Longevity logo

My Breast Cancer Story Part 2

by Shawna Du 4 years ago in health

Cutting It Out! How I Dealt with Breast Surgery

I wasn't sure how I would handle lossing my left breast. I wasn't sure that I'd be able to look at myself in the mirror. And how would others see me? How would it affect my marriage?

The night before my mastectomy, I looked online for ideas on how to cope. I found that some women had goodbye parties for their boobs. But one woman wrote a letter, a very angry letter about being forced to cut off a part of her body to save her life.

Writing a letter intrigued me. So, I decided to write one, too. But my letter was different. Instead of being angry, it was bittersweet. I was saying goodbye to something very special to me. I cried while I wrote it and when I was done, I knew that I had to do one more thing. I had to share it with the world.

I posted it to social media because I wanted to help other women who were going through the same thing. I wanted to share that it wasn't something shameful and it was my hope that my sorrow could bring healing to another person.

This is what I posted:

I would like to take a moment and get something off my chest (mastectomy humor). It might seem silly, but I feel that I must say goodbye to my boob. So here goes...

Tomorrow, is the day that we will part forever. We have been together since I was 12-years-old. You've been with me for almost all the best times of my life. I dressed you with care on my wedding day and I felt beautiful. And it was on you that I placed two beautiful baby boys to give them nourishment. Thank you for feeding my children; I am forever grateful for all those memories.

I'd rather not see you go, but it's for the best. I will grieve for you. I will not forget you, but I must move on and fight for my life.

After the surgery, I woke up and I was super groggy. I knew that people had been visiting me but it was like snippets of a dream. When I started coming back to myself, I noticed something that I hadn't prepaired for.

My left arm was huge! Like three times it's normal size. I had lymphedema. Because they had removed a lymnoid, my lymphocytic system went crazy. I hadn't prepared for this and it hit me hard. I knew that eventually I would have reconstruction for my breast and in the meantime I would hide it under scarfs. But how do you hide your arm? Was this permanent? I was devastated.

And then came my hero.

My husband snuck in CBD oil a few hours after my surgery and it was like magic. My arm was the normal size within 24 hours. I continued to take it during my recovery from surgery and I healed so quickly. My two drainage tubes were removed within a week and I was driving my 6-year-old to school. A few days later, I was carrying my 1-and-a-half-year-old. It was amazing! I was being called Wolverine (Marvel comic character with increadible healing ability).

Even with all the fast healing that I experienced, there were some difficult times. I was fine with losing my breast as long as I didn't have to look at it. For the first few showers, I wouldn't look down, only touching my chest as necessary to clean it.

One day, I finally looked and I was amazed. It wasn't what I expected. Yes, there was a large scar that that started under my armpit and continued near to the center of my chest. But, it was careful and thoughtfully done — a testament to the surgeon's care and understanding of how this kind of surgery affects a patient. I didn't look like my usual self, but I wasn't a Frankenstein either. I was a cancer patient doing what was necessary to save her life.

After two months of healing, I was to begin a new chapter… chemotherapy.

(To be continued)

health

Shawna Du

Shawna loves to write. She is a breast cancer survivor and her passion is to encouraging women to become their own health advocates. She lives with her husband and two children in southern California.

Read next: How to Use BCAA's to Get Maximum Results?

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.