Friday, June 21, 2013

And the Journey Continues

I know I haven't written a blog in a while, so I only thought it appropriate to write one on the day of my 1 year Anniversary of being cancer free. It's hard to believe it was just a year ago today that I let go of something that defines me as a woman. For some reason, I've had butterflies and nervousness in my stomach leading up to this day. Not exactly sure why. Maybe it's all the emotions hanging so close to the surface. Maybe it's the effects of my body going through trauma. Or maybe it's the shear fact this is a really big feat in a person's life. Maybe it's a combination of these things. Whatever the reason, I am happy to be here right now, writing about my experience. So, without further ado, here is the latest update on me....

Just when you think you've almost reached the end of a long journey, you stumble upon a fork in the road. Either way you go will get you to the same destination, however one way will take a little more patience. Both ways have pros and cons, but it all comes down to confidence and satisfaction.

Let me start off by saying this, I realize and understand my body will never be what it use to be. I am quite ok with that, because it's free of cancer! I'm the healthiest and fittest I have been since...well, I would say ever. I can honestly say I love my body and all its flaws. I owe such confidence to a few factors but mostly to crossfit and diet. But what it all boils down to is what makes me feel "normal".

If you have been following my blog from day 1, then you know I went through the nipple sparing process to save my nipples. I had a slight detour with the healing process, thus losing a little of the areola on one side and a little discoloration on the other side. Fortunately, there are these amazing people who tattoo these things on your boobs (cool, huh?). To jump a little a head of the story, I had the first of the tattoo process done. During that office visit, I learned of a new breast implant that has me hopeful.

While I am forever grateful I at least have breasts again, I am not 100% satisfied in my appearance in lets say a bathing suit or tank top, etc. While my plastic surgeon says I look really good, there are a couple areas of concern that involve rippling and hollowness....which have been my own concerns over the healing process. This comes with not having any breast tissue (obviously) and minimal skin and fat in those areas. To me, I feel my breast look like 2 big grapefruits because the implants are so round. I recently had my 6 month check up to look at my progress and go over options. I am quite excited to learn more about this new implant, as it will minimize some of the problem areas and, more importantly, make me feel as close to "normal" as possible. I'm not the greatest at painting a good picture of what I am talking about, so to save time, I've included a diagram to the right. It's pretty straight forward as you can see. :)

So my journey continues. I'm a pro with surgery and recovery now with 4 surgeries in a matter of 6 months, so what's one more to add to the books. August 1st seems to be the day for my next surgery. Oh, and since the procedure is less invasive, the recovery time will be even shorter! Score for me! I won't be out of my crossfit routine for long, which I am proud to say I can now finally lift (with my upper body) more than I weigh. Movements such as push-ups and bench press are still difficult, but I am still pleased with my progress. To put things in perspective, I roughly lost about 25 to 30% of my chest muscles on both sides. When you think of it that way, then it makes more sense why certain movements are very difficult. I realize I will never have my true chest strength again, but I am determined to get as much of it back as possible, even if it takes me a while. In the meantime, I will just be patient.

Now, on to a bit of reflection....

Determination and Progress
It was on this day 1 year ago when I had my first ever overnight stay in a hospital after the most invasive 8 hours plus of surgery in my life. I took the entire experience by the horns, letting go of not only something that defined me as a woman but leaving all traces of cancer in the surgery room. As I think back on that day, a flood of memories and emotions come to me. I remember waking up after surgery and having a slight panic attack from the tightness, not pain, I felt in my chest. I was expecting a worse feeling. Being in a fog the rest of the evening and nervous to look at my chest. Smiling because the surgery was over but still exhausted. Mumbling affirmations in my sleep throughout the night that I had no boobs but it was alright (so I was told by my mom and the nurses). Waking up the next morning at 4:00am waiting for breakfast because I was STARVING (this Texas girl can EAT!). The feeling and emotion I felt when I first saw the drains. And most of all, the feeling and emotions I felt when I first saw my chest. I can remember being relieved, but at the same time thinking "Whoa, this is actually real. I can't believe this just happened." It was a little bit of reality that was initially difficult to bite, but I quickly embraced it.

For the first time in a year, I finally gave myself time to really absorb everything I have been through. As a tear now rolls down my cheek, feeling emotional and triumphant, words cannot begin to express my gratitude for everything. I pray and thank the dear Lord every day for all my blessings, as I realize how lucky I am to have my health and a good support system. I am grateful I beat something that could have taken my life. I am grateful for the courage that God had given me to endure such a test. I am grateful for being CANCER FREE.  I have come so far mentally and physically from just a year ago. My faith, determination and the strong support system all aided in such growth. I still am a work in progress, but for now I am where I am suppose to be....and that's healthy and happy.

Here's to living a long life free of cancer...and maybe getting a little stronger along the way! :)

Cheers to Life!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Allyson! I was checking a few of your posts and had a quick question about your blog. I was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance -emilywalsh688 (at) Thanks : )