Lately I have been dragging.
And I can't quite figure out why.
And them I had to remind myself that I rarely sleep through the night - thrashing about trying to get "comfortable" and to constantly remind myself to NOT sleep on my stomach.
Also, I just had major surgery.
Even though I feel increasingly better than the day before (minus sleep deprivation), It has only been six weeks. A lot of people have the surgery I had and still aren't back to work.
But back to work I am and every 8:30 am meeting is a complete struggle. Given that I still can't blow dry my hair, I feel like I look as poorly as a feel. I'm sorry world.
I love you dry shampoo.
I start rehab next week. I hope to regain the range of motion, specifically on my right side. It still hurts to reach, bend over, lift, push, pull, live. Ok, that was a bit over dramatic, but my right side is significantly behind on the recovery bandwagon.
Some people still think I was on vacation last month, that's cute...
We have a wedding coming up this weekend and in trying to figure out what to pack, I realized I have no dresses with zippers or buttons - all over the top. This is not good when my range of motion is still prohibiting me from being able to wear certain types of clothes.
So we set off to the mall.
I've always felt insecure about certain parts of my body and I'm convinced that Dillard's purposefully installs the ugliest carpet/wall color/lighting combo so you question everything you have eaten in the past 3 weeks.
I tried on more than a few dresses at a few stores and have come to realize that I don't recognize my own body shape anymore.
And then I cried.
I've always been a size 8/10 and I'm ok with that. Depending on the store and sizing I'm a M/L and I'm ok with that. But my boobs aren't as big as they used to be, so now I feel like my stomach sticks out. Where I used to be curvy, I'm now pear-shaped. Where I used to have cleavage to counterbalance my thicker thighs, I now just have thick thighs.
Yesterday was International Women's Day and there were a lot of encouraging posts from beautiful people telling other people to not feel bad about their bodies. And I read some of them.
And then I cried.
It's not the same to be told by Kim K to not body shame and to feel liberated by your body when you look in the mirror and feel like a lesser version of yourself.
I know that this is temporary.
I have taken control of my fate and I can change the way that I look and feel about myself, but yesterday, in that Dillard's dressing room, I was faced with a very different version of myself that I had not seen in public. I've been able to avoid brightly lit rooms and full length mirrors.
Luckily, I did find a cute dress and it makes me feel like a pretty pretty princess and all is well in the world. But, for about an hour and a half, I felt really crummy about myself and my prospects of finding a cute dress to wear to this wedding. I almost settled on a pantsuit.
Maybe that is Hillary Clinton's secret to being a badass lady of power and prestige...pantsuits.
I'm not sure if I have shared this - but I was able to walk about of the hospital with boobs - those of us in the double mastectomy reconstruction world call them foobs [F(ake) (B)oobs]. They are smaller than my original boobs, but much more cancer-free so I can't really complain.
I do have an option later on to have liposuction to render fat to fill my boobs to make them bigger. What's that? I can lose a pant size and gain a cup size. OK.
My being able to walk out of the hospital on February 9th with foobs was 100% due to my fabulous and capable plastic surgeon, Dr. Masters. He performed a Direct To Implant (DTI) procedure that not many other Oklahoma ladies have gotten to do. Below you can see two images of what a DTI is and how it compares to other ways of Bilateral Double Mastectomy reconstruction options.
Not all women qualify for a DTI and if you are considering a PBM, I would ask your plastic surgeon about this option. Before my husband and I met with Dr. Masters, we had no idea that DTI was even an option, let alone a reality. And even though my recovery has been slow and at times frustrating, it has been so much better than I ever imagined reconstruction with expanders would have been. I didn't really talk about my fears of the expander reconstruction before surgery because I didn't want to jinx myself and wake up with expanders instead of implants. Because, as I've said before and I will keep saying, the main objective is to beat the cancer before it beats me. If I have to go through pain, awkwardness, and back sleeping for a year, it is worth 50 more without breast cancer!!!
New Boobs? Burn those Bras!
I didn't really get to burn any bras. That seems like a tragic waste of money.
BUT, I did get to give away some new/gently used beautiful bras to a friend. Now I have open space in a drawer and no regrets.
My plastic surgeon says that I won't need to wear underwires...EVER...so GOOD RIDDANCE you uncomfortable pieces of fabric and wire.
These days I'm rocking very practical, old-ladyesque, Hanes cotton bras and you would never be able to tell the difference.
But, let's talk about this for a few minutes. I have to admit to you that it is incredibly difficult to find bras that are cute, feminine, wireless, and with a closure. [I still can't take clothing off over my head very well, so I am relying on loose necked tees and button up tops.]
No offense, but all of these bras make me really sad.
I just want to feel 30, flirty, and fabulous. What is wrong with that?!
I did find a few cute bras* from the target that will get me through this in between period until I can wear all the super cute bralettes that are hip these days.
*after accidentally buying two nursing bras...
If you are industrious, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF LADY LUMPS ALL OVER THE WORLD, invent/create beautiful post mastectomy bras for us ladies to wear with dignity and joy.
Christina Mallory Chicoraske - a 30 year old, 4th generation Okie, diagnosed BRCA2+ and undergoing a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. This is the tale of my journey with hopes to inform and encourage other young women searching for answers after a BRCA1/2 gene mutation discovery.