I am Toni, an expat single cat lady in Dubai UAE for 12 years now. At age 39 in August 2017, I was diagnosed with stage 3C triple positive breast cancer. Being that I had an aggressive form of breast cancer, I immediately plunged myself into surgery (a left breast mastectomy & complete axillary dissection), 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 32 rounds of radiotherapy. And no it does not stop there, I am currently embarked on a five-year hormone therapy of Tamoxifen and a year of Herceptin subcutaneous injections every three weeks.
"Glamorous" was the word used by my surgeon to describe my mastectomy and axillary dissection procedures, and true enough I had a clean even scar I was very pleased with.
Recovering from surgery I was already thinking of cool tattoo designs I want done to cover up the scar. Getting tattooed was more appealing than a reconstruction, not when I had a JP drain hanging out one side of my body. The thought of going under the knife again was just as terrifying as watching a Japanese horror movie.
Eight months down the road of being a chick with one boobie and while plotting future plans of traipsing around Europe and swimming in the Adriatic Sea, I thought maybe I need a new left boob to fill in a bikini top. So off I go and went to see a breast surgeon to satisfy my curiosity.
The kindly gentleman asked to see what he will be likely working on, so I went to the side of the room where the examination table was and as the nurse was closing the drape and I started undressing, "flop" my breast form fell flat landing by the doctor's foot. He calmly exclaimed and I think with a small smirk, “Exactly why you need breast reconstruction surgery!”
The mortification did not end there, as I have gained a lot of weight while on treatment. I swear his eyes were shining when he saw my excess body fat. He then delivered the news that though I may be a good candidate for reconstruction, too bad the country I’m in only allows back dorsi flap reconstruction. Otherwise, I have it in excess from the belly, gluts and even on my thighs, lots of options for him.
To date I’m still torn between getting a tattoo done over my scar or a breast reconstruction. I am quite happy with my breast forms and have found my sense of style on how to hide them or make the most out of them. As my oncologist is constantly on my case to take losing weight seriously, I could use motivation perhaps. That if ever I decide to see the surgeon again, will I still be considered a good candidate for reconstruction? One thing is certain for sure if that time comes, I will make sure my breast form will be securely taped to my chest.