A few weeks had passed and I was still camped out at my parents’. It was like living at home all over again and I was quickly approaching a month of being in their guest bedroom.
I was moving around a little better, in spite of still having to sleep sitting up on pillows. It was time for my first tissue expansion. The nurse had instructed me to have someone drive me and to take a muscle relaxer before arriving.
I was extremely nervous.
I checked in and sat back down in the waiting room. My aunt had driven me to the doctor’s office and we sat in the waiting room and chatted for a while.
I couldn’t be still. I tapped my foot nervously and the soft jazz music playing in the office did nothing in terms of calming my nerves.
The front door of the Dr’s office swung open and in came superman 🙂 My boyfriend had left the gym and made it just in time. I was glad to see him and he managed to make me laugh which helped ease my nerves a bit.
“We’re ready for you,” the nurse called as she led me back to the examination room.
She left the room as I slid on the hospital gown and made sure it was open in the front. I got nervous all over again.
I sat on the end of the examination table and sung my feet while I listened to the footsteps outside the door.
“I should have just let them remove my breasts and be done”, I thought to myself. Please don’t let this be painful. I…
my thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.
Usually I’m excited about seeing the plastic surgeon because he’s always so friendly and makes me laugh, but today I was dreading seeing his face and apparently it showed.
” Are you nervous? You don’t look happy to see me,” he said shaking my hand like he does every time I’m in his office.
” A little,” I said managing to flash a half smile.
“Now, have I hurt you before?” he smiled as he motioned for me to slide back.
He pulled out a butterfly needle, the same needles used to draw blood. I had seen plenty of these needles but always attached to a small tube, BUT this one was attached to a rather large bag of saline.
He used what he called a “magnet” to search for the port he needed to connect the needle to, once he found it he made a small circle with a marker.
He was touching my chest, but it felt so weird. I was looking at him touching me, but all I could feel was the pressure of his fingers.
“You ready?” he asked positioning the needle.
I closed my eyes tight and shook my head yes.
” 1…2…3…ok quick pinch,” he said. I felt the needle piercing my flesh. The nurse then began pushing the saline solution in.
It was like watching a water balloon fill up, only this was my skin stretching. The more she pushed, the tighter and more uncomfortable it felt.
” I can’t,” I said closing my eyes.
She stopped pushing and they pulled the needle out and continued with the left side.
When they finished, the nurse helped me up and had me look in the mirror.
I was in so much pain. I felt like I had bricks in my chest, but I looked like I had breasts.
I guess it looked better, but it felt terrible.
They left out of the room to give me a chance to get dressed. I struggled to get my shirt back on.
The Dr explained that I would need to take it easy and probably take more pain medicine when I got home. They scheduled my second expansion and sent me on my way.
By the time I reached my boyfriend’s car, I was in extreme pain.
He helped me in the car and we started out on what felt like the longest drive of my life.
I could feel every bump on the road and every light seemed to take it’s precious time turning green.
This pain was worse than what I felt after my mastectomy.
I like to think I have a high tolerance for pain, but THIS was too much.
I cried on the way home and was in so much pain, my boyfriend had to literally lift me up on the bed.
I thought the reconstruction was was going to be “the easy part” at least that’s what they kept telling me, but in this moment THIS was the worst part!
I cried as I struggled to move back on the bed. I was uncomfortable and I was in pain.
Over the course of the next few days, the pain began to ease up, but it was extremely uncomfortable.
My doctors were beginning to talk about me getting back to my regular routine and I was excited. I had been out of work since December and it was now June. I was beyond ready to get back into the swing of life. However, in all my appointments, I had yet to hear what I had been waiting on. I had heard so much fancy medical terminology and doctors had discussed further treatment options, but I was still waiting for them to say what I had been declaring since my diagnosis…
I've always believed that we tend to be the most effective in areas where we have been the most affected. It's often our deepest pains that draw us closer to our purpose. Those words never really hit home until I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 28. I had watched both my mother and grandmother battle the disease, but never thought I would find myself in the same battle, especially not so young. I've learned through this journey that it's not what you go through, but how you go through it. I wanted to share my story in hopes that it will inspire someone to keep fighting, keep the faith and live on purpose.