It’s a questions I’m asked often. And the usual reply is “No complaints”.
If you had asked me that questions last week, it would have been a difficult one to answer.
For those not in the boob industry, you may not have heard that last year they revealed some findings that has linked breast implants to a rare type of blood cancer – ALCL (anaplastic large cell lymphoma). The link has been made with textured implants (there are two types – textured surface or smooth…in case you were interested to know), and my guess is 99% of women who have implants due to reconstruction from breast cancer have textured – as we don’t have tissue to help with forming a nice shape, which textured ones do.
Of course when I heard this news, my first phone call was to my plastic surgeon to ask the million dollar questions: which type do I have? I’ll let you guess the answer to that… After consulting with my plastic surgeon, Dr O, I learnt that even though I am at higher risk of developing ALCL – 1 in 6000 chance (compared to the 1 in 500,000 they originally reported), I would probably notice the symptoms early. These include pain, swelling or a pocket of fluid. Not having tissue will make these symptoms more noticeable.
Fast forward 6 months from that appointment, to last week.
Wednesday morning my alarm went off at 3:50 am for my usually Wednesday morning run session. As soon as I got up, I felt a stabbing pain in the side of my breast; I instantly knew something felt “off”. I tolerated it for most of the morning before deciding maybe I should see someone about it. I sometimes feel like a hypochondriac, and worry the doctors will just shake their head and say I’m imagining it, but as it turns out I hadn’t imagined it and the ultrasound revealed fluid around the implant.
As you can imagine, my first reaction when I learnt the news was: “But I have an Ironman 70.3 in 3 weeks???”
As you can imagine, their reaction was: “And…?”
I’ve spent the past weekend trying to act normal. Trying to train as I would without the cloud of uncertainty following me around. After all, if it was nothing, why waste my last weekend of solid training before tapering (I know, priorities…).
And I’m glad I did, because the results came back clear.
I know this will be something I will constantly have to face for the rest of my life, and I swear if cancer doesn’t kill me, I’m sure to die of a heart attack from the scares along the way.
Back to tapering…