Today was our meeting with the plastic surgeon. Dad, you don’t have to read this one. I have been very anxious for this appointment. I NEED information. I need to know what my body is going to look like. Yes, it is still possible to be vain even when you have cancer and know that this is a smart decision to have a bilateral mastectomy, but wow, it sucks. I know my breast surgeon will remove the cancer, but also all of my breast tissue. The plastic surgeon is the one who is going to be my new best friend (or breast friend – hahaha) and who I will get to know way too well over the next year. Yes, I said YEAR. The entire reconstruction process for me will take approximately one year.
Since I had radiation 4 years ago, I get to have not one, but two different kinds of reconstruction, one for each breast. On my right side where the stupid F’in cancer is now, I will have an expander put in under my own skin like this:
On my left side where I have been radiated, the basic expander process will not work and a flap of skin and muscle will need to be taken from my back to add to the left breast, along with an expander.
The flap procedure will also extend my hospital stay from an overnight to 3-5 nights. Nate and I have already decided that we will have a Lord of the Rings marathon during this time (because when else do you ever get to do this?) and he will be smuggling me in good food and diet coke.
Today was such an overload of information, and at times I just sat there and tried to stop the tears from flowing down my face. I KNOW this is the right decision, but I am not looking forward to the process and am scared of the results. Since I am having two types of reconstruction, my plastic surgeon will do her best to create symmetry, but they will be different with different scars and the left one, since it will have skin from my back, will have a patchwork look. (Kathy Robinson, this made me think of you and Bobbi and hope that my surgeon will be as good with my new boobs as you two are with your quilts!)
The process will take a year for me because each procedure takes time and healing time: original mastectomy with possibly 2 months healing time, 3 months to fill the expanders with saline on a weekly basis, another 2 months for healing and to make sure the size is what I want, then a surgery to replace the expander with a permanent silicone implant, then another couple months and the nipples will be reconstructed and then in a couple more months, I will have new nipples tattooed on. The timing may be a little off, but that is as best as I can remember. I may also add some flowers or pink ribbons on the scars, as I will generally have little feeling in the area. I have a long time to decide.
After I had J, I always said that I wanted to get a lift to get perky, pre-kid boobs again, but this was just not that way that I had planned that all to go down. Ugh.
Thank you everyone for your comments, support and offers to help. We greatly appreciate it.