Post Surgery Update

Huge slacker here. I’m just now getting around to giving a post surgery update. I had intentions of doing one weeks ago, but life’s been pretty busy.

It’s been 6 weeks since my reconstruction surgery and I feel pretty much 100% back to normal. The healing process was much less painful that I was anticipating. The most painful part was probably wearing this god-awful bra for a month….

I don’t know who was more excited about retiring that thing….me or Andrew :) Haha, kidding! I only have a little tenderness if I lay on my stomach or Andrew hugs me to tight, but aside from that things feel great. My scars are healing better than I thought they would and more importantly, I’m SOOOOO happy with Dr. Harper’s work.

My boobs looked a little funny at first, which Dr. Harper warned me about. They essentially “over correct” during surgery knowing your tissue will settle over time. For the first few weeks post surgery, my boobs looked a little ridiculous. It’s hard to explain, but they looked like an upside down version of the “tear drop” every woman wants to have. Fortunately, they’ve relaxed a lot in the last 6 weeks and look much better now!

I’ve got photos from before the surgery, a week after, and now but really don’t want to post them for the world to see.  My face isn’t in the pictures, so I’m willing to share them given the right circumstances…i.e. someone else who is going through reconstruction not just someone looking to get a free show.

So what exactly did I have done in the surgery? Well, Dr. Harper removed all of the scar tissue left behind from my two lumpectomy surgeries and all of the dead tissue left behind from radiation. Then (because my right nipple was slightly deformed from the previous surgeries) he gave me a slight lift to reposition my nipple to look normal again. And finally, he lifted and removed tissue from my left breast so it looks identical to my right. I’m now left with slightly smaller, very perky new boobs that look great!

Dr. Harper was going to try to put a small implant in during surgery, but was concerned that the site where he removed my lumpectomy scar would be too strained under the pressure of the implant and not heal correctly. So (fingers crossed) I’ll be going under the knife again within the next few weeks to get very small implants in to take me back to my original size. I’ve got an appointment with Dr. Harper tomorrow and based on how comfortable he is with how I’m healing, we’ll set the next surgery date!

 Like I said, life is back to normal now. I’ve back in the gym and running again…just in time to try and get back in shape before the holidays and my next surgery. Very short blog this time around….stay tuned though…I’ll have a very exciting (at least I think so) post coming in the next week :)

 Photos from 104 weeks post chemo are below….

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One Response to “Post Surgery Update”

  1. Sheryl DeWeerd

    Hi Nicole, Just wanted you to know that you have been an inspiration. I was diagnosed this summer and had my lumpectomy on my husbands birthday in August. I needed a second surgery to take more lymph nodes as my sentinel node tested clear, but another tested after surgery came back positive, luckily all others tested clear! I have 4 radiation treatments left! I will have my last treatment and be done Wednesday 12/12/12, hmmmm, new lucky number maybe? It’s the first time I’ve actually written it out to realize that! My brothers birthday is the 11th and that was the day I was supposed to be done finished, but had to extend a day as I was judging a gymnastics meet last Friday and had to miss that day……

    You have grown into a beautiful young woman that I knew as a budding young gymnast! I most likely judged you many times in club and a few times in College, little did I know then, that you would come back into my life in this way….I have known your mom since I had a gym in Muskegon, called Michigan Lakeshore Gymnastics…..way back when!! One of my gymnasts Aimee Goff was a part of the CMU team, not sure she competed other than exhibition though, from 1992-96, I think, as she was on my HS State championship team in ’91 (Mona Shores ~ Muskegon) Not sure if you knew any of my gymnasts, they were a little older than you and competed Class 2, for me and then OAK Gymnastics when left my partnership and went to work at OAK. Their College years were, I think 95-98, Becky Swelnis Western Michigan; Jamie Elwell MSU, Heather Schneller U of Denver.

    Anyway, you made this summer a little easier for me! I cannot imagine being your age and being diagnosed! I want to thank you for putting yourself ‘out there’ in this forum, it does give others hope that things will get better! I was very lucky my OncotypeDX test came back in the low range and I skirted the Chemo journey, but took comfort in, ‘If Nicole got through her ordeal, I will get through mine too!’ It meant a lot to me to be able to relate to your journey as someone I knew vs. just reading about someone online.

    I am looking forward to the last couple of trips down to Muskegon, I now live in Ludington. I am so ready to get my day back! It is an hour drive each way for me. With an appt time of 1:00 it takes up most of, if not all of my afternoon. I am so thankful for the American Cancer Society, they sponsor a van that travels daily between Ludington and Muskegon and ocassionally they run patients to Grand Rapids, all free of charge to those that ride.

    Please know that you were on my prayer list from the time I found out and I pray that our journey from here on out will be cancer free!

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