Mastectomy Scars & laughing at life

On 26th June 2018 I had a full right Mastectomy with 15 lymph Nodes removed.
It feels personal but since I am glad that I started the process of documenting the journey I knew there would be a point where I wrote about the surgery.

I honestly was not sure I would be able to take photographs and share them but here we go. I  honestly didn’t think I would be able to look at it myself never mind be brave enough to share it, but here we are.

Not only am I able to look at it but it doesn’t reduce me to a quivering wreck. That could be the drugs of course but in fact I realise I’m very proud of getting this far and still having my humour intact and still being able to talk openly about what being diagnosed and what having Breast Cancer is like.

I realise not everyone wants to share to this extent or talk about it but those of you who know me and have followed my posts this year will know I’m quite transparent when it comes to my emotions and I’m definitely a communicator. If I felt it I talked about it and believe me it’s been very real. I haven’t been afraid to talk about the bad along with the good. If I cried I shared that along with the days I felt better. The good, the bad and the ugly.

In a way the sharing of all of it does make it very real and for me looking back even short term I can see the process I go through at times while I’m finding a way to cope and get through it all. I think my humour and my tears have been most instrumental. Both being a way to release and experience emotion without it crippling me.

If my words and photos help anyone beyond myself then that really is an amazing bonus.

If talking about these things helps to normalise the narrative around breast cancer then that is a great thing.

It occurs to me that although my battle this year is with cancer lots of us go through tough times and sometimes we all need a pep talk and a reminder to put perspective on our troubles whatever they may be.

2 weeks ago I met a little boy at my son’s school clearly going through similar journey to myself. I know from what I’ve read that kids going through treatment for cancer wont always be well enough for school but when they are it must be great to be doing something normal. I can relate to that. I’ve loved doing the school run if I was well enough. But seeing this kid did make me think “come on you can do this. Cancer makes warriors of us all”

Its at times like this you learn just how brave you can be. Just what is important in life and what isn’t.

I’ve learnt that I am stubborn and that’s helped at times as I’ve refused to give up. I’ve found my fighting force and I have stayed positive.

I’ve learnt I am still capable of finding humour in situations and always finding positives and these things have also helped me keep going.

I still don’t really know truthfully how I feel about the Surgery. I was so very scared before the surgery. (Read earlier post about this) Now I am less scared of surgery. I wasn’t sure when I would be able to look at the space where my right breast was and the scar but I have. I looked and I took some photographs. I wondered about sharing these very brutal personal photos but realised it felt like an important part of the process. Part of me documenting my story. Part of me releasing the emotion and thoughts. It has turned out to be very cathartic the process of writing and sharing.  It helped keep me smiling and laughing and the fact I have kept that humour going is great. Often I just laughed at myself as I read my own posts and pictures. 
Of course I was high as a kite after the surgery so the video’s in particular are a real hoot. I took Jedi Mickey Mouse with me and he became part of the story.  You have to laugh at that. I learnt to laugh a lot actually during Cancer.  I certainly laughed at myself after the Surgery. The drugs probably helped. But so did kicking cancer in the teeth. So did living !!! Living strong. 

Don’t be afraid to be happy even in tough times.

I have also been incredibly fortunate to learn just what true love and friendship means. I had never realised how much I was loved and cared about and how important that would be to my recovery and ability to cope through tough parts of treatment.

Staying Positive. Being badass. Laughing lots. Loving lots. Communicating and sharing. 

These are the things that have mattered. 

What next??

People are now asking what next.

For now this is what I know for sure.

1) 9 months more Herceptin. An injection every 3 weeks.

2) hormone treatment due to start soon

3) Radiotherapy???

4) Second Surgery. This will be the reconstruction. I have my reasons but yes I want this and I’m less scared now lol. At least now I know I can wake up after the general anesthetic.

I have to wait for post surgery meeting at the hospital to take place between the surgeon and his team along with results from biopsies taken during surgery. Once this has happened they will tell me the results and what the next step is. No one asks for more treatment than is necessary. If they got more than expected in surgery then that’s good news. It seems to have gone well. It’s a good neat scar. But I will wait for results and my appt.

So far we are winning. That’s what matters. I plan to be around for a long time! Cancer isn’t having me !!

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