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The Latest Results and… What Next?

9 May

For those of you who may not yet have heard the results of my most recent stereotactic biopsy (I just realized the whole world is not my Facebook friend)….

It was benign.

Yea!  I am so grateful.

I find that since that acknowledgement, I have been able to live my life with considerably less fear.  And for that I am very grateful as well.

I continue to modify my diet.  Sometimes I fall off the wagon and eat stuff I know isn’t good for me.  But then I simply get back on track and eat wonderful mostly vegetarian food again.  And I can feel my body being grateful that I am truly nourishing it.

I am also continually in the process of re-evaluating what I need to do to nourish my spirit.   Because, as many of us are realizing, physical diseases and discomforts are often a result of the needs of our souls going unaddressed for too long.

Being healthy is a process.  I got wayyyyyy off-track for a while.  (For maybe ten years or so.)  And now I’m in the process of living what I hope is a more radiantly healthy life.

Interestingly, people have been telling me lately that I have been glowing.   I figure that’s a good thing.  (And no, I’m not pregnant!)

Thank you, as always, every one of you.

May you be well.  May you be happy.

45-days Post-breast-surgery

15 Nov

The Breast Blog #17

October 13, 2011

It’s been one and a half months since my breast surgery and I thought I would update you on how things have been. The good news is that the anxiety has largely passed.  I now “believe” the pathology reports.  I believe that the lumpectomy was successful in removing the cancer in the right breast and that there is nothing cancerous in the left one. However, having said that, I must admit that once one has received a cancer diagnosis, I don’t think it’s completely possible to not worry about it a little bit.  Will it recur?  Will it manifest on the other side?

We don’t live in an environmentally pure world, and though my diet is vastly improved, it is not perfect.  There are yet risks.  However the fear has gone farther below the surface.  I can now focus on other things in my life.  I have more energy for more things than I once did.  I am ready to be more of service again and not so focused on my own navel (read: breasts, mortality, etc.)  This is a great relief.

My breasts feel much better now.  For several weeks I was unable to go for more than a half hour without a bra on.  I could feel the pulling (mostly on the internal stitches) and it felt physically uncomfortable and emotionally stressful worrying about whether or not I was impeding the healing.  I have been blessed with slightly larger breasts and I imagine my healing process is a tiny bit more involved than that of someone with a smaller cup size.

My surgeon had  told me not only would I need to wear a sports bra during the healing process but that it would be unwise for me to go without a bra ever.  This was somewhat distressing to hear as I had always found it uncomfortable to wear a bra during all my waking hours.  Many is the day that when I got home from work one of the first things I would do is take off my bra.  For larger breasted women, NOT wearing a bra all day is not comfortable, but wearing one all day is not comfortable either!  So imagine wearing one 24 hours a day!  Ick!

Recently I passed a milestone.  I was able to go all night without a bra on.  YEA!!!!  Freedom!!!

The first night with my lover sans bra, I could feel his delight in having the opportunity to once again “look and touch.”  We had had to be so careful for so long.  It was so wonderful to not feel so fragile.  It was so wonderful to be touched again.  He had been so reluctant to touch my breasts before because he was afraid he’d hurt me.  And I’d also been afraid of feeling pain because my breasts were truly super sensitive for a while.  I was also afraid of causing distress to my healing tissues.  Truthfully the latter worry has still not disappeared.

As we were lying there together, I felt myself welling up with gratitude that I still had breasts at all.  I truly had not wanted to lose them.  I love being a woman.  And I really was and am fond of my breasts.  My breasts are one part of this changed and changing middle-aged body that I am not embarrassed about.  As I let myself feel the emotion of gratitude for still being a breasted woman, I began to feel great sadness for all the women who lose their breasts due to breast cancer.

During this tearful episode of gratitude, I had a startling image come to my mind of a great crowd of women without breasts, or perhaps with only one, and off to the side I saw this big trash heap filled with discarded breasts.  What a disturbing painting that would be.  I know women choose mastectomies in order to increase their longevity on the planet.  Given the choice of living without breasts or not living at all, almost everyone would choose the former, right?  However, isn’t it sad that this is necessary?  Can you even begin to imagine the loss these women feel?  This culture equates breasts with physical beauty and sexual attractiveness.  Imagine what a struggle it must be to continue to feel attractive without breasts.  Imagine also if the option of breastfeeding a newborn were no longer an option.  (This is, after all, what breasts are really for.)

Of course many women choose to get implants, and thankfully insurance now covers this. But that has its own share of problems and emotional and physical adjustments as many women who have had reconstruction will tell you.

One dear girlfriend had a double mastectomy a few years ago.  She now has gorgeous looking pert round model-like breasts, but she said her husband doesn’t even touch her breasts anymore.  Her breasts feel cold and lifeless to him and there is no sensation to her so he figures what’s the point?  She said her breasts often feel disconnected from the rest of her body. Without someone to touch them, there is little opportunity to help incorporate them.  (“Incorporate” means literally “bring into the body.”)  As her massage therapist as well as her friend, she has asked me to please touch them/include them in the massage and help to integrate them energetically with the rest of her body.  (I have never before or since touched a woman’s breasts so much!)

Anyway, suffice it to say I am MORE than grateful to still have my breasts, scars and all.  As one social worker friend said, those scars mark me as a warrior.  I have, thus far, survived the battle against breast cancer.  I guess I am now a veteran of this war.  But it’s not a fight that will ever truly be over.  It’s not a war from which one can retire or go AWOL.  One must remain continually vigilant.

And for those of you who are reading this now who have been blessedly healthy and free from cancer, please don’t become complacent.  Do everything at your disposal to live a healthy lifestyle.  Each person I can help to get well or keep well will make this a worthwhile experience.  (And actually, it already has been worthwhile in many, many ways.  As are most of the experiences in my life.)

Be well, everyone!  Be vibrantly exuberantly WELL!!!!  Celebrate each day!  Life is good!