Reconstruction

I guess I should mention I had surgery on Tuesday. Nothing huge, but my port was removed and I had some work done to my left breast, that pesk that didn’t heal properly after my double mastectomy so it’s taking a couple extra steps to get it looking normal before I can get my implants. With all that happened this summer, a small surgery didn’t strike me as big news. In fact, it felt pretty routine – being in the hospital, putting on the gown, getting my blood pressure checked, answering all the “Are you pregnant, how much do you weigh, when’s the last time you had anything to eat or drink, etc.” It was all very nonchalant, which in some ways scares me, because surgery should always be taken very seriously (especially by the surgeons who are coming at me with sharp objects).

I kept telling people that, after chemo, surgery is almost welcome in my life. Not so much for the act of surgery itself, but for what these surgeries represent: reconstruction. Getting put back together. Getting a beautiful, new chest that I can flaunt on our Hawaiian vacation in January, along with a short hair-do and the anticipation of a year that won’t revolve around cancer.

As I said, the surgery consisted of a port removal, which I am thrilled about. I own a lot of scoop-neck and v-neck shirts, and it was so hard to hide the darn thing. Plus it made me feel like there was an alien poking out of my skin, and the scar was wide and ugly (though they tell you that it’ll be “no more than a couple centimeters”, right on your chest where everyone can see those couple centimeters make a big difference). On the sound advice of my parents, I asked my surgeon to take out the port instead of the interventional radiologists who put it in, and I am hoping that means a much cleaner and less noticeable scar. I still can’t say yet as it’s covered over with a bandage.

On my breast, the plastic surgeon cut out my nipple, which was right above the fold,  much lower than it should be, and grafted it into place to match my right side. It’s all still under bandages, but I’ll see things on Monday when I have a follow-up with the surgeon.

Luckily, I’ve had no significant pain – took a couple Percocets Tuesday after the surgery because the port removal incision hurt, but haven’t taken anything since. And I’m glad to have this time off work, too, because work has been crazy and will be crazy for a couple more weeks. I just have to make it through this year to January!

A note about my last entry: I hope I didn’t sound full of myself. I’ll admit, I felt pretty badass when they approached me to make the video. Yes, I thought, my story will make great fodder for a documentary: young girl, dead mother, unfortunate genetic predisposition, bald, etc. And a small part of me wanted to do the documentary for myself – to talk about my experience and have things on tape so that I never forget. But even more so I wanted to show that young girls do get breast cancer, and they can get through it. For all the doctors who said to other women, “You’re too young, come back in 6 months.” For all the young women who felt alone and that all the others in the support group didn’t understand the unique issues that young people deal with. For anyone who didn’t want to hear, “But you’re so young” and “How unfortunate” and “You’re going to get through it and live a long, happy life”. That’s who the video (and this blog) is really for.

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2 responses to “Reconstruction

  1. You may be “full of yourself” this one time. You have earned it.

  2. Marlene Klayman

    Cara……….You have NEVER come across as full of yourself. You HAVE come across as an open, honest, funny and brave young woman who is dealing with this cancer experience as well as anyone could ever expect, if not much better. I admire and respect you, I have gotten to know you much deeper than ever before via your blog. YOU GO, GIRL! We continue to root for you and you and Will certainly deserve your wonderful Hawaiian vacation!
    Marlene

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