Daily Wisdom With Dr. Boob

Photo: doodlekisses.com

Photo: doodlekisses.com

As you recall, I told you about my witty repartee with the plastic surgeon in yesterday’s boob update. At today’s post-op appointment he was in rare form.

First, I have to say that I feel so much better than when I had the tissue expanders inserted in March. I’m almost scared that I’m headed for some colossal steroid crash and burn, and this is the calm before the storm. I’m just much sleepier today, so let’s hope that this is the extent of it.

There is, however, one very odd remnant of the surgical experience. I have a fat lip. Just on the right side. Now, I work beneath the OR floor, and let me tell you, it sometimes sounds like they’re tossing midgets up there for amusement. Bam! Crash! I’d love to be a fly on the wall some days.

So, when I graced Dr. Boob’s office this morning, neatly coiffed of course, I wanted to ask him what in the world had gone on the day before.

Me: So, take a look at this lip. Do you know what happened while I was under?

Dr. Boob: You probably bit your lip next to the trach tube, that’s all. (Really! that’s all you’ve got? Quid pro quo, Dr., quid pro quo)

Me: (sure that he was off his game and it would be an easy victory today) I’m thinking that the anesthesia dude, Dr. Hopper, Harry Potter, whatever his name was, got miffed when I told him they screwed up last time. He probably smacked me around a little.

Dr. Boob: Nope. He only hit you lightly, not enough to leave a mark. I saw it.

Me: (he’s back) You mean, you saw me being physically abused and you just stood by and let it happen?

Dr. Boob: Well, I was kind of tied up doing surgery.

Me: I understand, but the least you can do is show me some sympathy now. (I put on my best puppy dog face)

Dr. Boob: (with a totally straight face) Do you know where you find sympathy in the dictionary?

Me: (feeling victory slipping away) No, where?

Dr. Boob: Somewhere between “shit” and “syphillis”.

Dammit! Quid pro quo. It puts the lotion on it’s fat lip, or it gets the hose again.

 

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It’s D-Day…No Really

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If it looks like I’m slightly off-kilter in this picture, it’s merely a temporary unevenness caused by the drugs, making it somewhat difficult to stand in place without listing to one side (and to make sense, according to the number of times I’ve had to re- type words).

This morning I had surgery to exchange my breast tissue expanders for the permanent implants which will call my chest home. This will be almost the last step in a breast cancer treatment odyssey that began last March. The surgery itself lasted only an hour and a half, but I had to be there as the roosters were standing in line at Starbucks, getting coffee before crowing.

Nothing to eat or drink after midnight, blah, blah, blah. I didn’t eat, but I did have a few slugs of java and a little water. I know, I know. ¬†Poor listening skills. I was simply trying to avoid the all-out tactical assault that was involved in starting my I.V. last time due to dehydration. I have to say that went stunningly better this go round.

I had to bring my new front-zip sports bra into the OR with me so they could¬†bend my arms backwards and jam me into it lovingly slip me into it to hold the new cleavage down and reduce swelling. My post-op appointment is tomorrow morning, and you better believe I’ll fix my hair before I see the doctor this time.

When I came in after my last surgery, he asked “Did you even comb your hair today?” Now, mind you that I had been throwing up for the previous 24 hours due to anesthesia, and he was really lucky I made it at all. But Dr. Boob is a character, and I really love his smart-ass dry sense of humor (perhaps because I share it), so I had to take it in stride.

Here’s an example of an exchange we had yesterday:

Me: I think your medical assistant screwed up. She said something about a bilateral testicular implant.

Dr. Boob: Yes. We’re throwing that in as a promotion.

Me: (reflecting for a moment) Well, I have always felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body.

Dr. Boob: And now we’ll be making that a reality for you.

And this is how we roll on any given day. It’s a game to see who has to think longer before replying.

Right now, I’m feeling about a thousand percent better than after my last surgery, but it realize that part of that is the rather large dose of steroids they gave me through my I.V. I brought my anesthesia records with me so we could go over them and come up with a better game plan for nausea. I got Emend, like they give before chemo, and a Scopolamine patch behind the ear. So far, so good. Always be your own best advocate!

Apparently, from what I’ve read about implant reconstruction, there is a “drop and fluff” period of a few weeks, which sounds like you brought some dirty towels to the dry cleaners. What this means is that your implants will settle and look fuller as they begin to heal.

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It’s truly anyone’s guess as to what size you will end up when all is said and done, as there are so many variables of chest width, body type, height, etc. Dr. Boob told me to go by the tissue expander on the non-radiated side, so I hope that’s what I get in this odd box of Cracker Jack boobs. All I can say is that I was fitting into a 34D before surgery, and that’s the size of the sports bra you see.

I’ll post some pics as the “drop and fluff” progresses. As for now, I have to go was my hair and style my hair so I’ll be ready for tomorrow!

New Boobs Ahoy

mermaid-contrarian-creative

 

Well, the time has come, almost one year to the day since my breast cancer diagnosis. I feel a little giddy, like a high school girl with a hundred dollar bill at the mall. Should I get these, or, no….wait a minute, I really love the way I look in these. Do you think these make me look fat? I’m not talking about a new pair of jeans or even a daring little polka dot bikini; I’m picking out something much more fabulous and precious, a new pair of boobs.

Yes, that’s right, on March 26 I will be undergoing the first step in the series leading to my new and improved “girls”. Now, my bar is set fairly low. After all, anything would be a drastic improvement compared to the flat chest desert with the matching horizontal scars I now sport. It’s cool in a way. I look a bit like a really simplistic treasure map. I’ve followed the map; now I’m ready for the prize.

tissue expander

This first step will involve placing two plastic tissue expanders, which consist of folded plastic bags, under the pectoral muscles. (That just sounds like fun, doesn’t it?) There will be a small port placed under the skin with a tube leading to each bag. For 6 to 8 weeks, I’ll have saline injected into the bags a little at a time via the port. This will allow the skin over the chest wall, which is now flat and taut, to stretch to accommodate an implant.

Once the desired size is reached with expansion, which I’m thinking will be about a perky “C”, the expander is exchanged for a permanent implant. I’ll then have nipples created from skin elsewhere on my body, and the final artistic touch will be tattooed areolas.

This sounds like a simple process, but in reality it can be anything but. It carries the normal risks associated with surgery, such as infection and bleeding. However, when surgery is performed on radiated skin, there are additional worries. The skin may not heal properly, or it may not stretch as expected. Also, radiation causes the skin to be thinner, so cadaver skin will be used on that side to “reinforce” the implant and prevent it from breaking through.

before-after-implant

After all is said and done, I would love to have a result like the one above, which is from a plastic surgeon’s website. Hey, maybe I need to go back and get that name! Now, I’m sure that this is probably a year or more post-op to have that much fading of the scars. But all in all, it looks great to me. Ok, I might go a touch bigger, but I won’t get greedy.

The best part of all this, aside from being able to wear normal clothes again, is that I’m having the procedure the day before my daughter turns 6. I’ve already told her that we will have to go to Chuck E. Cheese a little early because Mommy is getting new boobs for her birthday!