My mastectomy tattoo phase 1

A tattoo should tell a story I  really believe that. You should wait until you have a major accomplishment or want to acknowledge something and you need to know exactly where you want it, too. otherwise you end up years later at the plastic surgeon  painfully removing it (example all those tramp stamps). I have a sun for my four sons, a bird for my mom reminding me a "life unlived is lost", several swallows for the amazing women in my life who have died, a crown for my dad as he is my king and I am his princess, a heart for TFO, an infinity sign with my family 13 of us, a ribbon of hope with my Meggie and Rosie for stregthen and a butterfly that reminds me that when a caterpillar thought their life was over it turned into something beautiful. So clearly I am know what I am doing and it made sense that I would get a chest piece over my stupid dumb foobs. When I marched into DJ's   Halo that January 2013 and he told me I was not ready I almost cried, ok I did. But he was right since everything failed shortly after that. I waited until I was healed and we decided to stay away from the scars and it was a go NOW!!! But why do woman choose this? I can only speak for me and will do my best to do just that.

First let me start by saying there are few people my husband would want to touch my breasts at all let alone for this long. My doctors being the only and DJ being the second to only. He came with me but he and Genevieve's husband left to hit some SU bars and have talks about breast cancer and beer, seems normal on a Monday night for a school teacher and college professor. If you know DJ then you  he is the kindest-amazingest-spiritual man on the earth so I was at ease. So at ease that the left side where all my cording is and I thought was going to be the hardest, I nearly fell asleep! The right on the other hand where all my nerve damage is and lymphedema is WOWOOWWOWOWO it hurt but weird hurt. I felt nothing then BAM instant pain yet I could not tell where he was. I think DJ found this amusing but would never admit it. Now I will not lie my breast was red, swollen and pained for a few days after for sure lymph reacted. But I added an ice pack and it went down and I am fine now. SHHHHHH do not tell my doctor.

Breast cancer strips us both physically and mentally taking at times our dignity. It comes in like a devil when we are not looking and rips into our femininity like a thief. Leaving us blank. Whether you have had recon or not you look down and see what it has left behind. It is a reminder of both how far you have come, what lies ahead and the pain that you are feeling at that moment. The scars remind us of the fact that we are here, they are the tough skin that has surfaced over trying to heal. Yes the scars should be our mark that we are strong and that is true. But is that enough for us women? No fucking way! I look down and was confused, lost in emotion filled with so much it confused me. I was happy to have the cancer gone, mad to be a mess, confused because they do not look like breasts and yet hollow because I felt nothing. Felt nothing physically which was messing with me mentally.  I wanted to regain this back in some frame.

I wanted something to remind me of beauty and growth. Since healing is just that right? Walking one day I said to TFO that I wanted a flower and would he draw it -of course. He went right to magnolia since my love of the Grateful Dead Sugar Magnolia is strong. When I looked up the meaning it meant dignity, PERFECT. See between having a doctor touch, remove, cut, examine and constantly feel  our bodies we loose something-like we have no modesty any more, I did feel cancer took my dignity.  It took my body which was not perfect but it was mine and made me have to place many scars all over it, lay naked asleep on a table as surgeons and nurses removed the cancer and placed me somewhat back together. It messes with my mind making me lose my confidence and it confused who I was for a brief moment. Which I wanted back.

I had a blank emotion when I looked at my chest, something was missing and I needed to fill that space with life. Adding to the not feeling my chest I wanted to mentally feel something. Flowers for sure mean life they bloom when planted. I want to be able to take my shirt off n front of my husband and he see the beauty not the scars- I wanted to bloom again. OK OK OK I know if he even still reads this god forsaken blog he would say he never saw them. But I felt him seeing them. I want to look at myself and see flowers of plenty because in a wacky way that will make the voices tell me that is what he sees. Damn those voices, if only they would shut the hell up. They see those scars and tell me too much shit I need to take them over and rewrite the story.

My tattoo tells the story of how I have grown through this stupid dumb fucking breast cancer process. How I have learned you have to find ways to heal your mind as well as your body. That cancer takes its toll and we must finds ways to reclaim who we are and create a new us. I have accomplished so much in these past almost 3 years and have so much more ahead of me. I definitely want to acknowledge this this is what cancer can not do this is me. Cancer brought on a straight up shit show, but I am prepared to clean myself off each time! The after math of cancer is so much more than I ever anticipated, finding ways to heal is the only way to live. That and a shiny tiara!

DISCLAIMER

 

I am wiling to show the new ink even at family events when quiet male cousins walk in.... AWKWARD 

Be nice

So true right cause hell you never know! Hence the reason I think there is no easy cancer because we have no idea what other challenges are added to their diagnosis or how they will handle it. That being said I am kind and nice especially when out and about.  To the point where my children roll their eyes and ask "do you have to talk to everyone?". Well yes because maybe they may need that little chat. There has been the occasional time where I ripped someone a new ass but that has been on rare occasion and always justified I swear. Hell I am not perfect but for the most part I am nice.

The other day we were running errands and Tom was dropping me at the grocery store he pulled up let me and two kids out and as I was getting my bags out of the trunk horns started blaring. I looked up at this very angry woman flipping off my husband and screaming "what the fuck is your god damn problem?". She pulls into a spot Tom rolls down the window and says sorry that he was dropping his wife off. She replies "You are blocking the god damn lot you idiot. Hope you get hit". I said "Excuse me my children are here". She pulls up her face mask on and says she does not give a shit. We go to get our cart and she literally smacks Anthony with her bags and slams the cart into us which Sam was pushing. She had a beanie on, looking like she was in treatment possibly and the medical mask tells me she must not want germs or to get sick. 

I spent the next 45 minutes avoiding this woman in the store and explaining to my kids that sometimes people are going through so much that they can not help but project their negativity on others. Sam who is the kindest soul always willing to help with a smile was sad and asked if we should help her -no I said she will not respond to that (fact is I wanted to rip her a new ass but felt she had enough to deal with). Anthony who usually only helps the young pretty ladies (he is a work in progress) was mad-he didn't understand why this adult acted this way and why she was getting away with it. He wanted me to "go off on her" but I knew this woman was too angry and on this day I was too sad.  I explained that she may have a serious illness, someone may have died or she may have financial issues that are so stressful. He looked at me and said "So do you mom".

Here is what that lady did not know about me. I was going to my friends funeral that day and my heart was broken all day I had been crying. My house is a mess. The upstairs bathroom literally collapsed into the downstairs and we have insurance to deal with and a bad roofer- house hell if you would and really it is bad the worse you can imagine. That I have major neurological issues that have resulted in specialists because of the increased numbness and pain all down my right side. I have ad 4 migraines this month and if you have suffered from these they suck - the days after your body feels depleted. I deal with constant pins and needles in my feet and hands so bad that sometimes I can not text ad the ringing in my ears that is 24/7 and I want to cry a lot. That day my kids came with me because every step I took was excruciating I could not feel my foot when I stepped down and this effected my walking and why Tom drove me and dropped me.I physically could not drive because I have optic nerve damage and my eye were very blurred.  We all have challenges in life but how we reacted to them on others is a result of the person we are.  

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I have many friends all over the world that have terminal cancer. They deal with more than I can ever even begin to understand. Physical and emotional issues financial stress and the reality of their disease is tremendous. But they are kind, they are not perfect and have their moments I am sure but that day all I could think about is if that was them would they have treated us like that? Some people are just mean and nasty, cancer or illness or life is their excuse to act this way even more and I say bull freaking shit. Cancer did not make me kind I was before just like they were mean before this will not change them.  What they or me or you are going through is difficult to say the least but we must still be nice and kind if not what is left?

When I think about how I want my kids to be when they grow up the first thing I think about is kind. I want them to talk to the store clerk the same way they talk to the doctor or the teachers at school the same way they do the custodians. I want them to smile at the homeless person and offer a hand to the elderly. Love they brother, isn't that in the bible? No I am not a religious girl but I believe Jesus was a cool dude who treated the lepers, the apostles, the kings and the Mary Magdalenes all the same. His actions were that of kindness. With kindness we can have humanity which I think is badass. No it won't cure jack shit but when I am painfully walking through the store and someone very nicely helps me straighten my tiara that may ease my pain just a little because it might make me feel like some random strangers cares about this princess and others out in this crazy world! Be nice it does the world and your soul good plus you never know who you are effecting. 

Posted on February 21, 2015 .

This little light of mine

Yes I know that the logic answer is that the light in the window is the flash from the camera, I am a college educated lady so I get that is what you see. I want to tell you a secret. For my entire life this picture has meant the world to me. The cake is amazing (I needed two cause I am a princess after all), my brother is smiling, my sister looks ready to party and my father has his arms wrapped around us. But that is not why. I used to pretend my mom took this picture and I was looking at her and that light is her shining on us. Say what you want but that is what is happening. 

You go through life and look for signs and ask for those who have died to show you something because it brings you comfort. That is what the light does, it comforted me. When I was younger I pretended that she was there at this birthday party yelling at me to smile, telling me that I light up her life. It is funny because today on my 43rd birthday I do not find that silly. I think that is exactly what she was doing. 

I hate my birthday because it was the last event before her death, it looms over my family like the darkest cloud ever. No she would not want that but it doesn't matter we ache still for her so the light in this picture needs to shine.  I imagine that my birthday the first year after her murder was painful but if I know my family  they used it to eat, drink, eat some more and to find a way to embrace the loud love in the house. Birthdays are supposed to do that right? But this birthday came with a price because the anniversary of her death comes after and their heart was broken. But there was this little unassuming princess asking for birthday cake so the party must go on.

Finding a light to shine at your darkest moments warms you and gets you through. This picture was just 2 years after her death. It was still raw and painful but you don't see or feel that. All you see is a little princess with her big protective brother, big loving sister, her daddy with his arms around his family and the light of her mother shining on a birthday party. 

 

Posted on January 31, 2015 .

Divas at your service-Happy One Year Anniversary to me

It has been one year since I joined the CureDiva team or better yet family. When I was first asked by Efrat to blog she wanted me to dig deep for my first post about body image. Efrat wanted the Diva Community to see just what my blogs were about. Efrat wanted the lounge section be a place where woman could find the help, tips and resources they could feel trusted, just like girlfriends relying on each other. I have felt like in this past year I have helped build this community just like my girlfriend wanted. Here is the thing, there is so much to CureDiva people have no idea about. I have seen posts and and questions about the site being just a shop and  selling "stuff". While yes it is a shopping mall it is so much more and in the past year I have learned just that. I have decided to share some stories just so everyone can see what CD is about. 

Cure Diva offers two services that no site seems to have. One is the Guardian Divas.  An area that I run and am honored to be a part of. Woman who are looking for support can now reach out to these guardians who have been there. Seems like a win win because for the guardians it ends up being the therapy they need to heal. You know it is never over and this helps us push through. The other is "Divas at your Service".  In the bottom right corner a screen pops up asking for help, seems simple enough. Except what is on the other end is not a computer or mass of people randomly answering questions they know nothing about. It is myself, Lisa or Carole woman who get it, who understand and want to help you through your cancer process. May not seem huge but when you are DX with breast cancer which is so private this intimate chat is so such a relief. I want to explain just how.

The Alone

I was on the service and chatting nicely with a woman who was very alone. She lived in a very secluded wooded area and none of her friend ever had breast cancer. Her support was great but no one really understood. After her mastectomy she had chemo, rads, a horrible infection, implants removed and scars so bad she can not use any prosthesis, NONE. She hated this, she missed her breasts, any breasts, she just wanted to be a girl again. She hated, loathed how she looked without a bra, is there anything she could do. I gave her my number and she called me. I showed her various bras and we decided on the Ana Ono kelly Lace . The fact that this bra was made by a breast cancer momma made her so happy! Great she said and we hung up. About a week later I got a call apologizing for bother me. "Alone" wanted to tell me that the bra was just what she needed. It made her feel like a woman, she felt pretty again like herself. She was always pretty I am sure but the bra gave her that boost! She thanked me about 100xs for giving her a piece of herself back and then I heard it-the tears and crying. We sat there in silence both crying for what felt like a minute but was probably 10 seconds. That moment it was about sisterhood, that is CureDiva.

The Grandma

I got an email from Carole asking me to help this sweet old woman, no problem. She was 87 and a 21 year breast cancer survivor!!! Hated that young kids were getting breast cancer said it was for old ladies and a stupid disease. I loved her right away. She didn't leave the house much but had a single mastectomy, used a walker and needed a new prosthesis her old one was "shot to hell in a hand basket". After an hour and 45 minute chat were I tried to figure out which one she had and find a bra we placed an order. I called her back when I knew she got it. She was so happy that I not only called her but remembered and even happier that it works like a dream. Now she will look all together at church, "you made this old lady happy". that is CureDiva.

The Uni  

Our PR told us about a TV show doing a make over for a breast cancer patient and could we send some products. Great, that sounds just perfect. After getting some info I asked if I could please talk to the star because we needed to know some info that would help with the bra and the prosthesis. After some persuading they said yes. So I rang the woman, "Is this AnnMarie of SDBC" was her response. Not only did I know her but I LOVE LOVE LOVE her. She is a young BC girl who needed this make over and a prosthesis.   See she had been knitting herself one, yes you read that right. After we both burst into chills and tears I go her measurements. For her it wasn't about getting just a bra it was about getting back into her life. She needed to start getting out of the T shirt and jeans and start having a little style like she did before all this shit!  I loved picking out her bras ( I found ones with pretty colors that would look great on her) and inserts, knowing who was getting them made me so happy. That is CureDiva

 

The Brobe

I was helping this lovely woman with her mastectomy prep. Her doctor never gave her the info about using a recliner to sleep in so I told her about the BedLounger. She was so excited to have these tips. We chatted about treatment what she was feeling and what was next. She wanted all the options possible for dealing with drains and really wished we had the Brobe which was on back order. I do this 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Brobe" and sent her mine. She was blown away by this plus I sent her a Bravery Bag. We have been texting ever since. She sent the Brobe back and I have since sent it on to the next but that is what CureDiva is about making that connection.

CureDiva is not just a shopping page it is a community set up to give the best possible platform for connecting to others. I have made so many incredible connections through this page. I did not even blog about the vendors!!! Nor have I discussed my Tali, my sun who I love with my heart even a sea can not break our sisterhood. I work with a small company that I am in contact with daily. They listen to the voice I have for the breast cancer community and respect those crazy comments I have. Aya, Dana, Maor, Zohar, Carole, Lisa, Mor, Ayete  all work together with the same mission to make CureDiva a community not just a page. Now if only I can talk them into a tiara section it is the only page we are missing! 

Happy one Year Anniversary to me! 

 

Don't look back.....

It’s funny how sometimes I think we have to look back just a little to see how far we have really come. Seeing what we have accomplished is just what some of us need to give us the push to get through this next phase. As we approach the New Year, we fill it with resolutions, goals and all sorts of achievements that we want to reach. But the reality is our body has changed so drastically, so how the hell can we do half of what we want? When I think about where I was in January 2014, I am amazed at where I am right now. I am talking mentally--screw the weight crap. That is one of the things we forget: mental health. 

For 2015, we need to focus on our mental health! Breast cancer changes our physical body so much that it alters our self esteem, our confidence, our sex drive and ultimately our mental being. This has to be the first place where make the change in 2015. If we can regain a little of our self worth back, just think of all that will follow! It is time to accept, respect and honor what we hide under those damn clothes, understanding the marks cancer left and getting a grasp on the person we have become in spite of them.

But how, when cancer brings a load of pain, death and suffering? I have no idea but what I do know is that if I do not find a way to reclaim my mental being in 2015, part of me loses to cancer and that I can not handle. 2015, is about healing: finding that garden, planting and blooming wherever you grow. Digging deep and finding that mental health is the key to physical recovering. Here is a great thing, I am not gardener at all. I need help weeding, pruning, watering and getting the right sun. Finding someone to help me is how I will get my mental health on in 2015, and chances are, they need it too! What a beautiful garden we will have!

So I say ‘bring on 2015.’ I look forward to this year unlike many others in spite of my health issues, in spite of the challenges I face because I know that I have so many people who will help me as I am helping them bloom! Perfect attitude as I go for my mastectomy tattoo this January, which will be--you guessed it flowers! And yes I will be wearing my tiara!

- See more at: http://www.curediva.com/blog/blog-homepage/dont-look-back/#sthash.VXgoBFHm.dpuf

Thank you for being a friend

Fact- I have made the bestest, most awesomest friends since my diagnosis. I mean they are the best. Some have become like sisters to me. One I even traveled to go see this weekend. It was epic to hug her (not to tight the girl is  mess) but the reality was a quick trip to the doc to have her checked for some serious pain. Fucking metastatic cancer. I loved every part part of being with Seporah this weekend. The food, her town, her hamster and fish, the laughing but hated with a passion the cancer part. NO it wasn't all about cancer but her pain was clear and how it effected the visit was yet it didn't matter if we just sat and did nothing either proving what amazing friends we are. I hated leaving her, hated it like a child hates to part with it's blankie. We needed this weekend like oxygen and I would not trade it for anything but watching her color change from walking too much or having to pick up her friggin nasty tissue cause she was in pain told me a different side to this. The reality of our friendship. The sisterhood is real, I mean I traveled 4.5 hours to see the freak not knowing what I was getting into. Granted I brought Tom but what good is he really the big sap! I would be lost with my skittle butt and devastated if she wasn't part of my daily routine. 

 I will not say that I met her or any of my peeps because of cancer I refuse to give cancer the benefit of giving me anything especially these fabulous men and women. I do call them my "cancer friends". They get it, they understand all the effed up shit that comes with cancer. And I mean all of it. There is so much emotional baggage that sometimes I think  it out weighs the physical. So the truth be told we need each other like oxygen. Studies show that 70% of those who find a support group do better in their healing, hence the reason I have created Bravery Bags, Warrior Wellness  why I work for pages like Cure Diva and the Googe Chat.

BUT here is the thing. As much as I love Seporah, Lisa, Bob, Kate, Nancy, Tali, Efrat, Norma, Val, Mabel, Remi, Knot, AnneMarie, Val, Jo, Emily and so many others. Some of them I talk to daily and all day. I need them like my family. BUT if someone came along and said "if you could get rid of cancer but all those friendships would go would you?". WOW, ummmmmm yes I would. Cancer ruined their life, altered and destroyed them. It has killed my friends Barbie, Jen, Shelly, Kim, Jennifer and so many more. So yes as much as I love these amazing people in a heart beat I would lose that and that breaks my heart at the same time. If only this was that simple it is not, cancer is here but the thought entered my mind so I had to put the thoughts down. And after this weekend it would be even clearer. I am honored to know Seporah but for her to never have cancer would be an honor beyond existence. One that even me typing this is making me cry because I know that it is a dream, warped right?

Our relationships are s vital to us living through cancer. Our diagnosis are all different, our take on cancer may not be the same, even our time zone are not lined up but we connect. We connect in a way that makes us push our crazy butts through this cancer world. We love each other and understand the screwed up, surgery, chemo, radiation, tamoxifen, scared ways that cancer leaves us. We get that some days we don't want to be positive happy go lucky freaks that we just want to cry. We know that sometimes we just want to laugh at our loop-sided nippleless breasts that are sewn together with our butt (yes sometimes we have butt-boobs). We want to dream we never met and never got cancer. And some days we drive 4.5 hours so give each other a hug in real life because we love each other so. 

I am just glad I don't have to give them up. I am also glad that none of these cancer friends will take my tiara or boa or stilettos, well Bob might but that's a different blog! 


It's my boobs and I will cry if I want to...I will laugh too!

Nipple courtesy of Pink Perfect

Nipple courtesy of Pink Perfect

.Damn things change fast with breast cancer. My body in the past two and half years has seen some crazy shit. I have been sliced and diced like mango (I like that fruit and I am a vegetarian so I won't use meat). When I was first diagnosis I did the whole "take them off" "get rid of them" "they are trying to kill me I don't want them". I thought that was the easy part, you know because the cancer was there so why not just get rid of what is hurting you. Then after the breasts settle :) and you start to adjust so does your mind. And the games begin.

It happened fast for me I think because it was in the summer. You know you wear less clothes. I saw this body change so quick my mind didn't have time to catch up. My chest didn't fit into my clothes and that was hard plus with implants and the fills the change kept happening. Then the weight gain after the hysterectomy. I couldn't stop crying. I felt deflated-who was this scared person with misshapen breasts weighing 25 more pounds? It was a hard year and I could not see how I was going to get out of it. Then the implants shifted into my armpits-not at all the look I wanted back to surgery. The DIEP was hard, painful and really changed my body but I felt a little like me in a weird way. Like I took two from cancer back and said "fuck you" this is me! That was when my mind started to get it, like it was connecting.

So two and half years later I sit here. I am sewn like a patchwork doll, not nearly as fit as I was before cancer not even close, losing weight a little every week but feeling a little more like me. Cancer is a dirty bastard and I know I will never go back to my entire whole self, cancer took a lot of my confidence. I walked for the past months with my shoulders rolled in, slowly I am rolling them back. You may not have realized you were doing this but one day I did and I am blaming cancer, the bastard gets blamed for everything.  I am dealing with the weight gain and learning to accept this challenge but know that because of everything I have been through it will take time. My breasts are now me, ALL me and that makes me happy. Happy they are me not that I have them let's be clear there. This was not a "gift", I hate that shit. I do not want a gift from cancer nothing actually if anything I want to give it away.

The scars are just that- a reminder of who I am. I need to stop looking at them as pain but as strength and smile at the fact that they are more than a line across my chest and stomach. That a scar doesn't make me ugly or imperfect or weak. That a scar does the opposite is shows beauty and strength. As far as perfection goes screw that no one is perfect and I wasn't before so why the hell would I be now.  I will tell you one thing, cancer changed a lot of things but it didn't make me perfect.

Yes I cry still in front of the mirror, at the doctors,  when I realize I have no feeling or when I am mad at this fucking disease but I laugh too. A LOT! Not because I am alive and beat cancer and all that crap but because I am Ann Marie fucking Giannino-Otis and I laughed before cancer so why the hell should I stop now. The tiara looks best with a smile anyway.

The opps is 7

I really never thought I could get pregnant after Anthony. I know what you are thinking that I am crazy because I clearly had 3 kids. But I also had 4 miscarriages and was on hormones to hold my pregnancy with Anthony #3. So when I missed my period when Anthony was 14months old I was shocked to say the least. I called my BFF in tears (not the joyful kind) and she was unsure to congratulate me or wish me luck. Nerveless seven years later this monkey butt Julian Albert is here. Funny cause if this kid was first there would have not been another. I am pretty sure Dr. Rick did not cut the umbilical cord cause he is still attached to me. He is so flippin whining that  sometimes I think someone is punishing me. Do not even think about touching his legos he will lose his shit on you. This kid has a temper like no other. But at the end of the night when he snuggles into my chair, sucks his thumb, twirls my hair and reminds me how much he loves me all that goes away. Julian tells his friends his mom is a super hero that battles breast cancer, "don't mess with her she will crush you too" he has been known to say. He loves his momma like the princess I am and for that I love him like my baby forever and a day. Happy Birthday you crazy, monkey butt. You sure do require a lot of duct tape.


Just remind me of that when he freaks because Tom moved his legos to get into the playroom to get a coat!


Posted on October 30, 2014 .

Happy 9th Birthday you rotten Kid

"Mom what's for dinner?"

"Gross not that?"

"I have nothing to wear"

"When are you doing laundry?"

"When can I get a phone?"

"It's not fair that Ben gets to"

"BUT MOMMMMMMMM"

Anthony is the biggest pain in the butt. No really he is, 9 years he will be off to college and we are counting to days although he is the biggest food snob we have so what the hell he will eat is beyond me. He complains nonstop, tries very hard to get his way, hoards his money and wants me to buy everything and my biggest consumer. But he wakes up in the morning and gives me a kiss a big juicy sweet kiss. When we walk anywhere he holds my hand and does ours "special thang" I ain't telling you fools its our thang! He hugs me and tells me he loves ne every morning before he gets on the bus. And when he can we snuggle. So I guess it makes up for being my complainer. He is my lover boy and no matter what he makes my heart happy when he gives his love.

I won't dare go into his delivery it was scary scenario, I should have known then what life would be like with this kid. Or the fact he crawled at 4 months just to torment his brothers. But today I am so happy that I have an Anthony Jude, he is a way cool dude. Really almost too cool. Please keep your daughters away I can not control this one I have tried, Tom has done his best we just can not anticipate what his swag will do. Actually you may want to keep your sons away too he maybe the ring leader in some serious party rocking in the near future.

Happy birthday Anthony go rock the world!

Posted on October 4, 2014 .

Was it worth it?

I get asked that question daily. Really no, none of this was worth it, it all sucked. But inquiring minds want to know so let's dish about my reconstruction. I am not going to blog about the suck ass part, you know lymphedema, exhaustion, can't move your arm, elephant on your chest all that crap- this will be just recon. I won't rehash the bullshit of "oh my god you are getting a FREE boob job", "finally getting the boobs you wanted", "are you going bigger", "no more saggy boobs" because I will just get angry and no one likes angry AM. Plus we all know that is utter nonsense. See a boob job is a choice we did not choose this and it comes at us full force. Recon from breast cancer is different they scrap you to 1% of breast tissue, rads and chemo effect how that implant sits too. Your body is going through a trauma and trying to adjust. Now add your mind set or your mind wrapped in cancer, completely different than a boob job.

The you have cancer comment happens then almost immediately after it is the "do you know a plastic surgeon?" I think our issue starts there. Why do we push right to recon? Our body is about to go into major overhaul adding this element is something I think is more pushed by society. Think about it, the first and most important is to remove the cancer. Just that surgery is intense and takes a toll on our body. The drains, the removal of the breast, the exhaustion and the mental part. Add a foreign object and what the actual f$^k just happened. Then there is chemo and rads making it all a big ass mess. Recon should come later but it does not. In retro spec I would have gone flat and fabulous to heal mentally and physically then done recon. I am not anti recon only on Brideplasty that show pisses me off.

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The recon started right at mastectomy with expanders was difficult. They felt like a squeaky toy inserted in my body. Then with the fills, ugh.  I felt nausea set in and pain like a hard work out, do able but with everything else it sucked. There is a metal piece that they use to find the part for the needle to inject the saline in, seriously read that again that is in our body!  I set off the metal detector at an SU football game and had to explain to the security guards, they were freaked out I was amused. The expanders were a bitch-uncomfortable and odd. Just didn't know what to make of them. I think watching your body change before your eyes is a mind screw too. Cancer messes with you on the inside but you can not see it this you watched literally. Looking back I know I joked about it but I  think it was hard to watch yourself change like that.

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Then you have the implant itself. Hard, unmovable, lifeless thing inserted into your body. CRAZY! Now do not get me wrong it works for some, not for me. I hated them. Zipping up a dress they didn't move and that got me for some reason made it so sad to me. Granted they shifted into my arm pits, not a good look. This and infection is common because of the above reasons chemo, rads, and scarping to 1% of breast tissue. I remember when I went into the plastics office the first time and asked for a tram surgery he laughed at me, rude! I weighed 107 pounds and was fit and healthy he told he couldn't find anything to make even one breast from that is why I went with implants first. It was such an alien invasion for me but everyone kept telling me how great they looked I didn't see it nor did I feel it.


I went in to have my scars that were HUGE keloids and very painful looked at and the PA said first we need to figure out what to do about the shifting. UGH another surgery. I asked about the DIEP because now thank you cancer you dirty devil it gave me 27 pounds and I could. I was warned of the surgery but knew what it was because I had done my research and talk to many who had it. I was mentally prepared, I really believe that is why I did so well this time. My head was ready for a 10 hour surgery, 3 days in ICU, 3 days in the hospital, 3 weeks resting, months recovering, and  another surgery to follow. Do not be fooled by the tummy tuck bull shit this is not what this operation is about so do not go in thinking that. I felt like using part of me was like taking two back from cancer, hahaha I was a thief in the night and was going to get myself back. Dumb to some but to me I needed this.

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Then came the revisions. ALL of my friends told me the lipo was the worse part. See with this surgery you get what someone (who the hell was it I would like to know) dubbed "dog ears" on your hips. Its from crap settling after and you need adjusting. So every time my doctor would try to explain but Ann Marie you are having.... I would reply I know the lipo is the worse. He gave up and I went in a dumb ass. This surgery kicked my ass. He removed ALL my scars, YAHOOOO and we will watch and ride them like crazy. He made my breasts the size I wanted, I always knew he went bigger the DIEP so he had something to work with. He did good but he basically did another mastectomy. OPPS I should have listened.

After reading all that do you think recon is easy? NO! Was it worth it? I won't answer that. It is what it is. It is what I had to do to feel a little like me after cancer. It is not what I wanted no matter how many times before cancer I joked about perky boobs I would never to plastic surgery as want ever. Recon SUCKS but like anything it should be your choice. Do you have to have this no way. Flat and fabulous is just that but like recon not for everyone. I think the best thing is to talk to as many people as you can and listen to their experience and remember it is just that theirs you are different than them and will handle this your way. For now my size is comfortable, they feel comfortable and I am in a good spot. When I am dressed that is don't get me started on the scars, OY this post is long enough. Did anyone make it to the end? My tiara got dusty just writing it!

  This is what my breasts have been through in 2 years, this is a lot of trauma for a person's body.