It has been two years since I had my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. January 22, 2013 was the day. At the time, I expected the breast reconstruction process to take somewhere around six months. Well, two years later I am uniboobin’ it once again and it will be at least another six months before I will have my next (last?) exchange surgery.
So it goes.
This process has not been easy. I’ve hit a couple of significant snags, but I still say this: I WOULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. Knowing what would come my way, if I had to go back in time and contemplate moving forward, but not being able to change anything, I would make the same decision and do this all over again. I won’t lie, I have had bad days. They don’t come often, but they do. On those days I choose to take a deep breath and focus on the big picture and the positive. I consider the reason why I made this decision in the first place. I said NOPE to breast cancer and I would do it all over again. I choose to accept and look forward. So it goes.
Here’s a recap of my procedures:
- 01/2013 – Prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with tissue expander placement
- 09/2013 – Exchange surgery
- 10/2013 – Infection and left implant removal
- 04/2014 – Expander placement and revision surgery
- 09/2014 – Exchange surgery
- 10/2014 – Right implant removal
In just a few days, on January 27, I will have surgery #7. During this procedure, Dr. M will be placing a tissue expander on my right side. Over the coming months I will again go through the expansion process until I reach 550ccs. My exchange surgery is scheduled for July 23. I feel like I’m a surgery pro at this point. The coordinator from the hospital called today and we very briefly talked about logistics of the day of surgery. She remembered talking to me before and admitted I received the condensed version of the spiel. Fine by me. I know the drill by now. I’m ready to go! Last thing to do is review my handy dandy surgery prep checklist and gather a few items.
Will I have a drain again? Will everything go OK? Will I have any more complications? I hope not, but if I do … so it goes. Shit happens. We deal with it, because we have to. Happiness (or misery) is in the heart, not in the circumstances.
Feb 2002 bilateral mastectomy, Oct 2007 removal of silicone implants due to Baker’s grade 4 contracture in both breasts due to body disliking implants. Removed flat implants (which was all they had at the time) and replaced with teardrop shaped gummy bear implants which are silicone as well, but no supposed to rupture and supposed to look more natural than the flat ones of 2002. Lived well with implants until left one ruptured in 2012 (no reason for rupture). Had both implants removed and began 3 surgeries in 2012 which used my own body tissue, skin and fat to make breasts again. If you think drains are bad, try wearing BRAVO 24/7 for days on end! But I remember drains as being awful and sympathize with all who have to endure them ~ and those that have to use the BRAVO machine as well to stretch skin. However, after all I’ve dealt with, I will say that it was worth it. Breasts are now soft, body temperature and no more worrying about leaking implants. I wish you all the best. I’m always here if you need a friend. xo
How did you discover the rupture? That’s scary. The BRAVA contraption does not look like a fun thing to wear. Especially 24/7! Wow. Thank you for sharing all that and glad to see that in the end you feel same as I do: that it was worth it.
I was sick, that side was swollen and warm. MRI didn’t show it but ultrasound did. Thank goodness I have a great oncologist who doesn’t take no for an answer and continues until she finds the answer!
BRAVA is hard to wear, but most definitely worth it!