WARNING: NSFW / graphic content below.
The final countdown has begun. T minus seven days until my exchange surgery! That’s right, just one week left. This will be surgery #8 in the mastectomy and breast reconstruction process, which started January 22, 2013. The goal is to replace the tissue expander on my right with a squishy implant. On one hand, I am very excited about this surgery, as it should be my last one. However, I am also incredibly anxious. This process was supposed to take about eight months and two surgeries. Here we are 2.5 years later with #8 on the horizon. I’ve experienced a few complications that have drawn it out and caused me a lot of grief. In any case, this time next week I will be home and it will be behind me. I can focus on healing and moving on with my life!
As I prepare for next week, I think about what supplies I need to gather. I’m dusting off the good ol’ Checklist that has helped me get my stuff together each time. I’ll be using the abbreviated version from my Box o’ recovery crap post, which lists the things I keep on the night stand:
- Lanyard (I will very likely have a drain)
- Measuring cup
- Rubber gloves
- Alcohol swabs
- Digital thermometer
- Back scratcher
- Tiara (of course!)
- Chap stick
- Cough drops
- Hand sanitizer
- Note pad and pen (to track meds and temperature)
- Phone and charger
That should do it.
I haven’t posted a photo since the tissue expander placement, six months ago. Slacker! My expansions went OK. That side is a different shape and size than my implant, of course, but not too bad. We stopped expansions at 450ccs, which is the volume of the implant on my left. There are a few things off at this point, like my nipples not being “level” and some weird divot in my cleavage, but honestly, at this point, I’m almost all out of fucks to give about these details.
So here I am, On the left in photo I am sporting a tissue expander in 450ccs. On the right I have a Mentor round, smooth, high profile, silicone implant in 450ccs (10 months after exchange).
A few months after surgery I’ll evaluate the state of things and decide how much the details are bothering me and if there is anything else to be done. Maybe that divot will fill out (it’s OK in a bra) and the nipple-level thing won’t be as bad. Things will be different with an implant and maybe they’ll be symmetrical and just right.
One thing I know will definitely follow is a tattoo by Amy Black. I still haven’t decided if it will be just a 3D nipple fill or something artsy fartsy and covering more of my chest wall. We shall see!
Still rooting for you, Mogatos! And you’re not alone; on July 3rd 2015 I had my third surgery for what was originally advertised as a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy plus implants in a single surgery (2012). The second surgery was because my body shrunk the Alloderm tissue matrix and forced my implants too high under my pecs (2013). The third (most recent) surgery was initially to correct the right side’s a-hole move of bottoming out, but my surgeon decided to go in both sides and change the shape of my implants from teardrop to rounds to (hopefully) correct some rippling that’s happening, too. She’s debating lipofilling to cushion any remaining rippling at a later time, depending on how everything looks once the swelling settles. So far, so good, post-op.
So I get it; do NOT feel alone. Sending positive vibes your way for an uneventful and easy recovery! Take care!
Thank you! I’m sorry to see that you’ve had to go in again too :(. Stinks that so many of us are stuck in the process. One day … we’ll be able to finally leave it behind us. I hope you will love the new round implants and won’t need fat grafting. ❤
Yep, hoping to get to the point where tweaks are so cosmetic they’re easily dismissed. This particular round of surgery was necessary since the issue would keep getting worse over time until fixed (ugh).
Though my surgeon told me that she usually needs to tweak these prophylactic cases (and I’d assume breast cancer reconstruction cases, too) consistently every few years after the initial surgery. Her work is permanent, but what my body does with it as it ages is not. So I can expect to hear from her every two to five years, and sometimes there’ll be something she wants to address, other times it’ll be fine. In her words I signed up for, “perfect, cancer-free breasts,” so until she’s happy she can keep going in–until I tell her I’ve had enough, of course. Makes me happy I’m in Canada since it’s covered, and it would certainly add up over time. I can’t even wrap my head around needing to worry whether all this is covered while I’m simultaneously taking time off work for recovery. Oy.
Anyhow, crossing my fingers everything runs smoothly for you next week. Definitely thinking of you, girlie! You have the right attitude about all this, and it’ll take you far. ❤
I want to wish you good luck with your next surgery. I am sorry it has taken this long to get the results you desire. I hope the recovery goes quickly and smoothly and you get the best outcome possible.
(I love the Yoda pic!)
Well wishes, I thank you for. 😀