Today was my meeting with the plastic surgeon and, oddly enough, I was more agitated driving to his office than I was to the breast surgeon's. It was just that much closer to home plate, for one, and I was a bit nervous: what if he was a pompous ass? What if, somehow, he was going to hamstring the smoothness of this whole experience, as it has been gliding along, so far??!
Not to fear. Again, a consummate professional with nothing to prove, no ego to reenforce.
So down to biz.
After going over the case history, we talked about options for reconstruction.
I already knew I was not opting for a lat flap (where they take a piece of your latissimus dorsi~~the big wing-like back muscle on bodybuilders~~to create a shelf at the breast & move your own belly fat up to become a breast) or a tram flap (same idea, only using a portion of an abdominal muscle, the transversus abdominus) because, doing the work that I do, I cannot offer up any of my core strength in trade for a breast.
FYI, though, women: I had a friend who had a tram flap years ago, & because they "fill" it with your own tissue, it is completely natural looking and feeling. A perfect "breast"; none of the firm-to-hardness of an implant.
They do another kind of tissue transfer now, also, where they take no muscle for a shelf, they just move your own belly fat up & shape it as a breast.
But, it is a much longer surgery & recovery time, and the possibility of tissue failure, which means the transferred blood vessels don't find their home in the new neighborhood and the tissue dies, resulting in additional surgeries.
An implant is just fine for me.
So, I was measured & told how the procedure would transpire:
After the mastectomy. my plastic surgeon will put a tissue expander under my chest wall muscle (pectoralis major) & then put in the drains to remove fluid (blood and lymph) that will be building up in the area after the surgery, but cannot be allowed to stay, because infection might arise.
Women always say that the drains are the most tedious part of the whole thing.
Which, in the scheme of things, is not too bad, really!
The drain will be taken out a week later (hence the tedium!) & weekly I will go in to the plastic surgeon's office to have increasing amounts of saline put in the expander until we reach my size.
Or, actually..."almost" my size, as without moving into the realm of Hollywood/Vegas implants, they don't make them the size I have been walking around as. Gratitude to Mama Nature.
My mother would have fallen over on her bed laughing at that one!
So, after many trips in, gradually inflating to evenness, we schedule a second surgery (I swear I just heard Bullwinkle moan!!) to remove the expander, exchange it for the actual implant, & *sounds of angelic trumpets* do a slight reduction & a lift on the other side so they will match as much as possible.
Cue Nina Simone.
I asked him about time off of work, & when I explained what I do, he shook his head & looked down, doing the body-use math in his head.
Meeting my eyes he said "I don't want you working on anybody for four weeks. Then you can go half time for two weeks. before a full schedule again. You cannot chance any bleeding or inappropriate internal scarring in order to have the best result possible."
Which was about what I was figuring.
Except by then I'll be back in for surgery #2.
There will be an intermission while our beautiful dancing girls and adult libations bring a smile to your face.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
All in all, this is fabulous, I do recognize...
And, if you were wondering about my title tonight, the funniest part of the whole thing is the nurse who was having me sign sheaves of pre-surgical papers, reminded me that I could not wear any jewelery into surgery.
These tiny, almost infintessimal gold wires in the curl of the thick, inner part of my cartilage in two places on my left ear?
My body heals very quickly if I take piercings out, and (with a slightly can-I-have-the-car-keys wheedle) if I can just leave those two? And, well, my solid gold belly button ring, also???
She reminded me that the reason they have that rule is that if something should happen during surgery and they had to drop the paddles on me to bring me back...Any metal in my body would cause the electricity to arc...
Creating, shall we just say, a Green Mile moment in the O.R.
And then I started laughing uproariously.
Because I have more whiny resistance to losing all my body jewelery than my breast.
It takes all kinds, Mr Barnum...