Did you hear the one about…


Hell or High Water

Did you hear the one about the plastic surgeon who said “come hell or high water, we’ll remove that JP Drain on Monday”?  Well, we did have some rain, but no fire and brimstone, maybe that’s why she couldn’t remove my drain?  Sigh, my output readings were still too high, averaging around 50 cc/day, too high to safely remove the drain.  I knew my readings were too high, but, I didn’t re-schedule the appointment and wanted to keep that scheduled appointment strictly because of the ‘hell or high water’ claim and her positive attitude, I thought she might have some trick up her sleeve.

Of course, when she met with me and told me it would be too dangerous, I admit, I felt my hopes deflating, like a loosed balloon.  She questioned me on what types of activities I had been doing, emphasizing that a lot of movement will irritate the healing process and contribute to high output to the drain.  I did not think that I was being overly active.  I had just been cleaning up the kitchen, not scrubbing floors or walls, just loading and unloading the dishwasher, wiping down the counter tops, doing laundry, folding and putting away clean laundry… what I would say are minimal house-keeping chores.

She instructed that, “For the next two days, I don’t want you to do ANYTHING other than sit in your recliner and read a good book or watch movies.  NO  ACTIVITIES! And then we should be able to take the drain out on Friday, but call first with your readings.”

There was nothing more to discuss regarding the drain, so I turned to my trusty notepad where I had some questions for her.  The first two questions were actually answered by the receptionist, I had asked for my operating room report regarding this portion (plastic surgery) of the original bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.  I also asked for a copy of my “cards” for the tissue expanders.

TissueExpanderCardMy doctor’s office typically does not issue identification cards for the tissue expander medical devices because they are only temporary, but I will receive identification cards for my permanent implants when they are finally set in place sometime in February…. but just reading this card, I can understand why I would need an identification card for the expander because it contains metal, what would be the purpose to have one for the implants since they don’t contain any metal?  Maybe just as an f.y.i. for recalls or the like?

Back to the doctor – my next question was what brand of implant will she be using?  “Natrelle 45”  is what she likes to use.  We talked about the tear-drop style and she said that she is not a fan of that type of implant and there have been problems with them shifting and looking unnatural.  In my case, she would be using the round type of implant.

breastimplants400ccvs500ccI also asked about projection.  My tissue expanders are filled to 500 cc now and have 250 cc more to go until this portion of reconstruction is finished, but, where I’m at now, I look extremely flat-chested; an “A” cup would be too big for me to fill.  It looks like the saline-fill has ‘spread’ to the sides.  The Doctor reassured me that the implants will look and lay entirely different than the tissue expanders.  Ok, I sure hope so, I don’t want under-the-arm-boobies.

I’m overweight and my breasts were large and saggy, I don’t even know what size bra I should have been wearing, I was wearing a 38C, but, I could never get a bra to fit comfortably, so I typically opted for sports bras.  This whole reconstruction event is to replace what cancer has taken from me, not to try and turn my new breasts into porn-type decorations, but, to make me feel and look more like the woman I was before cancer started carving on my body.

The doctor told me that as I lose weight (I told her that I am anxious to be active so that I can start walking for exercise) my breasts will appear larger as my body shrinks because these new “breasts” will not change/diminish in size.

I have a way to go before this year of overcoming breast cancer is behind me;  time is beginning to move more at the pace it was prior to breast cancer – faster and faster but I’m not so sure I want things to move so fast.

Breathe and savor life!

3 responses to “Did you hear the one about…

  1. Wow! The notion of sitting still during recovery makes me worry about gain even more weight. I am the only person I know who gained weight in the week of recovery after wisdom teeth extraction so post-mastectomy could be disastrous for me. Just one more thing to worry about.


    • NO! NO! NO! Don’t think like that or I’ll have to send you to the corner! I just turned 60 yrs., I am overweight, 5’4″, 170 lbs. and this is the very same weight (and height) that I was before surgery, back in August. I haven’t gained any weight since being inactive, I wasn’t hungry, for some reason and didn’t crave anything. When I did start craving things, I kept a lot of Jello on hand and Cool Whip. I’ve since graduated to Angel Food cake, which I sliced into 16 pre-cut pieces and I just slather Cool Whip on a piece of it to suffice my sugar cravings.

      Just don’t rush your recovery or it will take twice as long to get back in the saddle!


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