So, I met with my plastic surgeon today. Another great experience with a surgeon. Apparently I like surgeons. Jess and I both think it’s because they’re practical and straightforward.
OK. I AM ABOUT TO GET VERY SPECIFIC ABOUT MY BREASTS AND MULTIPLE SURGERIES I WILL NEED. If you would rather not know these things…maybe don’t read on.
Before he came in the room the nurse asked me 264 thousand questions. Then she took out the office cell phone and took topless photos of my tits. She had me do side poses, facing forward pose, and leaning forward with them in full glory. It was…surreal. Now a doctor’s office has pictures of my breasts. I’ll be a before and after shot in their photo album someday. Yes, the nurse showed me some pictures.
Then my surgeon came in said hello and immediately had me stand up and open my gown. He got out a measuring tape from his white coat pocket and measured my breasts from the top of the areola to underneath where my bra line is. He moved them around and poked at them. Both he and my oncology surgeon remarked on how I still have bruising from my biopsy, and told me that there is usually less with surgery because they control the bleeding better.
I think this is code for “the core needle they shoved in your breast is very large, and it did a whopper on you. Plus, we’re better with knives.” (Ha ha)
I mean. I’ve seen this on TV and in movies. In an iconic scene from Singles, I saw Bridget Fonda go in to talk to Bill Pullman about getting her breasts enlarged. I had no idea what it would be like in reality. It was very clinical, which I appreciated completely. I tried to use humor a little, and reiterated that I want the 100% best result possible. My plastic surgeon…let’s call him Dr. Plastic, said that he regularly works with my other surgeon, let’s call him Dr. Surgeon. He would rather be in the lumpectomy surgery and guide how it goes after the lump is removed, and be the one to do the procedure at that point. This is better, rather than do only reconstruction on my breast after. He said it has a better result for him, (he can control the variables) and therefore a better result for me. He can control how the surgery is done. As he was leaving he said that the regular surgeons give plastics a hard time. “They call us interior decorators,” he said, smiling. I said “I want the BEST INTERIOR DECORATOR I CAN HAVE.” He warmly smiled at me and I know 100% that he’s got my best interest at heart.
But before he left, Dr. Plastic told me a lot of things I needed to hear. He’s scrubbing in with Dr. Surgeon tomorrow and he’s going to talk about my surgeries. He wants the lump to be removed by making the incisions along the curve of the areola and then go straight in and over to get the lump out from behind my nipple. It will have the best aesthetic result this way. Often they go from the side, and then women have a scar horizontally from their areola to their armpit. (The nurse showed me photos) Um. NO if possible, thank you. So. We shall see. I am trying not to imagine this in too much detail so far. Most of the super specific surgery stuff makes me so nauseated I feel faint.
Then we talked a little about cancer and my treatment plan. Because I’m going to have radiation…gulp…it is likely going to shrink my breast up a little. (Ok, actually quite a bit)
He pushed it up more than I would have expected and said that’s likely what will happen. I had to swallow hard at that. Because what this means is…no matter what happens…my breast is not going to look the same, ever again. So. That’s not exactly great news and I’m going to be processing that for a little bit.
Radiation will tighten my skin and most likely make my cancerous breast get more taut, and it will be smaller. The shrinking may alleviate any need to do any reconstruction on it from the lumpectomy. When radiation is done, I’ll go back and he will see what they look both look like and I’ll probably get another photo shoot. About 6 months after that, he will do reconstruction on my left breast by reducing it to match my right breast. By then they will likely be very different in size. They are already. His measurements showed an inch in difference…
So. I am actually really going to “lose” my breasts in their current form. But my end result will be even and smaller breasts, which is what I’ve secretly always wanted. So I’m going to focus on that. They’ve been good and kind buddies, but now they’re going to get a major interior decoration job done, and I think I hired a crackerjack team to do the job. He did mention that I’ll be on tamoxifen likely with this treatment plan, and I said yes. I don’t know how that might affect the results, but I got a sense that it may a little. That’s a future page in my choose your own cancer adventure book.
Hearing that the radiation will change my body that much, the cancer reality sunk in harder. I don’t have any more consultations. The next time I go in is to go to surgery. And I’m going to have some wildly wonky breasts for a while. I won’t be having surgery on them until next spring/early summer. YES. You better believe I’m going to try to get all of this to happen in the same plan year so I don’t pay a million dollars for all this cancer treatment. So. I’ll hopefully have it done before July 1. I’ll make sure it does. Maybe next summer I’ll be rocking a bikini with the breasts as perky as the ones I had at 20. Maybe I’ll use all this healthy mind/body motivation to keep running and eliminating anything from my diet that is inflammatory and I’ll lose weight, too. If you know me you know I eat very healthy, but there are STILL things I can let go. Milk is the first one I’m tackling slowly by starting with creamer.
So I’m going to fantasize about my future breasts and the cute small bras I can get for them. Those adorable B or C cup bras, vs. the D cup bras I wear now. It’s easier to think about that than to think about the the next three months or so of surgery and radiation and healing.
And know what? THAT’S TOTALLY OK. It’s ok to focus on the positive and not get bogged down.
I’m so proud of myself right now. I’ve made a plan I feel good about, and I made it alone. I chose what I wanted for my body, and I asked for it. They did NOT suggest a plastic surgeon, I did. And OH MY LORD am I glad I did. I have complete faith in Dr. Surgeon to save my life by cutting the cancer out. And now I’ve got another buddy in Dr. Plastic that is going to save my breasts from looking, well, unsatisfactory.
Phew. I can do this! I can do hard things! You can, too!
I love you.