Tomorrow I am having the final surgery in the breast reconstruction process. This surgery is big because not only will my boobs be one step closer to being done it marks the end of my hospital treatment. Even though reconstruction is technically optional, I’ve considered it part of my treatment from the beginning. The only thing that made me ok with losing my actual real breasts was the idea that I could get new ones on the other end. It somehow made diagnosis easier to swallow. Now a year and a half later I find myself on the eve of finishing another portion of this long and difficult journey. I am really looking forward to healing and being finito with surgeries.
This surgery will be much shorter than the initial reconstruction procedure and they say recovery time is easier. For this part of the process they will be taking out the expanders that were inserted behind my pectoral muscles and used to stretch the muscle and skin over several months. In place of the expanders, which have been very uncomfortable for me, they will be putting in the actual implant. They say the implants are much nicer on the body and feel much better than the expanders – that sounds good to me! I have had lots of back pain and am crossing my fingers that getting the expanders out will help relieve some of that.
As excited as I am to get this part over and done with I am also dreading that feeling of becoming a burden to my friends and family again for those few weeks after surgery. It has been really hard for me to be ok with not being able to do everything for myself and my kids. My family has been incredible but even caregivers can only take so much before they need a break too. I have been blessed with so much support and love that it makes it easier, but still in my moments alone I wish I didn’t have to rely on others so much. I look forward to being done so I can slowly get back to being able to do so much more without getting tired, sore or cranky. At the same time I understand what a difference support and compassion makes and I am so very grateful for all that is sent my way. That is what inspires me to keep going and to pay it forward to others in need in whatever way I can.
I’m not sure what the next phase of recovery will hold. It’s time to find my way through the emotions of life on the other side of treatment. Life goes on but in some ways I have have changed forever and I am just wrapping my head around what that means. I know for a fact that I will have much more time to do things that I want to do because I will be spending way less time at hospitals! I plan on meditating even more and ramping up my yoga practice to help me through any anxiety I am feeling about stepping back into parts of my life that I had to put aside for a while.
I am SO ready to be bursting with energy again and be able to take all these ideas I have and put them into practice. The Stretch Heal Grow yoga retreat I hosted this summer was such a blessing in so many ways, it helped me to believe in myself again and to trust in my ideas and intuition. It ended up being a gift to me as much as it was to everyone who attended and I wasn’t expecting that. It was so nourishing to spend time with all the other incredible women who understand this experience . So I am hoping to bring many more ideas to life in the coming years and I am thankful for the journey even though it has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
Here’s to new boobs and time for healing body, mind and spirit!
“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” – Tori Amos
“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” – Rachel Naomi Remen