As I prepared for my third and final surgery within 12 months, I thought…. I have made it through two surgeries thus far, this one should be a piece of cake. I had waffled back and forth with the decision to do the fat transfer. I was not thrilled with how my foobs had settled but pondered whether or not to put myself through the process again. I try to be as truthful and real as possible on here; therefore, in all honesty vanity won the battle.
In my mind, which is at times a scary place, filled with running thoughts, doubt and second guesses. It never stops and it is often like a film reel playing scenes from my past on a routine basis. One particular scenario kept creeping into my thought process. ~ Years ago, my husband and I were sitting in a parent’s group inside our pastor’s office. Every three years the teens at the church got to go on a special trip to bond with others of the same denomination with the hope that their faith and relationship with God and others would strengthen. Many were excited to hear a particular speaker was chosen to be at the next gathering and our pastor was excited to share a video to show us parents how great he was. The clip began and I very quickly grew uncomfortable. The gentlemen on the screen was a vivacious speaker, I could see the appeal; however, his message simply did not sit right with me. He told a story about a former parishioner who had gone on to be a plastic surgeon. The physician was excited to see the pastor, whom he clearly held in high regard and proceeded to share a little about his current profession. The pastor responded (in my opinion) in a way which, all at once, seemed condescending and judgmental. Since the doctor made the decision to pursue plastics and focused on things like boob jobs and tummy tucks and did not focus solely on severe issues, such as cleft palate repairs, he believed the young physician was a “sell out” and should clearly be using his talents in a different fashion. I honestly cannot tell you how long the video lasted, who the speaker was or what year the clip was filmed. What I can tell you is, my internal flames, which started as embers grew in intensity the longer he spoke. After the clip, the discussion between us parents grew as heated as the flames within my being. After a few minutes of praise from others in the room, I opened my ever-loving big mouth. Remember, we were all parents of teenagers at the time. I fully understood where they were coming from and the messages they wished to impart on their children. I simply disagreed. In my opinion, if an individual chooses to put themselves through a plastic surgery to make themselves feel better and more confident in their own skin, who am I (or anyone) to judge their decision. I felt admiration for the young doctor in his choices. I have no idea if he chose that path simply for financial gain or if his intentions were purer. Needless to say, I was not the most popular person in the office that day, nor did our son go to the convention the following spring. ~ As I solidified the decision to proceed with my surgery in November, I felt grateful knowing I was not being hypocritical in this situation. Even if vanity plays a small role in the decision of a person, the reward of feeling more self-assured and better about oneself is a decent reason and one that in no way should be judged.
******Before I go further, I want to give you a WARNING! There WILL be pictures. I will not be offended if you choose to turn back. When I was going through the decision making process, photos helped me more than anything. I do not include pictures for pity or sympathy…..I share them solely to show others who are contemplating similar surgeries what I have experienced. My hope is to help them (and their loved ones/caretakers) wrap their heads around the reality of the experiences and to show that while it’s not all pretty, successful outcomes are possible.*******
November 24th arrived and my husband, myself and my rippled foobs headed to Magee Women’s Hospital for our date with my surgeon. It is kind of sad when doctor’s visits and surgery admissions become commonplace. I knew the drill well and in no time at all the gown was donned, the IV placed and the onslaught of callers commenced. Once Dr. Nguyen made an appearance, I knew the time was closing in. I thought I was prepared for our conversation, but he surprised me with some additional suggestions. He knew I was not 100% pleased with how the implants had settled; therefore, he presented the option of a revision in addition to the fat transfer. The revision would involve re-opening the scar below each breast, elongating the incisions, and manipulating the area and skin on each side to tighten the pocket and shift the implants into a more aesthetically appealing position. Once in place, he would perform liposuction on my belly area and if necessary, my hips. The fat would be spun down to the proper form and injected into the areas of my breasts to fill in the ripples and gaps left by the silicone bags. By the time he left the room, I was content with the plan of action and pleased the revision could be done that day instead of having to wait for a later date. The time was finally here, a lovely individual slipped a little something something into the IV and I do not remember a thing until I woke up in recovery. My first thought when I came to was a favored saying by my husband and goes like this….Vert. The. Ferk?
If I overly anticipated recovery from my other surgeries, I severely underestimated this one. First and foremost, fat grafting/liposuction/fat transfer, whatever in the hell you want to call it, is no joke. I have never in my life experienced bruising like I did with this procedure. He ended up suctioning fat from my belly and both hips. In all honesty, the belly area was not terrible. Tender? Yep! Bruising? A little, but not in the area I thought. The bottom part of my stomach was super tender for many days, but the bruising was in the upper right-hand corner of my belly. The hips though, damn!!! Tender? HELL YES!!! Bruising? Insane! And the revision? Well, it kind of felt like I had the original surgery all over again, the only thing missing (thankfully) were the drains. It was a rough go and since so many areas (boobs, belly, and hips) were all overly sensitive and painful, getting comfortable was nearly impossible. (A note for those considering this as an option…. I do not want to scare you away from it. Although it WAS uncomfortable, the pain was managed by combining Advil with Tylenol on a routine basis. I was sent home with a few pain pills in the event things got out of control, but they never did.) Apparently, I was not having enough fun with recovering, so at the one-week point, my body decided it had enough of the glue holding me together and revolted in the manner of an allergic reaction. In every location the doctor used glue, including the newly revised incisions under each breast and the various locations the needle penetrated my skin were now graced with a fiery red, extremely itchy, and fiercely burning area to which, the only course of action was to hit the areas with anything I could possibly think of to calm them and a Medrol Dose pack. Ugghhhh…. if I have never mentioned it before steroids in any form make me outta my mind M.A.D. Literally, all I have to do is practically lick a pill and in no time, my blood is boiling and the desire to shatter any item in my reach or punch an innocent bystander (usually my husband) in the face is so intense that I have to remind myself to breathe regularly and know it is usually in the best interest of all to isolate myself to the best of my ability until the course of treatment is over. After several days of the Medrol Dose pack, frequent applications of cortisone cream and many tablets of Benadryl later, I finally had a virtual appointment with the Physician’s Assistant. The redness has started to subside, but the itching was still constant. She said I could start to peel the glue off and no words have ever made me happier. I jumped into action and removed what I could of the glue. I was able to remove about 75% of it within an hour. While it did help, it was not the miracle I hoped for and even as I write this at 3 weeks post-surgery, I continue to have a rash that will not go away, a little bit of glue remains, as does the itching that often accompanies any rash.
Even though this recovery has been the hardest and most uncomfortable for me there are many silver linings.
- Throughout my time of restoration, I relied on my trusty Cricut to keep me occupied (if I have never mentioned it…. I hate sitting still) and if I did not have this machine, I am certain my husband, son and grand dog would have all relocated while I recovered. In the span of 5 days, I designed, cut, and weeded close to 150 items!
- I am finally feeling remarkably better. I cannot say I feel great, but I will take any improvement I can get.
- The bruising is fading nicely, and I hope it is completely gone by the end of January when we leave for Aruba.
- My foobs are looking quite remarkable.
- I thought the fat transfer was going to making them look much bigger, but they really do not.
- I think the revision plays a part in this, but please do not quote me or hold me responsible if you choose this path and get different results.
- I thought the fat transfer was going to making them look much bigger, but they really do not.
- I am D.O.N.E. with surgeries for the year. I would like to say forever, but I have learned the path I create in my mind is not always the one I follow. So, cross your fingers and send up some good vibes that nothing major happens in the next few weeks.
- 100 copies of Tallulah’s Diner ~ Hair Alazoozle (which is book 2 in the series) were delivered to my door. This made it possible to share the story at a local craft fair on day ten of recovery.
- The biggest victory is I MADE IT!!! Through all the difficulties of the last almost two years, I finally feel like I am content with where I am headed. Not having the nagging thought of an upcoming surgery sneaking in and wrecking a joyous moment seems like a new and welcome treat. This road has been stressful and tumultuous. It has forced me to reevaluate every aspect of my life. The bonds of friendships have either been strengthened, tarnished, or severed. I have laughed, cried, pouted, broke down, blogged, talked endlessly, stressed, screamed, and loved my way through it all. I am thankful to have never experienced the effect of chemo or the frightening diagnosis of breast or ovarian cancer. But, for anyone going through preventative measures, please heed this………I am just now wrapping my head around all of this myself….I have walked this path, made excuses, tried to fall back into the “me” I was before all of this happened…….Cancer is a bitch and if you are a BRCA positive patient and the numbers are enough to have you choose the path to prevention….it is okay to acknowledge the fact, that even though you never received the diagnosis, you have paid a price. The threat of this beast alone has robbed me of time I will never get back, caused me too many sleepless nights to count, has put my anxiety on a roller coaster ride, has taken my internal womanhood, replaced boobs I loved with foreign objects that may or may not ever feel good again, has induced lots of physical pain, and has scarred my body in a variety of locations. I try to wear a smile most of the time and hide the pain, discomfort, and self-consciousness, but please be mindful. It is there. It is raw. And I am forever altered.
Since I am feeling a little more like myself each day, I am trying my best to celebrate the season the best way I know how…..by shopping too much, watching too many Hallmark Christmas movies, eating more sweets than I should and driving everyone crazy with Christmas music. I am including two of my faves for your listening pleasure (or displeasure if they’re not your thing.)
Once again, from the very bottom of my heart (which of course is awfully close to my modified foobs), I THANK YOU for taking the time to read my very wordy post. I am not naïve and know this time of year is not a wonderful season for everyone. For this reason, my hopes remain as such….
May you find joy in remembering happy memories made and comfort knowing good days still lie ahead.
May love and light fill your space and smiles grace your face.
May you never take simple pleasures for granted.
Lastly may your holidays and 2022 be filled with grace, good health, and an abundance of happiness.
Peace AND Love,