Saturday, April 26, 2008

a place to put my hurt

First, a confession: I can be quite neurotic – hypersensitive, over-dramatic, lacking in objective perspective, even downright loony.

Perhaps I am still “processing” the whole ordeal of losing my right breast. Or maybe I'm this way all the time, but won't admit to it without an excuse.

I do not want any of the feelings that I write here to reflect on the professionalism and skill of the doctors who have treated me. Even though I have not quite come to terms with my reconstruction surgery – things are, in fact, still changing – I consider my plastic surgeon to be extremely competent, responsive, and perhaps a genius.

I am getting used to my new breasts – even starting to feel that they look good, despite not being perfect matches. The right breast is falling more and I don’t feel so strange looking.

And because I’m more healed, I’m not afraid to expose my breasts anymore. (Yes, I make love with nothing covering them now – yeah!) What is it about the way I do not want others to see my wounds - to see where I hurt? I bet a shrink could make something of that.

Maybe part of my reason for writing here is to have a place to put my hurt.

Monday, April 21, 2008


when sadness comes to the surface
does that mean that it is about
to go away?

when all I can do is sit with it
does that mean that
I have made a home for it?

today Dr. Rimmer told me that
it was time for me to be
happy again.

but happiness comes through
(not after)
sadness for me.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

things are getting better

Things are getting better.

For one thing, I think that some swelling is going down in my right (silicon) breast, so that I don't feel quite so freak-y looking. This all may work out without an additional surgery.

For another, I have an appointment with my primary surgeon on Monday. It's really just a final followup from the mastectomy surgery in Decemeber, but I also need some reassurance that everything, anatomically, is stable and ok - like, are you sure that that little strip of skin going down the center of my 2 breasts is not going to pop out??!

And ... I had lunch with 3 friends yesterday (2 women and 1 man) and they all told me that my breasts looked fine. Maybe a little lopsided, but nothing that was overly obvious.

I'm ready to let go of my hyper-sensitivity and move on.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm stuck

I am confused. I am a mess.

The only way I know to work my through stuff is to write. Or at least write first, so I can have some idea of what’s going on.

I need to get beyond all this breast stuff. I’m hung up on the cosmetics of it all. How I look. I’m embarrassed with this big round silicon boob that sits high on my right side. I make sure my clothes cover it up, which isn’t always easy in Florida. I have no idea what I will do about wearing a bathing suit in public. I will have to get something very high and loose – do they make bathing suits like that? I am not naked when I make love with John anymore; I always have something covering my chest.

And I'm embarrassed with being so obsessed with it all.

Some people tell me that I should go back to surgery and get it fixed right away. Others tell me to wait, see if gravity and time will help.

I don’t know what to do.

I feel silly being so hung up on how I look. One woman said to me, “I never knew this part of your anatomy was so important to you.”

I didn’t either.

Someone recently pointed out something I wrote in 2006 on another blog about silicon implants. Boy, have times changed.

Am I over-reacting? Do I need to just think about something else and move on? How do I do that?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

$39,070.61 for a boob job, and this isn't over yet!

The hospital bill came last week for the Breast Reconstruction Surgery that was done last month. $39,070.61. And this was an outpatient surgery. My gosh. How do women who are not breast cancer patients afford these boob jobs?! Or do they charge more when it is covered by insurance?

My insurance (for which I pay $1200 per month) is covering all but $1405.23. But I’m not sure if this is the end of it. It seems that these bills keep creeping in for months after the affair.

And it seems clear that I will need another surgery. Will my insurance cover that? We can barely even afford the insurance. (Actually, we can’t afford it.)

Yesterday I was visiting with girlfriends and I showed them my breasts. This is the first time that I have uncovered myself to people other than John or doctors. Both Lynda and Deb think that the way I am now is unacceptable. The left (native) breast is fine, lifted and slightly augmented with silicon at the top. The right breast, the silicon implant, is very high and round and much larger than the left side, at least on the top. So that I’m both lopsided and imbalanced. More and more, I’m beginning to think that taking out all implants, and learning to be as I am – a unibreast – is the best solution. But I’m not sure if I’m brave enough. I’m self-conscious enough of my strange looking chest without clothes on, how would it be to look so “different” with clothes on?

Before the surgery, Dr. Lickstein told me that 25% of Breast Reconstructions require further “procedures” to make things right. I guess I’m in that 25%. At the time I thought that meant a little tuck or something in the office. Now I realize that it means another surgery.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

no end in sight

My visits with the oncologist are always somewhat depressing for me. Like, is there ever going to be an end to this?

Every time I go in I have to have my blood checked to see if my liver is holding up under the onslaught of the Femara (the estrogen blocking drug). And she always wants more tests – a bone scan, a lung x-ray, a colonoscopy. Will I ever be considered “cured” of cancer? All this looking is nerve-wracking. One of my computer clients says that they will look until they find something.

When my oncologist saw my reconstructed breast, she said “oh no, no, who did this to you? Why do they always insist on cleavage rather than softness? You must get this fixed!”

So … just when I think I’m getting to the end of this saga, it seems I’m still somewhere deep within it.

I still haven't started the antidepressant that she says will make me "feel better". I have yet to determine just what it is that I'm trying to make my way through here.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

sex help wanted!

For the first time in 35 years of marriage, John and I need “help” – as in a lubricant. I blame the damn Femara for this vaginal dryness. I don’t even know what to look for at the drug store. Maybe I should go to a sex store. And I still don’t feel comfortable making love while exposing my breasts.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

another surgery??

I woke up this morning, climbing out of my depression, knowing in my bones and soul a spirit that can face breast cancer and everything that goes with it – including a lopsided chest.

I met with my plastic surgeon, Dr. Lickstein. He seems to think that I am healing well, and I can get back to exercising in a week (yeah!). He also thinks that we should watch the fake boob for a couple of months to see if it will fall some. If not, he suggests another surgery to exchange the implant with another smaller one. This would be a simpler surgery – 45 minutes he says – with little pain. But I would need to go under anesthesia again.

I’m open to the idea.