Woman choosing a flower for a mastectomy scar tattoo

Welcome to guest blogger Wendy Pucci, who has graciously decided to share her breast cancer “journey” with anyone who might benefit. Wendy and I discovered a distressing lack of information around breast cancer treatments and exercise so we’ve decided to record her pre and post surgical experiences to give a candid view into preparing for…. and recovering from her second Mastectomy (and third diagnosis!)

This article is part 4 of the series. Make sure to read Part 3: Potholes… Surgery Day to learn Wendy’s story.

Stay tuned to the Mind 2 Body Fitness website, Youtube channel, and social media for more blogs, videos, and helpful first-hand information about Breast Cancer and Exercise!

Well it better be the last surgery. This is the one where they finally place my implant. I’ve had extenders for 3 months. That’s where they create a “pocket” and place a temporary implant that they repeatedly fill – until it is the size of the permanent implant – then they swap it out for the real thing and I’m done.  

After the surgery the Plastic Surgeon told me he had to rebuild the little pocket or crater the implant would sit in. Apparently it had crumbled a bit and the expander had pulled away from the wall. When I told Maria, we looked at each other with guilt and a “whoops” on our lips.

We may have done too much too soon? I never really felt anything but maybe we stretched a little too far? My Plastic Surgeon cleared me for exercise….so there we go. There’s no exact science to this. Fully healed on one person means something different on another. 

I’m happy to say that I am completely healed after my initial oops. I am not experiencing any strength or mobility issues like I still do with the Lat Flap from 20 years ago. The first Mastectomy I had was an implant and my Latissimus Dorsi muscle was pulled around from my back and placed over the implant. It was to help make the fake breast — aka “foob” — more natural looking. Well, I got news for ya…mission not accomplished. It was also to “feed” the skin. Since I had radiation and chemo when I first had cancer on that same breast (I know, it’s hard to keep up….) I didn’t have much choice. Your skin gets weaker. You can’t do much more to it after radiation.

I never really considered losing my Lat Muscle a big deal. Then in walks Maria. She thought it was soooo cool that I had no Lat on my right side! Okie dokie! To know Maria is to love her weird anatomy fetishes. I have a problem with certain exercises because I don’t have it – limited strength and decreased mobility on that side. 

I opted out of that this time around! I instead did lipo on my abdomen to get some tissue for the reconstruction. I will never do that again and will wonder forever why a woman or a man would ever do it a second time! Holy Moly…such pain! 

Even though I’m fully healed, I am a little tired. I would like for this to be over. When I chose this mastectomy I thought I wouldn’t have to think about this anymore. And I don’t… much. But It’s still there sometimes. When people ask me how I’m doing. “Fine!” I say. “No. Really. How are you?” Oh for crying out loud. I’m really fine. Thanks. Then guilt for being so short with them – but I want to be done, to put this behind me. 

My next venture is tattooing! I could get a 3D nipple but that’s too ordinary for me — I’m thinking flowers!

Wendy’s Workouts Six Weeks After Surgery

Watch this video on the Mind 2 Body Fitness Youtube channel to see Wendy’s Workouts Six Weeks after surgery. Especially helpful to see the differences in Wendy’s mobility and strength with a left side implant (six weeks later) and a right side Lat Flap (20 years later.)

For info about types of Breast Reconstruction read Considering Lat Flap vs. Implant?