80’S CANCER JAM OF THE DAY (DID ANYONE ELSE LOVE FAMILY TIES?):
I’m off today to meet a man. This man is 2 hours away, and the first thing he’ll probably want me to do is take off my shirt. I’m oddly reminded of some bad dates from days gone by. But today I won’t be offended or feel cheap..and there will be no alcohol involved. I’m traveling to see a reconstructive surgeon, and I’m hoping he is positively giddy at the thought of fabulous, perky c-cups.
I found my guy on the Internet. Wait a minute, this is starting to sound like some kinky new dating experience. No, actually, since I start radiation next week, I’ve been poring over pictures of reconstructed bionic boobs on the computer. (“We can make them better, stronger” Sorry, having a 6-Million Dollar Man flashback!) I keep looking over my shoulder, thinking that people are going to suspect that I’ve been keeping a big secret. Talk about your lesbian inner sanctum!
While perusing page after page of hooters, I’ve been getting this really odd commercial jingle stuck in my head from an ancient Armour hotdog spot. “Fat boobs, skinny boobs, boobs that climb on rocks….” I had to stop at “even boobs with chicken pox”. Eww!
Anyway, my boob man had a gallery of very nice before and after photos on his website. I’m sure he picked the best looking “girls” as models, but he specializes in breast cancer reconstruction, so I have high hopes. He uses a lot of implants but does TRAM flap and latissimus dorsi flap procedures also, using skin from the abdomen or other areas to create breast tissue. His site also shares videos of actual patients in various phases of reconstruction as well as stats about his failure rates, infection, etc.
This will be my first consult with a plastic surgeon. I wasn’t planning to start doctor shopping until after radiation, but my radiation guy said that the new school of thought is to start reconstruction as soon as 8 weeks after radiation. The old recommendation was to wait at least 6 months for things to heal and “settle”. Dr. Rad says that this has been shown to produce worse outcomes because more scar tissue forms in the interim, making the skin less pliable. This timetable is groovy with me since my insurance out-of-pocket starts over in April. The more I can get done before then, the better.
So, away I go on one of the most important blind dates I may ever have. It’s exhausting really, all this interviewing and questioning of doctors. I’ve decided that finding the right plastic surgeon will be a lot like bathing suit shopping. I’ll be exhausted and frustrated for a while, and then I’ll find the one that makes my boobs look fabulous!
I’ll let you know how my visit goes. In the meantime, please share with me all of your reconstruction stories. I want the good, the bad , the ugly and any advice you have, particularly if you had radiation first. Check out the surgeon of the day’s website at www.riouplasticsurgery.com and see what you think about his before and after photos.