Phantom… Sensations

Warning: Inappropriate post ahead!

Y’all. This post is going to be pretty X-Rated, but I’m going to post it anyway. I’ve done some searching online, and I’m only getting a little bit of info, so if this helps someone else going through this along side me, great. If not, maybe it’ll make for a good laugh for you. So I’d like to apologize in advance to any of my family reading this. I know there is a strong possibility that only my family is reading this, but I digress…

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but this blog is all about keepin’ it real. And I’m about to hit you with some realness, so here goes: Phantom nipple sensations are a thing.

Yes, you read that right. And I can’t even believe that A. It is a thing and B. That I’m even gathering the balls to write about it.

I know. I KNOW this is TMI. People just don’t talk about this stuff in public. But, you as a reader—if you’ve read even one post on this blog—know that there is nothing really off limits anymore. And I realize you may not have realized quite how off limits I’m willing to go, but this is it! I mean, surely this is as far as it can go, right?! I’ve written about my period, my ovaries, my boobs…and just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, here I am to derail it all! So, why not nipples?? Why not now?!

So, I’m sorry to my mother and my grandmother if either of you are still reading this. (You might want to stop now if you’re already uncomfortable because it’s just gonna get worse from here.)

If you are female, you know how sensitive our nipples are when it comes to… sexual encounters. But it also applies to being cold. And, lately, it has been freezing in my office. So much so that I’ve been getting goosebumps… in that area. Which has caused me to take notice more often that my nipples are not there anymore.

Back in the day if I got cold, when the goosebumps would crop up they kind of extended to and ended at the nipple. (I guess if you think about goosebumps in terms of a wave of chills, this description might make more sense.) And I want to say it was an almost satisfying (?) feeling?? I wouldn’t have used this term 6 months ago to describe it, but feeling it now and knowing how it felt then, I would totally describe it as satisfying. The chills had a “place” to go back then. An end to the beginning of the wave, if you will. But now, when I get goosebumps, they seemingly have no place to go, and it mentally feels like things are unfinished. It’s hard to describe. It just feels like something is missing. Which, of course, is true. Think of it like having goosebumps on your legs that extend to your toes. Once the chills get to the end of the toes, you know they can’t go any farther because that’s where your body naturally ends. But imagine having these chills with a missing toe. It would feel like they should extend farther but they can’t. It would feel like something is missing. So that is how it feels when I get them on my chest now.

When it first happened I wasn’t so sure that’s what I was feeling, but now, after a few times, and, I’ll admit, a few really good dreams… I’ve figured out that that is exactly what I’m feeling!

And if I thought trying to re-master the push-up was a strange feeling, that doesn’t hold a candle to the phantom nipple sensations I’ve been getting. And, to be honest, I’d take rebuilding those muscles from scratch any day over this particular new development. But, since that isn’t possible, I’m writing an inappropriate blog post about it instead.

Now, I have no shame in saying that it has been quite some time since a man has seen me naked—I mean, let’s be honest, I’ve had more important things going on in my life lately, and I’m not exactly “body confident” with the way things are looking at the moment—so I’m talking about feeling cold for the most part here, but I’m sure—no, I KNOW—it will apply if/when I ever have sex again.

Not that I really needed yet another reminder of what I gave up because of this diagnosis, but the Universe doesn’t really care about feelings when doling out its punishments. I’ll never get my nipples back, which I knew going into this. The right side, the one with the cancer, could not be saved, so for consistency’s sake (and to minimize even further my chance of recurrence), I told my surgeon to take both of them—trust me, I looked at tons of pictures of unilateral mastectomies that tried to match the remaining breast, and they just don’t look right to me. My plastic surgeon can rebuild a nipple to look like a real one, but I’ll never get “that” feeling back, no matter how hard the leftover (numb) skin on my chest tries to get it back.

Which is…disappointing… to say the least. And these little reminders are probably only going to increase now that the weather is cooling off. I normally try to just forget that they aren’t there, which is, I’m sure, a really healthy coping mechanism. But I also think in time I’ll get used to it. Maybe I’ll even forget that this was ever a thing!

So, to recap: Phantom nipple sensations…

Isn’t cancer fun?!

One thought on “Phantom… Sensations

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  1. Yes, phantom sensations are definitely real after any type of physical loss. I have heard of amputees experiencing phantom pain where a limb used to be. So I would imagine what your going through is also “normal” given your circumstances. Similar but different, I have been experiencing “phantom kicks” over the past 5 months. I’m realizing that although our stories are very different, there are also a lot of similarities. It’s great that you can use your blog to express your thoughts and feelings throughout this journey and to use it to bring awareness to others.

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