Today marks my first chemo treatment since my bilateral mastectomies on April 5. My pathology was not back from California yet so i was quite annoyed to find that i would not be seeing my doc today or starting the new chemo regiment i was getting myself geared up for.
I am having a somewhat awful time dealing with the mastectomies. I know it is early on, and i have only begun the reconstruction process as far as having tissue expanders placed, but i feel like a monster. I think my breasts are hideously ugly and it is doing a number on my self esteem. The expander in my right breast has migrated over to the right and is now impeding on my armpit, also leaving a “skin pocket” near the center of my breast where the expander had started out. My plastic surgeon assures me that this is fixable during “stage 2” – meaning the surgical implanting of the permanent silicone implants…I do not know if i can wait that long. I only had the last of my drains removed on Friday so i have not taken many showers yet, but as hard i try i cannot scrub off the purple marker the plastic surgeon used to mark me. My scars are large, puffy, and awkward feeling. I am trying to get used to the constant sensations of my chest muscles being somewhere they are not meant to be, aka on top of my implants and no longer attached to my chest wall. I am trying to get used to the feeling of having hard, unnatural, and foreign objects inside my chest. I cannot stand that i am not comfortable sleeping on either one of my sides, or my stomach. In fact I am getting very little sleep due to these issues. I was strictly a stomach (and on the rare occasion side) sleeper – Never a back sleeper. It is painful, awkward, and feels like i am lying on rocks whenever i attempt one of these maneuvers. Every day I am wondering if i made the right decision – not as far as having the surgery – it was obviously necessary once it was found that i had a 6 cm tumor continuing to grow in my right breast as well as newly reoccurring cancerous cells in my aux. lymph node (which biopsied negative a mere 3 months ago) despite being on Taxotere and Herceptin practically nonstop every.single.friggen.week since April of last year…
I am second-guessing my decision to have reconstruction. At this point i do not feel that any of this discomfort and body-disassociation i am feeling is worth it. But i am being assured by everyone i know, including my own mother who went through this herself 15 years ago – that i will not regret it and that it most certainly will be worth it in the end.
I am getting married in 3 weeks. Going on my honeymoon in 3 and a half weeks. I have had one fill so far…barley bringing me to an A cup. (The fill, by the way, sucked horribly. The tightness was almost unbearable for the first few hours…although i will admit it subsided a few hours later. The needle pricks are definitely not fun, and the feeling is nothing like having my chemo port accessed… which for some reason i assumed it would be similar to.) My fiance has truly been a saint through this horrible process (but we will leave that for another post) and i know that he honestly is not bothered by the appearance of my breasts. But I am bothered by it. I am bothered by it FOR HIM. I dont feel sexy. I feel disgusting. Who wants to feel like that on their wedding day and honeymoon? I don’t want him to touch me. Not in any way, shape, or form. How is that fair, for either of us?
We are too young for this…this wasn’t supposed to happen to us. THIS IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE OUR LIVES. How selfish of me to say that. Its not supposed to happen to anyone. This should not be ANYONE’S life. But selfishly…especially not mine. Normal people have normal, beautiful weddings. They feel confident and beautiful and like princesses in their wedding dresses. They have beautiful, long, healthy hair to style in some fancy, gorgeous up-do. No one has to think about having no breasts to fill out those beautiful dresses. And worrying about their port and other surgical scars showing. And having little or no hair to do anything with and facing the very real fact that it may fall out completely again over the next few weeks when i start my new chemo. I hate this. Why don’t i get to have my dream wedding? I cant even enjoy the sun in Bermuda on my honeymoon. Why even bother going at this point.
I’m not looking for sympathy. I simply hate my life right now. And i feel like no one on earth understands.
When I was in my 20s, I remember hearing of a family friend that had a masectomy and telling my mom “I’d rather just die than deal with losing a breast”. That comes back to me now at 60….how silly it sounds that boobs were that important! Of course you want to feel sexy on your wedding day – who doesnt? But again, after 30 married years, perspectives change. You’re entitled to vent and be pissed, but sometime soon it’ll all seem irrevelant and you’ll have a happy life with your new husband.
Thank you Deborah. You help to put things in perspective.
I’m sorry. When I feel like that I imagine those that have an even harder road. It makes me feel a little bit more like I can deal with my situation. But I truly am sorry you are going through this.
I think you need to see a physical therapist that specializes in post-mastectomy. They help relieve the pain of the expanders, especially seeing them directly after getting a fill. They can also help with the “migrating” expander. ((hugs))!
When I first got here I felt like nobody understood too. I was the first bladder cancer survivor. I was one of very few men here and I was crazy mad. But I vented and ranted and cried and screamed and was selfish…and the people here rallied around me and carried me along until I got my legs under me.
You are going through a very traumatic time. Physically and emotionally. You have every right to be angry and scared and your right this should not be your life, or anyones.
But those who love you will help and they will try to understand and you can come here and vent anything and everything that is to scary or dark to let your loved ones hear and we will understand.
Do whatever you need to do to feel like the prettiest bride in the world, that is what your husband will see even when you do not. Be gentle with yourself and love yourself.
Have a glorious wedding and a wonderful life. On your 50th anniversary you can look back on this and see that is was a time of growing together and the memory will be of the happiness you share.
You have every right to be angry and I’m betting most of us know exactly how you feel. I do. I’m still pissed off and trying to figure out what to do with all my anger. Here’s the thing though – I think for some of us the anger helps us get through treatment. I tried to channel it onto the cancer cells, to kick their asses one evil little bastard at a time. I’d like to think that anyway. ;)
Your situation pisses me off too. This major body change you’re dealing with is just wrong, no one should endure it, and not someone as young as you are. It’s especially wrong to be happening to you when you’re about to get married. But life is like that, unfortunately. IMO the good news: you’ve fund an amazing man. Keep in mind he loves YOU, not your breasts and he wants you with him for many, many years to come. If that means surgery, I’m guessing he’s all for it and will be right by your side through every bit.
I’m not trying to tell you not to feel what you’re feeling because you have to – BUT there is a light at the end of this tunnel. It’s hard to see now but there will be a day when you are much happier with your body, and this will be behind you.
As you get closer to your wedding day try to focus on the love you share, the meaning of your wedding, the beauty in that as well. Don’t let other people’s opinions or expectations get in your head or int he way of you enjoying this big day. And you know what? I know you’re going to look gorgeous – a warrior in a pretty dress.
I’ll also bet this is bringing you both closer together, making you realize what’s really important – in life and in marriage – so in a strange way, you’re getting a head start on other couples. You get to see that the connection you have, beyond the physical, is what lasts and blossoms as time goes by. All of us age and watch our bodies droop and wrinkle, but the lucky ones – like you and your fiance – know that its the bond outside youth and beauty that makes a marriage.
I wish you all the best wishes and hope your wedding is as special and beautiful as you are. Be kind to yourself and let yourself enjoy this important occasion. In 5 years, when all the surgeries and the *&@%&^ cancer is long gone, you guys should take a second honeymoon, to look back with pride at your love. And to celebrate your life and strength.
Hugs to you.
I UNDERSTAND! I really do, I went through a mastectomy 10 months ago, had to wait for reconstruction till 2 months ago. After all we’ve been through we also have to go through all the horrors that comes from reconstructive surgery. It’s not fair and I think ok to be pissed off. But just remember don’t let it beat you, stay true to who you are. We are beautiful woman my husband and your fiance loves you either way. Now we just need to do the same. The question I know, is how.
If you need to vent, bitch or just have any question please don’t be shy. You can look at my blog and see a picture of my DEIP Flap mishap. It my make your stomach turn and I am feeling the same way, did I make a mistake? I feel like I regret it too. Was it worth it?? Only time will tell.
I understand. Mine are done and I still refer to them as my frankentitties. ;) it gets better.
I cant help but cry when I read your blog, I am so scared of the recovery/reconstruction. I have my surgery set for April 25th 2013 and am now only a few days away. I hope in the end you foudn happiness and confidence in the end.