Pain and gain

Friday was the day of my third fill.  And like much of this process I learned quite a bit from the one before.  It all seems to be about knowing as much as possible about what to expect and then dismissing all the theory and just managing the after effects.  


I don’t doubt my decision to start the reconstruction process straight away, but it has not been without its own challenges. My fills have been every 2 weeks and scheduled between chemo sessions allowing my body some time to adjust and heal as best it can.  It has been nothing short of miraculous being able to see my body “blossom” over a few weeks. Especially once my hair fell out; it has been nice to be able to portray some illusion of femininity


I am now at the stage where I need to make decisions about how much fill I actually would like to spend the rest of my life with.  You would think that would be easy considering my post surgery flat chest – anything would be better than THAT, right?  What that actually means is how much your body can physically take – so definitely no illusions of a Pamela Anderson chest for me! 


I had naively thought I would like to be the size I was before surgery; a way to continue my life without the very physical reminder of what had been lost.  I had never given a single thought to what my breasts ever weighed; I only ever worried about cup size so I could buy the correct underwear!  But I now know for a fact how much mine weighed, it is written very clearly in the surgeons report: 600grams of breast tissue was removed from both breasts.  So I actually have a number to work towards….


But as most women know, there is no beauty without some kind of pain.  The cost of my “beauty” lasts for 2 days after the fill.  It comes in the form of intense pressure around my sternum area all the way through into the muscles between the shoulders and it affects the mobility of my healing right arm.  The pressure I was prepared for, but the corresponding pain is what took me totally by surprise.  In fact I was in so much pain, my back felt like it was going to go into spasm every time I sat down.  I couldn’t lie down as the pressure in my chest made me feel I couldn’t breathe.  I slept that night propped up in bed with a million pillows and almost had to bring the anti skid mat out of retirement!  


So this Friday I learned from that lesson and asked her to inject a little less fluid.  After all, I have quite a few months of chemo and fills ahead of me before the implant surgery….  Sadly she pointed out that this was not in fact true…. Not only does the muscle and skin need to be expanded to a size I am happy with, it has to be over expanded so that there is enough skin for her to use for the surgery.  The over expanded skin usually needs to be left for six months in order to have the necessary stretch.  BUT with radiation looming after chemo, this is not an option.  So realistically, I need to get to my happy fill place asap!


Friday after my fill, the pain and pressure seemed less severe than the first time, but it was honestly still a very uncomfortable two days.


I have now also been encouraged to go for smaller fills every week…  so after spending the weekend agonizing over this next reality, 2 guesses where I am going to be this Friday!


“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy”.  Anne Frank


“Natural beauty takes at least two hours in front of a mirror”. Pamela Anderson


“The good man suffers but to gain, And every virtue springs from pain; As aromatic plants bestow, No spicy fragrance while they grow; But crush’d or trodden to the ground, Diffuse their balmy sweets around”. Oliver Goldsmith


“Learning is a gift.  Even when pain is your Teacher”.  Unknown


“Pretty words are not always true, and true words are not always Pretty”. Unknown


4 thoughts on “Pain and gain

  1. Despite our present circumstances, if I look back on the past 18 months, I’m so proud of what you have achieved. I remember the day you took the step out of your comfort zone last year to start your own business. Do something that you always dreamed of, always talked about and instead of a dreaming about it, you turned it into reality. You set yourself up, built up a regular client base, made products, went out to markets and at the same time grew so much in yourself. I know now why it was the right time last July because; it gave you a new lease on life. New perspective, new ambitions, new dreams – yes it came with some sacrifices but you made it through them and the energy it gave you is what you can draw on now to get you through this all too.

    I can see how frustrated you are with the limited mobility, how you miss the interaction with your clients, your friends at Pilates and in general just not having the energy that you are accustomed to… But I have no doubt that it will be back. What’s equally important in taking that brave step last year is the people you have met along the way, ones who have had similar experiences to what you are going through right now, referrals to people who can help and those who just care and are there whenever you need them (both new and old).

    I am not sure if one can ever be prepared for the enormity of decisions which face you when life gives you a challenge such as this. Ironically the reconstruction was an easy decision for me to help with, we met with the doctor heard the options and then when I went home and researched, there was NO way you were going for more surgery – moving muscles, re-attaching arteries so the expanders were the way to go. Never did I imagine that they would cause sleepless nights, backache which leaves you wandering the house too uncomfortable sitting or lying, all the while trying to convince me that you are in fact ok, that this too shall pass…

    It’s been an honour watching you go through puberty on steroids and be there to hold your hand, I am sure any teenager would be jealous of the speed and the choices you have. Despite that I know it’s agonizing, it’s sore and it’s not something I would wish on anyone – but you tackle each phase with your head held high and insurmountable courage. You know, that I will be comfortable with whatever your decision on how many ml’s you choose to have, what size cups you choose because while those aesthetically will give you a part of you part, I am far more interested in the beauty of your soul… what is on the inside… So, to that poor friend who had to convert breast tissue into ml for us, while its invaluable information –in the end, it’s a simple realization to me that it’s not about the size of the cup but the size of your heart and having you here to share that with me is far more important…

    “I think the quality of sexiness comes from within. It is something that is in you or it isn’t and it really doesn’t have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips.” Sophia Loren

    “You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals” Anon

    “Its not about the size of the house, its about how much love is inside” M McBride

    And especially from Frank and Noodle;
    “It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Mark Twain


  2. Pete, I havn’t been able to reply to your comment until now as everytime I started to read it, I would start crying. Your complete faith in me has always amazed me. You not only supported and even encouraged my decision to leave my comfort zone and go out on my own… it has had an impact on both of our lives and sacrifices have had to be made. But you have never made me question my decison.

    I know how it hurts you to see me in pain, and I would do anything to spare you from that. So we take it all one day at a time, and deal with things as they come. I draw my strength from you and you from me when we need it. So together we are a formidable pair. xxx


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