Breast Surgery: The End!

I never anticipated becoming a woman with a plastic surgeon in her life, but I have now been treated by two of them.

Five and one-half years ago, I had a mastectomy followed by the insertion of an implant.  One of the things the surgeon and I discussed this morning was that most people don’t know what that means.  Let me clarify: it meant a number of minor procedures, three surgeries under general anesthesia, and a painful breast expansion process that lasted for three months until I abandoned it.  The results: two dramatically mismatched breasts, one looking something like a misshapen lump, and daily dealing with a “foob” — a fake breast insert to even out my appearance, which meant much adjusting of clothing and care not to wear V-neck blouses that might dip too low and reveal too much if I bent over.  Once I forgot all about it as I rushed through my morning and, walking about that summer day, looked down to see that one side of my t-shirt was flat!

I had reached my limit where physical pain and mental hassle were concerned, so I left matters as they were ~ until last summer.  Engaged in a wonderful ministry as an interim pastor to a healthy and loving church, I had begun to feel so positive about myself that I decided to address the one thing with which I was completely dissatisfied.  In October, after a consultation with a new plastic surgeon repeatedly recommended by my nurse practitioner for the past several years (“I know you’re really pissed; would you please go and see this guy?”), I had a surgical revision of the lumpy breast mess to round it out and remove a particularly irritating scar, and a reduction in size of the other breast so that they would match.  More or less. Way more than they did, anyway.  After a couple of weeks of healing, I was able to get dressed in boringly ordinary bras and shirts and go back to work.

This morning I had the tattooing needed to complete the project. (Use your imagination.  No images today!)  It will take a couple of weeks to heal, and at the moment it stings, so I am babying myself and relaxing at home ~  but I’m finished!

It’s a small thing, actually.  I have friends whose breast cancers have involved far more, and I myself have certainly endured life catastrophes that make of this experience . . .  well, a very small thing indeed.  But it’s awfully nice to think that, when I dress or undress next month, my clothes will fit and, other than the scars, I will look pretty ordinary.  I’m all in favor of ordinary.

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