I had my final pre-op appointment with Dr. Harper yesterday to talk through everything that would happen during my surgery tomorrow. He confirmed that he won’t be touching my left boob this time around…and walked through again what he’ll be doing to the right side…it’s everything I was expecting with a few potential additions.
To recap, he’s taking out my right implant, removing / cleaning up all the scar tissue, and then putting in the tissue expander. All things I’ve known about since we discussed the change in direction for my reconstruction plans. So what’s new?
In addition to the 3 procedures listed above, Dr. Harper will also be using Alloderm in the hopes that my healthy, soft breast tissue will continue to remain that way after surgery. The way he described it, Alloderm is essentially cadaver tissue that “allows for a strong, intact repair in challenging hernia and breast reconstruction post mastectomy procedures by providing soft tissue reinforcement or replacement.” Essentially, it helps to control the shape of your boob…which is something I need help with. My lumpectomy scar has historically had a mind of its own and has left me looking a little freaky over the last 2 ½ years. So fingers crossed that the addition of Alloderm this time around will help do the trick!!
I also learned a little more about how the expander works. My expander will look like an implant essentially cut in half. It will be this shape because I only need the tissue on the underside of my boob to stretch. To make sure that the expander does its job and doesn’t get out of place, it will be attached to my chest wall ensuring that as my weekly injections into the expander progress, they are stretching the skin on the lower part of my boob. I found this all pretty educational as I’ve been wondering how it wouldn’t just be floating around in there like my implants are right now.
And finally, Dr. Harper said I may emerge from surgery with a drain this time….which would really suck. I don’t recall why I would need one this time around. I zoned out as soon as he said drain thinking about how awful it will be to something hanging from my body and didn’t really hear anything he said after that. As fearful as I am of needles, I’m equally fearful of having something hanging from my body that will need to be emptied, cleaned, touched multiple times a day. Yuck!
So here’s to hoping that it’s not necessary!! My surgery starts around noon tomorrow and will take between 2-3 hours. Because of insurance reasons, this surgery will be at the hospital instead of their offices like my first two…..which is good and bad. Bad because I have to be there almost 3 hours before my surgery time….and good because Andrew gets to come back in the prepping area and hang out with until I go into the operating room! For my surgeries in the office, I was back there sitting by myself…granted it was only for about 30 minutes, but still, it got pretty boring.
So that’s that. I’m praying every goes as Dr. Harper hopes tomorrow, and would definitely appreciate continued thoughts and prayers!!
Photos from 133 weeks post chemo are below….