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!
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!!
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!!
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you for sharing my journey with me.