It contains some post surgery images, so if that ain't your bag, look away now...
Some people may also be surprised that I've included photos of my 'boobs' in this blog post. To be clear - I no longer have boobs in the conventional sense. I also have no nipples. My 'foobs' serve absolutely no purpose apart from being cosmetic. They have no sexual or functional purpose (e.g. breastfeeding). To me, they are just silicone appendages, so from that aspect, showing photos of them to others isn't a huge deal. I hope that by sharing pictures of my surgery, I can help other women in a similar position and also dispel some of the myths - think the 'oh you get a free bob job! comments....
Including photos on here does make me a little nervous, but that is purely from a point of view that I do appreciate the results of this kind of surgery can be shocking to those who haven't seen it before. The faces of some of my 'before breast cancer' friends when I've showed them photographs of the end result have confirmed this! I do sometimes think that people expect that a double mastectomy with reconstruction is going to look like a pair of perky Pamela Anderson tits, complete with lovely rosy nipples. I refer back to my earlier comment about breaking down these myths.....
Anyway, at the end of October 2016 I had surgery to replace my expander implants with permanent silicone implants. The expanders are temporary implants which are filled with saline and are use to stretch muscle, skin and tissue in preparation for permanent implants. You can read more about this is my previous post - A Tale of Two Titties - Part 1..
This operation was technically less 'major' than the others I've had and therefore takes less time. As a result, even though I was required to be at the hospital at 7.30am the morning of the operation, I actually didn't go down to theatre until almost 2.00pm. This meant I got to sit in my gown and sexy compression socks watching crappy day time TV and reading magazines from 2012 for several hours. But at least I managed to get a couple of mirror selfies in....
I've still not quite got used to the whole being drawn on with black marker thing yet. Makes me feel like one of the Raggy Dolls.
Once again, I had the after general anaesthetic blues. Combine that with complete sleep deprivation, makes me the world's worst patient. I never sleep in hospital when I'm on a ward rather than in a private room. Even the after effects of general anaesthetic, codeine and tamazepam couldn't cancel out the snoring and shouting coming from various surrounding beds throughout the night.
The next morning I chucked a fit (you? Never! I hear you cry) and told them I was going home - a decision which was thankfully supported by my plastic surgeon.
This time round I went home with two drains in, although this time they were only in for a couple of days, rather than a couple of weeks, thank God. I was also completely strapped up and forbidden from disturbing the dressings, which meant no showers for a week - only strip washes. Combine that with night sweats (thanks menopause medication) and i can safely say I felt pretty minging for a week.
Call me strange, but I actually enjoy having my drains taken out. It's like that weird, nice pain - like pressing on a bruise or massaging a sore muscle. However, this time round, the removal felt like someone trying to pull out my rib cage through the hole in my side. I have a pretty high pain threshold, but to anyone walking past the door of that room would be forgiven in thinking I was having my fingernails pulled off with a pair of pliers.
Having drains taken out is such a relief (aside from the pain). It means you can move about without worrying that you're going to catch the tube on a door handle and rip it out along with pieces of your own flesh.
Unfortunately, the dressings didn't come off with the drains, but were just neatened up and stuck back down again so I had to make do with washing my sweaty body with a flannel and baby wipes. Here is a photo of the new boobies and the icky dressings in all their glory:
And here they are a bit more healed and with minimal dressings:
Yes, that lovely yellow hue is some pretty impressive bruising....
The shape is so much more natural than the expander implants. They feel just like real boobs to the touch - although of course when you open your eyes the huge scars give the game away....
They are a little smaller than I would have liked, however it wasn't possible to go any bigger because I had radiotherapy on the right hand side. My surgeon didn't want to risk stretching the muscle and skin on that side any further. Think of what happens when you go a little bit OTT when blowing up a balloon. Anyway, I'm a runner (well, I'm trying) and having big knockers bouncing around is not particularly conducive to that.
There is some lack of volume on the top of the left hand side (right side on the photo), however this will hopefully be fixed with lipomodelling in the next few months. Put simply, this is when they take fat from your stomach and inject it in to the breast to try and fix any irregularities. I'll probably need a 2-3 of these operations to get the desired result. I get free lipo (kind of)! Well, you have to make the most of these little cancer perks i guess....
One thing I still find very strange about these implants is how cold they feel to the touch. They don't get warmed up with normal body heat, which is particularly noticeable when I've been outside on a nippy day.
Because some of the skin was taken away on the left hand side to create a smaller pocket to match the right hand side, I've been left with what is called a hypertrophic scar. These are made when the body produces too much collagen to repair the skin after injury. It means the scar is quite red and raised and is also quite painful as it's full of damaged nerve endings.
After the dressings were taken off:
The scar now:
Compared to the nice neat scar on the other side, it's pretty gnarly!
I've been given some silicone gel by GP to put on the scar to try and improve it's appearance. It's supposed to be like mega concentrated Bio Oil but without the price tag as I don't have to pay for prescriptions (another small 'cancer perk').
Apparently it also has emu oil in it. Whatever that is.
I'm going to keep persevering with the gel, but I think I may go down the mastectomy tattoo route to try and cover it up. So if there are any tattoo artists reading this who would like to try and pretty up my Frankentit, then please do get in touch!
After a phone call from the hospital on Thursday, my first lipomodelling op is on the 6th of Feb - all being well!