It’s been seven months since my mastectomy. Seven very long months. I guess I am naive, but I never imagined that I’d still be dealing with the reconstructive process at this late date.
I saw my surgical oncologist this week. It’s been six months since I saw her when we reviewed my pathology report. The appointment didn’t last long. She asked how I was feeling and then examined me.
“You’re very lopsided aren’t you.” she said as she stood in front of me looking at my chest. “I’m sure you will be all fixed up when you have your next surgery.” she said with a smile.
” Geez, I sure as hell hope so!” I said, trying to laugh but feeling a bit anxious that maybe I wouldn’t be “fixed”.
I had found a small lump on the left side of my chest that I was trying not to worry about, but let’s face it, how could I not?! The oncologist felt around and found it immediately.
“Oh, yes, I can feel it,” she said. “I’m not concerned. It’s probably a surgical clip that’s come loose.”
A surgical clip? Good lord. What else?!
“Really?” I asked, a little stunned.
“It happens sometimes. No worries. They’ll remove it with the next surgery. When is your surgery by the way?”
I had been on the phone all week with the reconstructive surgeon’s office. I explained that I really needed a date as I was waiting for an MRI and couldn’t have one until I had the expanders removed. I was told the earliest I could get in was April 25th. My last injection into the expanders or “fill”, was November 6th and with the mandatory three month wait, I could technically have the surgery as early as February 6th. April 25th was a long time off that date. I had requested to be put on a cancellation list. The wait is wearing me down. Everyone says that the time will fly by but when I look at the calendar, it just looks daunting.
My oncologist finished her examination, told me I didn’t need to see her for a year and added, “Hopefully next time I see you, you will be all healed and looking symmetrical! See you next January”, and she was gone.
I was alone in the examination room, looking at myself in the mirror above the sink. I am still not used to the reflection I see. Scarred. Misshapen. Ugly. It doesn’t shock me anymore. It just saddens me. I see myself, but it’s not the body I remember. But this reflection has become my new shape. My new reality; at least until the next surgery. Then I will have a whole other “reflection” to get used to. If that’s ever really possible.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer April 30th, 2018. I will have what I hope is my last surgery, April 25th , 2019. That’s almost a year to the day. A year of ups and downs. One step forward and three steps back. A year of losses and gains. A year that has tested my resolve. Tested my strength; and certainly tested my patience.
And so I wait. Hoping every day that I get a call to say they have an earlier date for me so I can have these expanders removed and to get on with my life. To finish this journey. To finish this chapter and to start a new one. One without constant pain. One without all the anxiety and worry. One…without the WAIT.
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.