Since my lumpectomy, my body has been doing some weird things. Almost immediately afterwards, the site of my sentinel node biopsy began swelling. At first it was only a little bit, but soon it was like someone had left behind a small-but-filled-to-bursting water balloon while they were in there. I told people it was a replacement boob I was growing in case of mastectomy. I joked about it, but it was really quite uncomfortable. The skin was stretching and simple things like sleeping, wearing a bra, or letting my arms hang by my side were difficult.
Finally, I called my surgeon and he had me go to his office so he could drain the fluid. He assured me that all this was normal and would go away on its own. While I was there, he asked me if I had also noticed my boob sloshing around. A light went on. Yes I HAD!
Until that very moment, I attributed the weird noise to my stomach. You know that sound that happens after you drink way too much water way too quickly and then move around? That kind of glub plook sound? Ever since my surgery, I kept hearing it at strange times. I'd hear it when I bent over to tie my shoes or when I got into bed at night or, most often, when I put on my bra. And every time I'd think, "Hmm...weird. I don't remember drinking a lot of liquid," and just sort of shrug.
Yeah, I'm a little dense. But excuse me for not realizing it was MY BOOB SLOSHING! I guess in the same way that my little Underarm Water Balloon was filling up due to post-surgery trauma, so was the hole left by the tangerine-sized chunk my doctor removed from my boob. The nice thing was that, besides the scar, you couldn't tell anything had occurred there at all. It looked like I had two normal boobs. This lumpectomy thing was going to be easy!
And then just like my surgeon had said, the swelling started going away. This was great news for my underarm, but not so good for ol' Righty. As more and more fluid began to dissipate, it began to look like my boob was caving in on itself. It still does, and I think that's how it's going to stay. I suppose I should be happy I didn't need a mastectomy. I should be happy it's not some essential part of my body they had to hack away at. But my boob. Is caving in! ON ITSELF!
She has a new name - now she's Frankenboob. And Lefty is Boobberry. (My apologies to General Mills.)
Ah, lest you think I'm spending my days pining for the boob that once was, slowly rocking back and forth on my couch in a big lump of tears and fears, don't fret! The photos interspersed throughout this entry were taken on a recent houseboating trip to Shuswap Lake, BC.
A friend of mine got married and for his honeymoon, 22 of us hopped in cars, drove 13 hours away, piled into 2 houseboats and drank, swam, sang, drank, ate, and slept our way through Shuswap Lake. Oh, and we drank. It was marvelous. Surrounded by people, both strangers and friends, I was in my element. I soaked up the companionship and comradery like beach bunny soaks up sun. I didn't think about cancer at all. It was exactly what I needed.
Oh, and FYI: I have an appointment with my chemo oncologist on July 27. That's where I'll find out what the plan is for radiation and chemotherapy. On one hand, I'm happy to get this phase started but on the other hand, I already have Frankenboob. Haven't you done enough? Sigh.
Wish me luck!