reconstruction after breast cancer, Uncategorized

Fill ‘er Up, Joe


Every week I visit my plastic surgeon’s office and get my expanders filled. I’ve been there about 10 times now. In about 6 weeks I will have the final surgery to place my implants and that will be it, except for the 3D nipple tattoos.

What has made this bearable is Joe, the medical assistant to the plastic surgeon. He’s been there quite a while, and he knows the ropes. He’s very kind and gentle, and I’ve never once felt like just another patient.

Joe is the only male that has seen me without a top on since I got cancer (other than some surgeons).  I don’t know what I expected – it’s his job, after all. Maybe I thought he’d grimace or something, but he just walked in and talked to me and did his job.

I honestly have felt like a very fat, 11-year-old version of myself. I have felt like one of the Who’s in Whoville, or a giant Teletubby – no boobs at all, and sexless. Not pretty, that’s for sure.

Joe calls me “Ms. McGagin” and treats me with respect and like the woman that I am.  He has been supportive in my journey towards feeling whole again. But he did it from the inside.

Slowly, I am returning to my former self. With each visit, my chest is looking better and better.

So, fill ‘er up, Joe, and thanks.


It’s Not Pink

I took this photo of a tissue expander during one of my weekly visits to the plastic surgeon’s office. She has a few just  scattered around, rather haphazardly. The gray circle contains a magnet so that the saline goes in the expander, and not my body. I presently have two of these residing in my chest. It feels like two boulders and I occasionally experience pain from the expansion. I’ve been sleeping on my back for months. It’s not a fun process, but it’s all part of the reconstruction journey. Oh, and they also gave me a special card to show airport security in case I feel like traveling on a plane with these demons from hell.

None of these things are pink.

None of these things say “Fight like a girl” on them.

No pink ribbons.

I’m so glad. Something that has caused me pain should not be pink. (Something that has caused me pain and fear of death should not make money for big corporations, either, but that’s another blog coming outta me, folks.)

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