I met with my surgeon on Thursday. He’s the guy who cuts out the cancer … he took a long look at my breast and told me I didn’t have enough breast tissue to do a lumpectomy.
My tumor is approx 4cm x 4cm (about the size of an avocado pit) and if he took the cancer and the surrounding tissue necessary it would leave me with about 1/3 of my breast cut away.
He said if he cut it and sewed it back together as/is it would be “unappetizing” and then quickly changed his wording to “unappealing”.
Both of those words he used I found infuriating. I know what he’s saying… the breast would look deformed but for some reason it made the feminist hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
He gave me a giant binder with literature from the Cancer Society and I looked through it at home and everything in it pissed me off. Every pamphlet is about “finding your womanhood again” after a mastectomy. Like if I don’t have breasts or reconstructed breasts that I will never be appealing or appetizing.
I am appealing because I’m me. Not because of my tits. Ugh. All this Pink Ribbon stuff leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Oh yeah … so … he says I have to get a mastectomy. 🙁
Fuck. You. Asshole. Cancer.
I have awesome breasts. Like seriously spectacular. My entire life I have struggled with body image. My thighs are always too big (no matter how small). My stomach is to pudgy (no matter how flat). My forehead is too big. My arms are too hairy. My hair is too curly. I have a wee mustache. I could go on and on.
I have to clarify and say that I have a handle on the body image stuff now … (for the most part) but it’s something I have to constantly work on.
For me body-image stuff isn’t really about my body but more about how hard I am on myself. I suffer from “not good enough” disease but it’s not so much of an issue anymore.
I’m actively striving to be kinder to myself.
Turning 40 helped. I was like … fuck it. I am who I am and I’m healthy and happy and the rest isn’t important. Only now I’m not healthy and they want to cut off my beautiful right breast. Le sigh.
The talk I had with the surgeon on Thursday was just a Meet & Greet. I have a meeting on Monday with the plastic surgeon to talk about details. Like just cut it off and leave it. Or cut it off and do reconstruction later. Or cut it off and put in an implant right away.
Sometimes they take part of your stomach fat and turn that into a breast. Yes the literature mentions that you can get a mastectomy AND a tummy tuck all at the same time. “oooh hooray” I say sarcastically.
The doctor looked at my stomach and told me I was too thin to do that and for a split second I was happy that he thought I was too thin for this procedure. Jesus Christ! Vanity is a hilarious thing sometimes.
Part of me wants to say “take my breast” and proudly walk around with a big fat giant scar on my right side like the beautiful woman who took part in The Scar Project. I don’t need TWO breasts to be a woman. I don’t need any breasts. I am a woman because I am me. My breasts don’t define me.
But then I think about my closet full of beautiful dresses and vanity takes over. Ugh. I’m going to see what the plastic surgeon has to say on Monday. I’m carefully weighing out all my options.
Gerry has seen a lot of re-built mastectomy breasts. He tattoos nipples on woman who have had reconstructive surgery. He says some of them look pretty good … but they don’t really look like a breast when you’re naked. More like a lump. I guess the whole idea is to make you look symmetrical in your clothing.
But then it hits me. NONE of this reconstruction stuff is really important and it feels so idiotic to even be worry about it. Why? Because they won’t know how serious the cancer is until after the mastectomy. They take my breast tissue and then I have to wait 2 weeks before the results come back to tell me if they were able to cut all the cancer out or if I have to do treatment (like chemo/radiation/etc).
But if I’m going to reconstruct then I have to decide very soon because they can now do the implant at the same time as the mastectomy and if I do go ahead with reconstruction I’d rather have it all done at once then subject myself to multiple surgery.
Yesterday I fell into a pretty dark hole. Gerry was there to help me out of it but it’s all really super overwhelming. I feel like I’m on a roller coaster without a seat-belt and I’m white knuckling it so I don’t get thrown off.
Thank you to everyone who has sent me info on iodine and Gerson Therapy and Turkey Tail Capsules and all the other treatments I could be doing. I am seeing a naturopath on Monday who is also an oncologist and I’m going to talk about it all with him.
I promise you I will be weighing out ALL my options before I do anything.
My MRI was yesterday. It went fine. It was like laying on an uncomfortable massage table with my boobs hanging down into two holes. The whole thing took about 25 minutes. I think the hardest part for me was holding my breath for 20 seconds. Ha ha. I can’t breath very deeply lately. I’m all shallow stress breathing.
Don’t worry. I’m working on that thanks to guided meditations on my iphone and a little bit of Ativan.
So that’s where I am today.
I would love to hear from other woman who have had mastectomies. Would love to know what you wish you had done differently and how you feel about the choices you made.
I would also love to hear from my feminist sisters about what you think about this pink ribbon bullshit. All this “we can make you a viable appealing woman again” crap is making me crazy. Can we talk about this?? The language has got to change.
Lastly … I love you guys.
I can’t believe how much love and support I have. It’s wonderfully overwhelming and I’m trying to take it all in and use it to propel myself forward.
I’m ever so thankful for you.