It took everything I had not to start screaming. I can’t believe that I am here again.
This was me last week. My emotions were running high, but that is no surprise, I keep it together – some days better than others.
Now I can take a deep breath. The crisis has passed.
This week, I spent 24 hours trying not to freak out about the unknown, trying not to “go there” and holy shit it was a challenge. I was there for 2.5 years. Then, on Saturday, I found an issue with my left breast – my implant. It peaked when I got an appointment with my doctor the next day when it usually takes 2 weeks.
Let me back up….
In July 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer thanks to a routine mammogram (if you are avoiding doing them, don’t. It may have saved my life). My breast cancer adventure began. I was lucky, it was early, it was treatable. (My best friends and I refer to it as the little cancer – if there is any such thing.)
First came two surgeries that tried to save my breast and when it was obvious the cancer wasn’t completely gone, a third was scheduled. I had a mastectomy in November 2016. The surgery took my cancer, and I was numb for a long time – emotionally that is. I got a fillable implant and then for the next 6 months, every two weeks, I had a fill (port, chest, big needle). I thought at the time, fuck this is hard! Little did I know what was to come…
In August 2017 I had the fillable implant replaced with a permanent one. The day I took my bandages off started the worst year of my life. I knew what my boobs were going to look like; it was surgery, not magic, yet somewhere in the back of my mind lived the very unrealistic dream that I would have boobs like the ladies in a girlie magazine. I know it was crazy and I had no idea that this was even in me until I looked in the mirror that Saturday morning.
What I saw was my worst nightmare: not boobs like a magazine, not a boob that looked like a boob at all. The woman I knew, the woman I loved was truly gone. How the hell could I live with this on my chest?
That was the last time I looked in a mirror from the neck down for months and months.
This set of a chain of events that I would have never expected
How do I explain what it is to be lost in your own life? How do you put words to the feelings that are eating you alive? I went through the motions, doing what I had to do. Life didn’t stop just because I was one boob down and slowing dying inside. I was the mom of two boys, I had to keep my three businesses running, I had bills to pay, obligations to meet and guess what – I did these things because I had to. I kept the secret (except from my closest friends) that I was stuck in a fog, the hell, in between cancer and life.
I was stuck. This went on for a year. The worst. Year. Ever.
I look back now and can see it, but when I was in it, I could not. I can see clearly how bad it was, how I retreated – spending way too much time alone, binge-watching shows and letting the voices in my head terrorize me. I look at the decisions I made and think holy shit – they were BAD. The companies made it through the year, and I honestly have no idea how. I wasn’t present, I was there in body only, and that body was not ok.
I WASN’T OK and I have paid for it in so many ways: in dollars, in friends, in time with my kids, with myself and the way I treated myself.
The last surgery was August 2018 and this time when my bandages came off I was not shocked, I was surprised how ok I was with it. It was soooo much better, yet I know now it was me, I was the one who was better.
It totally fucks with you
When you have to let go of a breast, it messes with you. Some women choose not to do reconstruction and man I respect them for not needing a breast! But I was not one of those women, I could not face life without my breast.
It’s only a breast – yes, it is, and for so many of us when we are one boob down (or two) it totally fucks with us. Our bodies, our emotions, our spirit. It did for me, and it took me to very dark places. Some days I thought I would be there forever. Yet I got through it. It took everything I had but I did, and now I am on the other side.
Oneboobdown.com was born
I decided that I would do something about the after – the hell, the fog that no one ever tells you about. The after is the hardest part of it all. I know it sounds crazy but when your whole world has changed, including the landscape of your body and your spirit, facing your life –the world – is a challenge. For me, it was the biggest challenge I ever came up against, and I have had a lot of challenges!
I decided that no woman should ever have to go through what I did. I would go into the fog and get them – bringing them back, support them, hold them up and push (a bit) to move forward into the life they are meant to live. This includes looking at mirrors that show the neck down.
Breast cancer does not get to win. It may steal our boobs, yet it will not take our spirits, our lives. We will get past the hell and get on with the amazing lives we are meant to live.
One Boob Down is for the amazing women trapped between life and cancer. It is just for them. If you know any of these women, please let them know that they are not alone and send them to oneboobdown.com.
Life is not about being fine – #fuckfine.