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by HIS Breast Cancer Awareness


How much can one body (and mind) handle….

Up until the age of 23 I thought I was very lucky never needing stitches or having any broken bones! For a girl, I always played hard with having two older brothers to keep up with. I remember ‘toughing it out” once when a 6pack carrier of bottled coca cola exploded one summer day when I was carrying it home from the local store. The heat and the shaking just made them all explode leaving a large gash in my leg on the side of my knee from the glass. But I knew I didn’t want to go to the hospital for stitches so we bandaged it up (didn’t bend my knee for like a week) and it eventually healed. My first true scar and an experience I’ll never forget.

Now at 59 and looking back I can’t believe (what I like to consider to still be on the younger side), how my body looks like a battle field! Now some of these scars are happy ones which I welcome from the births of my children, the others I can say make me a 4 time survivor but all together this plays a lot with my physical and mental status.

So, here’s how it played out;

Age 23: After 33 hours in labor my first born was delivered by cesarean section (cut vertical from the belly button down) Who cared about the surgery, I had a son!

Age 26: Pregnant but miscarried

Age 27: Pregnant carrying twins (possibly triplets and miscarried one) both delivered safely full term, cesarean section (cut horizontally). Without a doubt feeling ecstatic even though my stomach looked like an anchor with two cuts different ways!

Age 31: Pregnant but miscarried

Age 32: Had my tubes tied (internal scar)- Happy family of 3 sons and didn’t need another miscarriage

Age 35: Tummy tuck to re-attach the stomach muscles from C-sections due to severe recurring back issues. Long horizontal scar from hip to hip.

Age 37: First breast cancer diagnosis, had lumpectomy and needed to go back in again to gain clean margin (so 2 surgeries)

Age 39: Second breast cancer diagnosis, another lumpectomy in same breast, same scar

Age 48: Third breast cancer diagnosis, lumpectomy, back in again for clean margin (2 surgeries) Then radiation completed to breast.

Age 48: Sentinel node tested (scar in armpit area)

Age 49: Full Hysterectomy -cut horizontally (so much for re-attaching stomach muscles!) because I had genetic testing and learned I carry the BRCA2+ gene mutation which put me at a high risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Age 58: Emergency Appendectomy (begged to have it laparoscopically to save stomach muscles as much as I could)

Age 59: Fourth breast cancer diagnosis- Skin sparing Double Mastectomy with Latissimus Dorsi Flap with Expanders Reconstruction. Also, re-opened sentinel node scar (both sides back muscle scars and mastectomy...)

Age 59: Exchange surgery to take place, date TBD and whatever else is needed for this current diagnosis.

So, as I sit with my husband watching a TV series (while recuperating from the mastectomy) which happens to include a hot sex scene, I began to cry. Yes, the girl was probably half my age but it still made me think back. Did I ever believe my body would have gone thru so much making me feel like it looked like a battle field? Between the scars on the outside, the hormonal affects inside, I am not the same w