“My reconstruction was not part of my cure; it was part of my healing.”
— Breast Cancer Survivor
With only five expansions into reconstruction, I’m already wishing I were further along my road to recovery.
When I first talked with my surgeon about the process, I remember thinking; man this should be a piece of cake. Boy, was I wrong.
Honestly, given everything I’ve been through I’m surprised I thought it would be easy because nothing about my journey has been a piece of cake. If there is a complication or set back, I’m always sure to find it. Of course, unintentionally.
Most of the hardships with reconstruction are mostly due to the type of breast cancer I had and how the first surgeon took so much skin because inflammatory breast cancer can often include the skin. While my surgeon tried to leave me with as much skin as possible, I wish he could of left a little more.
When my plastic surgeon talked about the expansions, she used the words “may cause discomfort.” She should of used the words, “will eventually hurt like ...”
I remember my first visit, I was scared to death it was going to hurt so bad that I was actually on the verge of crying before she even started. But to my surprise, it didn’t hurt at all. It was this weird pressure on my chest, but nothing to cry about like I thought.
But with each expansion, that weird pressure turned into slight pain that continued to get worse with each expansion. You don’t think that expanding skin would be so painful, but it is.
Like always, I seem to find the humor in difficult situations, which I think makes my mother uneasy at times.
After my last expansion, I was talking with the surgeon about upcoming appointments when I noticed a large wet spot, which I thought was some of the saline solution. So, I attempted to start dabbing it up with the gown I was wearing, but nothing was happening.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my mother giving me one of the strangest looks, but I continued to try and clean up that wet spot. Well, as soon as the surgeon left the room my mother was quick to ask, “what in the world are you doing?”
“I’m trying to get this wet spot cleaned up but nothing is happening.”
My mother busts out laughing and then proceeds to tell me that I don’t have a wet spot.
The shiny gleam was my skin, not the saline.
Needless to say, I was very surprised to learn that skin that is overly stretched shines — almost like glass.
Ever since Monday, I have had Rihanna’s song “Diamonds” stuck in my head. Especially the chorus, “shine bright like a diamond.”
Surprisingly, my mother still thinks it’s funny. I wonder if my sense of humor is rubbing off on her.
The BCCS will hold a meet and greet from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday in the Cancer Resource Room located inside the Brownwood Regional Medical Center. Visit the Facebook Fan Page at facebook.com/BCCSurvivors.