The postings have, of course, been personal, so I don't mind sharing with you the next part of the journey.
As I wrote in January, I was going to have the "last surgery" (always seems to be my famous last words!) as a bigger implant was going to be put in. Well, of course my story always has a twist! A short time after the last posting, I attended a wedding. After congratulating the bride and groom, I turned and began to walk down the staircase. Unfortunately, I did not hold on to the railing and....you guessed it....I fell down the entire staircase. I ended up with some bruises and scrapes and a broken rib. Let me tell you, that broken rib hurt more than most of what I have already gone through! I ended up having to cancel my surgery since I was in so much pain and could not lie down flat at all.
About 8 weeks later, I did finally reschedule and have the surgery with the larger implants. At that time, my surgeon also took the extra skin that was hanging under my right arm. He felt there was not a lot of skin under the left arm, so was going to leave that as it. (Turns out, later on, he would regret that and tell me he now wants to take in some of that extra skin also.) There were no surprises and everything took time to heal, but it all went according to plan. Which for me, was a wonderful thing!
Once the healing process was complete, my surgeon told me I was ready to get nipples. I told him I thought the tattoo nipples would be sufficient. But he asked me to think it over since he found that all of his patients that had gone through this procedure were pleased. I did some research and online found one posting that actually had me change my mind. It was a blog from another survivor who had debated about having the nipples surgery also. She said the reason she decided to have the surgery was because she always felt "incomplete"; but once she had nipples, it was "like a smile was put on a face"....she wasn't uncomfortable with her own naked breasts anymore. I thought about that long and hard and realized I did feel like I was "unfinished". So, I decided to have this surgery. The surgery itself was a "breeze" to get through. It is actually done by a local anesthesia, and my surgeon and I carried on a conversation the whole time. He used my existing skin to "craft" the nipples. It was amazing! After it was over, they place these little screens over them to keep them protected. I felt like Madonna! The hardest part was finding a way to conceal the screens so I didn't look ridiculous in public! I found these bras which were shaped like athletic bras, and had padding in them. It wasn't perfect, but it helped. I had to wear the screens and bra for about 10 days, and then went back to the surgeon's office. Everything was still good, so he had me just put a loose bandage over the nipples and had me come back again two weeks later. At that time, he took out most of the stitches, and right now I am just wearing a loose bra as everything heals further. I go back in 6 weeks and he will tattoo around the nipple, and then this part will be completed.
He is still talking about the excess skin on the left side, so I am sure that will be next. But let me tell you, it looks great and I really do feel SO much better about my breasts with the nipples! I would recommend to any breast cancer patient that she/he do the same! I will post again once I go back to the surgeon's office and let you know how the tattooing went and what's next. A friend of mine who decided NOT to get the nipples can't wait to see mine and she thinks she might consider it also. Stay tuned!