The Phantom Breast
The days that followed brought extreme fatigue. While I experienced surprisingly little pain, I wasn’t particularly comfortable and had lots of weird sensations. When I moved a certain way it sent a tugging or prickly feeling to my nonexistent nipple. The feeling was powerful and if I didn’t look down, I felt as if I still had that breast. Even so, my skin was, for the most part, without feeling.
The Reconstruction Question
My surgeon strongly advised that I hold off on thoughts of reconstruction for a while. Not getting that process started during the mastectomy meant that reconstruction would be a bit more involved for me. After some research on reconstruction, the risks and expense began to sound more and more unappealing. As much as I appreciated balance, I felt as though reconstruction might be more trouble than it is worth. As a younger woman, my feelings likely would have been very different. A good prosthetic might do the trick for me.
As for my husband, the answer was clear:
“If you do consider reconstruction, just know that you will be doing it for yourself, because I think you look beautiful just the way you are.” I am a fortunate woman indeed.
Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Series
#1 The Lump in my Breast: Meeting the Enemy
#2 Most Breast Lumps are Non-Cancerous: Would mine be?
#3 The Mammogram, the Ultrasound, and ‘the Look’
#4 The Biopsy and Breast Cancer Confirmation
#5 A New Twist: It’s Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
#6 Before the Mastectomy: Planning for the Future
#7 Mastectomy Day: What it’s like to lose a breast
Access the up-to-date Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Series
Take Action! Sign the petition: We can end breast cancer by 2020
Author’s Note: This is article is part of a series chronicling my first-hand patient perspective of life with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Without being overly self-indulgent, I hope to convey the raw emotion that comes with such a diagnosis… and the process of living with and beyond it. Entries will appear in Care2 Causes and in Care2 Healthy & Green Living. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo