First look or It's really gone . . .
Mentally I knew what had happened - my breast was removed. My left breast was gone. I was processing that my breast was removed and healing. It wasn't as painful as I suspected, I was taking pain medication but it was bearable. I wasn't able to see it. It took me a full week to work up the nerve to see my new body.
I have stop here and tell you I have the most incredible husband. He has slept on the couch next to me while I've slept in the lazy boy. He's helped me go the bathroom (even helping pull down my pants the first few days), he's fed me, held me while I cried, he's been with me every step of my healing process.
He knew I wasn't ready to see myself. I had my first shower the day after I got home. Bob told me to wait in my lazy boy and he would come get me. I had noticed he had my sewing box (yes a small box as in I have no clue how to sew) out with some old tshirts. He had been working on something. He came back to help me out of my chair and walked me back to our bathroom. He turned me around so I wasn't facing the mirror and helped me remove my clothes. Keep your eyes looking up, he says. I do. He has taken an old t-shirt and cut it in half and rigged the shoulder to cover me. This wonderful incredibe man made it so I didn't have to look at myself. He came in the shower with me and showered me. I'm crying as I write this. I am so loved by him, I am so incredibly blessed. I'm showered and he gently pats me dry. He dries my hair with me facing away from the mirror. All the time, making sure I don't have to look. How did I get so lucky?
I'm to see my surgeon on Friday, June 9th. Okay, I have looked down and could see that the left side of my chest was flat but I hadn't actually looked at myself. I need to do it before my appointment. I didn't want my first look to be in the doctor's office.
The day before I was taking a shower - my husband was once again helping me. I took off the zip up top that I was wearing to hold my tubes and faced the mirror. It was time.
I'm completely flat, there is nothing. When I say nothing I mean nothing - there is a long scar that's covered with sterry strip - several other smaller ones and no nipple. There is nothing. Nothing. I think this is when it really hits me. I have breast cancer again and my body is scarred and mutilated. OMG - my husband has seen me like this all week and been nothing but loving. He keeps telling me how beautiful I look. What a great job the surgeon has done. I'm devastated and start sobbing. I'm crying for the breast I've lost, I'm crying for the battle I have yet to fight, I'm crying that I'm scarred for my husband. He holds me while I cry and tells me I'm beautiful. He reminds me that this is temporary, that it will be fixed in the long run. He jokes "Hey look at the bright side you'll get new perky breasts out of this." He's right. I need to look at the bright side. I need to realize this is a means to an end. I've given up by breast to live. The cancer is out of my body. This is temporary.
I look again, more clinically. My surgeon has done a really great job. I have very little bruising, no swelling. I have no "chicken fat" on the side of my chest. I've heard from other women that sometimes that is left for the plastic surgeon to fix. Once again I feel blessed to have Dr. Ruark as my surgeon.
After looking at myself clinically, I take another look. Obviously my breast was hiding a secret. My God, when did my stomach get that big!!! What the hell? I've been exercising regularly. I obviously need to step up my game!
First look over. Big girl panties on. I'm ready to heal and get to the next step.