(Hopefully) Wrapping Up My Breast Reconstruction Journey

Photo Source Here.

It’s the fourth day of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022!  Today, I’m undergoing my eighth breast surgery, seventh in a series of procedures related to cancer. In May of 2020 I had a single mastectomy to remove my left breast after we found residual cancer. In November of 2020, I began the process of reconstruction starting with a Diagonal Upper Gracilis (DUG) Flap procedure in which my surgeon removed tissue from my right thigh and grafted it to my chest, forming the foundation of a new breast, along with a reduction and lift of my right breast to start the process of making my boobs symmetrical.

It’s been a long, involved, two year process.

Part of the challenge is symmetry. Since I chose to keep my right breast, it’s harder to build a new breast with the same general size and shape. As one of the surgical residents once told me, they’re twins, but they’re going to be fraternal, not identical. I can live with that, especially since I can still feel and enjoy my right breast.

I got this awesome meme here!

The quest for volume and symmetry has involved a series of fat grafts, transferring fat from my flank, left thigh, hips, and my back on this next round to my left breast. It’s working! Each time we get a little closer to a matching pair that look pretty freakin’ good. Yes, I have scars and always will, and yeah, my nipples point in different directions, but after the last procedure, I was comfortable in a T-shirt for the first time in since my mastectomy.

I’ll take it.

I’m going into this with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Once again, I’ll be going under anesthesia and under the cannula if not the knife. I’ll be putting my body through the ringer again, going through the process of healing from wounds and bruises, both internal and external, as well as whatever psychological reaction I experience post-surgery. Bandages and binders, aches from having an IV needle jammed into my left hand as I cry silent tears and kick myself for doing this. I owe my body a big apology. I question my decision and wonder if its worth it.

Then, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I’m still here, surviving and thriving. Cancer took a lot out of me, but I won’t let it steal my joy or rob me of my resolve to get my body put back together in a way that works for me. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.

So, wish me luck, and I’ll see y’all on the other side!

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