Sometimes in life, things go perfectly to plan.
(WARNING: Some may find images in this blog disturbing)
I look back at my own personal journey with my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and am grateful for the smooth ride. You see, everything – and I mean EVERYTHING went exactly how I expected it to. Get fit – check! Surgery – check! Recovery – check! Return to normal range of movement – check! Then repeat for the reconstruction stage of my surgery 6 months later – check! Check, check, check!! I look back and realise what a dream run it was, even with the unexpected broken foot 10 days prior to my mastectomy, then the little ‘mishap’ during my recovery. After re-reading the two blog post links myself, I realise just how lucky I was to not stumble really along the way.
Let me tell you this though…..My super sister is doing it tough!
I would trade my own personal dream run right now if it meant that my super sister Elle could have the same experience. Elle’s surgery was in March, almost a year to the day after mine. For the past 8 weeks though, Elle has been doing it tough! Yesterday Elle went in for yet another surgery, her 4th operation in just 8 weeks and her road to recovery has been anything less than ideal. The Dr’s are happy with the overall outcome of Elle’s initial surgery, her breasts were removed completely (via her nipples, which like me, she chose to not retain). Elle’s breasts were then reconstructed out of her own body via the Tram-Flap procedure, which basically means they took fat and muscle from Elle’s abdomen to reconstruct her breasts. As you can see from the image below, other than the blemish on her right breast, Elle’s shape, size and natural looking reconstructed breasts are pretty much PERFECT! They look and feel (yes, she let me touch them) perfectly real.
This is where the ‘dream run’ ended for Elle.
Elle’s a tough cookie, she’s the middle sister in our family, which immediately means that she can take pretty much anything and remain strong and determined. I still wish I could turn back time to our childhood and reverse some of the nasty ‘big sister’ treatment she endured from me. Elle is kind, caring and probably one of the most generous people I know. She would give her time (and last dollar) to help others, even if it mean sacrificing herself along the way. It’s just not fair that she is now suffering so much with her prophylactic bilateral mastectomy recovery. The ‘blemish’ on her right breast deteriorated and isn’t a blemish at all, nor is it bruising, Elle was suffering from necrosis, which effectively means her cells were dying.
My unconditional sisterly love may not help Elle recover. My prayers, hopes and wishes to take away her pain and suffering don’t seem to be working, so I have resorted to writing this blog to share some of Elle’s journey. It hasn’t been easy, Elle and her ‘childhood sweetheart’ Ben have 3 fantastic children who are surely doing it tough right now too. We’re a close family and her kids (the two boys and the gorgeous little blondie on the right of the image) are absolutely fantastic! For 8 weeks now they’ve had to watch their usually active and involved mummy suffer and it is surely taking a toll on them too.
Spare a thought today in your busy life to send Elle and her family some love, thoughts and prayers. Elle’s going to be in bed for the next few days, recovering from her latest surgery – she’s had yet another skin graft from her leg in the hope to save her reconstructed breast. While it’s too early to know what Elle’s breast looks like after this particular operation, take a look at the final image in the collage below. While not likely to win any awards for the prettiest image in the world, it’s raw, it’s real and it’s an honest and open account of what Elle has been through. The open and incredibly ‘sore’ and raw wound is what the last skin graft looked like after it was complete.
It’s not pretty and it’s not fun and my super sister Elle deserves a break and she deserves it now. Please send your positive thoughts her way today. Everyone choosing to take the journey to proactively remove their breasts needs to know this…..
Things might not always go to plan, but ultimately the end goal is to cheat a disease responsible for taking so many lives prematurely. Elle has cheated breast cancer and we are all incredibly grateful for that, but my super sister deserves a break from her troubled recovery starting today!!
Thank you for your love and support.