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Losing body parts is not something anyone wants, particularly not a woman who faces losing her breasts because of poxy cancer.
Some ladies won't need a mastectomy - they will have the lump cut out, which is known as a lumpectomy. In either case, both involve scars and can feel like a part of your femininity being taken away.
I was gutted when the consultant said they'd have to take all of my breast tissue on my right side. They'd spare my skin and I'd have an implant, but the nurse annoyingly kept saying: 'it'll be a long time before you look normal again.' (Yeah, thanks!)
I suppose I had kind of accepted how I looked. It was ok if no one else saw, anyway. Of course, looking back, two years on I realise now how I detested my body and how angry I was at cancer for making me look like this freak.
But there's no point in being angry at cancer, because cancer doesn't care about how you feel or how your boobs look - it's selfish, you see.
So last week, I finally got to look normal again and underwent a reconstructive surgery called a DIEP flap procedure. This is a long operation where the surgeons take tissue from your tummy to rebuild your breast.
I now understand what people mean when they say they are proud of their scars. It shows they fought for something. I never felt that with my mastectomy scar. I felt that I'd lost and I had lost. I lost my breast and my confidence but most of all I lost all trust in my body.
But this time around I gained. Not just a brand new body but my confidence and self esteem. And the new scar on my tummy and scar on my breast remind me of that.
Of course in time the scars will fade, along with my memories of cancer. To others perhaps they may be unsightly but to me they are beautiful and I couldn't be more proud of them.
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Thank you for sharing, I'm about to undergo the same reconstruction later this month after having it cancelled twice. I totally relate to what you have posted. I can't move on until I've had this done.
Wishing you a speedy recovery k
I found your post really helpful. I'm having an implant but could have the other surgery in a few years if I don't like the implant. I chose implant because I can get that done 15 minutes from home and only need 1 night in hospital. Other option is a week in a large city hospital miles from home, and a week away from my young children.
Its always good to hear stories from the other end of the journey.
Thank you both for your comments, I'll let Caroline know that you posted. She's still recovering from the surgery, so I'm not sure when she will check in here, but she'll be really happy to hear that you found her post helpful.
Hi. Thanks for your comments!
its a big operation but we are made of strong stuff! I firmly believe once we've been through cancer treatment we can get through anything. I'm nearly 4 weeks out and I'm tired and my tummy is very tight and there's lots of swelling but I never felt any pain as such and it's been a lot easier than I imagined.
Its the gold standard of reconstruction and I don't regret it
For an alternative perspective, some of you might be interested to read this blog post from Chloe, who is chosing not to have reconstruction.
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