My last chemo treatment was on 2/6/15. I thought that after a couple weeks, I would feel normal again. I didn’t. I still had aches and pains almost constantly. I was taking some sort of pain killer or muscle relaxer every night when I got home from work. Sleep was something I didn’t get much of. By this point, I didn’t think I would ever be normal again. And I wasn’t.
I had to have a masectomy. Since I was at a high risk of reoccurrence, a double mastectomy was highly recommended. I was all for doing everything I possibly could to prevent getting cancer again, so on 3/18/15, I had a bilateral mastectomy. I knew I wanted some sort of reconstruction, but I had to wait until after radiation for that. I had expanders put in at the same time as my masectomy. These were basically liquid filled bags that were going to stretch out my skin so I could be a certain breast size once I was ready.
This surgery was painful. It took several weeks to recover. The expanders were extremely uncomfortable. I eventually got used to them and my new chest in general. I sometimes got muscle twitches. At first, the twitches hurt. After I was healed, I thought they were gross. The feeling/sensation of it made me gag with disgust. I then found that I could actual control the muscle. That was different and a little cool. It didn’t bother me when I made the muscle move.
One of the worst moments after surgery was the first time I saw my chest. I cried. It looked awful. Very small, nippleless mounds with these ugly incisions and stitches across the center. Amazingly, the incisions healed pretty well over the next few months.
Cancer is a greedy bastard. It takes and it takes. Cancer took my hair. Cancer took my breast and nipples. It took my energy. It took my self confidence. It took so much of what made me – me. Sometimes I would look in the mirror and wonder who the person was looking back at me.
Oh, but it did give back. It gave me pain…and weakness…and scars…and tears.
I’m not the same person I was prior to diagnosis and I don’t think I ever will be her again.