Ongoing Journey with Breast Cancer and Reconstruction

by Val


What do those dates have in common? Me and surgery somehow related to cancer. 5 directly related to my breast. 1 to expand my options and decrease my chance of recurrence

Next Friday will be my 4th surgery related to reconstruction.

I’ve been quieter about this surgery. When I have spoke about it, I have internalized assumptions of judgment from others. I feel like I hear…

“You are so 2019’s cancer. You aren’t even cancer anymore.”
“But this one is elective. You just don’t like the results.”
“Oh, this again? It’s still a thing?”

Nobody has said any of that exactly, except my internal voice. The truths…

Yes, I am 2019’s cancer. But it doesn’t end. It will end when I qualify for affordable life insurance outside of that offered by my employer again. If we are expected to be “over cancer” then life insurance can be over us having cancer.

And yes, I guess you could look at it as elective. It’s all been voluntary. The only choice I didn’t have was taking the right one off.

So why do it?
I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to physical appearance. I’m not even pretty low, I’m just flat low. So if I look and can tell one is different than another, then one is different. Yes, I’ve already heard, all women’s are different. It’s not a size issue. It’s a shape of the size. Do I expect to wake up Friday overjoyed with the results. Nope. There are no results that will make it an improved version of what they originally were. This isn’t a boob job. My breasts were amputated and we are trying to find the prosthetic that fits.

Wow, that was an a-ha moment for me. Being a breast cancer survivor is a double edged sword. We are the dirty little pink ribbon in the cancer world because we get all the attention. And in the everyday world we are the cancer that gets told “at least you could get a boob job out of it. You always wanted to be bigger.”

But the reality, our treatment plan includes amputation of an outwardly viewed body part that is both looked at by society as part of gender identity and also cosmetic too.

What’s my point? I don’t know. I don’t have one. I’m just sharing thoughts.
You know an even crazier one? Someone reading this right now is thinking their cancer “lesser” than mine because they didn’t have a mastectomy, or they didn’t do reconstruction. They are shaming themselves for the mental weight cancer puts on them. And I’m sitting here thinking cancer is cancer. It’s not a little cancer or a lot. Impact is still heavy and not understood until you have it. Or until someone explains what it feels like. We all wish it wasn’t still a thing. But it’s always a thing. Somehow, some way, once it touches you, it’s always a thing. If you disagree because you don’t see it in your cancer person, it’s because they wear their mask well for you.

I thought May 2023 would be the last.
Truth be told, there won’t be a last until I decide to take the small implants out or the science changes. Currently they get replaced every ten years unless I elect to take them out. Trust me, I want to be done too.

✌🏼❤️🤣 to you.
Good vibes to a Pink sister having scans today. Send her love.

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