I started writing this Friday morning before I had to start getting ready for my two appointments. Due to the absolutely chaotic business of my life these days, it got pushed aside.
For the past few days, whenever I’m in front of a mirror where I can get a view of myself from the waist up, I remember in a few days I will be one less breast. I try to visualize what I might look like with one of them gone. The drastic difference of going from a C cup to nothing will be startling and visualizing it is difficult.
I was talking to my friend K, yesterday, who is flying here to help me the first couple days after surgery. We were talking about body image and how we had both hoped as we aged we would feel more comfortable in our own skin. I told her I was trying to figure out what I will do following surgery, whether I would want to try and wear a bra that would hide the fact my one breast will be gone. I told her I would much prefer to go braless whenever possible including going out anywhere. The lump is right where the wire in a bra would rub me and though they have no proof there is some who believe bras can cause cancer. I always hated underwire bras but you couldn’t get the same effect with a bra that did not have an underwire and on me the wires always rubbed. My breasts are fuller on the outer side of my breasts so I always had trouble finding a bra that didn’t rub and sometimes I couldn’t tell until I wore it a few times. By then it was too late to take them back and being out $30-$60 or more meant I wasn’t about to throw it away so I wore them. My other breast shows signs in the same area though not a cancerous lump I believe it could develop so, if I would continue.
Therefore, I’m going back to the sixties and telling all my women friends to burn their bras, but not for feminism but for saving their breasts. It turns out that a tight fitting bra cuts off or slows down the lymphatic system which means it is not doing its job and one of its jobs is to clear out the ‘bad’ stuff whatever it might be and flush it down the drain. I wish this was something I had known. So, keep this in mind ladies, go braless as much as possible, the movement helps to stimulate the lymphatic system and keep things flowing properly. If you need to wear a bra, find one that fits comfortably, allows for movement and not tight, doesn’t poke, or rub, think of your comfort and health and not how perky they make you look. And MEN, encourage your women, let them know they look beautiful without a bra, and that a bra that does not bind or cut off circulation is just as sexy besides you’ll end up taking it off of her anyway, and though I know that can be fun, let her know it is just as fun with a bra that does its job well and isn’t just there to look pretty.
I can’t even imagine how different my life is going to be after surgery. I’m not talking about the recovery part of surgery. I’m talking about the rest of my life. From the moment I was diagnosed with cancer my life began to change. The way I looked at everything has changed. The way I feel about everything has changed. The way I respond to everything has changed. Now my body will be changing. When I look in the mirror, I know the flatness following surgery will be temporary, however the feel and texture of my breast will never be the same. The new breast will never again look like my old one and they will be altering my other breast to try and match it. The new one also will only have about 40% of its sensation. From the day I found the lump my breast became different, and continued to change and will continue to do so with surgery being the most drastic. When I touch myself and my new breast, I wonder how long it will take me before I feel like it is really a part of me again and not something foreign. Then I wonder will I have to tell a man about this before I ever feel comfortable being intimate. Will I forever be walking around wondering if I will ever again feel normal? These are the things that go through my head and one day I’ll know the answer to all of these questions. For now, I’m just trying to visualize so when I look at myself for the first time following surgery I won’t be shocked and I won’t feel like trying to hide from the world.
I continued writing last night. Then put it aside to write an update to my family and friends. That update ended up being the first post to my blog last night. So some of this will be a repeat of what was stated in that update. I considered editing out what I had written about however, the flow would have been lost. And you wouldn’t be able to see how this being the first of what I actually wrote (though it is being posted last), was the trigger for the two pieces I wrote and posted last night.
Today was going really well. The pre-op appointment though jammed pack full of questions and information went well. Then I went to the breast clinic to see if the surgeon will fill out the form for my absence from work but no one was there. A woman saw me standing there and she asked me if I needed something. I told her what I needed. She informed me that the surgeon doesn’t fill those out and I was to take them to my family doctor and he would charge me for filling them out. She must have seen the frustration on my face because she asked me if I was all right. I told her I was but she asked me if I wanted to talk. So she took me off to a quiet room. We talked a lot, she first asking about what procedure I was having and then if I had any concerns. I told her most of my concerns were coordinating everything and then handling things after surgery. When she found out how long my friend K would be staying she reassured me that by the time K left I would be doing very well. That the hardest time was the twenty-four hours following surgery because I would be extremely tired. She assured me that though it sounds like the surgery would be very painful that it wasn’t and many of their patients take themselves off the pain medicine earlier than they want them to and they have to encourage them to keep taking it. I do understand why they would do this, because they want the patients to be active, not overly so but they do need to get up and move around, movement is good and is needed to help keep the fluids circulating in the body following surgery and especially since the lymph system is being affected. If someone is feeling even just minor pain it can reduce their activity levels more than what is best for their healing.
At both pre-op and physiotherapy appointments they went over in detail what I need to do in movement and breathing especially the first day or two when I would be lying down a lot. This is to keep pneumonia from occurring as well as to discourage lymphedema from occurring.
After talking with S she went with me to neuclear medicine to see about moving my appointment for the injection I need in case K comes in on Tuesday instead of Monday night. It will be a tight schedule to try and make the appointment if she comes in on Tuesday. I was told to get there as soon as I can but I have to have the injection by 2pm.
S and I said good bye and I thanked her for talking with me. She helped me to feel more comfortable with how I will feel and what I can do following surgery.
I then got in my car and headed for my naturopath appointment. I was almost there when someone rear-ended my car. Thank god we were in bumper to bumper traffic and I had just come to a complete stop when they hit me. No one was hurt and now hours later so far I have no signs of any problems. However, at first glance at my back bumper it didn’t look like there was any damage but then I scanned across the whole bumper and saw where it had come loose around the edges of the body of the car. The couple wanted me to not file a claim and settle privately assuring me they would pay in cash whatever it cost to fix the car. All I could think of was I don’t need this now, not with my surgery and what if they disappeared on me and I could never find them to pay for the car to be fixed. I insisted on getting their insurance information.
When I arrived at my Naturopath’s clinic, my naturopath saw me getting out of the car and came over. I showed her the damage to my car, and I told her what the couple said. She told me about the experience her father had and how he was able to settle things privately while still filing the claim with the insurance company. So, when I got home I called the insurance company and they confirmed that yes the person at fault can pay the claim themselves to keep it from effecting their insurance, so I filed the claim. I am glad I could do this. I didn’t need to have yet another thing on my plate, now it will just be me working with the adjuster to get the car fixed and I told them that might have to wait a week due to my upcoming surgery. They said they would work around my schedule.
Now however, due to this surge of stress, I am in anxiety mode. I’m shaking. I can’t relax. I am trying my breathing but I think I’m going to have to increase my progesterone and possibly take some valerian root, except I am reading that valerian root should not be taken before going to surgery, so I guess that is out. If the progesterone doesn’t help, then I will need to make a phone call to find out what I can take.
I had intended to write a post giving details on this past week’s appointments and the instructions I’ve been given. Maybe I will be able to do that Saturday night. This weekend will be focused on cleaning the home, stocking up on groceries, and making some simple purchases for getting me through recovery so for the first two weeks I can relax and concentrate on healing.
My nerves seem to be calmer now, whether from writing or taking the progesterone, I’m not sure, maybe both. I just hope they stay that way now.
The problem is when my mind isn’t occupied with other things it goes directly to what happened today and the upcoming surgery and the anxiety starts building. The submissive in me can’t help but wonder if… if I had a Dominant would I be able to handle this better would I be able to get through this without all this anxiety?
In some ways this now flows into the second post I made last night.