Today I am having another mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. It is the biggest, longest surgery I will have to go through in this cancer battle.
It will be a grueling recovery, even more so since I have little ones at home. I cannot lift for 3 months and I have a two-year-old.
I was sad to see my rightie go back in November, but to be completely honest I am sadder this time around to see lefty go. Why?
Well lefty was the good side. Lefty is where my girls spent most of their time when we nursed, my left side provided them more nutrients and nourishment than my right side was able to. I could always count on her to pull through.
When I said goodbye to my right side, I became a unicorn. I found this term in the cancer world about being a uni-boober, and I loved it. Having a unilateral mastectomy is not common, walking around for 9 months with one boob is not common, yet I embraced it and I was excited for it.
First of all, I was elated to have the cancerous boob gone. Secondly, I was actually proud to walk around so that others could (maybe) see that I had one breast. Why? Because I wanted to show the truth and reality about what happens when a young mother gets cancer. I wanted the world to see how this is real life, that I was a 32-year-old new mom who got diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and my right boob tried to kill me while I was still breastfeeding my baby. So I did not wear baggy clothes, I wore fit workout tops and comfortable clothes that fit my shape. I did not use a temporary implant in a bra to fill the space. I wanted to walk around, just as I did when I was bald, showing one can rise out of the ashes.
Now that I am about to undergo reconstruction, I will no longer have that unique way of creating awareness and empowerment. But I will have a new role, a role of encouraging people that have fought battles that you can fight for a new normal.
Why did I choose to have reconstruction? Because I am 33. I have felt like a foreigner in my own body for 5 years now. I am ready to take the reins back. This surgery also means a great deal more than getting two new boobs (no it is not a free boob job or no it is not lucky me I get a boob job…nothing about this is lucky… #cancersucks), I have a 5-centimeter gap between my stomach muscles (diastasis), that was created from my pregnancies with my two gorgeous girls. They were large babies, and usually this should heal and close on its own…mine didn’t. So, my quality of life would continue to be less than if I did not have this surgery, which is absolutely not okay with me. I am ready to dive back into life bigger and bolder than ever before. Which means I need my body back. It is time.
My surgeon will be able to pull my muscles back together and he will be able to take the skin that would never go back to pre-baby tummy and use that to create me a new chest. I am so excited about this surgery and the new body that awaits me. I have been through more physical challenges in the last year and I have had to face myself in the mirror feeling so unfeminine and broken that I am fully embracing this new change.
Even though I depart from the unicorn, I will gain two wings that will help me fly into this next chapter of life. I will be able to be there for my girls in every way, get back to my racing spirit, and move forward into the best part of life.
I will be able to encourage women that have been through the worst, that they can rise up and smile again. They can feel like themselves again, they can love their body again.
Photo Cred: Laura Morsman Photography
It will be a really long, hard, strenuous, trying process…but I know with all I’ve been through I can do this. I have been changed and strengthened beyond what I thought possible from my walk with cancer.
Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers for me as I face this surgery. I will update the process as soon as I am able.
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