Friday, June 06, 2008


Another less-than-stellar doctor's visit today.

Today I went back to my plastic surgeon for a follow up.

I already knew that my left breast is migrating upwards, that it is misshapen and deformed, that the skin is tender to the touch, that it's ugly (okay that's a personal opinion but it might just be me on this one).

Today my PS recommended that I have an intermediate surgery this summer, "if needed." He measures that the breast mound (officially, that's what these fake things are called: they are not breasts, they are breast mounds) has moved upwards about 1.5 cm. This has happened with each successive surgery (this is my fourth breast mound: first, expander, then, implant, then another implant, now another expander) and each time it's done the same. He believes it will stop migrating, and I"ll be okay. I don't see it slowing down, and I suspect that I'll hit the 2cm threshold before I see him next (July 8); each of the other attempts continued to migrate until surgical correction, and I don't see why this will be different. At 2cm, it needs corrective surgery. I will be SHOCKED if I don't pass the 2cm mark, based on previous results and current happenings.

When he told me that I needed another surgery ("Oh, don't worry. It's just a half hour procedure in our office OR," he said; but when asked if I could lift, exercise, hike, camp, or swim he said, "No, not for several weeks" and I know from experience that "several" means "six" and that would be the entire summer!) I about broke down.

He recommends this correction in July, and then he recommends postponing the next surgery until December.

I made my July 8 appointment to re-evaluate, then slunk away.

First, I cried. Then, I vented to friends. Then, more crying. I have a heavy pit in my stomach just thinking about it.

But I have made some conclusions of my own.

Except for anything life threatening, I do not want more surgery. I will do surgery #10 in October as planned, but I will not add surgery #11 or postpone another surgery. Frankly, I thought that last October was my last surgery; then, upon finding a new PS I was prepared for "just one more" and that quickly got negotiated to two more. I will not negotiate again.

My PS will argue, he will say, "You didn't get this far to stop now!"

He has a valid point, except this: I can not take it any more. And I am not at ALL convinced that "just one more" will do the trick. I am convinced that my body does not like foreign bodies. I am convinced that each surgery wears on me, causing further fatigue, and wearing my soul. I am tired of giving away weeks of my life to pain and fatigue and surgical complications and doctors appointments. I have wasted far too much of my one "wild and precious life" by pursuing breasts already. I am just about done.

So, one more surgery, and I will take what I get, and give up on any hope of a normal chest. I will accept that the results are not optimal. I will move on.

I have decided to go down two cup sizes. Initially, I asked for a "large B, small C" and I've received Ds. (Don't ask me why: I don't know. Yes, I've complained. To no avail.) Now, I'm demanding a middle-of-the-road B. That's what I was before, and what I want to be again. It will be easier on my body (less skin stretching etc., and since the radiated side is "angry"), and it will draw less attention to my chest. Ds scream "look at me!" on my frame, and frankly, I would rather people look away. I certainly don't want to draw attention to scarring, deformity, and plastic.

(Don't think I don't see the irony of my plastic insides. Okay, so it's silicone,but you know what I mean. I'm refusing to use plastic Tupperware style containers, but I am filling my body with plastic blobs? Not my choice, is all I can say.)


I have also decided not to get nipples. Initially, I wanted nipples because they are part of normal breasts. Well, I don't have normal breasts, and I never will. Another surgery isn't worth it. Maybe I'll get tattoos of fake nipples, but I'm not doing more surgery.

Enough. I have had more than enough.

And I'm really sad.


Anonymous said...

My dear do you have any idea how beautiful you look even if you are cringing about your chest? I'd trade my good reconstruction for good looks.

Kristina said...

What a nice thing to say to me - and very unexpected! Thank you. I do not usually think about my looks one way or another; I'm passable, and I can get dressed up and look nice, but I think of myself as neither beautiful nor ugly. It made me smile to hear your kind words; thank you again.

As for the reconstruction vs. good sound like you have some real pain, and I'm sorry for that. I wish you felt phenomenal, Maya Angelou style (look it up - it's worthwhile; the poem is "Phenomenal Woman"). I have sometimes felt phenomenal in that way, and it had nothing to do with what was on my outside.

I am so sad for the reminders of cancer, for my removal from "normal" activities, for discomfort, for the continued surgeries. I don't know what I'd trade for an improved situation, though. I honestly don't know.

Julie said...

Hi Kristina,

I don't blame you for being angry and absolutely understand why enough is enough.
Hang in there- It just stinks that things have to be so hard sometimes.