We’re really here, aren’t we. My preventive double mastectomy is tomorrow. My bag is packed and in the car. My post-op prescriptions have been filled. My body is marked up with sharpie – a road map of where my surgeons will be making their cuts. I attempted a serious heart to heart talk with my 2 year old this morning about what’s going on to which he replied “Ok….Mommy, did you see that snow fall down?”. So much for that.
Other than tying up a few odds and ends at home — prepping food for my kiddo for the rest of the week, making my post-op clothes easily accessible, filling out the last form or two for my doctors — there’s nothing left to do but wait. Oh, and take my little guy out for a pizza date tonight as promised (if he still wants to after his nap, that is).
We haven’t always been best friends, but you are mine, my boobs.
When you first emerged when I was 10 you caused me nothing but embarrassment. I still remember being pulled aside by my 5th grade teacher and given “the talk” about bras. One of my most mortifying moments. I was ashamed of you then, boobs.
Boys in 7th and 8th grade saw you as an invitation. A neon sign inviting touch without consent. They’d “trip” in the hallways, hands positioned just so. I hated you then, boobs, and wanted to hide you under giant tee-shirts and pretend you were not there.
How on earth did we get here? “Here” being just 2 weeks away from my mastectomy and reconstruction. My last 2 weeks with my breasts. My last 2 weeks with nipples. My last 2 weeks of weight lifting, sleeping on my side/tummy, rough playing and lifting my child for the next couple of months.
The past couple of months have gone by so quickly. The calendar is inching toward April. It’s time for me to climb out of my hole of denial.
I’ve been thinking a lot about boobs lately. Obviously. Because I only have 6 weeks left with the ones that have been with me (in some form or another) since around age 10.
20+ years I’ve lived with these boobs…tatas…fun-bags…tits…breasts. And in less than two months they will be unceremoniously severed from my body, because they will likely try to kill me one day. Then they will be replaced by some excess fat from my abdomen.
Beyond just thinking a lot about boobs lately, I’ve specifically been thinking about the “why” of breast reconstruction. Why go through more pain and face more risks during surgery? Why do I want non-functional flesh mountains sewn onto my torso? Why bother?
It’s sort of hard to believe but my ovary and tube removal surgery was one month ago today! And honestly, I’m feeling pretty decent overall.
Hot flashes are still my primary symptom. And in addition to having a couple per night most nights I’ve learned some other fun hot flash triggers — exercise, alcohol, stress, humidity. I’ve thankfully only had one at work so far. But man was that unpleasant.
Other than the hot flashes I have a little hormonal acne (just like I would sometimes get right before my period) and insomnia (although it’s hard to tell if that might just be stress related). And that’s pretty much it. No out of control mood changes, my sex drive is still intact, and my pants still fit. So those are all good things.
Did you miss Part 1? Check it out here to catch yourself up before we continue onward with Part 2 of this boob-tastic drama.
So where were we? Oh yes…everything was settled. I had my breast surgeon, plastic surgeon, and surgery date all set. The only thing left to do was wait.
Not quite. Let’s pick it back up from where things were last month.
January 4 – I was in the driveway, peacefully digging my car out after a foot of snowfall when I heard the little ding of Facebook Messenger on my phone. I saw a message from another BRCA sister I’d connected with through a FB group, who was also using Dr. Levine. On his suggestion, she’d recently met with the same breast surgeon I saw a couple of weeks earlier. But then, a day after her appointment she got a phone call from the doctor’s office informing her that the doctor was cancelling all of her upcoming surgeries. Ummmm….what?! This had to be some sort of mistake. I felt my skin get hot and my heart start to race as I read her messages. I stepped in from the cold, my breathing fast and shallow, and I called the doctor. The office administrator I spoke with confirmed it. Yep. “She is taking a step back from the clinical side of things”. That’s what the voice on the phone told me. My surgery had been cancelled. WHAT. THE. FUCK. I was fuming. How could she have sat with me 2 weeks before, with that reassuring smile, talk about incision placement, healing, and schedule my surgery and then **poof** cancel it with no explanation.
When I take a step back it’s hard for me to believe that I am sitting here, right now, stressing out about scheduling my mastectomy. I’m so deep into the BRCA world…reading about it, researching it, talking to other BRCA sisters….that it all seems so normal. But it’s not. It’s really really fucking weird. But weird or not, here I am. Boob deep in The Great Mastectomy Saga.
I haven’t written much about this still unfolding chapter of my BRCA story…whether that is out of frustration or anxiety I’m not sure…but it’s causing me a lot of stress so rather than buying more chocolate to eat at my desk I’m gonna vent it out here. Let’s start at the very beginning…