11 July 2012

Breast Reconstruction Update

Well its confirmed, although with no actual date yet but I am 5 months away from surgery - MAJOR surgery. This is not a breast reconstruction that will be pretty or easy and I'm sure if most people knew the involvement they would wonder why I'm doing it at all! 

I've spent the 7 months deciding what surgery I wanted to go with and when I finally came to a decision it was one I came to with full knowledge and understanding and a certain amount of peace. That's not to say I'm looking forward to the feeling of going into surgery for 6-8 hours and the resulting recovery from two surgery wounds and possible side effects, but I am looking forward to getting past recovery and feeling more whole, in a sense, and I feel that it will finally help complete the journey I've been on. 

When people hear about me going for breast reconstruction they are always really supportive and kind and happy for me. And I know I've said it before but sometimes along with that comes someone who is ignorant as to the degree of pain and side effects of surgery - it is not a surgery that is going to give me back the body of my 18 year old self. It is not a surgery where I'll even look normal naked - more like a patchwork doll! A breast augmentation and tummy tuck it is not. Not in the least.

This morning I read this article - its brilliant and sums up exactly what I've experienced. I have actually recently had someone joke that they wished they'd get BC as they would be able to get better boobs. I'm sure they were joking and perhaps it just came out without them really thinking about it. But my first thought was WTF? Educate Mon, educate them - don't get mad. Most stupid comments come from ignorance.
Seriously, if I could truly have my slightly saggy, stretch-marked D cup breast back that fed my three beautiful children and looked perfectly fine hoisted into a supportive pretty bra then I would in a heartbeat and I'd never complain again. But I can't. I deal everyday with an aching shoulder, tender skin, and phantom pain, nerve twitching, numb arm and the loss of a breast from stupid stupid horrible life changing and disfiguring breast cancer. Don't EVER say to anyone who's been through that that you'd want that too. Because I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. 

So please don't ask me what size I'm getting, or about the awesome beach body I'll be rocking, because its not like that. I'm doing this for me, for my mental state, for the fact that I'm so sick of shelling out $118 everytime I need a new bra so I can fit my prosthetic, for the fact that said bra needs to be purchased in a dark corner motel room from a travelling saleswoman (seriously it feels like I'm rocking up for a drug deal), for the fact I'm missing wearing cute tops and dresses and having to cover up so I don't frighten people with a full view of my non cleavage (I'm not one of those awesome women who don't care who sees it), I'm doing it so I don't get hot and angry and teary everytime I have to go shopping for new clothes. This is all for me. And I'll have to deal with the consquences if it does go wrong (and there is a teeny tiny chance it could but I'm not dwelling on that).

And also, perhaps let this serve as a reminder to us all, myself included, that everything is not as it seems all of the time. If someone is going through something take some time to listen to them, really listen and find out important details. If you don't think you have the right thing to say then its fine to say nothing rather than open your mouth and say something awkward or ignorant or embarrassing

I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Breast Cancer Blogs.


Jaz from Treacy Travels said...

Dear Mon,
I think you are very courageous. Thank you for sharing this. My journey has been nothing like yours, but I know that any surgery is no walk in the park.
I think your decisions to do this for yourself are wonderful.
I wish you all the best preparing your body, mind and spirit for the experience. Have some fun getting ready, you totally deserve success and happiness. You'll never be the same, but the new you soooooooo deserves something good!
Big hugs
Jaz x

Monica Williams said...

Oh Jaz, thank you for your lovely comments.
You've been on my mind so much lately, you are in my prayers all the time. xx

Anonymous said...

Reading your poat, I had tears in my eyes...I can so imagine the frustration at the flippant, uninformed comments...rather like telling an infertile couple 'at least you will have fun trying'.

You are brave the surgery seems alot to comprehend. But I hope for you it will be the final hurdle in terms of medical proceedures and bring you benefits in terms of those you mentioned above.

I hope it all goes well. xx

Sammy said...

Thanks for the real and educating post, Mon.
I have had run the gamut of remarks over the years and know the frustration and often pain, they cause.
So all I will say is congrats on reaching a hard won decision. And I pray that the surgery goes well and your recovery is swift xxx

Pamela said...

Once again, I am impressed by your strength! I, as other comments have indicated, had tears in my eyes as I read your post. I know the decision you have made has been painful and hard. I am praying for you and sending you all the best mojo I have! You will conqour this too!

Barbs said...

Oh Mon, you are so brave and so amazing to share your thoughts with us. It is such a difficult decision you had to make and good on you for doing it for You. I wish you all the best for the surgery, whenever it happens and for a quick recovery.

And as for thoughtless people, well that is what they are - thoughtless. Sometimes people just dont know what to say or do and you are right they need to be educated.

mikeandsusiecollins@hotmail.com said...

Oh darling,Monica, you make we want to climb on a plane , come over and just hug you so hard. I am crying as I write this, that you have to go through so much. Your strength and courage amaze me! Always in my prayers, God Bless, from Auntie Susie xxx

Leonie said...

Mon, you are so brave. What a huge decision to make, after all you have faced already.
I will be praying the surgery goes well for you.
You are an inspiration.

Stacy said...

Monica sending you lots of love and prayers. You journey a tough road with dignity, grace and much courage. Aroha Stacy xx

Anonymous said...

:)I too would cringe when I would overhear free boob job comments. They just have no idea. I decided to reconstruct after several frustrating shopping trips where the prosthesis didn't match the other side, or the lack of front greatly changed the way clothing fits. So much of recovery is how we feel about ourselves, and our appearance can definitely play into that, so hang in there, reconstruction is different for everybody and although it truly is major surgery, your next step towards recovery will be over before you know it. :)

Josie said...

Monica Williams, you are easily one of the best people I know. Just a reminder.

jjs said...

Thanks for your posts. I am at leat 6 months out before being considered for surgery but I have already been thinking of options.

I am "glad" to see you also have the phantom pains, and tender skin. It is comforting, in an odd way, to know you are not alone.

Keep posting!

Monica Williams said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and support. I love you all!

jjs - you are welcome, I just read your post on the mammogram. Those things are torture!! Its horrible to go back to the place you found out you had cancer...I hate doing it. I agree there is strength in numbers, knowing there are others is so comforting. xx