Start from part 1. Seriously, you’re about to have no idea what I’m rambling about otherwise.
It’s been a year
I know, I know. This blog is well overdue and to be totally upfront, I don’t really have an excuse as to why it hasn’t been written yet. I could tell you I’ve been too busy, or that I came down with a case of temporary amnesia or some other tall tale, but I’d be lying.
To be completely honest I was tired of talking about boobs. And some personal fears and concerns came up that made me less confident about sharing my story because I didn’t want to scare people away from making what I believe is the right decision for many women with the BRCA mutation.
I’m ready to get past that and deal with it, so here’s the 411 on the past 10 months.
The big move
While I was still going through the expansion phase of my reconstruction, I made the decision to move to Austin, TX. Honestly, this is one of the harder things I’ve done in my life. I’ve met some amazing people who have changed my life for the better and helped me grow so much. I’ve finally settled in and work for a great company called Stitch Fix answering customer service emails. To all the recent college grads out there- don’t feel bad if you don’t land your dream job right out of college. It doesn’t happen for everyone, so don’t be fooled by social media facades.
After moving to Austin in August, I took a month-long hiatus to fly back to Ohio for my reconstructive surgery.
Recovery from my reconstructive surgery was a walk in the park compared to the initial mastectomy. I flew home in early October and was back in Austin by Halloween.
No drains, minimal muscle soreness, and no overnight hospital stay this time.
My scars are bigger than I had expected and run about 8 inches on each side from my underarm to the center of my chest. I was pretty self-conscious about the scars at first but have since accepted them as a part of my body and no longer let them restrict my clothing or bathing suit choices.
Here’s where things get a little cloudy
A couple of weeks after my reconstruction, the swelling went down and I noticed I was not as thrilled with the shape of my implants as I had been immediately following surgery. While I was 100% ready to accept scarring and losing my nipples going into this operation, somewhat misshapen breasts were not something I had mentally prepared myself for. This isn’t something you would ever notice under clothes but has come to bother me more than I thought it might. The implants have flattened in the middle, and move and contract based on my muscle movements which is normal but was not communicated to me ahead of time..
Over the past few months, I’ve gone through episodes of self-consciousness and body image issues as a result. I have a hard time admitting this as I’ve always been a fairly confident and balanced person. I have trouble even putting it into words because I haven’t fully processed how I feel going through this just yet.
That being said, I still feel that I have 100% made the right decision and would hate for cosmetic fears to deter anyone else from being proactive in their health. If I had to make the choice again, I would.
In the future
For the time being, I’m just moving on with my life. I’ve met with my surgeon in Ohio and would have to switch out the implants in order to adjust the shape and I’m just not ready to go through it all again right now. I’ve also decided to hold off on nipple reconstruction until a later date if I decide to go through it at all. Not really having to wear a bra has been an unexpected perk.
The important take-aways are that while this journey hasn’t been easy by any definition of the word, the chances of me getting breast cancer are now lower than the general population of people without the BRCA mutation. I no longer have this shadow of what could happen lingering over me as heavily. My loved ones will likely not have to watch me go through what I watched my mother endure. I can go on living my life and that is what I want everyone to take away from this. That is what I want people to remember.
Thank you for going on this journey with me and if anyone asks: Yes, they’re fake.
Resources on BRCA mutations: