Montrose Harbor, 4 July 2010
I've passed the two month mark since my bilateral mastectomy and it's hard to believe I'm already coming up on the second surgery. Things have begun to fall into a state of near normalcy. As I suspected, 'round about the time for surgery #2, I'll be feeling fully recovered and back to full strength.
I am still getting used to some of the physical changes and wanted to write a few thoughts before my second reconstruction surgery when the inserts will be swapped out for the permanent implants. As good as I feel, I still have moments when I'm suddenly reminded that there are two very artificial things stuck inside my chest. The saline expanders are harder and far less natural feeling (and looking) than the silicone gel implants will be. The expanders are also heavy, a fact I'm reminded of every time I lie down and feel the pressure of two foreign objects weighing down on me.
Now that the chest muscles have healed, I'm able to reach, lift, push and pull with greater ease and ability. The strangest thing to get used to is how my pectoral muscles flex when I perform certain actions. The difference being, some of these muscles are now over the implants, where before they were under my breast tissue. Putting the muscle between the implant and the skin gives the reconstructed breast stability and a more natural look. But boy, can it feel weird.
My surgery next month will be complicated by an additional surgery, the removal of my ovaries, which will be done in tandem with the second breast surgery. Just as it was a fairly easy decision to act pro-actively by removing both breasts, my positive BRCA-2 gene mutation made it a no-brainer to decide to remove the ovaries as well. Without any good way to screen for ovarian cancer, knowing that I carry an elevated risk makes it an easy decision to act pro-actively and get myself as risk-free as possible.
I know this surgery will have a greater impact on my life on a daily basis, and that does give me pause, but the concern on the flip side is far greater. Whatever adjustments that will need to be made, will be made. I'll deal with it and move forward. Just as it was before my first (and far more major surgery), much of this is fear of the unknown and it too shall pass.