Day 7 – Home Time & Selfie Time

Today was the day!!  There’s nothing like meeting your doctor in the early hours of the morning and being told that you can go home.  I must have looked like a kid in a lolly shop!

keep-calm-youre-coming-home-3

Despite still having fluid draining at a moderate rate, the risk of infection with the drains staying in longer starts to increase after day 7.  It was music to my ears, I really wanted to be home for the weekend if it was safe to do so.

All I needed to do now was have the drains removed, shower, pack up my belongings and head home.  I will admit to a tiny bit of concern with the drains being removed.  I guess with them being in there for 7 days, there was a chance that it would hurt.  In fact, almost every person I have spoken to who has had the same procedure had warned me about the drains being removed. Some women have told me that it was worse pain than the surgery, others said it was excruciating, some screamed, others cried but pretty much everyone told me it was bad!! I decided to take one last selfie with my cool looking drains, it’s a gorgeous photo I know!!

Day 7_9

In the end, it didn’t hurt one little bit.  In all honesty, I didn’t even feel them come out.  The drains barely left a mark on my body and I’m sure that in a few months from now I’ll struggle to see the holes left behind.  At least I’ve got two moles to remind me on my left side where the drains were!!

Day 7_18_drains

Once the drains were out, it was time for a quick shower, a couple of day 7 selfies without the drain bags and that’s it, I’m released, discharged, going home – whoo hoo!

I have decided to share a collage of my body 7 days post op here in this blog.  I realise some may find the images confronting, perhaps even offensive, ugly, unattractive and disfigured.  I’d like to make it clear that they are in no way sexual or intimate, these images are simply a visual representation of my new body, a body that I’m embracing as I now navigate life without a risk of being one of the women in my family to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

warning2

The images make me feel proud.  I love my new body, I probably love it more than what it looked like prior to my surgery and not because I now have a flat chest with stitches for nipples and scars that will never go away, I love it because I have realised during this process that we are so much more than our bodies.

My children will never hear me complain about the way I look, nor will I spend time giving myself grief for the next 50+ years about what I don’t like about my exterior self.  We can’t really change the way we look, but we can change the attitude towards our external selves and the way we communicate it to others.

I don’t know about you, but I was always taught that “beauty is only skin deep”, how about we all start really acting that way.  I invite you to see what I look like externally now, and remind you that my beauty lies within me.

Beautiful quote

From the front, you can see that there is some bruising around the area where my breasts were removed, this has slowly come out over the past 7 days, but it’s still very limited bruising and there’s no discomfort or pain.  The odd or bumpy shape of my skin around that area is the contour of the expanders, which are effectively empty bags awaiting fill before any reconstruction can take place.  They are hard and I mean really hard!!  If you want to touch them, just ask me, I’m not shy about it!!

Day 7_5

The stitches look really great, you might not be able to see it, but there’s actually invisible tape that’s been in place permanently since the surgery sitting over the scars.  I’m sure that once the tape is removed it will look a lot less red.

In the close up of my lefty below, you can see that it’s extremely neat and not as ‘sore’ looking than the full chesty selfie.

Day 7_1_left

The righty looks a little more inflamed, but I think it’s because of the extra dried blood that sits under the tape on this side.

Day 7_3_right

Both scars aren’t painful in anyway and other than an overall ‘tight’ feeling in my chest, I have no pain at all and it’s pretty much been this way since I woke up.

From the side shot below you can see that I’m flat, flat, flat!!  It really gives a good perspective of me standing side on and I feel very comfortable sharing the view, it’s very real.  I still need to wear my compression vest 24/7, so I have no idea how it all looks and feels wearing my normal clothes, but what I see when I look at this image is a mother who proactively and successfully cheated a breast cancer diagnosis.

Day 7_22_side

The view from the right is very much the same, although you can see here that there’s a bit of redness below where the drains were.  I think these were caused from the drain tubes rubbing on my skin under the vest.  To be honest, they cause me a little more itchiness and irritation than the scars from the surgery themselves.

Day 7_23_side

My final brave move for day 7 was to take a full frontal naked selfie in the mirror.  I’ve never done this before, not even prior to the surgery, but I know in years to come I will want to look back on this journey and see it all visually.

What I see here isn’t a naked body.  I see a woman who has proactively made the choice to change the patten of breast cancer diagnosis in her family.

Day 7_30_mirror copy

You won’t ever hear me say that I ‘survived’, because I didn’t.  I make no claim to being brave or strong when it comes to cancer, in fact I’m the complete opposite, I’m running from it, choosing to avoid it, cheat it, but definitely not beat it.

The word cheat officially means…avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill.

This quote sums it up perfectly.

Yas Quote

Thank you for sharing my journey with me.

3 thoughts on “Day 7 – Home Time & Selfie Time

  1. Dear Yas,

    I came across you and your blog via the ‘Under the Red Dress’ links on FB and have been silently following you for the last week. I’m truly admiring you from afar (I’m in Switzerland), and finally wanted to write you a note to say how amazing you are – not just in taking what could be a damning fate and turning it around (so glad you’re cheating the bastard!!), but also in fully documenting the highs and lows (though there don’t seem to be any just yet which is great!) for all the world to see, for people to be aware and lose their fears.

    I’m BRCA1/2 positive and had a bliateral mastectomy on February 21st, just a week before you, but unfortunately mine was no longer a prophylactic one. I’m 39 years old, and the PBM was planned for the autumn once the 40th birthday celebrations were out of the way, as well as a few 10K races I’d signed up for with my running club (I’m hardly an athlete compared with you, only started running last summer). Well, I missed the boat, and in January I was diagnosed (thanks to an MRI, the mammogram was negative!) with a stage 1, grade 3, triple negative tumour, and during the mastectomy they found a smaller, second tumour. The left breast, however, was clear, so I suppose I could claim a “semi-prophylactic bilateral mastectomy”. 🙂

    My surgeons went for immediate reconstruction with implants, and I can tell you that the pain is a whole lot different than working with empty expander bags. Ouch for two weeks now. But on the upside I won’t need to show up to keep getting the expanders filled up nor eventually need more surgery to insert permanent expanders.

    My two kids (7 and 10 yrs old) sort of “sucked me dry” years ago, so I was flat-chested (A-Cup) going in, and even though I told the plastic surgeon to boost me up (in my eyes, that was the silver lining to the whole sorry saga – big boobs, yay!), he gifted me with A-Cup implants. Initially I was disappointed, but it’s painful enough having my skin stretched across those two little new friends, so he was right.

    When my drains came out on day 7, it didn’t hurt, either, but one of them was clogged up at the top and fluid hadn’t come out in 24 hours anyway, so it was time, and doesn’t it feel so much better to walk around without these horrid tubes and bottles. My older son was so embarrassed when I went with him in public (I joined them on their ski holiday and met them for lunch at the top of the mountain on day 6 post-op as I left hospital on day 5), he’d avert his eyes and pretend not to know me. I told him he should be happy I wasn’t carrying a colostomy bag to the table – ha!
    For me, it’s now on to six cycles of very aggressive chemo (owing to the bastard triple negative tumour we’re dealing with), and possibly (hopefully not) radiation in the summer. I’d rather be catching some rays on the beach, frankly. 😉

    Anyway, enough about me, I love following your blog, seeing your pictures, videos, words of wisdom, You’re a very strong, confident, intelligent, inspirational woman, and I’m delighted to be rooting for you from afar. Especially on International Women’s Day today! 🙂

    Much love and best wishes from Zurich, Switzerland,
    Kats

    • Hi Kats,

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but relieved that you have caught it now and you are now fighting it head on. I have no doubt from your message that you have the strength needed to get through the treatment.

      I am so pleased that from afar you are able to follow my journey – it definitely helps to have people rooting for me. While I have been lucky so far with my experience, I know it’s a long road ahead with the expanders and reconstruction.

      I must admit, since coming home on Friday, I have been slowly accumulating fluid and I feel like I’ve got myself an A cup now, everything’s a little squishy around my chest and under my armpits around to the back too. I’m having an aspiration on Wednesday and can’t wait, it will be nice to clear it all out. The pressure is quite significant, I imagine that it’s a similar feeling you have been experiencing with your direct to implant procedure.

      I hope that you are healing well following your PBM and wish you all the best with your up and coming treatment.

      Stay in touch, I look forward to following your journey.

      Love and best wishes,
      Yas
      xxxx

    • Hi Kats,

      Thank you for your message. I’m so sorry to hear of your diagnosis, however from the strength in your message, I have no doubt that you are going to fight this head on and win!!

      I have been very fortunate with my recovery so far, although the past few days at home has seen me accumulate a lot of fluid which is now giving me a little A cup shape. I feel very stretched at the moment, I imagine it’s a similar feeling to what you have had with your direct to implant process.

      I am having an aspiration on Wednesday, I just hope that it doesn’t continue to accumulate over the next few days, it’s already feeling very squishy at the moment. It’s making me question any kind of reconstruction, I am quite liking the feeling of not having any bust to worry about.

      I will be thinking of you as you undergo your treatment. Please stay in touch and know that you have support from afar willing you to a quick and successful recovery.

      Stay strong!
      Much love and best wishes,
      Yas
      xxxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *