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My Bilateral Mastectomy: Phase 1

Right before surgery.

In the early hours of December 21, 2021, I went under general anesthesia for the first time to undergo a bilateral mastectomy. In addition to that, my doctors spared my skin and my nipples, grafted nerves, placed expanders and biopsied a few lymph nodes on my right side. I woke up confused, sleepy, sad, and relieved.

I was dreading this part of cancer treatment more than chemo. Chemo was scary; I definitely didn’t want to do it, but I knew that whatever happened, my body would bounce back eventually. This part of cancer treatment? My body was never going to come back from this. But still, when I woke up from surgery, I felt relieved. Finally, the worst of it is out of the way. Finally, I know that if there were any cancer cells left in my breast, they are gone. And now I can confidently say that I’ve done everything I can to avoid getting breast cancer again. On December 21, I took my ~70% breast cancer risk down to 1%.

Emotions are still complicated though. I’m sad that I won’t have my real boobs again. I don’t want this to sound weird or sappy, but I loved my real boobs. Even when one of them slipped up and almost killed me. My boobs were my favorite thing about my body. Walking into surgery on Tuesday, the one thing that brought me comfort was that I had done everything I could to say goodbye to my original boobs.

What’s next?

Next week, I’ll go in for my one-week post op appointment where they will take out my drains (annoying, painful plastic tubes and bags that fill with body fluid every few hours). Then, I’ll begin weekly fills where my surgeon injects my expanders with saline and slowly expands my fake boobs to the size I want them to be. After that, in about 2-3 months, I will get the expanders switched out for silicone-filled implants.


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