Thursday, June 28, 2012

Feeling amazing in my clothes

I just realized how amazing I'm feeling in my clothing.  Ever since my mastectomy in October I've been wearing multiple layers on my upper body.  After the mastectomy it was bandages and binders and tank tops covered by zip up sweatshirts, then when I was boobless it was really the peak of layers since I had to have something soft between my skin and the fake boobs (usually a thin tanktop or bra)then a bra to hold the fake boobs then a camisole to make the shape look more normal and hide them then a shirt or blouse over the camisole then usually some form of sweater to further disguise the odd shape.  Then once I got the expanders the layers were pretty much the same except the fake boobs and the extra bra.  But I still did bra, camisole, shirt, and sweater. 

Thank goodness that was through the winter!!!   Now that its summer I can't imagine having all those layers.  I don't know what it was with my nipples with the expanders but they pretty much constantly stuck out and were weird looking.  After the exchange surgery, my soft sports bra actually flattens them out just fine.  So today I am wearing a soft sports bra and a loose sleeveless top, and it just feels amazing.  The gap between my breasts is far more natural looking than it was with the expanders.  Same with their shape in general, so I'm not too concerned with hiding them. 

Now the only thing making me uncomfortable is the 30 lbs I've gained over the last 2 years... I'm more concerned with hiding my belly than my boobs.  I've also gained bulk in my upper arms, so now that it is tank top season, that is going to take some getting used to.  I'm definitely going to start exercising soon. 

Anyway, I just wanted to share... I feel liberated from my bulky clothes and layer upon layer of fabric used to conceal my upper body.  It feels great.  I've even started to consider the possibility of going braless since my new boobs hold themselves up.  I'm going to wait though until I feel like they've settled.  I still kind of feel like I need the bra to keep the implants from drifting.  But once thats past - watch out!  It will be a whole new world of strapless and backless tops that I never considered wearing before!  Hey, there might as well be some "perks" to all this right?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Appointment update

I went with my mom this morning to get a pedicure at the cosmetology school my sister in law attends. It was nice, I always enjoy the massage and now my nails which I usually keep some shade of pink are now sparkly red (for July 4th).

Later I had another follow up with my plastic surgeon. He checked the boobs out and said they looked good. He doesn't think I need to strap them down at this point. He thinks the outer edge of the pocket is formed well enough that they won't drift too far to the sides. This is good news.

I'm going to admit to something a little embarrassing here. It was probably Wednesday night. Monday night after I had the bandages removed and the bandeau off I slept with just a soft bra on. When I woke up I thought my boobs had moved apart from one another, so Tuesday night I slept with the bandeau on and I felt better about them in the morning, so I did it again Wednesday night, but then I woke up in the middle of the night with some arm numbness and boob pain, and had this intense fear that I had the bandeau too tight and cut off the blood supply and spent a couple sleepless hours afraid that the skin was going to die and I'd lose my ability to be reconstructed. Ugh. So that didn't happen thankfully, I'm sure I was thinking less than rationally, however I've kept the bandeau off and they seem to be okay.  And I was reassured when the plastic surgeon said they still looked good. He says there is some fluid in there and that's okay, we just need to stay vigilent in watching for infection.

I also told him about the numbness I have been experiencing.. basically my arms fall asleep easily, numerous times a day and at night when I'm sleeping. His thought is that the surgery may have disrupted something and or the swelling is causing it. I think the swelling is a likely explanation because the numbness seems to start on the lower portion on my armpit and spread from there and I definitely have a fair amount of swelling there. So I'm still happy with them.

Tomorrow I am going to the local FORCE group meeting. I'm excited to see everyone again and maybe meet some new people! attends

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Post Exchange Pictures added and post op update.

I've posted new pictures on the pictures page, I added pictures from just before the surgery and from yesterday after I got the bandages removed.

I have to say I am pretty happy with the results so far.  They are closer together, though I worry about whether they'll drift apart If I don't keep them strapped.  He said I didn't need to wear anything special, just a comfy soft bra, but after just one night of that I felt like they were drifting to the sides.  So we'll see....

I also didn't know until the bandages came off that he didn't reopen the entire scar!  He only needed to open the area of the scar that goes under the nipple and out to the side, so the portion of the scars on each side that go in to the center of my chest remained closed and so are still fairly nicely healed.  You'll see in the picture they're hardly noticiable (atleast compared to all the other gore going on there).

He said the bruising and discoloration is normal (especially considering my haircolor - and he called me a red head, I'm not sure if thats some kind of joke or not, but I didn't take it as one), and the swelling is normal as well.  He seemed a little concerned about some of the redness, but then we discussed that I did get a little red with just the stretching, so he figures the redness is from the swelling and putting in a bigger implant, and he's not thinking anything looks infected, so I'm to watch them like a hawk to keep an eye out for infection and I'm on antibiotics this time, so we're being extra safe.  But so far it all looks good.

The other thing I didn't know, was that we didn't end up with any of the implants I thought we were talking about.  I thought we were going to go with smooth implants, but when I got my info cards on them it turns out they are textured.

Allergan Natrelle™ Biocell® Style 120
Textured Round High Profile Silicone Gel Breast Implant

The BIOCELL® Round Silicone Matrix enables you to select an implant that uniquely meets the requirements of your preoperative plan with our patented BIOCELL® surface texture designed to provide mild tissue adherence and reduce the risk of capsular contracture.

I got the 400cc implants, with a diameter of 12.1 and projection of 4.5.  So not what I expected, and not sure where they even came from, but I'm happy with them!  Ha I just had a thought - I hope they were actually for ME, that would be uncool if I stole the implants from the next patient.  LOL.  I'm sure thats not the case!

So now I'm able to to shower which is nice.  Yesterday before my appointment I got a haircut with a very nice hairwash.  It's a pretty drastic cut too for those of you who know me - its ALOT shorter (ATLEAST 6 inches fell on the floor).  It's shorter than I really wanted, but I like it.  I think it will be easier for me to pull off a highly professional look.  I think it looks more mature (my moms word - I said "older").

I'm staying on top of the pain meds, so i'm staying pretty comfortable though I'm having issues with feeling too hot and getting itchy (mostly on my back where I can't reach).  

I'm going in to the PS on friday so he can check that all is good before we go into the weekend, then I'll probably see him again the following Friday to remove the tape.  So now I'm just resting, watching daytime tv, trying to not eat too many oreos. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Exchange surgery complete!

I had my exchange surgery on Friday morning.  The exchange surgery is removing the expander implants and exchanging them for the actual implants, in my case - silicone. 

My mom took me in because my husband was out of town (for a work related seminar).  We had to be there at 7, so she picked me up at about 6:15 so we'd have plenty of time to drop off my daughter, who got to be the first kid at daycare and got to be the teachers helper (she gets excited about that sort of thing).

We ended up getting there about 15 minutes early, so we sat in the car and chatted until exactly 7, when we went in.  The nurse who greeted us asked if I remembered her from my last surgery, which I didn't so I felt kind of bad, but then later realized she must have been the nurse I saw AFTER surgery when my memory was still messed up from the drugs.

I went in and changed and they had me pee in a cup to ensure I wasn't pregnant.  Now I was very sure I wasn't pregnant, but I have to admit I had a little trepidation waiting for that to come back negative.  That would have been horrible timing for a positive pregnancy test!!  Of course I wasn't pregnant.

The doctor came in and drew on me.  We discussed again what he planned to do, and he said he thought we'd probably end up with the 360 cc implant, and I said - but we'll try for the 400 right? and He said yes, but we might not be able to to do that, and I acknowledged that I was aware and agreeable to whatever ended up happening.  Then somewhere along the line (it's hazy now) I fell asleep and woke up done!  I think one of my first questions was "did we get the 400?" and the answer was yes.  I don't remember talking to him, but my mom said he said I would probably be pretty happy with the results.

One thing I was TOTALLY happy with was that I did not have on the dreaded breast binder.  WOOHOO.  As much as I would have liked to add another to my collection (or not).... I was put into a white front closure bra wrapped with what I'm pretty sure he called a bandoo (compression strap) and then covered by what appears to be basically a giant ace bandage.

Then the thing I was NOT happy with - being told I can't shower until after my follow up appointment on Monday.   I feel sooooo gross when I don't shower daily, waiting 3 days is like torture.

My mom then took me home.  We stopped somewhere for lunch, I don't remember now for sure but I think it was taco bell, then I sat in the car while my mom grabbed stuff at the grocery store for dinner and looked for a twin size sheet that I wanted for the recliner. 

Then we hung out at the house (reclined in the recliner) until it was time to pick up my daughter from daycare.  I went along and we got snowcones, then came back to the house where my dad joined us for dinner.  By the end of the day I was pretty worn out and committed to relaxing more.

But overall I felt really good!  The next day (yesterday) I was really sore, and I spent most of the day resting.  I'm about ready to return to the recliner, but I wanted to post an update.  I'll post more later or tomorrow.  Here are a couple pictures though.  One is of my arm where it apparently put up a fight with the blood pressure cuff, there are little pinch bruises about an inch long circling my arm. not sure what that is about.  and my bandaged bust. note the staple holes.  I will be happy if I never get stapled again!

Blood Pressure Cuff attacked me.
Right now I'm pretty tired and sore, and battling a fairly bad headache, so I'm probably going to spend the rest of the day napping/resting, while my husband takes my daughter out for fathers day. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Almost Done!

5 days from my exchange surgery!  I've added a countdown clock for my exchange surgery.  I'm so excited to have this done with!  Then all I need to do is heal up and not have to worry about boobs for a LONG time. 

Theres still the matter of ovaries of course, but I can wait a few years before jumping into that.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The pre-op for exchange surgery

At my pre-op appointment on wednesday I got to sign all the forms again and got somewhat different paperwork since it's regular implants not expanders.  I also got a little booklet from Allergan (which is the manufacturer of my future implants).  It has a spot in there for the ID cards for my implants when I get them.  I also got my prescriptions and hibiclense and all my check lists.

Then finally the conversation I've been waiting for... determining what size of implant I'm getting.  So right now my expander is 12 cm in diameter and is filled to 250ccs, they add about 50ccs for the expander material to better equate to the size of a real implant.  So essentially I'm at 12 cm in diameter and 300 ccs.

I really want more projection (how far they stick out).  So I was wanting a high profile implant.  His initial concern was that would give me a more "augmented" (fake?) look.  Then we came to what I think was the mutual conclusion that the way my pec muscles it wouldn't be too fake looking and I am not opposed to a somewhat "augmented" look.

The problem we have is that the 12 cm in diameter high profile implant is 400 ccs.  Even though we plan to open it up a little he's concerned he may not be able to close me up around an implant that big. So then we started looking at the moderate profile and my concern for the 12 cm is that its only 320 ccs, which is i'm guessing not noticablly bigger than I am now (which I want to be).  Going any bigger in the moderate profile means a larger diameter as well. 

So ultimately we've decided that he will have on hand 5 implants, ranging from the Allergan Natrelle™ Style 40 Smooth Round Moderate Profile Silicone Gel Breast Implant 320 ccs at 12 cm to the 400 ccs at 12.7 cm, PLUS the Allergan Natrelle™ Style 20 High Profile Silicone Gel Breast Implant 400 ccs at 11.9 cm. 

The goal is to get in the style 20, he'll use a sizer and have the others on hand and he knows what I want so he'll try to get there. So i'm going to go into surgery hoping for what I want but prepared for the smallest of those options, which technically would still be 20 ccs larger than I am now.  He thinks I could reasonably expect the 360 ccs at 12.5 cm

So we'll just have to wait and see!  I'm okay with that.  I'd rather go in with the possibilty of getting what I want, than settling before hand and not getting what I want and then wondering if it would have been possible.

Here is a picture that shows the difference in profiles with the diameter remaining constant