August 22, 2012

So… the bandages came off of my left tit yesterday.  (Not Monday as originally planned.)


I was not expecting this.

Before this most recent surgery on August 8, my scars had healed beautifully.  My plastic surgeon, Dr. T-dubs, is wonderful.  Her stitches were tiny.  And in only 7 months, the scars had become so faint, they were nearly invisible.

Not so with this surgery.  Dr. T-dubs was not in the room this go round.  It was just Dr. S.  And Dr. S’s stitches look like she studied under Dr. Frankenstein.  The scar is thick, corded, crooked and about 2 inches longer than expected.

I instantly well up when I look at it.

After coming to terms with all of the changes my body has undergone and accepting them as beautiful in their own right… this newest change is hard to swallow.

I went to see Dr. T-dubs yesterday.  (She is actually the one who took the bandages off when she refilled my implant. Which was really painful in and of itself.)

“Don’t worry,” she said.  “I will fix it when we change out your implants in a few months.  It will be almost invisible just like the other one.”

I called her three more times today.  Just to be sure.

“Don’t worry,” she said each time.  “I promise I will fix it.”

I am trying to believe her.

But every time I look at the new scar… I can’t stop regretting the decision I made to have this 2nd surgery. Especially since all of the pathology came back clear. Turns out… I would have been just fine without having this one done.  “Better safe than sorry.”  Everyone keeps saying. Easy to say when they aren’t bearing Frankenstein stitches across their chests.

“This is only temporary.”  I tell myself.

“T-dubs will fix it.”

“I am a work in progress.”

But the mantras I have used through every new challenge in the Cancer Games are no longer keeping me calm.

And it’s made me feel panicked about radiation.  What if I agree to this treatment and my skin, my breasts, really do turn out horribly damaged?  What if I find that I cannot mentally accept the damage?   I don’t want to regret another decision.

I have fought my way through all of this with ferocity. Making decisions with the determination never to look back.

Why is it such a struggle to tap into that now?

Dr. T-dubs says it is not her job to sell me on radiation, but that the 9%/10% scenario Dr. K spoke of really is a big difference.

I love Dr. T-dubs.  She is my very favorite of all the docs.  I should believe her.  I should believe her about the radiation. I should believe her that she will fix my scar.  But I’m scared.  I’m scared of regret and I’m scared of making another mistake.

I cannot shake this uneasy feeling.

“This is temporary.  I am a work in progress.”

Still not working.

I’m just feeling so marred…

End cancer chapter 15.


3 Responses to “Regrets”

  1. Pat Pilkington Says:

    Gwen, I just read your post and can relate somewhat. We are in Winston -Salem at the SECU Family house so I can get my radiation 5 days a week. I’ve only had 3 so am doing fine. Ed is with me and frantically trying to find a solitary place to learn his many lines for “Camping with Henry and Tom”.
    (oops, Gwen, interruption – later –

  2. Karen Elb Says:

    Dr. T-dubs WILL fix it BUT meanwhile please know that you are a beautiful, strong, inspiring woman and no mere scar can come close to marring that.

    I know it’s totally different than your situation, but I went into pregnancy very apprehensive about how it would forever alter my body. And forever alter my body it did, but each stretch mark (and there are plenty of them, everywhere) and the fact that my previously perfect nipples are completely distorted and now a totally different color than before breastfeeding, and my previously trim tummy will never ever regain it’s old concave shape – now I see it all differently. At the other end of the road, each imperfection seems like a badge of honor.

    I know it’s not at all the same thing as cancer, I chose motherhood and you had this thrust upon you. But I think that just gives your scars greater honor and that in transcending all of this your beauty will be increased. Beauty is not about the imperfections of the flesh, it’s light shines through you and because of the person you are, will always shine through you.

  3. Marcia Shaver Says:

    When Tom had his radiation, there was cream I got from the health food store that I put on him. He was very fair skin and a red-head and not once did he burn or even turn color. Please know that a lot of us are praying for you and may God give you the peace with your decisions. I know that this is such a hard time for you, but please keep trying,
    the world needs your smile and you.

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