My Photos

WARNING: NSFW / graphic content below.

On January 22, 2013 I underwent a prophylactic nipple-sparing bilateral mastectomy in order to greatly reduce my risk of breast cancer. I have been documenting my journey by writing this blog as well as taking daily photos during my recovery. The pictures are posted below – most recent first. I will continue to update this page as time goes on. If you want more or different pictures, please contact me.

Choose the My Story category if you want to know how I got here (start at the bottom).

Please keep in mind that everybody’s experience through this process is different. Some women have no complications at all, while some have a very difficult recovery. As mentioned throughout my blog, I am only providing insight into my own journey. Any questions, concerns, or risks should be addressed by a medical professional.


Final result

Jun 1 – three months post revision surgery on right (left in pic); 3+ years post PBM. Mentor round, smooth, high profile silicones in 450ccs.

2016_6_1


Pocket revision

Mar 19 – eight months post exchange on right (left in pic); pocket revision surgery to fix bottomed out implant, needs to drop a bit.

2016_3_19


Bottomed out

Feb 27 – seven months post exchange on right (left in pic); the pocket failed and implant bottomed out.

2016_2_27


Exchange surgery

Oct 23 – three months post exchange on right (left in pic); 2 years, 9 months post PBM. Mentor round, smooth, high profile silicones in 450ccs.

2015_10_23


Jul 25 – two days post exchange on right (left in pic). Mentor round, smooth, high profile silicones in 450ccs.

2015_7_25


Expander placement v2

Jul 12 – six months post expander placement. Left in photo: 450cc tissue expander; right in photo: 450cc implant (10 months post exchange).

2015_7_12


Jan 31 – two years post PBM, three months since deconstruction v2.

2015_1_31


Deconstruction surgery v2

Jan 10 – four months post exchange, three months post deconstruction v2.

2015_1_10


Exchange surgery

Sep 27 – two weeks post exchange. Mentor round, smooth, high profile, silicone in 450ccs.

2014_9_27


Revision surgery and expander placement

Aug 19 – four months post revision/reconstruction. Left in photo: 450cc implant; right in photo: 550cc tissue expander.

2014_6_18


Jun 16 – two months post revision/reconstruction. Left in photo: 450cc implant; right in photo: 450cc tissue expander.

2014_6_18


May 8 – four weeks post revision/reconstruction. Left in photo: 450cc implant; right in photo: 300cc tissue expander.

2014_5_7

Cute lace bralette I picked up at Victoria’s Secret for only $10. It is the perfect piece to camouflage the randomly erect nipple while being really light and not very restricting.

bralette


Deconstruction surgery

Apr 12 – after revision/reconstruction. Right: swap from 350 to 450ccs, pocket closed from bottom; left: insertion of tissue expander with 300ccs.

2014_4_12


Apr 9 – right: seven months post-exchange; left: six months post-deconstruction.

2014_4_9


Oct 15 – six weeks post-exchange. Incision on left breast turned red, then blue in the center, then into a small hole. An infection developed and the left implant had to be removed.

2013_10_16


Progress

1. 184g: pre-op, 2. 100ccs: PBM, 3. 400ccs: "happy" point, 4. 550ccs: overfill, 5. 350ccs: implants.

1. 184g: pre-op, 2. 100ccs: PBM, 3. 400ccs: “happy” point, 4. 550ccs: overfill, 5. 350ccs: implants.


Exchange surgery

Oct 5 – one month. Mentor round, smooth, high profile silicones in 350ccs.

2013_10_5


Sep 17 – two weeks (eight months post-PBM).

2013_9_17


Expansion process

The tissue expanders are Mentor Siltex Contour Profile in tall height with suture tabs.

2013_7_19 fills

100 + 50 +75 +75 + 50 + 50 + 50 + 50 + 25 + 25 = 550ccs


Recovery photos

Jul 19 – six months. Nine expansions: 100ccs @ PBM + 50 + 75 + 75 + 50 + 50 + 50 + 50 + 25 + 25 = 550ccs/side.

2013_7_19


Jul 12 – five and a half months. Eight expansions: 100ccs @ PBM + 50 + 75 + 75 + 50 + 50 + 50 + 50 + 25 = 525ccs/side.

2013_7_12


Jun 21 – five months. Seven expansions: 100ccs @ PBM + 50 + 75 + 75 + 50 + 50 + 50 + 50 = 500ccs/side.

2013_6_21


Jun 7 – four and a half months. Six expansions: 100ccs @ PBM + 50 + 75 + 75 + 50 + 50 + 50 = 450ccs/side.

2013_6_7

This bathing suit top looked super cute on my small A-cup bust. I will never wear it again.

Wowza


May 24 – four months. Five expansions: 100ccs @ PBM + 50 + 75 + 75 + 50 + 50 = 400ccs/side.

2013_5_24

Pre-op vs. expanded to 400ccs.

184ccs vs. 400ccs


May 10 – three and a half months. Four expansions: 100ccs @ PBM + 50 + 75 + 75 + 50 = 350ccs/side.

2013_5_10

T-rex


Apr 27 – three months. Three expansions: 100ccs @ PBM + 50 + 75 + 75 = 300ccs/side.

2013_4_27


Apr 12 – two and a half months. Two expansions: 100ccs @ PBM + 50 + 75 = 225ccs/side.

2013_4_12


Mar 22 – two months. The scab is gone! Woo hoo!!! The progress of Dusky, my rebel nipple:

Necrosis 2 months

2013_3_22


Mar 4 – six weeks. Not much progress in the last two weeks. The scab is disappearing.

2013_3_4


Feb 22 – one month. Scab is slowly lifting. Still no fills – waiting for necrotic area to heal.

2013_2_22

This handy dandy coconut bra kept clothes off of the bacitracin covered tissue.

Coconut bra


Feb 5 – two weeks.  Seroma on my left side. 50ccs were drained by my plastic surgeon.

2013_2_5


Jan 28 – day six. Two more drains and sterile strips removed.

2013_1_28


Jan 26 – day four. Two drains out, dressings off, first shower. Washed and blow-dryed my own hair.

2013_1_26


Jan 22 – the big day: post surgery. The left nipple already looks “dusky.” Four surgical drains inserted.

2013_1_22


Jan 22 – the big day, pre-surgery. Incision markings.

Incision markings


Jan 19 – pre-mastectomy. I’m 5’4″, 125lbs, and was an A cup prior to surgery.

2013_1_19

25 thoughts on “My Photos

  1. Pingback: Recovery photos | Saying NOPE to Breast Cancer

  2. Lisa S.

    Hi! I had a PBM on January 30, 2013. I also had tissue necrosis and seromas on both sides. Had to go back to the OR on February 15th where my PS removed 150cc’s of saline from each expander, cleaned out the seromas, cut away all the necrosis, made new incisions, and inserted 2 new jp drains. (I had the first 2 drains for 11 days) I am now 1 week post-op from 2nd surgery and doing well. I only had the drains for 6 days this time and it wasn’t any more fun than last time! I’m hoping and praying for no signs of necrosis this time. The only concern at this point is infection which I’ve managed to avoid through this entire process. I’m 54 yrs old with 3 sisters and a mom who are ALL positive for the BRCAII mutation. I was wondering how you are doing now and hoping that necrosis is healing. What a journey this has been!

    Reply
    1. Mogatos Post author

      Why can’t things just be easy? 🙂 I really do hope 2nd time around is a better, complication-free experience for you, Lisa! No infections, no more seromas, no necrosis, no other complications allowed. I would love to know how your recovery progresses. Are you active on FaceBook? There are a few mastectomy-related groups with hundreds of ladies of all ages that have either been there, done that or are considering undergoing a mastectomy. Thank you for sharing this and for asking.

      I had my last hyperbaric treatment today – the damaged tissue just needs to finish healing on its own. The scab is starting to lift at the edges, so it’s making slow progress in the right direction. Looks like I will not lose my nipple. Woo hoo! My body has caught up in absorbing all the serous fluid it is producing, so no more seroma. Unfortunately all of this has delayed any fills of the expanders, so it’ll be a little bit until that will start. BUT … it can always be worse! Right?

      Reply
  3. Lisa S.

    Thank you so very much for your reply! Yes, I am on Facebook but not quite sure how to access others who are going through this. Is there a specific place to go on Facebook?
    I’m happy for you that your hyperbaric treatments are over. I’m curious as to why your PS didn’t debride the area or do some more surgery to fix it. Like you, the necrosis has delayed my first fill by several weeks which is a big, fat bummer. I work in a middle school and boy is it gonna be a shocker when I go back!! I used to have DD’s which I can honestly say I DO NOT miss one bit. I know everyone will stare at my chest and that will bother me a little, I’m sure. I spent quite a bit of time researching PBM and am still very sure I did the right thing. I don’t regret it at all but wish there weren’t so many bizarre complications. I’ve been off work for 3 1/2 weeks but it feels like 3 months!

    Reply
    1. Mogatos Post author

      Here are two of the groups (log in to FaceBook first): Prophylactic Mastectomy and BRCA Sisterhood. Request to “Join Group” in the upper right. Looking forward to seeing you there!

      My wound wasn’t very deep/wide, so we decided to let it heal versus debridement. The PS will most likely take out the scarred skin at the exchange – we’ll see what it looks like when everything heals. I’m curious myself on the reactions once back at work. So far everyone has been very supportive. I keep reading about some ladies getting very insensitive and just dumb comments, but so far so good for me. I hope that is the trend for both of us!

      Reply
  4. Laurennicole

    Very brave indeed! My PBM was on March 8th. I too have one crazy rogue uncooperative blackened nipple as well! Did your doctors say it will return to “normal”. Mine keep saying don’t pick, the scab will come off on its own but may take months. I’m scared I may need more reconstruction! God bless you and take care! – Lauren

    Reply
    1. Mogatos Post author

      How are you feeling 2+ weeks out, Lauren? Still on pain meds? Are your drains gone yet? I hope you are recovering well.

      Sorry to read about your nipple – those darn rebels! My PS was the opposite – he wanted to pick the scab (just because he’s a picker) and I was the one yelling at him not to :). I used a disinfected cuticle cutter/nail clipper to trim it when the edges started lifting off the skin. I was scared to have it catch on clothing and get ripped off. It took two months for the rest of the scab finally come off.

      Unfortunately, my nipple will most likely not return to normal. I lost the tip of it and as you can see, have scarring. Too early to really make any decisions on reconstructing it or tattooing, though. We will see how it changes as time goes on. But I will have to do something … what’s more awkward than two hard nipples? ONE!

      Reply
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  7. An UnCool Midwife

    Love your posts! They gave me a lot of good information. And you’re so brave to do this. With such a great attitude, too. I feel as though if I’d been younger I’d have been more like you. Oh well 😉

    I can’t wait for my expander exchange, either. Mine’s 9/11, of all things. I’ll be thinking about you on the 3rd, you can bet!

    Best,

    Kay

    Reply
  8. Jillian

    Hello,

    I came across your blog and I think your story is a very inspiring one. I feel like your story can help spread the word about preventative mastectomies.

    I am part of P.INK (Personal Ink) and our goal is to raise awareness of covering or adorning mastectomy scars for a way of healing. Not only are we reaching out to breast cancer survivors, but women who get a mastectomy as a preventative measure of getting breast cancer.

    If you have thought about getting a chest tattoo (or think you might want one), we just launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund our first P.INK Day in NYC 10/21 and we are connecting top tattoo artists with breast cancer survivors for a free tattoo sponsored by us.

    If you think you’d be interested, please let me know at help@p-ink.org. If you know someone that might want to participate, please also let me know, we would love to get in contact with them.

    If you feel like a tattoo is not something you’d be interested in, please share our campaign with your friends, followers, and readers. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/p-ink-day-2013

    Thank you,
    Jillian

    Reply
  9. Kes

    Thank you for your blog. I’m scheduled for delayed bilateral reconstruction on my left side following estrogen receptive cancer. Tissue expander going in on the 18th of October. It’s comforting to see the pictures and know what to expect (I felt the same way about the scar project photos before my mastectomy). Any recommendations for clothes and bras to wear through expansion?

    Reply
    1. Mogatos Post author

      Thanks for your note, Kes! I didn’t wear any bras between my PBM and expander placement in January until my exchange on September 3rd. I recommend you check with your plastic surgeon on whether you will have to wear anything at all. As far as clothing, I wore a lot of prints and layers to camouflage my flat chest right after surgery and then my ridiculously large expanders later. It worked great! I hope your upcoming surgery goes well.

      Reply
  10. Sarah

    Thanks for posting all of this and being so honest and open. It’s women like you who are making this process easier for others and letting us all feel that it is OK, our issue is not taboo or icky, and that we’ll survive. Best of luck through the rest of your process!

    Reply
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  12. Shari

    Oh my gosh! This site is a god send! Thank you so very much. Myself and both daughters have tested positive for the BRACA 2. I am 65 and this has helped me so much. I know it must have taken a lot to put yourself out there like this. I can’t even imagine how many people you have helped. Prayers will follow you into surgery.

    Reply
    1. nope2BC Post author

      It makes me happy to know that my blog has helped you, Shari. 🙂 Thank you for reading, sharing, and the positive thoughts for my upcoming surgery. ❤

      Reply
  13. Aletha

    “Ask me about my t rex” t-shirt made me laugh. I had a skin sparing mastectomy March 12, 2015 on the left breast and scared of developing complication from blistering of the breast and nipple on my horizon. This was extremely helpful. I hope the best for you through all trials and thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. nope2BC Post author

      Haha. Glad that brought a smile to your face. I still haven’t worn that thing in public. How are you feeling overall a few days out? Sorry that you have to deal with the blistering. Thank you for the well wishes. Right back at you!

      Reply
  14. debbie scott

    Thanks……I’m having my surgery in less than one month. I’m really scared. This site is very helpful.

    Reply
    1. nope2BC Post author

      Thank you for the note, Debbie. I’m glad that the info and photos I’ve posted have been helpful to you as you prepare for your own surgery. Being scared is normal. This surgery is life-changing and a pretty big deal. If you’d like to connect directly, shoot me a note (ABout | Contact tab). All the best over the coming weeks. I hope you find peace and resolve.

      Reply

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