It has been a while since my last post, almost 9 weeks, and a lot has happened.
I have continued going to get my “fills” and my breasts have steadily increased in size. Right after each fill, my chest and back feel very tight. It is uncomfortable and makes sleeping at night a challenge, but it feels normal after a day or two. The tissue expanders are extremely stiff, my breasts don’t move at all. It feels like I am wearing a really tight bra that I can’t take off.
In total, I have had 6 fills, totaling about 360ccs (I’m not sure the exact number). When I have my reconstruction surgery, I don’t know exactly what size implants Dr. Choi will put in. They way she explained it to me, she will have 3 different sets of implants to choose from, similar to the size I have now, and will test them out during surgery and choose the ones that she thinks look best. We have discussed the look that I am hoping for and I trust that she will choose the right pair.
It is crazy how cancer can go from completely taking over your calendar, to slowly slipping away. Cancer used to be in control of my schedule. Everything was based around my weekly treatments, shots, appointments and the side effects that would come after. It was consuming. During my treatments, I would meet with my oncologist every week and spend at least one day each week at NYU. Since my mastectomy, I have had one follow-up appointment with my surgeon and oncologist and now will see them every 6 months. I have been seeing my plastic surgeon every week or two but once reconstruction is over, my appointments with her will dwindle as well. It feels like I am slowly gaining control of my calendar and my life.
My reconstruction surgery is one week away and I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I am so excited to get this surgery over with, have my expanders out, and be able to put my breast cancer behind me. I am also looking forward to a couple of days resting in bed, binge watching shows that I need to catch up on (Cheer, Peaky Blinders…). On the other hand, it feels like I am taking a step backwards. After my mastectomy, it took weeks for me to get my range-of-motion and strength back. I couldn’t lift my kids, be alone with them, take them to school, etc. for weeks. I have loved feeling back to “normal” and am a little sad to be going back to “recovery mode”. It was extremely difficult for me to accept my physical limitations and ask for help. I have heard that recovery from reconstruction is much easier than from a mastectomy, but until I experience it for myself, I don’t know how I am going to feel.
In the last 9 weeks I have: celebrated a friends wedding, gone on vacation to Aruba, gotten back into Pilates, taken on more of my “mom” roles, supported others through their cancer diagnoses, and accepted a new job (more on that later). I am feeling totally back to normal and it is such a relief to be feeling this way. I am hoping that my surgery next week comes with minimal discomfort and a quick recovery. Wish me luck.