As of today, I am three weeks out from my surgery. I saw my plastic surgeon today and he is thrilled with the results (Silver Lining)!
There is still a fair amount of swelling and bruising and I am bound in my excessively unsexy surgical bra 24/7, but I’m giddy that my physical healing is now, officially, on the up and up. The Girls are looking great and doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing!
I’ve had lots of people ask me about the whole process of getting new Girls. So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain….It all began with Booby Removal and Reconstruction on November 8, 2010, when I had my double mastectomy and expanders placed.
Because sometimes a visual says so much more than words, below is a diagram of what tissue expanders (the precursor to implants) look like. As you may recall, tissue expansion is a requisite process that (post-breast removal) stretches the remaining skin in preparation for the placement of a permanent implant.
Much to my chagrin, it is impossible to simply substitute an implant for breast tissue. A tissue expander is therefore required. An expander is like an inflatable breast implant that is inserted into a pocket under the skin and muscle of the chest. The expander takes up the entire pocket (which explains why they felt so incredibly hard and immobile).
Implants (in my case saline) are actually smaller than the expanders. So, when my expanders were exchanged for implants, there was some (intended) space in this pocket. This space is what makes the implants look and feel more natural. Well, as natural as implants can feel. (A girl can hope, right?!?)
Now, the key to implant longevity is moving them in the cavity. This creates space to give the The Girls movement, keeps The Girls soft, and also break up small binding constrictions (i.e., scar tissue).
Remember after my surgery when my doctor taught me how to move them in the pocket (and I saw stars?)? It was a MAJOR owie at first. But, I learned how to do it and today at my appointment demonstrated a proficiency in moving The Girls myself (Silver Lining). I have to do this twice a day – forever.
So there we have it. Lookin’ and feel in’ better with each passing day. This process sure has reminded me of the long, windy treatment road to success.
On another note, someone asked me recently whether breast reconstruction can hide cancer or cause it to come back. Yes, someone did indeed ask me that. The Silver Lining is that there are studies demonstrating that reconstruction does not make breast cancer come back. If the cancer does come back (oh puhleaaaase let’s hope not!), reconstructed breasts should not cause problems with chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Today, I’m feeling exceptionally grateful that things are going as smoothly as they can possibly go, which is the ultimate Silver Lining!
(S)he is a wise (WO)man who does not grieve for the things which (S)he has not, but rejoices for those which (S)he has.