While “13” may be an unlucky number for folks, today on Day 13, I feel like the luckiest gal in the world.
I’m awake, alive, moving around, and feeling so much better than I have in the past few days.
At 24-hours after my JP drains were removed, I am feeling like a new person. I feel free and able to heal. I am breathing easier, I have a new range of motion, and I am starting to feel less like an Octopus Robot and more like, well, Liza.
I was feeling so good, in fact, that I won the Talusan-Vega Freestyle Contest that we had at dinner last night. Granted, I went uncontested, but I think it was because no one dared to battle me. I’m back, people. Get your freestylin’ game ON! I even felt good enough to work on a 2nd grade project with my daughter, which consisted of creating a Beezus doll out of a can of soup.
In true Brave Girl fashion, I did something that made me very uncomfortable.
I put on a shirt.
For the past 12 days, I have been living in a combination of hospital gowns and XL flannel pajamas that buttoned in the front. I’ve been wearing a compression bra with velcro and baggy clothes.
But, today. Towards the next step of my recovery. I wore a tight shirt. Pulled over my head.
I stepped into, for the first time in weeks, a sports bra. Rather than pull it over my head, I had to step into it, stretch it over my hips, and take nearly 15 minutes to carefully pull the straps over my shoulders. Then, I pulled on a shirt. A fitted shirt. One the would show the shape of my new breasts; my new body.
I’m bravely posting them here. I have to admit, it’s going to take some getting used to — I’m significantly smaller than what I was pre-surgery.
As my plastic surgeon put it, “I work with what I’m given.” In my breast removal, the surgeon had to remove a lot of breast tissue. Because I knew I did not want to do expanders, the plastic surgeon put in the largest size he could — which, given the limited skin and area I had left, was a B cup. In their words, “We had to really jam the B size into the space.” So, here is my new profile as a B cup, with some swelling and bruising still in that area.
The right side of my body was much more difficult than my left. On my right side, there was a lot of scar tissue. You can see the difference — it’s a much flatter breast. Without clothes, you’d see that I actually have a dent from my armpit to my breast. The plastic surgeon said to wait 3-6 months to see what it finally settles into, but it just may be an imperfection I have to accept.
Overall, I’m just thankful to be alive and to have reduced risk of cancer. I’m reminded of the many, many women who came before me who did not have the luxuries that I had in my surgery: anesthesia, a plastic surgeon (women used to have no option for reconstruction), and a choice to take be proactive about my BRCA genetics.
But, going through all of that pain over the past few days makes me thankful for each day I am not in pain. So, I’m thankful for my body. Thankful for my strength, endurance, and for the decision I made.
I’ve been keeping a photo journal of my life post-mastectomy, documenting the healing process of my scars, incisions, and my relationship with my new body as it settles into itself. I’ll post those when, well, when it isn’t so weird anymore.
So, Day 13. I’m feeling better, more like myself. Thankful for the lessons of the past few weeks and for the many lessons still to come.
Peace, love, and lucky day,