After 8 and a half months of daily nausea, vomiting, radiation and pain, I would now go to the doctor every 6 months and after 5 years it would be once a year. Now, after 15 years, I still go once a year. I am blessed to be a survivor, I know this. Now, a few more facts.
You hear the word cancer and it seems so terrible. An evil sounding word. You think, oh those poor people, how horrible for them. Then you are given the diagnosis. A few years after my mastectomy, I decided that I would have a reduction of my right breast and reconstruction on my left. I had a large right breast and felt very awkward and lopsided. It had been difficult to find a bra that didn’t slide up my left side because of how concave I was. And I tried many. So, the reduction went well and I had a cute little right breast but the tissue spreader they inserted underneath my left side scar gave me a staph infection that kept me in the hospital for around 6 days. It turned out that I had so much scar tissue from the radiation that the tissue spreader was being rejected by my body. I told the doctor that if there was no way it could be fixed, just to take it out. Well, there was no way. I was now left with a smaller right breast that made me feel just as lopsided and I still could not find a bra that worked for me.
I was mad and desolate and hated everything about the way I looked. I finally decided after much debate with myself, that for cosmetic reasons, I would have the right breast removed also. It is more common now for women to have a double mastectomy when diagnosed. It was not as common in 1999. Here I was 10 years later, finally deciding that it would be better for me to have no breasts at all, then to do the constant round of feeling awkward with one breast but uncomfortable whenever I had a bra on. The prosthesis would usually end up some where under my left arm or moving up towards my neck. So, I decided no breasts were better and then the bra situation would also be a well forgotten memory. It is. I no longer even bother with them. It is a freeing feeling. I’m sure some people who see me, may question my decision, but for me it was the right one. It is also a lot cooler in the summer.
I need to talk about the emotional side but it is very difficult. It is an awful thing to have cancer. It effects every area of your life. But, I will give it a try tomorrow.