I knew the results would take a few days to come through. The biopsy was on a Wednesday, the results wouldn’t be expected until the end of the week; yet Barbara had called me on the Tuesday saying Katy wanted to see me as soon as possible.
We were back at the Breastitute again!
Naomi and I had established a routine on how we would handle these appointments. We would spend the waiting time just goofing around, getting a hot drink from the fancy drinks machine, eating a few cookies, and people watching.
On this occasion, a couple had walked in. Both were fairly well dressed. The woman was wearing Christian Louboutin shoes, her hair and makeup immaculate, and she was holding a bag from a store in Marylebone High Street. I was in my Converse, jeans and a jumper, looking like I’d just rolled out of bed; and Naomi was in her Adidas, leggings and a top. We were dressed to impress!
By the time we had entered Katy’s room, we had scoffed down as many free biscuits as we could get, and analysed the clothing of everyone near us, including Katy.
Nice studded shoes Katy. “They’re great aren’t they? I just saw them down Marylebone High Street, and bought them.”
Where’s your colourful surgical hat from last week? “What, this thing?”
She reached into her handbag and pulled it out. It was colourful alright! Naomi had noticed it the week before when Katy was in her scrubs. We laughed.
“So, I’ve seen the results from the MRI…” *wait, we were just talking about your hat*
“…the scan showed an area of 7.5 cm.” I thought it was 5cm?
“Mammograms tend to show results slightly smaller than what comes up in MRIs.” So it’s between 5-7.5cm then?
“Yes. There’s also something near your armpit, which I want checked out again.” What about the other biopsy?
“That came back normal…but I just want to double check this.” Ok.
“You’ll need a mastectomy.” *silence*
I never look at the person that sits next to me when I’m in an appointment with Katy. I try and focus on what is being said, and generally avoid eye contact with anyone else. I just don’t want to see the reaction on the person’s face. In the corner of my eye, I could see Naomi looking over at me. I refused to look at her.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk. I just sat there. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach, and I think my face showed it. I felt my eyes well up and the tears start to fall. Suddenly I had Katy on my right, holding my hand, and Naomi on my left hugging me. I felt numb. All I could do was breathe, and try and digest what I’d just been told.
“Ok, let’s take a look at you.”
I got my composure and sat on the bed and took my top off.
The surgical options
There are two options for surgery with breast cancer:
- A lumpectomy – where the area in question is surgically removed, and you keep your breast
- A mastectomy – where the entire breast tissue is removed
As I was dealing with an area between 5-7.5cm, a lumpectomy was not an option. The removal would basically leave a dent in my breast, so a mastectomy was the only choice.
Katy ran through the different options of a mastectomy. She explained her method. I could have an implant put in, where she would make the breast look as natural as possible. “Not stuck on like some of the celebs out there”, she said. I smiled. It would be a fixed size, but she would do what she could to get it looking as good as it needed to.
The other option was to have a plastic surgeon reconstruct the breast by transferring body fat from a part of my body to recreate the breast. If I were to put on weight, it would get bigger. If I were to lose weight, it would get smaller. I didn’t like the idea of having something in me that wasn’t natural. I was automatically swaying towards this option.
“You are a good proportion and have enough body fat in your stomach area.” *Thanks Katy*
“The recovery time is much longer for this option. An implant is a month. Flap surgery is 2 months.” Ok.
We left the room. I was shown two options of an implant; a fixed size and an inflatable one. The nurse explained one over the other, but I just wasn’t listening. I didn’t want an implant. I didn’t want to have my breast removed. I didn’t want to deal with this!!!
I knew people paid to get implants done, and that was fine. Everyone wants their own better version of themselves. It’s their choice. This was not my choice; to have a breast removed because of a calcification! This was something I had to deal with because of this situation.
If there was anything that I wanted to have some control over, it was what kind of surgery I would have. And if there was one thing that was for sure, I did not want an implant!