Renee No-Boobs is A-ok!

On August 24, I underwent my double mastectomy. I said goodbye to my breasts in this post. I cried the night before, I took pictures to remember them, I snuggled my kids against them and said goodbye to my bras. I had never undergone major surgery where I would be sedated. That totally freaked me out. I was so scared I wouldn’t wake up or would suffer a major complication. Luckily, neither of those things happened.

Smiling in a selfie a few hours after my surgery

Smiling in a selfie a few hours after my surgery

The first 24 hours after surgery was crazy. I had 3 drains coming out of my chest and the sedation knocked me out. Luckily, I was given a private room (with an amazing view of the city!)  and my family was there when I woke up to keep me company. But really, they kept each other company while watching me sleep. I was released from the hospital 24 hours after my surgery which was insane. The Hubster became my personal nurse and learned to empty my drains until I was strong enough to do it myself. He is squeamish when it comes to body fluids but he was a total rock star nurse!

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The aftermath was difficult. Not so much the emotional aspect of not having breasts anymore, but my arms weren’t able to move as much as I thought they would. My mobility was really affected in both of my arms. You don’t realize how many things you do in a day that require your arms to be inline with your shoulder or higher. Dressing was a challenge for a while too but Princess Peach was always willing to help me pull my shirt down! Seven weeks later, my right side is great and my left side has made huge improvements. I still can’t lift it up all the up but I’m working on it!

A home care nurse came to my house to change my dressings and check for infection. I was shocked that after a major surgery the nurse would only come 3 times per week. And then once the drains are removed, their job is done even though I have two huge incisions across my chest. But talking about that is a whole other issues!

Last November my friend and I bought tickets to see Idina Menzel’s concert in Toronto. When i got my surgery date, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it but I think it helped keep my spirits up and something to look forward to after surgery. So 10 days after my surgery with two drains still in, I got dressed and ventured downtown for the concert. Thankfully it was a calm seated concert but it was so nice to feel normal again. Hiding my drains under a dress while wearing a mastectomy camisole was a challenge but i did it!

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It took me a while to look at my incisions. I refused to look at them until the drains were removed and at that time there was still a lot of swelling. I was shocked at how swollen I was. I knew I would have some swelling, but the amount of swelling I had was crazy. For a while I was concerned that my surgeon screwed up because it looked like someone took an ice cream scoop and scooped out parts of my chest! I’m getting use to looking at my scars. I try not to look at them very much if at all but I know that they are a sign of my strength and the battle I have overcome.

Everyone keeps talking about reconstruction. Prior to my mastectomy I was dead set on having reconstruction and having it as soon as possible. Post-mastectomy Renee has a different view. I’m no longer in a rush as this time to get reconstruction. The surgery I will have to get is extremely invasive, is about 9 hrs in length and has a long recovery period. To be honest, I’ve been through so much that I couldn’t imagine another surgery at this point in time.

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After my surgery, I learned about a volunteer organization called Knitted Knockers. Again, I thought I would want to wear these or prosthetics in my shirt, but I don’t. I never thought I would say this but I’m totally ok being flat. Not having boobs hasn’t bothered me yet. Shirts fit much differently now and v-neck t-shirt no longer look so great. My stomach is also much more noticeable because it isn’t hiding behind my boobs. But I thoguht that looking at myself in the mirror without breasts would be shocking and bothersome, but it’s not. I have just shifted the way I look at myself.

But in these past 7 weeks as always I’ve been surrounded by love and support. Two weeks ago, I did my first public speaking engagement at the CIBC Run for the Cure at the Woodbridge and Vaughn Chapter. I shared what I had gone through to 800 people! It was an amazing experience.

I’m waiting to start radiation which will happen in the next few days and as I’m getting stronger and feel more like me everyday I can’t wait to start blogging again on a more regular basis. Thank you all so much for sticking by me and for your support!

So 7 months post diagnosis, 13 weeks post chemo and 7 weeks post surgery I am doing great. I’m trying to get my life back to as normal as I can at this time and trying to enjoy and make memories with my family and friends . I’m happy to say that Renee No-Boobs is A-ok!

Comments

  1. Erika E says:

    I’m glad you’re A-ok. Your post was inspiring, thank you for sharing it.

  2. Darlene S. says:

    I am soo happy to read this update!! Very very excited for you and your recent public speaking. I think it’s hugely important for all women, including you.

    I’m so thrilled that you are taking some time out, that you are adjusting to the new beautiful you. You are a ray of sunshine and a world of inspiration!! I still think of you and pray for a complete recovery.

    I’d tell ya to stay stay strong.. but, you seem to be holding your own just fine :)

    *hugs*

  3. Tracey says:

    I love your brutal honesty about learning to adjust to your “normal.” You’re so inspiring and morning incredible role model. Keep on keeping on!

  4. Cheryl says:

    I’m glad you’re A-OK :) I miss you my friend. Whenever you’re ready for a visitors or you need help, let me know.

  5. Sandy, says:

    Renee you are such an inspiration! So glad to read that all went relatively well for you. Love your attitude. Congrats on your public speaking engagement! Thanks for sharing more of your story.

  6. So glad you’re getting stronger every day and thriving! You have the strength to get through this.

  7. Erin W says:

    I’m so glad to here that your surgery went well without incident!

  8. peady says:

    I am so glad you are A-OK! :D

    Your attitude is amazing. I can only imagine it will play a big part in your continued recovery.

    Great post!

    P.S. How awesome are Knitted Knockers, though, for people who want them? Awesome!

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