A year ago today, I got my new boobs… can you believe that shit? Time flies when you’re living life.
I had to go back and reread my posts during this time last year… I almost forgot how miserable I was, of course for good reason. I was worried and self-conscious. I was frustrated that I’d lost control of important things in my life. I was annoyed by my lack of independence.
I was certainly not in the Christmas spirit.
Today, I’m the complete opposite.
I’m surprised at how into the holiday season I am, because a few weeks ago, I felt like the world was ending… I’d actually planned a completely different blog post that I decided not to publish.
It should come as no surprise that the presidential election got me thinking about the state of the world we’re living in… not because of who won, but because of the embarrassing and shameful ways people have been treating each other throughout the entire process. And for the first time, I felt censored. I knew some would applaud a political blog post that was balanced and thoughtful, and others would pick it apart, misinterpret it and sling mud at me. And that’s pretty fucking lame.
But you know what else is lame? Cancer… last year I had it… this year, I’m pretty sure America has it.
And so, as someone’s who’s survived cancer twice, when I look at how America is suffering from its own, I understand the outrage from both sides… I understand the illogical displays of anger. I understand the frustrations. I understand the fears. And I understand how opposing sides do not understand each other.
That’s what cancer does to you… it never makes sense.
What I don’t understand is why we’re treating each other so badly. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, the last thing you’d ever do is berate that person, let alone publicly, even when they’re losing their ever-loving minds and making no sense. Both times I was diagnosed, I had many breakdowns, many moments of temporary insanity… and people were patient with me. The people in my life supported my bipolar decision-making… they held their tongues when I snapped at them out of my own frustration… they didn’t try to fuel the cancer with negativity.
And so I’d hoped to shed some wisdom and love with the masses by drawing parallels between what it’s like to battle cancer and what we as a country are battling, and more importantly, what Americans who want to live in harmony must do to survive this cancer. And then, like it does, time passed… the verbal social media assaults have started to fade into the background… most people are moving on with their lives, perhaps now with a new, more focused mindset on change, despite (or maybe as a result of) a relentless cycle of political news.
And then we officially entered the holiday season… the most wonderful time of the year…
And I realized that this time last year, I was preparing for what I hoped would be my final reconstructive surgery. And at the height of my depression, I prayed that the holiday season would save me… and it really never did.
But this year, it has.
I have so much to be thankful for. My year was a terrific one. Exactly one year post-surgery, my breasts look pretty fucking remarkable. People don’t know they’re fake unless they’ve read this blog or know me personally.
But they’re not perfect… and humans are constantly striving for perfection.
So when I visited my plastic surgeon a few days ago, and he recommended another reconstructive surgery in February, I was not surprised.
Why? Because reconstruction is so fucking complicated.
After spending several weeks last year paralyzed with anxiety over which reconstructive surgery to have, I opted for a less than popular option for someone like me who’s previously had radiation to her chest. I opted to forgo using body fat or muscle in my reconstruction, and instead went with just silicone implants. I’m still grateful I made the right decision.
During my surgery last year, the implants were placed underneath my pectoral muscles, which not only helps to protect the implants while you’re healing, but also disguises any rippling from the edges of the implant, because there’s a layer of muscle between the implant and the skin.
The problem is, now that I’m healed, and have been exercising like a boss, my pecs, which are not in the right spot, contract with the simplest movements. The imperfections with my reconstruction are much more visible when I’m doing simple things like brushing my teeth. My right pec flexes so impressively Arnold Schwarzenegger would be jealous. The left side does not have this problem at all.
This involuntary flexing and movement is called “animation” and it creates visible gaps, puckers and other deformities. It also feels weird because it happens with the slightest movements. I’d hoped my doctor could fix it with a less invasive procedure, but consistent with my shitty luck, it requires a real deal surgery… he must basically redo the reconstruction altogether, on both sides, because what you do to the right has to be done to the left.
He recommends removing both implants from underneath the pec muscles and will instead place them on top of the muscles. To protect the implants and shield them from the skin, he will place a layer of AlloDerm (cadaver skin) over it to hold it in place and prevent them from sagging.
Science is pretty fucking brilliant, no?
The surgery is not a short one… I’ll need to have drains… I’m sure it will be painful… I’m sure I’ll be out of commission for a couple of weeks… and I honestly almost can’t believe that I have to do this again… the truth is, I don’t HAVE to do it… I have a choice. You’d think that with all I went through last year, I’d say, fuck it.
But I’m braver than that. And even better, I have faith that it will all be okay. Because as hard as last year was, it turned out okay. And it will again.
Of course, I’ve questioned, why didn’t my doctor put my implants on top of the muscle to begin with? And the answer is, because reconstruction is complicated. There are so many factors that go into making reconstructive decisions and in reality, many people have visible issues with implants placed on top of the muscle. There are drawbacks to every option that you must be prepared for. I’ll likely need to have fat grafting a few months after my surgery, which basically means my doctor will transplant liposuctioned fat into my boobs to disguise any gaps or rippling from the edges of the implants. But you know what? A little free lipo never hurt anyone. #SilverFuckingLining
So it seems this year taught me that time really does heal if you allow it to. I blinked and it was December. As painful as my physical recovery was last year, it already feels like ages ago, and I survived it just fine. Last year I was too busy being the girl who had cancer to think clearly. And because of that, I overreacted a lot, I overthought a lot and I stressed myself out a whole lot. This year, I listened more… to myself and to others. I allowed myself to accept that things don’t always go as planned. I spent the year living in the moments and taking things one day at a time. So in a complete 180 to last year, I’m not scared about surgery this time… I’m excited to fix something that bothers me, and bothers my doctor. And I’m grateful my plastic surgeon is basically a magician.
So today I’m wishing my boobs a happy birthday, I’m reflecting on how far I’ve really come and I’m laughing at the irony that on my 35th birthday this coming February, I’ll get another makeover.
For now, I’m going to enjoy everything this season has to offer and appreciate that what I thought I’d lost last year found me again.
And to those who have struggled this year, my heart is with you… and I promise you, next year will be different.
Happiest of holidays to you and yours ❤