Freedom from the Pain
This painful, depressing journey is devastating for a woman who must decide when to throw in the towel, give up on the process, and “deconstruct” their breasts. The medical name for removal of breast implants is explantation. But, I, personally, refer to it as “breast deconstruction.” That phrase sounds harsher, so it fits into the harsh reality that if you are considering explantation, then you have had a rough journey.
The decision-making process is torture; it is as intense as the mastectomy/BC treatments/type of reconstruction decisions. The process takes over your life; it consumes you. In my case, there was little choice. My post-mastectomy pain was taking over my life.
To be clear, I am thrilled when breast reconstruction works out for others; but, that is not always the case and women need to be aware of these issues. When I was in pain, I knew that living on painkillers was not an option for me. Now, mind you, my surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City was clear on full-disclosure prior to my surgery. She said that there were no guarantees that the deconstruction would relieve my pain. That is because, according to clinical studies, she said that 50 percent of women experience post-mastectomy pain. But, you have to follow your instincts, and if your muscles are hurting, pinching, pulling, etc. it is time to consider what your body is trying to tell you.
I was willing to take the chance, rolled the dice, and I am a winner! Eighty percent of my pain is diminished. The severe stabbing pains are gone where the doctors assumed neuromas had formed. The constant discomfort and sleeplessness from the distorted biomechanics of my surrounding muscles has resolved. I can breathe deeply without the lung constriction that I was experiencing from the heavy implants pressing into my chest (a result of my pectorals never stretching to accommodate the implants).
Now, stretching those pectoral muscles without the implants restricting movement is so soothing…I am relishing having my body back in alignment!! This is why I celebrate liberation from the pain since my deconstruction.
If you are contemplating or committed to making this decision, you need to focus on the liberation of deconstruction. You have chosen this path because it will bring you relief from a diagnosed pain condition that ruins the quality of your life. Period. There is a small subset of patients who may never find relief, even with deconstruction. But, it is worth the chance that it will improve your life…