The Implants: A few weeks ago we had our exchange surgery consultation where Matt and I were super mature (kidding, nope we weren’t) as we squeezed lots of implants until we decided on Natrelle silicone implants aka “gummy bear implants!” Apparently the cohesive silicone on the inside of the implant is very similar to Gummy Bear candy. But we selected them for reasons beyond that. These implants are actually specifically designed for women who have undergone a mastectomy or have very little breast tissue. With the Natrelle implants, I don’t have to worry about leaking silicone, they hold their shape much better than saline implants and there is only a 3% chance they’ll ever need to be replaced.
The Procedure: My surgeon explained to us that during this final surgery he will go back in through the incision under my breasts, remove the saline-filled expanders and pop in the silicone implants. Since we don’t know exactly what size will fit the space the expander has created, my doctor has a variety of implants ordered to see which one looks best. With each implant option he will literally sit me up on the operating table like a puppet to examine the size (height and width), projection (how far they stick out), fullness (volume of cc’s), evenness, etc. Since he is the breast expert, we are gladly leaving it to him to determine what looks “perfect.” After he selects the appropriate size he’ll inject fat from my stomach (best news ever!!!) into my breasts to fill the pockets where breast tissue used to be and provide an extra layer over the implants to avoid the appearance of rippling.
So, not your typical boob job.
The Recovery: As excited as I am to get this procedure behind me, I am a little nervous for recovery again. Apparently the fat grafting will be the most painful part of recovery. I’ll have a weight lifting restriction of 10 lbs for 6 weeks again which is the most annoying rule of all time and I also have the same instructions not to perform any household chores or cook. That’s going to be such a pain again. But hopefully 6 weeks passes quickly.
My mom arrives this afternoon for a week and we are so, so, so thankful to have her back. I know Matt can totally handle the kids (he was a pro last recovery) but mom insisted on coming up to make sure someone is taking care of Matt! Ha!
How I’m Feeling: READY. Actually, more than ready for a couple reasons. For one, expanders suck. I am incredibly self-conscious about the way they look and have been grateful that scarf season happened to coincide with this phase of my journey. Not only do they look incredibly unnatural and uneven (one of my boobs literally sits inches above the other), they are profoundly uncomfortable and make activities like sleeping and hugging incredibly awkward.
And two, I’m so sick of planning things around surgeries and recoveries. It has been 134 days (or 19 weeks and 1 day) since my double mastectomy and I am excited to close this chapter and move on with my life.
But all complaints aside, and most importantly, I feel EXTREMELY GRATEFUL. Every time I see a woman at the grocery store wearing a scarf over her bald head and proudly sporting an “I survived” shirt I want to hysterically bawl my eyes out. When I open the email from a reader telling me she (or her friend) recently tested BRCA positive or worse, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, I want to drop to my knees and praise Jesus for giving me this chance to LIVE without the fear of breast cancer. And as I approach my 30th birthday later this year, I think about how different my mom’s 30th birthday with two small children and a very scared husband looked for her. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity to beat cancer before it could ever begin.
One last thing! Will you squeeze me into your prayers tomorrow morning?