The 16th of October was always going to be a bit of a scary day for me, it was the scheduled day for my first “fill”.
Now to be honest Pete and I were totally clueless about all the decisions we were expected to make before my surgery. One of the major considerations we had to face was regarding reconstruction. To do reconstruction straight away or not, which procedure to choose – using my own body tissue or to go the implant route? Our plastic surgeon went through the pros and cons of each, drew pictures and showed us photos so that by the time I got home, my toes were still trying to unfurl. *something I have discovered throughout this process is that I am VERY squeamish!* .
We also only had the weekend to make these decisions. I gave Pete all the research to do, my toes just couldn’t handle that amount of toe curling!
To cut a very long, toe curling story short, we chose to start the reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy along with the implant option. Fortunately we made that decision, as the day before my scheduled unilateral mastectomy, we had the news that the surgery would need to be bilateral instead. If I had chosen to use my own body tissue, she would not have been able to start reconstruction immediately as weakening the body’s core by removing both abdominal muscles and connective tissue was not possible.
So today, after almost 5 weeks of recovery, I went back to the plastic surgeon to have the expanders filled with saline. I can honestly admit I was frightened. The process is a long one as the skin and chest area needs to be stretched in order to accommodate the implants. This process takes between 6 months to a year by having fills done every two weeks. Sadly I am on a bit of a tight time schedule with the expanders. My oncology plan includes radiation which means my expanders will need to be removed before this treatment as they contain magnetic ports which cannot be radiated!
The main reason I was so nervous about today’s visit was due to the fact that I had such an awful experience with pain after surgery. One or both right drains were sitting on an exposed nerve which meant that every time I got up, the drains would rub against the nerve causing a spasm that would literally make my entire body break out in a sweat. This made walking to the bathroom absolute agony. I ended up staying in hospital until all four drains were completely removed. The memory of that pain is never far away, especially when faced with any procedure which may threaten to bring it back.
But there I lay in the doctor’s office while she poked and prodded, and to my complete surprise, it wasn’t in any way as bad as I imagined. So with six injections and 100mls in each expander, I have the makings of a cleavage! Feels like puberty all over again!
“How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.” Thomas Jefferson
“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it”. Charlie Chaplin