I’m going off the rails a bit. If you are one of those people who relishes TMI (too much information), stick with me. You’re gonna love this– we’re talking about nipples! If not, carry on with your day and I’ll catch up with you another time.
Tomorrow is New Nipple Tuesday! I’ve named it that because I have to keep my sense of humor about things. I’m heading back to The James to continue this process of reconstruction that has seriously been going on since they took off my cancery breast a year ago.
Can you tell I’m ready for it to be done already? I bet you feel that way about certain things in your life too. Can we just close the curtain on this scene and move on to the next?
I have two steps left until my reconstruction is complete. Nipple replacement and then (three months from now) tattooing of the areola.
Tomorrow, the plastic surgeon will tuck and sew the skin on my breast to make it into a nipple. Right now, my left breast resembles a barbie doll. It’s in the shape of a breast, but it doesn’t have any female details. If I were a braver woman, I would google this process so I know exactly how it’s done, but I’m not, so I’m just letting my imagination tell me all I need to know. Besides, I know from previous internet searches that typing “breast” or “nipple” into a computer is never a good thing.
I’ll be awake for the process. That’s good, because my family has learned from experience that I don’t recover quickly from anesthesia. But that’s also bad, because even though that particular part of my body will be numb, my brain won’t be. My lovely creative mind will be wide awake and free to think all kinds of wack-a-doo thoughts about all the things that could go wrong.
The doctor tells me he creates the nipple three times larger than it needs to be because it shrinks in the healing process. Tell me that alone is not enough to think about during the hour long procedure…
So why would I even bother? That’s the million dollar question. Honestly, if it were just about me or even my husband, I wouldn’t. But it’s not about us. It’s about you. And your girlfriends. And your sisters. And maybe even your mother. I want to share my experience, the whole experience, with you so that if you ever have to make this decision, you’ll have a little more information than you had before.
Not everyone is called to share the intimate details of their cancer journey, but I am. I’ve known from the beginning that if I was going to have to walk this path, other women would gain in the process. And maybe even a few men who are wondering what is going on in their wives’ minds.
So I’m scared about tomorrow and I know I’ll be scared to look at my new nipple, but I’m going in with a purpose which is much deeper than cosmetic and that makes me brave.
The next time you have to do something uncomfortable, think about who else could benefit from your short-term suffering. Maybe it’ll make you brave, too.
On a side note, my sweet daughter is giving her all to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer. If you’re interested in getting a handmade coffee cup cozy and supporting her efforts, would you please follow this link and click the “Donate Now” button? As a survivor and a mom, Thank you!!!