- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer and an artist who was made in Soho and thereafter born in the heart of London. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children and grandchildren whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life, has a degree in Film and Television, and has exhibited her artwork in several exhibition.
Monday, 28 May 2018
My Milkshake Brings All The Boys to the Yard - By Holly Searle
Here is the news.
After deciding on the living tissue option to reconstruct my left breast, I then had misgivings. The thought of having a ten hour operation to enable this in addition to another incision and scar on my torso, seemed quite overwhelming.
No, I thought, the best option would be to shorten the time spent on the table, and to have an implant.
But then I attended a seminar at the Maggie's center based at Charing Cross Hospital, held and given by the plastic surgeon in charge of these operations.
Go, my nurse told me, as you might change your mind.
So I did.
The seminar's are a great idea for those of us still shell shocked by having breast cancer and its consequences. A one hour gig delivered by the man who carries out these reconstruction ops, featuring before and after images of women who have been through both options.
They are a center of boob excellence here and painstakingly take their time to tell you EVERYTHING. Don't buy a white mastectomy post op bra as it will just go grey from all of the washing we are informed.
The images are quite graphic and harrowing. I try to divorce myself from their surgical mutilations and focus of the after images where you would never be able to guess what once transpired to the women who feature on this Power Point presentation.
But as I sat there, I thought to my self, do I want all of this? Who is this reconstruction for? It won't even be the final score. Oh no, that comes after they check out, what they took out. This is just the removal and replacement operation.
No one every looks at my boobs these days apart from me.
I ask myself, am I really that bothered? Then I think, yes, I bloody well am.
Who knows, maybe one day, apart from the surgeons, nurses, doctors and all the other hospital staff, that have already had the pleasure of poking and prodding my breast, to draw their diagnostic conclusions, someone else might like to inspect it for more pleasurable reasons.
But l will be bothered, as I will have to look at either an empty desolate space that will be devoid of what was once was there.
Or, l can look at a similar amalgamation that has replaced it.
But more than that, I don't really want to have this fecking cancer or have my favourite breast removed. I don't want to be sitting in a room with a group of strangers looking at images of women who have been changed so radically by cancer.
This breast fed my babies. It was always more reliable than the other one, it never let me down and now it has.
So, l have no choice but to allow its removal. Its nasty hidden contents banished to histology where my post op fate will be decided.
When the plastic surgeon explains that the living tissue op takes less time than first anticipated, and that implants will need to be replaced in 15 years (plus it won't age and I will), I decide to go with the living tissue option. This option is also what they term surface. It's literally not brain surgery.
The surgeon explains that they identify a fat profitable location of your body: inner thigh, bum or tummy (I am rich in all of these areas – who knew), remove it and relocate it to where the carcinogenic breast is/was. They then create a new breast. Later after this has settled down, you return for a second op to have both breasts aligned. Then, you return at a later date to has either a prosthetic nipple added and or tattoo.
Blimey. It's a lot to mentally digest.
And the way I deal it is by focusing on the next bit. I quite like a point of reference.
After the seminar I see the surgeon. I tell him that I would like the living tissue op. He calls a nurse in and I take my clothes off for another stranger. He measures my breasts and then checks out the fat deposit on my stomach. Phew, there is enough there.
He leaves me alone with the nurse. She's lovely. I say 'I knew there was a reason for eating all those biscuits.' She laughs.
My op is scheduled for June 25th. Before then, I will have to attend another scan to locate the blood vessels in my tum. But for now, I have a beacon to head towards.
I will be hospitalized for five days (please visit). I will then need five to six weeks to recover. I am not too sure how I am going to manage this money wise as my income pays for our life. But, Macmillan offer directional help for you in these situations. So I will call them, call my mortgage provider and get this all set in place before my op.
Six weeks ago, I was diagnosed with Early Stage Breast Cancer. Fingers crossed in five weeks time, they'll get it all out of my body. Then I will face the next bit with my head up and my sore, but replacement boob.