Shauna Wears Pink

I will never forget the day my doctor uttered those horrifying words “I am sorry to tell you, but that is a cancer tumor that you have in your left breast”. I was 33 years old, and my life changed forever. I invite you to read my story, learn from it and hopefully be inspired to reach out to other young women living with and beyond breast cancer.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My last surgery

On January 18, 2007 my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. It did not matter because I had been lying in bed awake since 4:30 a.m. My head had been swirling with questions for my surgeon and other little to dos I knew that I needed to try and remember but realized that I would likely forget during my three hour general anesthesia nap later that morning. I knew the drill all too well: no jewelry, no make-up, loose clothing, don’t take anything valuable to the hospital. By 7:45 a.m. we were checked into our pre-surgery room and waiting for the anesthesiologist and plastic surgeon to come by and visit. My son was safely home with a baby-sitter, still sleeping in his crib and oblivious to the fact that his mom was about to go under general anesthesia for the seventh time over the last year and half in order for my plastic surgeon to complete the final phase of the reconstruction of my breasts. After talking with my anesthesiologist long enough to assure myself that he was on top of his game and would not let me die on the operating table, I turned by attention to my plastic surgeon who had whipped out a marker and was drawing on my breasts and abdomen. First he drew an elliptical shape on my lower abdomen as a reference point for the skin he planned to cut off and use as skin graphs to re-create my areolas. He then put dots on my breasts where he planned to cut the skin to create the illusion of nipples and finally lines to indicate the incision he would make that would allow him to pull out the tissue expander implants under my chest muscle and replace them with nice soft silicon implants. Before long it was time to say good-by to my husband and take one last look at the picture I had brought of my son. I always feel a moment of panic as they wheel me down the hall away from my husband. That was soon replaced by the feeling that I had just drunk two margaritas as a sedative began to fill my veins. The next thing I remember was waking up to a blurry vision of my surgeon telling me that the surgery went well and that he had explained everything to my husband. As always I woke up cranky from my anesthesia. But unlike my last surgery, I had very little pain. I have no feeling in my breasts post mastectomy, so I could not even feel the incisions my surgeon had made in my chest. I had two drains coming out of me again to drain away any excess fluids created by the body due to the surgery. Also the incision on my abdomen for the skin graph was really sore, but not sore enough to keep me from going home after an hour in the recovery room. Five days after my surgery, my bandages where removed. I took a deep breath and then took a peek at the results. My silicon implants are an instant hit because they are so much more comfortable than the tissue expanders, and they look and feel much like real breasts. The nipples are pretty realistic, and the areolas look pretty life-like. I know that in time all my scars will heal and fade, but for now I still get a bit woozy every time I look at myself in the mirror. What upsets me is the sheer number of scars on my mere 35 year old body. I wonder what those scars will look like when I am 80. Then I realize that for the first time in a long time I am actually visualizing myself at the ripe old age of 80. That means that I finally believe that this ordeal is over. I feel like I have emerged from a long dark tunnel into the light and I can now see my life stretching out in front of me. I survived breast cancer and I plan to make the most of the rest of my life.


  • At 2:24 PM, Blogger Barbara - St. Louis said…

    Shauna, just found out about your site today. Read the whole thing -- Sshhh don't tell the boss. Your words about the frustration of people worrying the insignificant things in life really touched me. I went through years of that after my Grandpa died, but they slowly faded. This brought it back to light. Thinking of you. Barbara (Westar)

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