So it’s another Pink Post today ~ perhaps because I”m facing yet another surgery next month that I feel that this is pertinent today ~ or perhaps because I’ve been shopping for a bathing suit which is a challenge to most women, but to a woman who’s lost her breasts, it’s especially difficult. Being pasty white due to the still winter season here makes the imperfections stand out in that lonely dressing room mirror ~ don’t you think? I mean, even if you’re just a regular gal, it’s daunting to bathing suit shop at any time.
It is hard to accept the new normal when dealing with the physical changes that breast cancer brings to your life. If you’ve had breast cancer, you know that there are restrictions in the top area of a suit. No underwire and sometimes we need a bit of oomph in that area ~ ok, who am I kidding, we always need a bit of oomph there! If you’ve endured a mastectomy (single or bilateral), you may require prosthetics or perhaps you’ve had reconstruction or perhaps you’ve opted for neither. Either way, if you’re bathing suit shopping, it’s a hassle.
I had implants ~ I endured surgeries for 2 sets of silicone ~ one in 2002 when the only option was the flat, round type which we jokingly referred to as stripper boobs and the second in 2007 which again were silicone, but these were billed as the fancy shmancy tear-drop shaped, gummie bear implants which were to give a girl that hershey kiss natural look! Oh la la!
Well, bottom line for me was that my body disliked any implants and twisted them up inside of my breasts so that I endured terrible pain 24/7. In fact, it wasn’t until 2012 when I had to have them removed because one ruptured and leaked that I realized the amount of pain that I’d accepted as my new normal. But like the butterfly which transforms from the egg, to the caterpillar, to the pupa and finally to the beautiful butterfly ~ it’s how I feel about my breast cancer journey. 11 years ago, my breasts were removed to save my life ~ implants were used to make me look normal ~ and unfortunately, they twisted and turned inside me until one ruptured ~ and now I’ve transformed again ~ using my own skin and flesh to make real warm breasts from my own body ~ which won’t twist, rupture or be rejected! It’s amazing to me now to be pretty much pain free without my implants.
Even more amazing to me is that I have breasts again…I’ve come full circle. 11 years later, my body is mangled, scarred and numb in many places, but I have breasts again ~ squishy, fleshy, warm breasts. If you’ve been on the breast cancer journey, you’ll understand the mind-blowing significance of my statement and of the life changing moment to which I’m referring. I have breasts, healthy breasts again. This morning I feel that in my soul and in my body for the first time. I feel like a butterfly.
There are strange things happening in my body which I find so interesting too. I’m growing hair! Yes, I know, it sounds strange to be excited for this fact, but it’s true. I am excited because even my hair dresser thinks that my hair is growing back! I lost all of my hair with chemotherapy and when it returned, it returned as 85% grey (so lovely at age 35) and very thin! Not that I didn’t have fine hair when it fell out, but it came in even finer upon its return. Lately though, my hair feels and looks thicker and I believe that it’s due to the fact that I no longer sport silicone implants. Now I”m not saying this against them, I’m just telling you what’s going on with me.
I’ve endured 3 surgeries in the past year which were required to remove the leaking silicone implants and actually make breasts from my own body tissues. It’s been grueling to say the least and at times, I wondered to myself if all of the pain and suffering that I endured in 2012 was worth it.
Well, I’m here to tell you that YES IT WAS! For the first time in 11 years, I am trying on bathing suits without hard implants for breasts and it’s a glorious feeling! For the first time in years, the body temperature of my breasts isn’t 5 degrees colder than the rest of my body! Now when I hug others, I can actually feel them and there’s not 2 hard lumps between us. It’s wonderful, it’s exciting and it’s almost like a rebirth!
To think that modern medicine has come so far as to be able to do this makes me weep with gratitude. Now if we could just eradicate breast cancer in it’s entirety ~ that’s my wish ~ eradicate all cancers! I still have another surgery for this year to continue this progression, but I can tell you one thing for sure ~ DON’T GIVE UP! And Lands End has a bunch of mastectomy friendly suits!
Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Christina Ahn!
You truly are a magnificent butterfly!!! I soar with and for you…
Oh Mimi ~ big hugs ~ let’s fly high! xo
Congratulations. Hopefully, your story will provide hope to others in your situation…and continue to give you the strength to keep going forward.
Thanks Ray! I just want to be a ‘ray of light’ to others. xo
With all you’ve gone through, your gratitude is amazing. You truly are an inspiration!
You are so kind. Thank you ~ I’m a work in progress! xo
You are a wonderful human being and an inspiration for all! I am grateful that you are a part of my circle of friends! Peace, love, light and blessings my friend on this glorious holiday day! “White Eagle”
Oh White Eagle ~ you make my heart sing ~ I am grateful for our connection as well! I feel the same about you my friend. Big Hugs to you! xo
🙂 Have a good day Luv u
I am impressed by your positive attitude after all you have been through! I opted for double mastectomy with no reconstruction, but at 50, I just didn’t think breasts were that important to me. I just wanted the cancer out and didn’t want to have to worry about recurrence or additional surgeries. For me, it was the right decision. I admire your perseverance through so many surgeries and love the joy I hear in your writing voice!
I am so happy that you’re here ~ that’s our greatest gift ~ and no matter what we choose, we still wake up grateful that we’ve endured so much and we are here for another day! I applaud your decision ~ I think we have to all be comfortable in our skins and do what is best for ourselves. Thanks so much for sharing, reading and stopping by. Hugs to you from the sisterhood of BC! xo
You know I respect the journey you’ve been on, but I got to the end of your post and I laughed out loud… and I have to share that fact because I know you’ll appreciate it too since you’ve maintained your sense of humor. I love Lands’ End too; they have excellent plus-sized fashions. 🙂
May this next surgery be your New Year’s Day… full of promise, hope, joy and peace.
Oh ML ~ You always make me smile! xo
Your post presents some hint at the advances made in the last several years. I am happy to hear that you have benefited. I love reading your posts.
Thank you Snowprincess ~ I’m enjoying your blog as well! xo
You’ve been through a lot these past years and I’m happy for you where you are now. Thanks for bravely sharing your inspiring story!
So happy you liked my post! I hope that I can inspire others to share their stories. xo
I’m sure you already do so. 🙂
What a delightful place to be after going through so much. Thank you for sharing your journey. May many others be helped by your honesty. I am proud to know you, Misifusa.
Russ ~ I am so grateful for our connection. Your pride in me means so very much! xo
I’m so happy for you! You really are a living breathing butterfly! I’m proud to know you, you are a never ending inspiration and source of sweetness. 🙂
Oh I’m blushing ~ thank you. Your kind words are music to my ears ~ I feel the same about you! xo
Wonderful post. You did the right thing to get “real ones” this time around. Silicone is poisonous. Anything foreign and that is artificial is bad for the body. If you want thicker and faster hair growth ,please add Biotin and take about 3-4 per day. That is not the recommended dose but I met a woman that had a bald patch and she took 4 Biotin faithfully for several years and she finally got hair regrowth, I take it my self to try to avoid hair loss due to advancing age. You can buy at a drugstore or supermarket that has a vitamin and supplement aisle.
Thank you for your great suggestion! I will get some and try it! I appreciate your taking the time to tell me ~ thank you! Hugs to you!
You’re an inspiration for anyone facing breast cancer, surgery and reconstruction and I’m so pleased that you’re the beautiful butterfly emerged from the chrysalis and flying in the sunshine.
Oh Tracy, thank you! I love your blog ~ I can’t wait to celebrate your first year in June! xo
I am with you. I prefer the organic feel of the tram flap. It is a rough road of recovery that only gets better with time. Just to think, some women never learn of this type of sugery option available for them. Happy bathing suit shopping. I remember the first day, i could hang up my compresstion bra and shop again at vs, what a wonderful feeling.
Oh yes, this is such a wonderful feeling. I guess that’s why I wanted to share ~ perhaps it is oversharing, but I agree. There are women who don’t know what is available ~ and allowed! Hugs!
You are an amazing survivor and your life is an example for anyone who is thinking of giving up:) I am so proud of you! I love your positive attitude. You are awesome. Love your blog and what you contribute to this world!
Oh thank you ~ your sweet comments make my heart sing! I love your blog as well! xo
Wow, what a journey. I hope you can keep your head high and spirits up through it all! We’re rooting for ya!
Thank you! Your support means so much! xo
I know you’ll find one, and I know you’ll be beautiful in it as you always are hon!
Thank you ~ I did find 2 of them! Woo Hoo! xo