Before Christmas I had new nipples made (as the last ones fell off - see previous post). For this pair Mr.Coleman took some skin from my hip and then sewed this onto my boobs. It was all very painless really and this time I didn't go running and patiently waited to see if the graft had taken. Today he removed all the stitches and yes they do look much better, just slightly larger and more crinkly!! If you study your own nipples you realise quite how bizarre nipples are. I had a look through the photos on my file - my original boobs, straight after the mastectomy and all the stages in between until today - I can now honestly say you would never know I had been through anything and physically these boobs are EASILY much better than my previous ones.
In October I also won that award: "The Community Champion of the Year" , Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Awards 2013 for this blog and the support network it has subsequently created. Little did I know when I started writing..... it continues to amaze me how things turn out...
Two nights ago it was New years Eve and Big and I hosted a "Back to School party". It was great fun and very drunken with spelling tests, exams, black board, school photos and school dinner! Big and I were looking through our photos and trying to think of appropriate games and food that we could use. For example, I rediscovered my love for 'Popping candy' and 'Wham bars', 'Rhubarb and Custards', and once again tore the cuffs of my v-neck jumper and made sure my tie was tiny, shirt untucked and skirt rolled up! We also looked through games that we loved to play and I remembered that marble game called "Stay Alive" where you had to take it in turns to pull the red or white side handles to see if your marble would slip down through the hole or whether there was another protective layer underneath it. I was thinking of that game today as I drove back from Oxford. My marble so nearly fell but thanks to all these operations, it didn't and a secure platform has now been put in place. I have barricaded that vulnerable hole.
We never know what path our lives are going to take and what is going to be thrown at us or pulled from under our feet. I try whenever possible to read "Desiderata" (look it up now on the internet!). The wisdom of the words continue to leave me speechless. Half way down this prose, the writer wrote:
"Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself."
If you are found to be a carrier of the BRCA2 gene then don't frighten yourself with what might happen but instead realise that this knowledge is a gift. Be gentle with yourself and take it all day by day and before you know it, you too will be out the other side with only vague memories of operation dates or any discomfort.
Good luck and I promise you it's all going to be fine....
Time to end this blog and time to close this chapter of my life. I will keep it all available online for those women who need reassurance but for me I need to move on now.
Thank you to my darling Big and to all my friends and family who have supported me so unconditionally over the last 3 years.
If one day my two littlies google "Claire Whittaker" and find these ramblings, then Jemma and Ben, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I will always be eternally grateful that I can now accompany you both as you grow up. When you are bigger and if you decide to get tested and if you find that you too have this gene then know there is nothing to fear...............