Healthy and Breastless
Navigating the emotional stress of going flat
Ben and I had just had the best weekend ever. Lots of laughing, some card games, corny Christmas movies and lots of wine. I was driving to work on Monday, 11/26 after I had had an MRI the previous week. The MRI was routine to make sure my 10-year-old implants were in tact. The phone rang from Sloan Kettering and I picked up, anticipating another regular call that said all was fine.
In fact, the implants are in tact. Great news! However, the nurse went on to say, "Has anyone talked to you about your textured implants?" My heart dropped. No one had. She went on to say they have been recalled and can cause a rare form of lymphoma at about 8-10 years of having them in; but the doctors are not recommending patients remove the implants. I started bawling.
Guess who just reached 10 years? Me.
I immediately started asking questions...what was the manufacturer? How soon can I get an appointment to get these implants out? Why don't doctors recommend getting them removed? What is the chance that I will get lymphoma? Does insurance pay for this?
To be honest, I didn't really hear any of the answers to the questions. My eyes glazed over. My mascara ran down my face. Same time of year as 11 years ago when I was diagnosed. Christmas-time and I'm getting hit in the gut by cancer - again.
I immediately went down the rabbit hole of thinking I had cancer. I started thinking about my will (I need to write one!), how much money I had in the bank and if I could take my savings and take all my nieces and Ben's daughter to Disney. Thinking...should I leave my car to my mom? Who is going to keep running Fighting Pretty? What about Ben? I need to marry him!
I went inside my office thinking for some strange reason that I could handle myself and not fall apart. I had been through bad news before. I got this.
As soon as I saw my co-worker Kathryn, I lost my shit.
I went home, had a pep talk with Ben and realized - I don't have cancer. I don't have lymphoma. I'm not dying. I need to peel the emotion away from this situation and deal with it. Just like I did with cancer. So I got on the horn, called a breast reconstructive surgeon here at OHSU, and scheduled my surgery.
January 16 - only 2 days after the anniversary of my mastectomy - I will have my Allergan implants removed. I will be flat. I will not have new implants put in. My plan is to live until I'm 95 - and I can't go through this again.
I went to work the next day, and everyone asked how I was doing. There were tears, there were hugs and I am so lucky to know that I have a huge support system. When anyone asked how I was doing, I said - "You know what? I'm fucking fine! I'm gonna be fine, and I. AM. FINE GIRL!"
So, here goes.
Flat, Fabulous and Fighting Pretty!
PS. If you have implants, please ask your doctor if you have textured Allergan implants. I'm not writing this to scare you. I'm writing this to save your life. Read more about the recall of Allergan implants here.
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