Oh, what I wouldn’t do for a fairy godmother! Someone to wave a magic wand and transform me from my “cinderella” state to a princess. Ok, maybe a warrior princess, not a frilly girl in a ball gown….although I think I could rock those glass slippers. I mean what girl doesn’t love a new pair of shoes, right!? Cinderella needed a new dress to go the ball. I need a new body, in order to wear a dress, to go anywhere. Last week I decided to stop getting anymore injections in my tissue expanders and am now in a holding pattern waiting for my switch out surgery which will hopefully happen sometime in March. At that time my expanders will be removed and the silicone implants put in. Bippety, boppity, boo(b)! Simple, right? Wrong. I know I’ve said this before, but given the comments I still get, I have to say it again. I am NOT HAVING A BOOB JOB! Breast augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that increases a woman’s breast size by inserting implants under existing breast tissue to add to or “augment” what already exists. So yes, women who undergo a “boob job” come out with breasts that are large, perky and very Real Housewives of Miami in appearance. This is NOT what I will be experiencing. I have no breast tissue to augment. With my mastectomy ALL breast tissue was removed. That is ALL tissue from my collarbone to the top of my ribs to the centre of my breast bone and all the way under my arms. All I was left with is a thin and fragile layer of skin. That’s it. The scars are horrendous. For weeks after a mastectomy, you hope that your blood supply will survive so that what’s left of your skin doesn’t die. When I finally undergo the switch out from expander to implant I am starting from ground zero. Yes, I have stretched the skin with the expander but there is no flesh, so when even the biggest silicone implant is inserted, it will not appear particularly large, at least not on me. I’m 5’9″ and not a size 2…if you know what I mean! I am still getting my head around what the final product will look like. And I really won’t have a true picture until I actually experience the next surgery. But I assure everyone that I won’t be asked to pose for fabulous before and after shots anytime soon.
Until my surgery, I am suffering as “cinder”ella. Not the would be princess but a woman who has cinder blocks inside her chest. The pain that these hard, heavy and stationery mounds cause are beyond anything I could have imagined. There is no relief from the pressure they put against my ribs, the weight of them on my lungs if I try to lie back and the challenges they present just trying manoeuvre normally. I have a litre of saline on each side of my chest, vacuum packed into two bags that I am stuck with for several more months.
On Thursday I am attending an industry Christmas luncheon. I’ve been combing through my closet trying to find something I can wear that doesn’t draw attention to how I look. I am nervous about seeing people that I haven’t seen or talked to in months and I’m panicking that I will be so riddled with anxiety that I won’t be able to socialize and mask my true feelings of terror. Cinderella wasn’t equipped with the clothes or the tools she needed to be invited to the ball. It took a fairy godmother to work magic in order to transform her into someone who “fit” into that social scene. It took a fairy godmother to give her the confidence to rise to the occasion and let people see her for who she truly was. Unfortunately I don’t have a fairy godmother but I do have some collegues and friends that I’m hoping to lean on…to help me through, what might not be considered a “ball” but for me is my first industry social event since my mastectomy. I won’t be arriving by coach. I won’t be wearing a gown or glass slippers, but hopefully I can get through the event without drawing too much attention to myself and to get home before turning into a pumpkin.
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.