Archives for posts with tag: TRAM surgery

My daughter saw it for the first time. She saw my TRAM scar. She had been very careful to avoid seeing any of my surgery scars especially a year ago, after she saw my very small and tidy scar that runs the circumference of my belly button that was a result of TRAM reconstruction. Seeing that little nothing of a scar was upsetting to her. She is not squeamish. It upset her because as she explained at the time, “They did it to MY mom.”

I was trying on blouses. I had to wear one in the charity fashion show with jeans. My daughter also happened to be trying on clothes and since I have a full length mirror, she was coming in and out of my room.

She happened to walk in when my TRAM scar, which sits about 3 inches below my waist, was exposed. She said, “Mom, your scar! That must hurt!”

The scar is wide; it arcs from one hip to another. I have been told by physicians that it is an incredibly neat scar for a TRAM; my surgeon is extremely skilled. It has faded over a year’s time. But it is still red and the vertical suture marks are quite visible.

I explained, “It doesn’t hurt any more. But yes, it was a big surgery and it hurt a lot at the time. That’s why it was hard to get around and why was home for seven weeks.”

She listened relatively attentively and then went on with what she was doing. This was the longest conversation we have ever had about one of my surgeries. She didn’t run from the room. She didn’t say, “Mom! I don’t want to talk about it!”

When I first had my TRAM surgery, I could not stand upright and I was instructed not to do so for some time to avoid damaging any of the internal or external stitches. I couldn’t laugh for awhile. I could feel my strain of my tissue against the edges of my sutures, which were basically holding me together. It burned like Hell. The same thing happened if I sneezed or coughed.

Currently, I have no evidence of disease. The searing and burning fear of cancer have faded for now along with the physical discomforts and pain. There were times, early on, when my daughter was so anxious about my cancer that she paced like a caged animal.

My daughter is a teen and her life is complicated. Most teens have a lot of emotional tumult in their lives. It is the norm and it is part of the re-organization that takes place that allows them to grow and become independent. I know my daughter’s emotional plate is full without having to worry about her mother. And I hate that. I hate that she has to deal with her mother having had a life threatening illness and that she has to deal with the possibility of recurrence. It’s a loss of innocence; I don’t know if she really appreciates that.

I’ve never been an emotionally perfect mother. I work to be as healthy as I can be. And I can’t expect myself to be a physically perfect mom, either.

The love I have for her, though not perfect, is infinite. I am so happy to be a mother and I am beyond blessed to be the mother of my remarkable girl.

Dear Surgical Drain,

I know I broke up with you last summer after our little fling. Against my better judgment, I took you back last week when I got the TRAM surgery. Maybe I was thinking that things would be different this time. After all, there was you AND another drain. What could be spicier than co-milgling with bulbous plastic twins? However, this threesome, instead of being exciting, was just awkward and messy. Although I can’t speak from personal experience, I suspect this is oft true of other ménage à trois type situations.

But again, I do thank you for serving your purpose and keeping me from swelling up like Violet Beauregarde. My breast cancer experience has contained far too many references to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Roald Dahl.

Keep on keeping it real,


You should be so glad that I screened out the grosser images of Jackson-Pratt drains, which came up in my Google images search. This one is unused and straight out of the package. You’re welcome.

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