You know, when I had my breast reconstruction I had no idea I’d still be having procedures nearly a year later. And I’m still not finished, though hopefully the only thing left will be the tattooing.
I’m sitting here again trying to think of a delicate way to put what I had done yesterday, but nothing comes to mind. There’s just no way to phrase “I had a reconstructed nipple gone bad fixed”, in a way that won’t make some people squirm. Sorry. And the only other words the thesaurus has to replace “nipple” is “teat” and “udder”. I refuse to use those terms as it relates to me. *WHEW* Since I’ve now gotten past that I can go on.
Remember when I had my nipple reconstruction in August? It all seemed to have gone well, even though I did end up with an infection on the right side. Once that cleared up, however, all appeared fine. Except for the left “protrusion” decided it didn’t want to be anymore. So I had it built up again yesterday and hopefully it will choose to stay around this time.
I also had the incision on my left breast smoothed out. This is probably getting to be redundant for many of you, but I’m going to explain my reconstruction yet again.
May of 2005 I had a left radical modified mastectomy. What that means is they took everything that even slightly resembled breast tissue. I was left with an 8-inch horizontal scar from the center of my now extremely flat chest to just before my back.
Last December I had a breast surgeon remove the right breast, but she left most of the skin and sort of scooped out the tissue. Then the plastic surgeon took over. First he basically performed a tummy tuck, then he kind of stuffed the right breast, replacing what skin was removed with a patch from my stomach. After that he re-opened my left mastectomy site and because skin is only so elastic, used more skin from my stomach to fashion the skin of my left breast and then stuffed it with tummy fat. This patch was approximately 6″ X 3″. He also did a bit of microvascular surgery so that these “transplants” would have their own blood supply.
For any of you who sew you can see how difficult it is to insert a rectangular patch into a straight cut and make it nice and round. Instead of a round breast the left side looked more like a trapezoid. So I had three areas along the incision smoothed out yesterday as well.
Imagine yourself standing in front of a surgeon who is holding a purple felt tip pen. Now imagine you’re half nekkid and pointing out areas on your boob for him to draw on. Yeah. Funny thing is I didn’t feel any embarrassment or discomfort. It was a very “whatever” moment.
Just like last time I hop up on the table and he shoots my desensitized breast with Lidocaine. This time, however, I felt the needle when he was on the outside of the incision. He left me alone for a few minutes and when he returned started to work. First was the patch where my cleavage is. He begins cutting with the scalpel and guess what. I FELT IT! Not the pressure like I described the last time. No. I felt THE KNIFE CUTTING MY SKIN!
You all are yelling things like, “Oh, No!” and “You poor thing!” right now, aren’t you? Well don’t cry for me, Argentina, because it’s not quite as bad as it sounds. It felt more like a scratch. I told him I could feel it so he shot me up with more Lidocaine. It didn’t do a lot and I felt every stitch he gave me.
It was the same thing for the other two areas on the incision. I laid there thinking, “This would be so much better if I were unconscious.” The nipple, however, was gloriously pain-free.
Tomorrow I get to take the dressings off the three incision sites and then Saturday off the nipple. I don’t expect this time to be as traumatic as the last since I know now what it will look like.
This is kind of funny and I wish I would have thought to take a picture with my phone. But yesterday morning I show up to work and there’s a picture on the bulletin board. It’s two circles with two slightly larger circles around them and then two big circles around those. Think of the “O”s on the Hooters signs. I asked Beth if I was supposed to take it to the surgeon as a reference for him. She laughed and said one of the little girls in the Monday class drew that for her. It was her eyes wearing glasses.