72 hours later. I am breathing. It’s been a roller coaster of days. It’s all coming back to me now. I remember being this. I remember being me. I remember this body. And I remember the lies. Funny enough, the lies that told me I am not “feminine” enough and that “I look like a boy” are still there. BUT – now I am so well prepared to fight those lies that in the name of Jesus…POOF!!…they’re gone! Like fruit flies I squish with my finger. Recognizing those old lies and battling them is now as easy as breathing air. Seriously…how uncreative and boring is the enemy?
The second night was ugly. After spending almost 36 hours wrapped as tight as a mummy, I couldn’t take the pressure any longer. I felt like whatever breast tissue I did have left was being smashed into my inners. I couldn’t take the pressure, the pain one more minute. Up until then, I had not taken any pain medication. The pain was getting more and more intense. My husband made a good suggestion: go to the bathroom, unwrap, take a breath, then wrap back up, and take my first pain medication for a good night’s sleep. It sounded like a good plan to me.
One part of me was nervous to unwrap. As long as I don’t see it, my mind could keep believing that my breasts were small, perfect, and all mine. Not lacking anything. But a part of me, the brave part of me, was ready to see the facts.
I unraveled the bandage and regained breath, but as the final wrap fell off, my breath was stolen. It was bad. It looked bad. There was nothing about what I was looking at that looked like me. What had I done to myself? The bumps, the dents, the sag, the twists and turns. Things pointing in directions that just should not be. My heart was crushed. I was physically and mentally “bent out of shape.” I began to cry. The physical and emotional pain was more than I could bear.
I was going under.
I quickly rewrapped before my husband walked in. I sat down and cried. It hurt so much. The drains. The stitches. The ugliness. Too much. Simon came in and gently helped me finish rewrapping.
For the first time, I just broke down. And Simon listened. I could tell he was frustrated by his inability to help me. He’s such a good man with a warrior heart. He can’t stand to see people he loves in pain.
I took the pain killers.
In minutes the pain pills kicked in. I couldn’t feel. “Ah…that’s better.” I didn’t want to feel. It was just too much. I faded into a deep sleep.
Four to six hours later, the pain was back. The physical pain came flooding back and the emotional pain of what I saw in the mirror came flooding in again. I didn’t want to feel. So I took another pill. Very aware that this pill thing could be the way to go for a while. I wouldn’t have to feel. I was beginning to negotiate my freedom. And what did God expect from me? It was just simply too much at this point. I woke in the morning at 6 a.m. or so. Feeling it all over again. I was standing on shaky legs.
After a good night’s sleep, I was feeling better physically, but emotionally…not so much. I called a friend and confessed how I was feeling and what I was tempted to do to mitigate my feelings. I just wanted to stay on the pain medication.
I now understand how people get hooked on pain killers. You don’t feel too high and you don’t feel too low. You just kind of float in a space in between. She “name of Jesus’ed” (yes…that’s a term for us) all over me, called out the lie and kept saying, “Okay. Name of Jesus…that’s not who you are.” She just kept reminding me of who I wasn’t, leaving more room for the Spirit to tell me who I was. It was working.
The pain I was having was due to the drains that were not collecting any fluid. My friend, Steph, suggested I ask the doctor if the drains could come out. It was worth asking. By God’s grace, they gave me the green light to come to the office so they could remove the drains. I called my friend, Tammy, and asked for a ride ASAP. I couldn’t take the pain one more minute.
The drain removal was masochistic. Medieval torture surely was child’s play in comparison. Twelve inches of rubberized tubing, one on each side, threaded out of me, as the doctor’s assistant, Sarah, pulled. As she tugged and pulled, I howled. The waiting room could hear my cry. Dogs could hear my cry.
I looked at the doctor’s assistant, Sarah, and said emphatically, with tears in my eyes, “Sarah…never again! Never again, Sarah!” I was trying to figure out how the heck I got myself into such a mess. Undoing my mess was almost more than I could bear at this point.
Next, sweet little Sarah said something I couldn’t believe I was hearing. She said that if it was any consolation, should I decide to get new implants put back in, that drains wouldn’t be necessary. I looked at her, with my pale green face, and said in a laughing/crying tone, “Oh…oh, Sarah…I don’t think you quite get what’s going on here. I don’t think you quite understand!”
I am certain the entire doctor’s office thought I was an alien from another planet.
With the tubes out, I was relieved. And I was in shock. When will this be over, God? It was all so hard. “Never again,” is all I could say to Tammy as I stumbled out of the office. “Never again.”
Heading home, Tammy and I had a holy exchange of tears by the elevator doors. I looked at Tammy with wet, red eyes, and she began to well up too. I remember gently saying to her “Well…this is me.” as I brushed my hands over my torso. Her voice cracked as she gathered up her words, telling me how “perfect” I was. Her words and tears were being interpreted by my Spirit, “I can see you now. I see you. And you are beautiful.” It was a holy moment in front of those elevator doors. A moment where more words would fail and only clutter. We both understood we were standing in the presence of someone great. And her name was not Alisa.
That moment began to shift the winds. Although my boobs are still pressed, squished, turned, and pinched, I know that God is here. I know that He is putting me back together. I know God is pleased. I know I did not hold back.
The pain is subsiding a little more with each day. And my breast tissue is starting to recall its proper place.
I believe the Lord is healing me.
I believe He is doing for my body what I could never do for my body.
I believe He is doing for my soul, what my body or interventions could never do.
I believe He is pleased.
And that is enough for me.