Archives for posts with tag: Stage 1/Week 10

So the countdown for the next phase is underway.  Wish as I might, this is not the final countdown.  After I have my “newpples” manufactured , I’ll need to have areolae tattoos done once they (newpples) are healed.  I’m hopeful that will then be the end of my journey, but I know myself to be overly optimistic (if that is what you would call it) about these things.  I’d liken it to when my husband and I thought we could survive our first week (and beyond) with newborn twins without any support or help from friends, family, or a doula.  Or like how I thought I would somehow set a world record of sorts and recover from my bilateral mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction in 4 weeks (I mean fully recover).  So while you may read this and think, “Aaaah, so she knows better NOW!”, I do not.  I’m hoping that my loss of sensation due to the mastectomy will equal very little (if any) pain.  While I don’t know how much healing time freshly manufactured nipples require, I don’t foresee myself being as drained and exhausted as I was when I underwent my stage one surgeries.

Drs. Louie and Liu seemed to be of the same mind about my recovery time frame this go round when we had my follow-up/pre-op appointment.   The part that is driving me a little crazy is the evening out that needs to go on with my noobs and my abdominal scar revision.  My left one is fuller and bigger than the right, so the left noob will be lipo-sculpted (maybe?) so that it is closer to the size and shape of the right one.  I watch not a lot, but enough, reality television to know that liposuction is a mutha.  But I’m not having the last 20 years’ carbohydrates vacuumed out of me (’cause that shit doesn’t happen free of charge); just the last quarter’s excess noob. As for my abdominal scar, the corners are a bit puckered and dark.  I think Dr. Louie will do an abdominal scar revision to try to and improve the aesthetic of those areas and not much else.

As I told Drs. Javid, Louie and Liu (and anyone else who will listen, read, endure), I have had a really easy and excellent process so far.  Writing that and saying it makes me feel like I’m jinxing myself and something truly horrid will arrive at my feet (triple nipple, anyone?).  But, I have to air it out.  What I did learn after going through stage 1 is that talking about these feelings, neuroses, thoughts, et cetera really takes the fear out of the unknown.  So, thank you for enduring all of my Stage 1 crazy.  I will now shut up about it.  Strap yourself in for endless (well, like every 48-72 hours) babbling about newpples, areaolae, the triple nipple and the unforeseeable nooby future!

 

 

 

You know what is foreseeable?  THIS…

 

 

 

05/28/12 – Flaps

05/28/12 – L flap

05/28/12 – R flap

05/28/12 – Abdominal scar

05/28/12 – L side of abdominal scar

05/28/12 – R side of abdominal scar

 

 

 

 

 

I have been terribly remiss about keeping my blog updated; I apologize.  Life happens, a lot, as it turns out.  On last Friday we left for a weekend in Las Vegas.  It wasn’t a drunken wild west weekend where everything that happens in the 702 stays there.  It was quite the opposite, actually.  My entire immediate family was there for a small and all too brief reunion.  Our Grandma, Mary Lou, was in town for the first time in probably 13 years.  After she retired, she decided to move to a small town in Minnesota.  The last time I saw her, I was still in high school.  Our Grandma hadn’t met my husband or our girls.  I think she’d only met 3 of her 8 great grand children prior to last weekend.

My grandma, mom, sisters and our kids.

Our dad and brother were also there with us (Dad quietly endured us celebrating his birthday).

Dad & Tessa

Grandma, Tessa, Chance

Last weekend was the first time we’ve seen everyone since my surgeries, and I really wanted to show them that I was feeling and doing great.  It was also great to see everyone and be the big, noisy family we intrinsically are for just a few days.  I sat and talked with my grandma as much as I could while still getting to visit with everyone else.  I told her as much as I could spew out about the grown-up-me, my husband, and our girls in brief spurts.  Being that I’m 1 of 5, I couldn’t hog her.  But I really wanted to.  I also wanted to let her know what a difference she’s made in our lives.  It’s hard being so far away from family, especially when we grew up seemingly stacked atop one another for what felt like an eternity (at times).  These past few years have taught me so much about family and love.  I’ve missed being surrounded by both.  This is our family get-down song.  Or, at least, one of the many.  I’m inserting this in the middle of my post to really force you to listen to it.  I can be am pushy.

 

We returned home on Sunday, and life as we know it resumed from there.  On Monday I returned to Dr. Louie’s office for my follow-up/pre-op visit with him and Dr. Liu.  We combined my final stage 1 follow-up and noob revision/nipple reconstruction pre-op visit.  My recovery is going just fine; stage 2 is just under a month away and I need to be thinking “newpples”.  I really wanted to wear my prosthetic nipples to my appointment just to ask Drs. Louie and Liu what the differences would be in size, shape, appearance in comparison.  But I couldn’t remember where I put the prostheses and had to leave without them.  My left noob will be reduced in size so that it is symmetrical with the right, and Dr. Louie will origami my newpples using what I think is called a Cylindrical flap.  Dr. Louie made me this cool paper version, which I will now insert for your complete awe and future party trick bag.  In the first photo, you’ll see where Dr. Louie drew a nice set of noobs with the nipple sites indicated.  At the bottom of the page is the sketch and cut out of the cylindrical flap.

Newpple Origami Step 1

In Step 2, the flap is “lifted up” (or “peeled back”, depending on what you’re reading):

Newpple Origami Step 2

In Step 3, the “wings” of the cylindrical flap are brought together:

Newpple Origami Step 3

In Step 4, the top of the cylindrical flap is brought down to close the cylinder:

Newpple Origami Step 4

In Step 5, the negative space left from the skin used for the nipple reconstruction is brought together:

Newpple Origami Step 5

And then it is stitched closed:

Newpple Origami Step 6

There are so many methods for nipple reconstruction; I was really surprised when I happened upon this article.  I am a horrible geometry student.  I couldn’t even fold notes well in school.  So none of these methods would have ever occurred to me.  And that, people, is why someone other than me is making the big bucks.

Hopefully, this will be my first and only revision surgery.  While it is easier to reduce the size of one noob instead of increasing the smaller one, there is always the possibility that additional revisions have to be made.  I have had the pleasure of meeting other women who have gone through this process because I’ve published this blog.  One of those women is approaching her seventh surgery due to complications, heavy scarring, and necrosis of 1 nipple.  Another reader is recovering from her fourth revision surgery because her reconstructed breasts ended up so dissimilar after her first revision.  I have incredible faith in my surgeon’s abilities but appreciate the challenges associated with breast reconstruction.

Unlike my initial surgery, I have very little anxiety.  I am a little worried because I think we’re going to try and fly solo as a family for this recovery and hope for the best.  If I do have more pain than expected, we’ll be watching a lot of Disney movies with the girls, eating frozen dinners (or take out), and phoning in favors.  So I’m just trying to stay positive and start planning for June 22…and beyond!

The update photos posted below are a few days old but, as with before, there are no dramatic changes.  (Other than more natural light in our bathroom because Seattle actually got some damn sun, which has since left us.)

 

Cuidado!  Peligroso!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

05/22/12 – Frontal on Day 69

05/22/12 – Noobies on Day 69

05/22/12 – Abdomen on Day 69

05/22/12 – Left Flap on Day 69

05/22/12 – Right Flap on Day 69