Tuesday, April 26, 2011

All About Boobs

Last week, my husband and I spent lots of time meeting with surgeons and making some important decisions about… boobs!  As I have said before, I am being treated with every option possible that will lower the risk of recurrence.  Down to the percentage point.  So, I already knew that I would choose to have a mastectomy on both breasts, even the one that never had any cancer.  Studies show that prophylactic mastectomies can increase survival rates for women under fifty who had stage 1 or 2 estrogen receptor negative breast cancer (me).  

In the old days, mastectomies used to be very traumatizing for women.   Surgery techniques were not advanced, and there were hardly any reconstruction options available.  Women had to live with being completely flat-chested for the rest of their lives.  That's certainly not something that I would be okay with, at least not if I have a choice!  

I plan to have my breasts immediately reconstructed.  Meaning that during the same surgery when the breast surgeon does the double mastectomy, a plastic surgeon will also be there starting the reconstruction process.  I will wake up from surgery with boobs, but they will not be exactly perfect until after the plastic surgeon goes back later and does some more smaller surgeries throughout the following months.  This will give me time to heal from the major surgery, and for my skin to stretch enough to accommodate the implants.  The surgeon says that tissue expanders followed by implants are the only option for me, because there's not enough fat anywhere else on my body to be used to make boobs.  That’s fine, because I don’t really want to get cut open on another part of my body anyways.
hmmmm... which size will I get?  which surgeons do I want?  what does all of this involve?!

We have done tons of research and have been very selective in deciding which surgeons to meet with.  After being super impressed with the doctors and facilities at The Breast Center at Mercy in Baltimore, we’ve decided to have my surgeries done there.  (It doesn’t hurt that they have a medi-spa and a unique gift shop to provide “retail therapy” between appointments.)  The doctors are the most knowledgeable, sincere, and willing to be aggressive with my treatments, which is very important to me.  I feel like these doctors understand what I want and are very honest with me about what it takes to get there.  It will not be a simple/easy surgery or recovery, but at least I know that going into it.  The whole program at Mercy seems very well put together.  I feel comfortable placing my trust in both the breast surgeon, Dr. F, and the plastic surgeon, Dr. C.  They were also recommended by my oncologist.  We have set the date of my first surgery to be June 16.  That should (hopefully) give me enough time to recover from chemo and for my body to gain more strength.

I know that a lot of people have various opinions on boob jobs, with some people being adamantly against them in any case scenario.  Other people see nothing wrong with enhancing their bodies to make themselves more happy/raise their self esteem.  I personally never wanted a boob job.  I didn’t need big boobs to feel attractive, so I wouldn’t want to go through an elective surgery if there was nothing medically wrong with me.  But now that breast cancer has literally cost me my natural boobs, I will gladly take “fake boobs” over no boobs at all.  I am so grateful that reconstructive surgery even exists.  I know that some people may judge me for this, but I’m doing all that I can to save my own life.  There are too many good things to focus on than to worry about the negative people who will find anything to put others down.  I know that the people who matter understand and support all of my decisions!


  1. Aw, I don't think there are very many people that would judge you for this! I find it hard to believe there would be any woman that would feel comfortable living her life with no boobs at all! It sucks that you have to go through another difficult and painful procedure, but I'm so glad you have the option of doing this and that it's one more thing you can do to getting back to feeling like yourself again after beating this cancer!! You are so strong and brave!

  2. I'm so glad you found a place you felt comfortable and where you trust the doctors because that is so important. And I second what Erin said - who could judge you for doing all that you can to fight breast cancer? It is a very personal decision and no one has any right to say how anyone else should make these choices.


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