Sunday, July 18, 2010

from breasts to grenades

My breasts are gone. I just wanted to clear up any confusion that I created while I was trying to sugar coat things with myself---I don't have a choice when it comes to having cancer, but I made the choice to remove both breasts. I also made the choice to have reconstruction, phase 1, started. Cancer leaves you with little or no control over your body, something that, for a control freak like me, is very hard to handle.

I am 26 and have no family history of breast cancer. Statistically the likelihood of me getting cancer in my left breast was astronomical and that concreted my decision to remove both breasts. Many women jump through hoops to keep their breasts--to be honest I got less attached once I found out that mine were trying to kill me. I won't go into a rant of the extreme amount of pressure women have from society regarding their breasts--and much of the pressure that women place upon themselves regarding their breasts. I was there with the best of them--push up bras, chicken cutlets---you name it, I used it. I pushed them up, bronzed them, and walked with my chest out and a cute pair of heels. Those days aren't over--they are just on hiatus. I do know that I won't do it for anyone else ever again. Anything I do with my body from this point on is for me, and me only.

I chose to have expanders placed (empty bags) at the same time as my bilateral mastectomy. This is one less surgery I will have to have later on. Then after radiation they can be injected with small amounts of saline for a period of 6-8 months. This allows the skin and muscle to stretch slowly, then I will have surgery to remove the expanders and place implants. This was a decision I made for me--again an issue of control. I know that I don't need breasts......what I have won't really be breasts, at least in the traditional sense. They will have large scars across them, no real nipple (they will be created with pieces of my own skin), no sensation, I can't breastfeed, and they will be perky until I die. But they will be mine. A little "fuck you cancer" when this is all said and done. They will look fine in clothes, but naked is a different story....more to come on intimacy and nakedness when you are disconnected from your body, I am assuming chemo will throw a huge wrench into my self-awareness as well.

Now I have no breasts or nipples. I have bandages and drains which I have grown attached to in the last few days. I don't know what I should call my chest...but for now I have 4 drains that look like grenades strapped to my chest and that makes me feel pretty kick ass. Powerful...even explosive. Soon I won't have bandages or drains...........I will have scars and an obvious emptiness where my breasts once were. I am hoping by this point I will be able to cry without tremendous chest pain, currently tears aren't a viable option. They leave me having to take more pain medication.

Someday soon I will mourn the loss I experienced on Wednesday. I am aware that then I will need to rise to the battle to fight the remaining cancer in my body--chemo and radiation here I come. We are going to have a party to celebrate my upcoming battle before I have chemo and my time around others is limited--Scott's great idea! I am thinking a hat, wig, scarf party where people can bring items to add to my armor :)

I think that what gets me through the day at this point is knowing that I am not alone in this. Others are doing and experiencing this at the same time, a similar journey, too many women... they can do it, I can do it.


  1. Amen Sister! You can do it...and you name when and where and I will be there with a kick ass wig and possibly some spritz cookies for you to hoard by yourself or share with whomever you choose too! :) Love you!

  2. I found your blog and must say you are an inspiration to any woman fighting cancer! You write with such honesty and put everything into perspective... I will be with you on your journey, reading all of your entries with tears rolling down my cheeks. It sounds like if anyone can do it, it's you!

  3. hi Dori. i have been following your blog since (almost) the beginning, and have felt compelled to write to you every time i read another of your entries...but i just don't know what to say. it's hard to feel like anything i could say to you would be adequate. i'm sure there are many others who are following your progress that hesitate to write for the same reason.

    thank you for sharing yourself and your journey. the courage with which you have accepted and shared a heartbreaking experience has turned it into something positive for the rest of us. you have made me cry and given me hope for the future in the same post. i have no doubt you will beat cancer and continue changing the world for the better. sending lots of positive energy your way.


  4. would love to party hard with ya sister!! n watch this sucker LOSE!!!! -Lindsay Hamre <3

  5. Yes Dori, you can do it! You are always with us in thought and prayers, every moment of every day! I nursed my mom through the same surgery and treatment and although it was rough, its worth every ounce of strength you have. You are so STRONG! Let us know if you need anything- love you both!

  6. I am one of those fighting the fight with you, Dori. My bilateral mastectomy was on 7/22. My drains just came out yesterday. I'm enjoying reading your blog and can so relate. Chemo here I come...
    I've got a blog too: