Spring was in the air and the time had finally come to get my new girls. I had expanded my skin as much as I wanted; in actuality, as much as it was willing to stretch. I liked the look and size we were able to achieve. Not too big. Not too small. Just right!
What type of implants did I want? It took me days, weeks, maybe even months off and on researching and talking to friends with implants before I made my decision. Choosing between saline and silicone was difficult. Putting a foreign object inside my body was hard enough, but did I want to go with the least foreign? What about how each would look once they were inside my chest? All of this mattered and made the decision difficult since there were numerous pro’s and con’s to each. I settled for silicone implants, as they would weigh slightly less, ripple less, and feel more natural, despite the difficulty of determining a ruptured implant.
I was excited for this surgery. It would bring everything to a close, the end of my journey. It was not going to be a tough surgery; something that only required replacing the current expanders with the permanent implants. A surgery that would only restrict me to days of recovery, not months. A surgery that would put me at home the very next day.
Eric and I made another trip to Seattle the day before my scheduled permanent implant surgery. It’s not very often we get to treat ourselves and we felt treating ourselves to a nice hotel and dinner to help close this chapter was a nice touch. It also was something that seemed to be needed after everything we have had to endure for the past year. Plus, having a bed that was comfortable to recovery in after surgery was extremely welcoming.
Surgery was scheduled in the morning. Staying at a hotel and cruising by their restaurant when you’re hungry is rough on a girl, but would all be worth it once I was able to be back in the hotel room to sleep off the effects of surgery. Walking into the surgical room this time compared to the other two times felt different. Maybe I was more relaxed. Maybe I was getting use to surgery and it was just a smaller procedure after all. Maybe I knew I was done; I would not need to see another surgical room for years to come.
I was asleep in a matter of minutes and woke up in the recovery room within the hour. This surgery for me did not take as much of a toll on me as the first two. I was more alert, not at all woozy, and asked for something to eat right away. That Jell-O the nurse provided me with was the best Jell-O I had had in a long time. It provided me the extra energy I desired. I was in the process of getting dressed when my husband walked in. The shock on his face was priceless. Knowing I was fairing pretty well after this surgery came as a great relief to him.
My parents drove up for the day. They were at the hospital early for the surgery, ate a late lunch with us in our hotel room, and took off for home in the evening. I watched the pain in their eyes for almost a year. The hope they had for their daughter’s future never included a breast cancer diagnosis; a little piece of their dreams broken. However, that day, there was a slight gleam in their eyes, one I haven’t seen in some time. As relief of my well-being and acceptance of my diagnosis set-in, their sadness began to melt away.
This was the final major surgery I would need to close my reconstruction journey (even though I still had one more decision to make – what do I do about nipples?) My cancer journey will continue for years to come with multiple oncology appointments and anti-estrogen drugs, but this was closing one major chapter; perhaps even one book in the series of my life.
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