Three tips to mentally prepare yourself for the upcoming changes to your body after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
After being diagnosed, you realize that no matter what you decide as a treatment option, your body is never going to be the same again. All this anxiety sets in from the unknown and you suddenly become more appreciative than ever for your current body. During all the processing of information and current events, it’s important to remind yourself the purpose of your body and what feeling good means to you, which leads us into the first tip.
Define what feeling good means to you. Understand and apply your definition of feeling good to the situation.
Personally, feeling good for me is no aches and pains, optimal energy and clarity, and a joyful spirit. Sit and analyze what your definition of feeling good means to you because this meaning will have an impact on which surgery treatment you choose.
Obviously, my feeling good definition led me to go flat after my double mastectomy, because I couldn’t risk my joy for the unknown pain and uncomfortable feelings from a foreign object stuck in my body. The whole concept of having a foreign object in my body, such as an expander or implants, was much harder for me to visualize than having no boobs at all. This will vary for each individual based on what their “feeling good” definition means to them.
Focus on the outcome of a healthier, cancer free body. Never lose sight of this image because our mindset has everything to do with our recovery. Remind yourself that your body does not define you, but it is your mode of transportation while you live this physical journey here on Earth and, therefore, we must treat it well.
Understand that women have unfortunately been over-sexualized in our society for decades now and having big breasts was at one point idolized. But as more researched has surfaced on breast implant illness, more women are waking up and saying no to implants and putting the health of their bodies first. In fact, there is a whole flat movement going on and hundreds of thousands of women are explanting. Please keep this fact in mind when considering your options. I highly recommend joining the following two Facebook Groups: Fierce, Flat, Forward and Breast Implant Illness and Healing. These two groups really opened my eyes, thanks to the brave women in them sharing their very raw stories.
Take time to stare at yourself in the mirror each day up until your surgery and visualize yourself for the outcome of your surgery. I remember staring at myself for 20 minutes a day, covering my breasts with my hands to picture myself without anything there. I tried to embody what it felt like and how I would feel without this body part. Then I would try to imagine how I would feel waking up with expanders inside of me (if I had decided to reconstruct). Would I be able to sleep normal, how would this affect my mental mindset if I hated the feeling of having something foreign inside my body and there wasn’t an immediate fix.
After knowing I wanted to go flat, I basically thought back to my days before puberty and imagined a flat chested girl with no more sagging boobs to have to worry about. Because even if you opt for reconstruction and go through the expander process you will still have to worry about implant replacement, which occurs every seven to ten years to maintain the implants. For me, that just wasn’t something I was interested in doing. It has been four months since my double mastectomy to aesthetic flat closure and I feel lighter than ever without boobs! My sensation in my chest area is starting to come back and I’m loving my yoga again because I have my full range of motion back.
I hope these tips can help shed some light on to which direction would be best for you. Mentally preparing myself for the journey ahead is what I think helped me so much because after my surgery I never felt a since of loss from not having any boobs anymore. I felt confident in knowing I made the best educated decision for the health of my body.
If you have been recently diagnosed and are reading this article, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Sending you lots of love and light always.