Wire, wire chest on fire

close up photography of barbed wire

Ok ladies, think about the worst underwire bra experience you’ve ever had. You know the time that you wore a bra that was actually too small and that underwire dug into you for eight hours or the time the wire actually popped through the fabric and pushed into your breast like a fire poker. Now imagine that feeling and multiply it by let’s say a gizillion!

Gentlemen, I don’t want to leave you out but as you probably haven’t worn an underwire bra, although I wouldn’t judge, think about a soft fleshy part of you that has all been wrapped with a piece of copper wire and every time you breathe, move or even think about moving the wire presses into that flesh and makes you see stars. Can you envision that?

Well, that’s what it feels like sporting these tissue expanders. Now, there isn’t actually wire inside but that’s how best I can describe it. So far, I only have 500cc’s of fluid inside each. I have the start of small mounds forming but the shape of those mounds changes as the day unfolds. The saline doesn’t stay in one spot, it shifts. Sometimes I look down and there will be a bubble sticking up that I can push like bubble wrap. You can feel it pop. If you push it creates a divet and then pops back out again. Other times the fluid will move and push against my incisions, causing stabbing pains…which is most of the time. My skin is already very stretched and extremely tender, so when the expander fluid pools and applies extra pressure against the sutures all you can do is breathe….and try not to cry.

By the end of the day the fluid has usually settled at the bottom of the expander creating a hard ridge like an underwire on steroids. This ridge pushes against my ribs and literally makes it hard to breath. Last night was terrible. I couldn’t sleep as I couldn’t get comfortable. It felt like the top of my ribs were folding over and disappearing inside my chest cavity. Nothing I did gave me relief. You also have to remember that I have to sleep on my back on an angle still, so trying to find a “new” position for some relief is pretty limited. I tried raising my arms up, also a challenge after surgery, in order to open up my rib cage and relieve the pain. I tried shifting my chest from side to side to see if the fluid would travel away from the painful area and into another. Lying in bed, rocking from side to side like a beached whale trying desperately to relieve themselves of the pressure put upon their bodies when out of the water. Yep, that’s exactly how I felt. Just call me Orca.

Tuesday is when I go for my next fill up. It will be interesting to see where the next 120cc’s go and how my body adjusts…or doesn’t. I am looking at this reconstruction like a home renovation. You have a vision as to what the new space will look like when its all done and you have a schedule in mind, but the reality is that things never go entirely as planned and the finished product may or may not turn out like you thought. But, hopefully that finished product will be an improvement to what you have now.

Hmmm, could my reconstruction be the next “reno show” on HGTV? Now there’s a thought!


tatacancer View All →

President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I am constantly amazed by these entries. This is so helpful for the world at large. How Patti can even write these while going through all this is miraculous. Purely miraculous. But she’s always been stronger than most. She inspires me to no end.


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