention the complications that could go along with 3 more surgeries. Because I wasn’t sure if I’d want to try to re-reconstruct, my surgeon left the remaining tissue after he removed the implants, so it’s pretty messy looking what with scars and puckered skin and, ugh, it’s just icky and scary and unsightly to me. I will at some point want to have the skin issue tidied up, but my understanding is that it is a pretty simple outpatient procedure. So, at this point, I am set on learning to consider and love life breast-free. Surprisingly, I feel liberated. Breast-free, cancer-free…I can dance to that.