Tats and tatty-bye

Been back to the reconstruction clinic for the finishing touches and the tattoo team were very attentive. Preparation is everything, apparently, and I sat on the couch for some time bare-chested while Paul, the male of the duo sized me up and his female colleague used my ‘good’ breast as a colour palette.

The actual tattooing took just minutes and I must say the result is a pretty good match and – thanks to the anaesthetic cream they gave me – the procedure was painless. I asked if there was anything they could do to erase the permanent tattoos put on before radiotherapy (two dots visible when wearing swimwear or summer tops) and they kindly offered to ‘turn them into moles’, but I declined.

Now I’m fully re-constructed I think it’s time to wind this blog up. It has been about recovery, and although I don’t think there is ever a specific moment when I’ve felt ‘I am recovered’ there are times when I realise I haven’t thought about cancer for days, even weeks, and moments when the whole experience feels like something that happened to someone else.

As life has returned to ‘normal’ the need to write about myself – that I found so therapeutic at first – has lessened, and I know have been slack about keeping this blog up to date, so thank you to anyone who has stuck with it.

So all that remains for me to say to regular followers, occasional visitors or anyone who’s stumbled across this is cheerio for now and thank you for sharing this journey with me.

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Bra battles

There’s a woman in South Derbyshire apparently who has persuaded Ann Summers to stock mastectomy bras in their lingerie lines.

Not before time.  I hear many a breast cancer survivor bemoaning the fact that you can’t get surgery-friendly sexy underwear anywhere for love nor money.

In theory, having had a reconstruction, I could wear any bra, but in reality anything underwired is bloody uncomfortable so I stick to the mastectomy models, of which there are few.

Marks and Spencers is about the best, but I had a mini strop in there the other day because although they do have some quite pretty post-surgery bras with, it’s claimed, knickers to match, they never seem to have my size or if they do the rest of the range is kept half way across the shop floor so you have to traipse miles only to discover they don’t in fact have the pants to match which is, well, pants.

Still, you do get let off VAT on mastectomy bras…. there has to be an upside!

You can live your life!

That’s what the surgeon said to me today after giving the reconstructed breast a good pummelling. All fine and dandy, apparently, and I can resume normal activities – whatever they are.

Only remaining bit of work is to get the nipple tattooed in a few months time. When I’d first had the op the new nipple was HUGE – but it shrinks, and will, I’m told,  continue to do so.

The surgeon (the Brilliant Miss Bello) said I had done remarkably well, and I said the same about her, so we parted in an atmosphere of mutual appreciation.

Doesn’t seem that long ago that I was crying in her clinic …

Where in the world

Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia, Japan, the US and Oldham – that’s where recent visitors to this blog have come from. It’s fascinating looking at the stats.

‘Cartoon teeth’ has now dropped off the list of search engine terms leading them here; instead, people have googled ‘El Greco paintings’, ‘Venetian ballroom masks’, ‘odd bras’ and ‘fuddle Nottingham’. Hope these random readers are not too disappointed.

Been a bit weak and woozy these past few days and the wound is starting to sting a bit. Being well looked after by JP and the Lodger.

City life

Arrived at 7am yesterday – got into theatre at 4pm! Much smaller show than last time but same surgeon, same drop-dead-gorgeous anaesthetist, same escort, same banter (‘got your sexy stockings on?’ Andy). Results looking good, and no pain whatsoever. Only downside to that is – no morphine!

Nil by mouth..

Breakfast time – but I’m not allowed any. I am waiting for a man in a green top to take me to the theatre …

One not to watch..

 Channel 4 Dispatches tomorrow night – The truth about going under the knife.

Not before Wednesday, anyway.

Wednesday is the day when I go to have the temporary saline implant swapped for a more permanent silicone one. Sounds straightforward, but it still involves an hour and a half in surgery. An hour and a half when I’m out for the count and someone else has total control over what happens to me – and it’s this that gives me the jitters.

No, I shan’t be watching. When I descend to the operating theatre (you do descend, it’s in the hospital basement), I want it to be with absolute faith that all processes and procedures are faultless.

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