Follow-up with my Surgeon

Mood: Fantastic & Excited! 😁

My follow-up appointment with my surgeon went very well on Wednesday! I have been healing well and he has cleared me to workout, start running again, lift weights, anything that I want to do, so that is excellent news! I have several sutures that are hanging on for dear life but none of them are sticking out to where they can be pulled out. It isn’t safe to dig them out as that will cause open wounds, so we are going to leave them alone for now as they should either get absorbed or come to the surface of my skin.

My husband and I had a lot of questions for my surgeon today and he stayed with us until every question was answered. Some doctors run into the exam room, poke at you and then leave as if they are on a tight schedule, but thankfully none of my doctors have ever done that to me. We had a lot of questions for him because I had made the decision to ask him if I can have one more reconstruction surgery and get breast implants. This has been a very personal decision for me, and I am hoping I will not face any judgement from anyone I know, but I truly feel that this is something I need to do for me to help me feel whole and complete again after a year of destroying my body and soul to fight aggressive, invasive breast cancer.

I am sure you are wondering why I came to this decision. About half way through my radiation treatments I started to struggle with how my chest looks….I am not happy with it….I feel like I am deformed and I don’t look or feel like I did back when I was last healthy in November of 2018. Let me first say that I have the best surgeon I could possibly ask for so this is not a reflection on him or his skills….he did what he had to do and he saved my life from a very aggressive and invasive breast cancer. I lost quite a bit of tissue during my first reconstruction surgery as I had to have a reduction to match the side where the cancer was located. Now my bras don’t fit me any more, the cups are too big, and I suspect that I lost a whole cup size, so I want to regain what I lost. I want to feel feminine again, something that I do not feel these days at all. Breast cancer with its harsh treatments and aggressive surgeries takes away a womans identity and for most patients it is devastating to watch the body you once knew turn into something foreign. I lost all of my hair, two of my toenails and my once beautiful chest is now scarred. The physical scars will mostly go away with time, but the emotional and mental scars will stay with me for awhile. So my mission now is to do everything I can to get back to looking and feeling as close to the old me as possible. I am aware that I will never be completely the same again, but I can try, unfortunately, cancer changes you for the rest of your life.

So, back to the visit with my surgeon…..he said that I am a good candidate for implant surgery, but there is one condition, I have to wait for at least 6 to 12 months before I can have the surgery. Why do I have to wait? I have to wait because of the 25 radiation treatments I had. My tissue needs time to heal from the radiation so that it will be safe for me to have the surgery. We talked about the difference between saline and silicone implants and he feels that silicone is the safest option. He explained that saline implants can fail and that when they do the saline goes into my body which is not good. Saline implants are also not as advanced as silicone as they have not been improved for several years, and they will also only last about 10 years. Silicone implants are safe now and if they fail, which is a much smaller percentage than saline, they stay in place instead of spreading through my body. Yes, if the implant fails it will have to be replaced but that will most likely not happen and they have a much longer lifespan, possibly for the rest of my life.

6 months from now, in August, I will have a mammogram to check to see if my breast cancer has returned or not. Two days after my mammogram I will go back to see my surgeon to get the results and to discuss my surgery and get it scheduled. I will not be able to have my surgery until September as hubby and I are going to Saint Lucia at the end of August – early September. I really don’t mind waiting until September for the surgery as that will put me at about 8 months away from when I finished radiation, and the more time that passes from that date at the end of January, the better it is for me. Do I wish I could get it over with and have the surgery tomorrow? Of course I do, but I understand why that isn’t possible thanks to my surgeon taking the time to talk with us and answer all of our questions. My surgeon has been with me from the beginning of this journey and I know that he truly cares as it shows from the moment he walks into the exam room or the OR, and that is priceless to me during the most difficult journey of my life.