Reconstruction

Tomorrow is a big day!! After a lot of thought and consideration (and a preview of my health care plan for next year), I’ve made a really big decision. I’m finally moving forward with getting my reconstruction surgery done. It’s time to make right what cancer made wrong!

Disclaimer: I’d stop reading now if you don’t want to know the intimate details of what I’m having done.

When most people think of reconstruction, I think they associate it with a result of having a mastectomy. That is true, but what some people may not know is that you may also require reconstruction following a lumpectomy….much like me.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m severely deformed from my two surgeries, but my right boob definitely doesn’t look right. Fortunately for me, my tumor was on the underside of my boob directly below my nipple, so unless you’re looking at me topless (which is only reserved for a select group of people :) ), you’d never know I had anything wrong with me. I can wear a bra, swimsuit, cleavage bearing top, you name it…and look completely normal.

All of the tissue that was removed during my lumpectomy surgeries was taken from the bottom of my boob. A normal women’s boob, much like my left one, is rounded at the bottom. Mine is not. It’s very flat and pulls in slightly, or significantly, depending on what I’m doing. My scar is about 2 inches long starting from where my nipple ends and goes all the way down to my chest wall. Because my scar tissue is tethered to my chest wall, it can hurt if my boob is pulled to far in one direction and it pulls my nipple downwards at certain times…which for me is the most annoying.

So tomorrow a few different things will be happening.

First, my plastic surgeon will be removing all of the dead scar tissue and any tissue damaged from radiation. Because my nipple pulls downward now, he’ll also be doing a breast lift…in order to make everything look back to normal.

Then, he’ll do the exact same thing to my left side, my good boob. So yes, I’ll be getting a reduction and lift on both sides. I’ll have super perky and potentially really small boobs at this point.

Finally, he’ll attempt to put a small implant in on my cancer side. If it looks like my lumpectomy scar isn’t too strained from the implant and will heal cleanly, he’ll leave the implant in and put one on my good side as well. If it looks like the scar won’t heal correctly with the implant in, he’ll leave them out and I’ll have to have a follow up surgery in a few months. So it’ll be a surprise what I wake up with tomorrow afternoon.

So, stay tuned! I’ll write a post-surgery recap in about a week and let you all know what actually happens tomorrow. Photos from 100 weeks post chemo are below………

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7 Responses to “Reconstruction”

  1. Nicole

    Congrats Nicole. You are so strong…and beautiful.

  2. Andrew

    Looking forward to give you some TLC tomorrow. Can’t wait to see the results! ;)

  3. Carol LaRegina

    nicole,
    wishing you the best of luck on your surgery….. its a good thing!!!! all will go well.. know all about it – had 9 surgeries after mastectomy before it all was right, but worth it for me in the end!!!! will be thinking about you tomorrow —- I know it will all be good!!!!!!!!

  4. Jill

    I know this might be strange coming from, well, a stranger, but thank you so much for this post. I’m currently 32 and going through chemo for breast cancer and will most likely be having a lumpectomy (similar location too) rather than a mastectomy in a few months and I’ve always wondered what the “aftermath” will entail and what my options will therefore be. I always assume reconstruction is only for mastecomy patients and was worried I’d be left feeling mangled and lopsided. Your post really put those fears at ease. I know every situation is different, but hearing the details of your procedure was extremely helpful. Best of luck with surgery, I’ll be sending thoughts and prayers your way for a speedy recovery!

  5. Shelly

    Strong and beautiful women like you continue to inspire me every day. Prayers to you and thank you.

  6. Bryan Shields

    Good luck with the surgery Nicole! And congrats on the engagement!!! Much love to you and Andrew.

    Bryan

  7. Sonya

    hey nicole! i met your mom in a coffee shop yesterday. she’s an amazing woman and is so very proud that you are her daughter. my friend michelle is in her early 20s and found that she had breast cancer. she had a double mastectomy because they discovered she had the gene. keep fighting the fight and keep speaking–you’re helping a lot of people to understand things a ‘lil more by offering them a glimpse into the journey you didn’t choose, but chose you.

    the Lord’s peace and grace to you.
    sonya


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