Phantom Pain, Years Later
It's been ten years since my surgery, and I'm still experiencing phantom breast pain.
It's a constant, nagging reminder of what I went through -- the cancer, the surgery, and the chemotherapy. Some days it's so bad that I can't focus on anything else.
I've tried all treatments for pain
I've tried every possible treatment out there (medications, nerve blocks, and surgery), but nothing seems to help. I'm just left with this pain that I have to live with.
I know some people might think I'm crazy for still being upset about this after all these years, but it's a part of me, and I can't just forget about it. It's something that always reminds me of how fragile life is and how you never know what's going to happen.
Even though it's been ten years, the pain is as real as ever.
I've spoken with my doctor and was told this was normal. So being in chronic pain and having your breast tissue swollen is normal? Got it.
Even after surgery, the pain is there
There are times when it feels as if I'm losing my mind because it feels like my breasts are still there.
I look down or look in the mirror and realize that it's just an illusion. However, the heaviness in my chest always causes me to pause and ponder how different my life was when I once had breasts.
I know that I should be over it by now or at least have come to terms with the loss of my breast, but most days I haven't.
It's like mourning the loss of your loved ones, you know that you'll never see them again; however, you yearn for their presence.
I know that to some of you, your breasts are just body parts, but to others, they're like your best friend, your family in a way.
Once they're gone you miss them no matter how large or small they were. In my case, they weren't mosquito bites or watermelons. I guess I could categorize them as cantaloupes or honeydew melons. Regardless of the fruit analogy, I miss them dearly.
Breast pain is a reminder
The stabbing, burning pain is only a reminder that they’re long gone.
So I complained so much to my doctor about the pain, the burning, and what seems like fever until she ordered an ultrasound and a mammogram to see what was going on.
I can feel several lumps. So is it a case of lumpy breasts, or is it once again something more?
As I looked at my referral, my heart stops and my mind travels back a million miles away. I journey to the first lump I ever felt, the first painful and uncomfortable mammogram, and my heart is frozen.
Frozen, because it doesn’t want to be thawed out by a surgeon's knife. Frozen because it doesn’t want to be unthawed by the warm liquid of chemo cruising through my veins. And frozen simply because it doesn’t want to be reminded of the awful, painful reality of what once was.
Have you gotten a second (or third) opinion after your breast cancer diagnosis?