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Jun 12, 2018 04:53PM
Honestly, the most supportive are women who've been through it. No one else truly seems to understand. They try, but they just don't. I had women close to me who'd had breast augmentation try to compare my BMX and reconstruction to their augmentation surgery (honestly: call me when you've had your nipples removed and have four drains hanging out of your chest like a science fiction character). And it wasn't that they were being mean, people just don't know what to say. They say: "it will be fine"; really? How do you know it will be fine? Because if you have a crystal ball I'd like to borrow it.
If you need help with things, ask for specific things so people can do them. Again, it isn't that they don't want to help it's that they don't know how or what to do or say.
And other than that, the best advice I got was from Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book: she said that her patients kept asking when things would go back to "normal", or the way they used to be. She said "They never will; recognize that. Everything is different now."
I am single and live alone. I had to be strong because there was really no one to lean on through my diagnosis, surgeries, etc., other than well meaning friends and my brother (parents have died). I allowed myself one hysterical screaming cry in my car, in the middle of an empty parking lot, lasting 15 minutes. I screamed and cried for the loss of what had come before, and the fight I was now facing. And that was it. I never cried again. Sometimes I look down and see missing nipples, and I feel blue for a minute and then I think: "Well, I'm alive."
I am doing great two years after my last surgery: released by my oncologist, scars healed, some muscle problems and body problems related to other issues for the most part, not the breast cancer. I have exciting things happening in my life, and I have hope for the future. But it was all because I stopped trying to make things the way they were "before". There is no before, there is only the new normal. (I'm not saying you're doing this, I'm just giving you the best advice I got!). You will handle this, everything that comes with it, because you're strong and you can. And you will be there to watch your kids graduate from college. You got this.
9/2/2014, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR-
9/2/2014 Lumpectomy: Right
7/7/2015, LCIS, Left
7/7/2015 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
10/9/2015 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant