I had the opportunity to meet with a plastic surgeon today to talk about breast reconstruction. Bob met me at the office and watched as I filled out the necessary paperwork and answered questions about any previous radiation, previous surgeries, previous health issues, etc. (For all the different doctors and tests I've gone to recently, I wish all their forms were the same and that I could have filled one out and handed everyone else a photocopy.)
I learned that I am a candidate for expander/implant surgery and any of the flap surgeries that use stomach tissue and fat to form a breast. We discussed the possible recovery times for the various procedures and any other surgeries/procedures that maybe necessary afterwards. Most of the information we spoke about, I had found on line yesterday at http://breastreconstruction.org/index.htm. Dr. PS said that he would not lift my other boob until after he saw how my new boob looked. He took some measurements and a picture and said to think about it and let his assistant know what I wanted to do. (I did manage to get him to smile when I told him that Barbie Doll and I would have something in common soon, a breast without a nipple.) As I spoke with his assistant, I asked if she could arrange for someone that has had each of the procedures to talk with me. She said yes, she would find a person that's had each procedure and have them call me. Wonder how long that will take?
My gut says to go with the tissue expander and then implant. While this procedure will require a few months of expansion, it sounds like less time to recover from the initial surgery and while not pain free, I should be able to function while they expand my chest muscle. Plus this surgery is available with AlloDerm which will help in covering the implant. I also think that this surgery may be less traumatic to my body than the other. (In all honesty, I really don't know. Cancer is traumatic as well as the things we have to do to rid our bodies of it.) For me, none of the reconstruction options sound like an easy road to go. I believe it just depends on my pain tolerance and how long I want to be down afterwards. In some ways I wish I could be comfortable with just having it removed and no reconstruction. A lot less trips to doctors. A lot less fuss.
While I do not have an exact date for surgery, if I make my decision in the next few days, it looks like I'll be able to have my surgery the end of February, beginning of March. I know that time will pass quickly but for right now, it seems like a long, long, way aways.
I wish everyone a good night's sleep. Hopefully I'll be able to get one too. Karen you are in my thoughts and prayers for your surgery tomorrow. Clear margins and negetive lymph nodes!
One year later...March 2010
8 years ago