okay, okay .. this post might be TMI (as your read further down) for some but here goes anyway ..
Most women, if not all, with breast cancer face surgery at some point:
These were my choices:
lumpectomy with radiation, mastectomy with or without reconstruction
I chose a bilateral mastectomy with same surgery reconstruction.
My surgery was 7 hours and when I went into my sound sleep under anesthesia, I had no idea of the outcome of not only my lymph nodes (were they cancer free) … but I also had no idea of whether or not I’d have implants directly or expanders .. and I had no idea as to whether or not my skin and nipples would be spared. .. I was hoping to have first and foremost no lymph nodes with cancer! .. that was the case!
.. secondly, I was praying for one surgery so that I’d have same surgery implants as well as skin and nipple sparing within my surgery. This was also the case!
I was really really fortunate and am so so grateful!
.. Now comes the TMI part but I’ve been open and so goes …
A little of my breast history:
I’ve been a runner since I was 15. I was also into body building / fitness, a fitness trainer when I was 30. At the age of 32 I was so engrossed in the whole “Muscle and Fitness” thing that I decided to get breast implants to achieve the look of the ripped models with breasts that appeared each month on the cover of that magazine. I did a bit of fitness modeling (most notorious claim is that they used my 6 pack stomach on a billboard that appeared in Poland – lol ).
So, I had these implants. I liked them until I tripped on a root running trails and achieved a nice homotoma in my chest from the hard fall. I was about 36 and wanted to get the implants out. My surgeon advised against it and for some reason I listened and agreed to exchange my above muscle implants for smaller sub muscular implants. I wanted smaller but I woke up with about the same size breasts .. UGH ..
Flash forward to now:
Well, I’m 51 and since I was 36 I have wanted those implants out of my body.
Last June, 2015 is when my little lump was discovered via touch. My mammogram did not find it. An ultrasound confirmed it. But the ultrasound doc and my doctor did not think it was anything to be alarmed about. It did not behave like a breast cancer tumor.
I, along with my doctors, decided to watch the tumor with another ultrasound in 6 months. In December the ultrasound showed no change. We probably would have kept watching it every 6 months this way except that … I really wanted to get these implants out.
My primary doctor referred me to Dr. Quinn, who is a plastic surgeon, because my little lump was right next to, maybe even attached to the implant in my right breast. She told me she could ‘deflate’ my implants and do the biopsy at the same time. …
February 8, 2016 I was so excited – it was the day I’d get my implants ruptured. The biopsy was almost secondary to that excitement because still, no one thought that lump behaved like cancer.
I had an appointment on March 7 to have the implant shells surgically removed.
4 days later I received that phone call from Dr. Quinn telling me I had cancer. She had remarkable empathy and on Sunday when I texted her she called me from her home to talk with me. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this fine lady as a person and as a surgeon.
… so all progressed quickly from there … I saw my General surgeon, Dr. Garner on Monday the 15th. I also cannot say enough wonderful things about her also as a person of joy, empathy and as a surgeon! I got to experience my own breasts without implants for 2 1/2 weeks before surgery on Feb 25 (just a little over a week earlier than I would have gone in to have my implant shells removed).
Originally I was opting for lumpectomy with radiation .. before I was diagnosed I was loving running with my small and light breasts. I didn’t want to ever mess with them again … and then I was diagnosed. .. and then it was if God said to me, “let go of your attachment so that you can make the best decision for your life.”
And so you know how the surgery went and all that follows from my posts.
I have to say, I was for many years embarrassed that I had gotten implants for cosmetic reasons … as I got older I felt my reasons when I was younger were shallow. Even though there is nothing wrong with anyone’s decision to do it, I judged myself for it for quite a few years before I finally let go and forgave myself. But there are four huge silver linings that came out of my having made that decision for augmentation years ago:
1. I would likely not have felt that little 3 mm lump if the implant had not pushed it to the side of my skin, lodging it there.
2. I would have kept having ultrasounds to ‘watch’ the lump that no one thought was cancer if I hadn’t wanted to get my implants ‘out’ so badly.
3. I had extra skin from my implants that allowed immediate placement of the new implant.
4. I already had a pocket under my muscle for placement of the new implant.
Well, yes, I have implants again. But this time I feel blessed and amazed at what plastic surgeons can do for breast cancer reconstruction.
My cosmetic goal was to keep to my natural smaller ‘marathon breasts’.
I asked Dr. Quinn to please err on the small side when choosing during surgery (she had ordered several options). She listened and as my bruises and swelling and stitches are healing nicely I have begun to call my new breasts my New Sporty Model! ..
If I could be anything that God creates I’d be a sunset every night so that I could give the world a peaceful afghan to bathe under before they slumber … and I’d stay awake then for the night sky to celebrate each star and the moon in each phase if it was its time to be present in the dark. … I’d be so elated that I’d have to say I’d be the sunrise too … and then once the day broke, I’d delegate to someone else so that I could rest quietly and come back once again to the colours that peak closer to the twilight .. ]
what would you be?