Tag Archives: Cocoa butter

We’re getting there – third expansion

WARNING: NSFW / graphic content below.

Fill number three is done.  We added 75ccs to each expander, for a total of 300ccs/side (pic below). It is about the same on the pain scale as it was last time – nothing initially, but feeling pressure the next morning. I continue to slather these things with cocoa butter oil with vitamin E to keep the skin soft and prevent stretch marks. So far so good. If you missed the scoop on the first two fills, see: They’re growing and They’re back.

Since I still haven’t decided just how big I want to go, while I was in for the fill I checked in with my plastic surgeon to get his feedback (I trust that he has an eye for these things). Another 150ccs or so will be just right based on my body size and shape. Ultimately, it is up to me how many ccs will be the sweet spot, but I do agree that we’re not there yet. So we are going to continue the fills until I’m happy. What then?

Once the desired size is reached, there are two more 50cc fills done. As you see in my photos, the tissue expanders are kind of boxy and sit high up on the chest wall. The additional expansions are done to overstretch the skin and muscle, so that when the final implant is placed it has a more natural shape. When the expansions are done, we wait four to six weeks before we move on to the next step.

Exchange surgery

When we’re done will all of the fills, including the overfilling step, an exchange surgery is performed. This is an outpatient procedure during which the plastic surgeon exchanges the tissue expanders for saline or silicone implants.

I asked how far out they are booking surgeries for Dr. M and quickly realized that I need to get something on the books STAT. The first available date is September 3rd. That is over four months away!!! My (sarcastic) thanks to Dusky, my rebel left nipple. Had I not experienced necrosis (see Tissue necrosis), we would’ve started the expansion process about two months sooner. What can I do about it? Be grateful that necrosis was as bad as it got.

Current plan: three more 50cc expansions + two 50cc expansions to overfill = 550ccs. Here’s to a Dolly Parton-esque summer! Not sure if this is good or bad. Thoughts? I’ll be celebrating my last expansion with July 4th fireworks. On this day last year, I was struggling to enjoy myself while hanging out with friends at the beach. I didn’t get the call that was supposed to come on July 3rd – the results of my biopsies. I spent July 4th entertaining thoughts of tumors, cysts, breast cancer, chemo, and worse, rather than enjoying fireworks and my friends. It was a really bad day. What a difference a year makes.

Anyway, watch my boobs grow!

Fills 2013_4_27

100 + 50 +75 +75 = 300ccs

One month later

It has been one month since my prophylactic nipple-sparing bilateral mastectomy. How am I doing? Here’s an update:

  • Mario kartI am now driving and no longer need a chauffeur.
  • Sneezing still hurts.
  • Got clearance to resume aerobic exercise, but no running or jumping.
  • Planning on going back to work in less than two weeks. Eek!
  • I am not a fan of these expanders. They are hard as rocks.
  • Still no expansions/fills. We are waiting for the necrotic area to heal. The large scab is slowly lifting at the edges. I trim it so it doesn’t get caught on clothes.
  • Had the 14th and last hyperbaric treatment today. Not sure how much of the healing can be attributed to the treatments, though. The wound has definitely gotten better, not worse, so it didn’t hurt. My breast surgeon believes that it saved Dusky!
  • Some bruising has developed on my right side, right over the fill port, so I stopped massaging the skin and expanders. Still using the cocoa butter oil with vitamin E.
  • Making progress in getting back full range of motion. I am happy to report a small victory – I can now bring my arms all the way to the floor during the floor/towel exercise at 13:10 in this post-op exercise video. Big accomplishment!Coins
  • Haven’t gotten any bills yet, but I know they’ll be pouring in soon.

Overall my recovery has been going great! The complications I’ve had are relatively minor and I am happy that it has not been worse.