Friday, March 16, 2007

They are beautiful

Having a bilateral mastectomy is meant to be life altering. We are supposed to mourn the loss of our breasts. It is supposed to be devastating.

It isn't.

At least for me.

I was diagnosed with cancer the first time in September of 2001. I had many surgeries and radiation and my left breast had seen better days. I was proud of my cancer scar but not of all the other ones from the surgeries that had to be performed because of radiation and other biopsies. But my cancer scar was something like a purple heart and I earned it.

Then I was diagnosed in February of 2007 and this time it was in the other breast. This time I needed a bilateral mastectomy. Everything would be gone. I had a long wait from diagnosis to surgery and it was frightening to me. I looked at my right breast as poison because it was harboring three cancerous tumors.

Now, a week after my mastectomies and the removal of my lymph nodes I have discovered a few things:

The first is that no one should ever attempt to do this on just Tylenol for pain relief! But I have no choice since I cannot tolerate pain meds.

The second is that I had bigger tumors than they thought and the cancer spread to my lymph nodes. Four of them.

But there are no lymph nodes any more. My wonderful breast surgeon removed them all. And there is no cancerous breast tissue anymore. He also removed every last bit of it but saved my skin. So I have no cancer anymore, maybe microscopically, but that is what chemo is for... but as for breasts- they are gone- so no breast cancer.

And then there is the unveiling. Was it hard to look at the new me? Yes, it is hard to look at the drains and the bruises and the swelling. But what do I really see when I look beyond that?
I see two new breasts that are clean. No cancer. Nothing evil inside them waiting to kill me.
I think they are beautiful, more beautiful than my original set. And I am not even halfway done with reconstruction yet!

But here is the best part to me, the part that makes me feel proud and makes me feel like I am still wonderful surgeons saved all my skin. So when I look down at my new breasts, in the exact same place it always was, is my scar from September, 2001. The badge of honor of that first cancer I beat. I am happy to see they kept it. For it is a part of me and always will be.

This new cancer is just that- a NEW CANCER. It is not a recurrance. I beat my first cancer. And I fully intend to beat this one. And I have a head start with two beautiful new breasts that are a clean slate ready to fight again. And I still have my purple heart and I am hoping that scar will scare the beast and remind it that it tried to take me once and failed and this time will be no different.


Anonymous said...

Cancer doesn't stand a chance girlfriend! You will kick it to the curb again.

Hang in there!

Deb C

Two Steppin' said...

Sister how you tell the story that we go through is just awesome. I have read many of your post on, you truely are a strong Lady. I had my right breast removed 1-10-07, you welcomed me and you where there with me during surgery and my 3 day stay. I'm not one to post alot but so wanted to let you know we will be there with at the end of this ride.
Hold our heads high and our scars for all to see.
I too am one that doesn't do well with someone caring for me. I have always been the care giver, but I have learned that it helps our loved ones to help us...they feel its their turn ya give a lil..and take it all with the love & support they know you now need.
Stay sweet & strong

Unknown said...

Wishing you all the best on recovery from your surgery

Ferne :-)