When I celebrated my 1 month anniversary of my new boobs this week, I thought long and hard about what to share with my family, friends and supporters.
- Do I write about the process?
- Do I share details about the surgical procedure?
- Would I freak people out sharing so openly about everything I’ve gone through?
That last point was my attempt at being funny! If you’ve read any of my previous stories and you’re still here reading this now, you are not easily ‘freaked out’.
I mean seriously! Even after 6 months of treatment, almost a year of writing this blog and decades of being an open, honest and upfront about pretty much anything and everything person, there’s always going to be someone out there who is freaked out by this image!!
So, after a few days of pondering, I decided to once again just be honest, raw, open and to not worry at all about how the information I share might be loved, hated or otherwise!!
Having a breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is a completely different process to having what’s commonly referred to as a ‘boob job’. The end result is much the same, with what was once my breast area, now being a perky, firm and symmetrical looking bust-line of a 20 year old.
Before you start imagining me walking around with a set of hooters that resemble something like this:
This is definitely not me!!
To the untrained eye, you wouldn’t even notice anything different when looking at me clothed and given I make a habit of dressing myself daily, the new boobs are not noticeable at all – just the way I like it
So what’s different then? I share with you 5 things you might not know about reconstructed breasts, the kind of reconstruction post bilateral mastectomy:
1. I can’t feel a thing!
That’s right! My new boobs have absolutely NO feeling in them whatsoever. You could poke them, prod them, rub them, even stick a pin into them and I wouldn’t feel any sensation at all. What I do feel is the sweat dripping between them in the cleavage area, although I use the term ‘cleavage’ very loosely.
2. I can flex them!
I know, I know – I’ve shared this before in my reference to The Rock and his ‘peck pop of love’. When I had the tissue expanders in, I could flex my pecks in a strange party trick I shared with some of my closest friends and family. What I didn’t realise is that I would be able to flex my new boobs after the reconstruction. I must admit, I don’t make a habit of this as it’s still early days and I’m a little concerned that I might accidentally move the implant!
PS. The lefty is the more frequent flexer!!
3. I massage my new boobs 6 times per day – Dr’s Orders!
After my post op appointment with the Doc, I was shown how to correctly massage my new boobs and advised to do it 6 times per day. So if you happen to be someone I live with, work with, or socialise with, please accept this as a medical requirement, not just an odd habit I have.
I was sitting at my desk in the office this week fondling my new boobs. It thankfully wasn’t noticed by anyone, and while I’m relieved I didn’t have to explain myself, I’m making it official ‘medical business’ by sharing it here today. I certainly don’t make a habit of doing it in public, so please if you do see me groping at my new boobs, please just give me a nudge.
4. They really don’t move!
I often wondered whether it was necessary to wear a bra, crop top or other support garment after a breast reconstruction and the answer is a definite NO! I can only speak from my own experience here, and my new boobs aren’t enormous, nor even really noticeable, but I can 100% confirm that there’s no need for me to wear any bra or support under my clothes. Medically for the next 8 weeks I do need to continue wearing a firm crop top, which helps the healing process and reduces unnecessary swelling, but other than that, I’m free to let them free!!
5. No nipples has its perks!!
When I had my bilateral mastectomy, I decided to opt for a full ‘non nipple sparing’ surgery, which means they take it ALL. I’m left with no nipple, no areola, no pink bits at all and I LOVE it. Clothes now sit nicely over my new boobs and I don’t spend any time at all lining up the nips. It sounds silly I know, but I’m certain that I’m not the only woman who has spent time in the mirror doing the nipple check!! Are they even? Do they sit in the right place? What if it gets cold? Will one nipple end up North and one end up South?
It’s a definite perk of life after a non-nipple sparing bilateral mastectomy and I’m embracing it.
So there you have it, a quick summary of life with my new boobs.
They’re a part of me now and I just get on with life, rarely even realising that I’ve had my real breasts removed.
I have family and friends who are embarking on their own bilateral mastectomy journey, with some of them choosing the prophylactic option and others facing the challenge head on.
To all of you I say – enjoy it! Enjoy it!! Seriously, did I just say ‘enjoy it’?
I repeat that on purpose because it’s a strange thing to say to someone who is choosing (or otherwise) to remove a significant female body part.
While it’s a challenge and it’s a change from your current life, it’s a new chapter, a new normal and an opportunity to experience the emotional, physical and mental roller-coaster ride of a lifetime.
I see my new boobs no differently to me having surgery on my leg and showing you my scars. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, something to be proud of and with the right preparation, knowledge and information, you can face it head on and be a better person for it.
Check them out, they’re looking much more like boobs now!!
Embrace it, face it and don’t disgrace it.
Speaking of embracing it. I wanted to share a selfie of me with my younger brother Adam. We recently flew to Sydney to farewell a much loved family member. It was the first time I’d seen him since sharing the same haircut.
After I shaved my head for charity a month ago, mum was probably the least happy! She thinks of herself as having two sons now. Me personally, I love it! I’ve since given myself a trim to keep it tidy and really enjoy the low maintenance hairdo. I’d recommend it to anyone!