Day 7 – Home Time & Selfie Time

Posted in News

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!

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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!!

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

It’s Breast Selfie Time……

Posted in News

When I was recently at a family event, I casually asked some of my female relatives whether they would participate in a crazy thought I had.  Some of them looked at me with those same eyes that I see when I have come up with ideas they might not approve of in the past, but I continued anyway.

You see, a big part of my journey towards having a Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy is documenting the process in words and in images, which naturally involves the inevitable photo of my boobies, hooters or breasts.

You what?  That’s right….selfies of my breasts.

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I know, it might seem weird, unusual and even strange that I’d willingly put my breasts out there for the haters to hate, the negative naysayers to take down and the critics to analyse every single thing ‘wrong’ with my floppy, half filled, non-perky and lacking natural youthful glow, boobies.   So what better way to make myself feel more comfortable about this than to have my sister’s and cousin’s bare their breast selfies too.  Great idea hey!!

It’s no ‘duck face sexual selfie’, nor is it a photoshopped impressive rack of beauty.  The selfie I’m talking about is the kind of ‘before’ selfie you take when you are about to undertake a drastic change.  You know, the type that we take before having our hair done at the salon?

There are always ‘rules’ with me, but they were simple;

  • no faces
  • not sexy
  • your choice about showing nipples or not

My family are amazing.  They have been incredibly supportive throughout my journey towards having a Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy, so today as I head into surgery, it seems fitting that I share the beauty and diversity that is the breast selfies of my amazing family.

Now’s not the time to be shy.  To get the full impact of this image, you really do need to click on it.  Go on….do it!!

Family collage

Did you click on it?  I hope so, because it’s when you click on it that you really see the diversity in our family.

If we look beyond the nipples, the moles and the obvious differences in size and shape, we see 7 women bravely showing their bodies in a raw and beautiful way.   What you don’t see is that 6 out of the 7 women pictured from my family are statistically likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in our lifetime.

These women are my family, they have bravely stepped beyond the comfort of their clothing, beyond the support of their bra’s and they have demonstrated real strength beyond any words that I could share with you today.

I received some amazing thoughts from some of them during the breast image emailing process, which I am pleased to be able to share with you.

From my gorgeous and very pregnant (due any second now) Sister-in-law Jess:

A few weeks ago I overheard an older gentleman telling Yasmin that she can’t cut up her beautiful body simply because she feared cancer.  As with most things, she took it in her stride and kindly told him this wasn’t the case.  Even if something like this sparks because of fear, it certainly doesn’t dictate the actions being taken.  Yas is determined to be around for her family – purely out of love.  If this means sacrificing her breasts to be healthy long enough to meet her grandchildren then so be it.  It is not a fear of not being there.  It is not a fear of dying.  It is a pro active approach to enable her to live the fulfilling life she wants and has every right to live, without the constant nagging concern her bosom could be a ticking time bomb.

Fear simply does not have the substance to make this kind of decision. Her love of life and family however, give her every single kick of motivation she will ever need.

From my amazingly brave cousin Jodie, who is embarking on her own challenge during my recovery:

In my eyes I can’t even totally comprehend what Yasmin is doing, but that does not waiver my support for her for even a second.  Breasts symbolise so many things – becoming a woman when they first blossom, watching them grow when your growing a little person inside of you and being able to nurture the little people who become the biggest part of your world.  That is what is comes down to ultimately.  Family.  It’s the core that we all cling to.  It’s why I believe Yasmin is doing what she is doing, so she can experience the above plus SO more with her girls.  That is why I didn’t mind contributing, because Yasmin is my family and we ever turn our backs on one another.

From my younger cousin Kylie, who was the first to wear a bra among us, despite me being 3 years older than her.  In fact, Kylie was the reason I started wearing a bra, and at 13 years old, I still didn’t need one!!

I think all you girls r so brave and congrats looks great:-) I really can’t tell whose boobs r whose (lol) which makes me think boobs are just boobs….I love that our family is there for each other no matter what. You are amazing love u all xxx

From my cousin Rachel;

It makes me very proud to be in a family that are willing to do extraordinary things for one another.  For most of u this was a scary thing, but u did it anyway to show support to Yas during on of her most difficult journeys.  I don’t think there is a better bunch of  women out there than our family and friends.

From my youngest sister Jane:

Doing this photo with all the love and support of my family was probably the most empowering thing I have ever done, I am neither ashamed nor embarrassed of my photo instead I feel proud of it.  The purpose of the photo is to raise awareness and create thought and discussion on a topic some consider taboo and I am sure you all agree that the photo has served its purpose.

Jane also shared a very beautiful post on the Previvor Facbeook page, which I just had to share.  You will need to click on the image to read it in full.

Jane's Eords

There’s not really much more that I can say, other than Thank You.  Thank you sincerely for the love, the care and the support from each and every one of you.

I truly hope you like reading my blog as much as I love writing it.

Finally, I had a nice surprise towards the final stages of publishing this blog last night.  A very good friend of mine was up late online and we got chatting, mostly about today, what I’ll be going through and how I feel about it all.  She’s been amazingly supporting throughout this journey and she knew I was finalising this very blog, so after a couple of teaser text messages, my wonderful friend bravely sent me her own chest selfie.

I thought it looked so much like my breasts, that with her permission, I decided to have a bit of fun with it and post it as part of this blog.  Our breasts are very similar don’t you think?  I’m sure if our husbands will be able to more expertly discuss the slight variations, but in my opinion, I think we’re about the very same size and shape.

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I thank you for sharing my most brave post yet and look forward to updating you as I recover from surgery in the next 24-48 hours.