I met lots of women since, who feel they’re losing their womanhood. I didn’t care about that, to this day I still don’t have any plastic surgery done. I just can’t find the time, it doesn’t bother me that much, I guess maybe if my breast was bigger it would bother me more but it doesn’t bother me as much. So we decided that (a double mastectomy) and the next day I went in for surgery. I spent 4-5 days in the hospital. I guess the surgery itself was the hardest part, probably the day they took the bandage off, just that’s when reality hit I guess. It was staples, I had had a C-section and a couple of ectopics and I guess the scars from those surgeries aren’t right there in front of you. It isn’t that visible and I only had staples once between my C-sections and my couple ectopics. Now it was staples and it was right from the middle chest right up into your armpit, where they take the lymph nodes and it was so horrific to see it. Two really good friends were there the first day the nurse took the bandage off, they happened to be visiting. So that’s one thing I always said, I was going to give somebody feedback on by telling the story; nobody warned me, the nurse just took my bandages off as if it was normal. It was horrific to see my chest for the first time with those 43 staples across.There is still blood, it is dried up to me it was “Wow”, I am glad my two friends were there. But they just happened to be there visiting when she was changing the bandage. I thought maybe someone was personal enough to have said “When her friends are there we are going to do it.” I asked them after and they said “No she didn’t mention it to us we didn’t know what was going on.” So that was probably the toughest initial part, it was like “Oh my gosh”, really, after the whole shock of cancer. I asked for a mirror, I wanted to see it and then one of the girls held the mirror up while the nurse was changing it at the hospital.
My friends stayed, she, the nurse, asked if I wanted them to stay and I said “Yes”. I asked to keep the mirror up because it is a very personal thing. I guess your breasts are different. I wanted to see exactly what it was going to look like. I don’t care what it looks like; I’ll go without prosthesis in lots of times it doesn’t bother me, but that was a horrific day. The pain, I had a lot of pain healing, I guess I wasn’t expecting the surgery pain. I had experienced surgery before but there was a lot of burning pain. I don’t know if it was because it was right up in the armpit and you’re moving the armpit a lot. Just in the incision, just a lot of burning when I was healing. With my previous surgeries, I never had that kind of pain. I did have one surgery where there was a small complication a heamatoma, but the chest pain was worse. It was just a lot of burning pain. And tight! My chest was really tight. It still is to this day, I still have chest pain to this day. I get massage every two weeks. If I didn’t have deep tissue massage every two weeks, I don’t think I could raise my arm. I coach competitive gymnastics. So, I am lifting kids a lot, I need my arm. I never did massage regularly until recently, like every two weeks, I tried every three weeks but two seems to work, until about two years ago and I finished treatment about four years ago. So the first couple of years, I spend a lot of time with my arm in pain, I had a couple of bouts of lymphedema.