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.


  1. Travis Erwin on December 5, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    All I can say is good luck and I hope everything works out well this time.

  2. Shauna on December 5, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Jen, I love your no-nonsense approach. Teats and udders?? LOL! No, I wouldn’t use those words either. 😉 I sure hope that your nipple decides to stick around this time. Then hopefully you just need your tats and you’ll be set. 🙂

  3. CindyS on December 5, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Jen, hon, I love you. I’m thinking I would have been crying some where around well, the first cut. The good news (not really what I mean) is that if this ever happens to me *God forbid* (sorry, I do this whenever talking about things that are terrifying) I won’t be as scared because I’ll be all ‘Yep, Jen did this and oh yeah, Jen did that’.Inspiration babe. It’s all you.Okay, I’m done with the mush ;)CindyS

  4. Rosie on December 5, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    I had breast reduction surgery about 15 years ago. My body rejected some of the suture which resulted in an infection which resulted in pulling infected suture out without any numbing whatsoever. Can I just say I hope I never have to experience anything like THAT again? You didn’t mention Starbies and a white mocha treat. No reward for being so brave at the doctor’s office?

  5. Monnik on December 5, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    ‘don’t cry for me Argentina’ oh how I love your posts… You know you rock, right? 🙂

  6. Eileen on December 5, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    You are a pretty amazing lady! I hope the healing goes smoothly and it all turns out perfect.I hope you treated yourself to starbucks. It not, you owe yourself a really big one, is it a venti or grande, I get confused. Whatever, you are so due.XOXO

  7. KT on December 5, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Jenster, you are quite the toughie to handle those stitches like that! I would have freaked out and gone running out of the room, “nekkid” or not!Here’s another term for nipples, so you don’t have to use “teat” or “udder”: how about “high beams”. It’s the reason I wore (before mastectomies) slightly padded bras. I always worried that when I got cold, my nipples would show through my shirt. Husband calls them high beams. Now, I’m guessing that reconstructed nipples would always be in that “high beam” position? So there you go! Feel free to use it. I’m sure John didn’t coin the phrase.I meet with another plastic surgeon in 2 weeks to talk about options for my reconstruction. Thanks for the scoop on yours. I’m learning a lot from my blogging breast cancer friends. Take care, Katie

  8. lahdeedah on December 5, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Ok, it’s official: You’re an awfully brave chick.Jen, when I read the last paragraph, I thought it meant you were going to take a photo of your high beams (thanks, Katie) with your cell phone for posting on your blog. Wow! I thought, that girl shares even more info than I do, and my kids are continually screaming TMI! (too much information!) I’m so happy you’re done with this business. Now you’re an awfully brave chick with really cute girls!xoxoxJill

  9. Becky on December 6, 2007 at 1:13 am

    LOL, Jenster…only you!!You. Are. Amazing.You’re brave and no-nonsense…and stinkin’ hilarious!Boobs, breasts and nipples sure sound better than udders and teats (or worse, t%$s and k*#%kers), lol.But you’d find a way to make those things funny, too.Thanks for keeping us all ‘abreast’ of the situation…;O)

  10. Lisa on December 6, 2007 at 10:28 am

    You are awesome! :o)

  11. Jenster on December 6, 2007 at 11:54 am

    You know ladies, you do what you gotta do. Nothing necessarily brave about it. I’m pretty sure each one of you know that first hand in some form or fashion.And KT – You are correct. “High beams” is not new. LOL But is there something between low beams and high beams? ’cause that’s where I am now. Not really cold. Just sort of cold. lol

  12. Jenster on December 6, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Ooops! Sorry Travis!! I didn’t mean to leave you out. Neither did I mean to infer you are a lady. Because I know you’re not. You’re wife, however, IS a lady. A fine lady and will you please tell her she is missed in the bloggesphere??

  13. Tanya on December 6, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    You are awesomely strong. I admire how you deal with everything with courage.If you can take this without it being strange. I enjoy hearing the “tmi”. I volunteered at work to help with the Race for the Cure this year. You are the only one I know who has been affected by breast cancer. You help me to understand just how much the disease affects people. I appreciate your insight into a world I know nothing about. Thanks.

  14. beans on December 6, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    *beans holds her boobies and say OUCH*Hope things are looking up now . . .hehe

  15. Trish on December 6, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    It’s a gift to be able to take a horrific situation and make it funny!Tummy fat for boobs? You can have some from my thighs…

  16. Burg on December 6, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    I always wondered why breast augmentation wasn’t done with belly fat.. With what I’ve got I could make Anna Nicole look like a washboard.Hope all is well and dandy soon, and you forget about that cutting thing, because if it were me, that would be my nightmare for the rest of my natural life!

  17. Lynilu on December 7, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Isn’t it amazing what we can get through with minimal distress? Necessity may be the mother of invention, but for women it is the great-grandmother of getting through life!! What is thrown at us, we manage to get through! Women … made of tough stuff!!And I love the story in the last paragraph! How our minds trick us!!

  18. The Daily "B" on December 7, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    I do hope this one works! Ouch! Only you can write this and make me laugh and cringe at the same time. lol! =)

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