I was a little afraid my blog title today was going to be “Drains, Drains Go Away,” but thankfully my wonderful plastic surgeon (abbreviated “PS” in the BRCA/PBM world vernacular!) said “I’m tired of them and want them out!” I wholeheartedly agreed and out they came! No wonder they were causing more pain inside than I gave them credit for… Just a little bit of length in there!!
Ah what a relief to have them out! After 16 days of having attachments I can only describe it as being FREE!!
But that wasn’t all… Then he says “want a fill?” Meaning, fill up the expanders?? Of course! Let’s do this! So I got 50 cc’s of saline injected into each side. Such a weird thing to watch needles going into your skin and yet not feeling so much as a poke. Not sure that will ever feel “normal.”
It’s a really fascinating process (there’s a video of today if you’re interested!) So he uses this fancy magnet device to find the port on the expander, then pushes down on it once it’s found to make a small mark on the skin. Cleans it, pokes the needle in, and voila! They aspirate back and fun-fact… the saline inside the expander is BLUE! That’s to make sure they’re in the right spot, but how fun is that?! Had I known I would have requested purple but… Just kidding!!
So yeah then he just fills it up! Actually they were double-teaming me and he passed off the syringe to his nurse so he could do the other side so they were both growing at the same time! It doesn’t hurt but its kind of a weird feeling having the saline slosh around in there. Even though this fill makes both sides bigger than I had to start (we’re at 550 cc’s each now), it doesn’t feel like it’s stretching an astronomical amount – there were ripples that have now evened out, but it doesn’t feel super stretched if that makes any sense. It actually feels better, believe it or not, now that there’s less moving around.
I absolutely love that my doctor is such a perfectionist about what he does. I was giving him a hard time (guilty!) about something silly and said “but you do this every day!” Even though he does, he was telling me how he still gets stressed every time he’s in the OR when he’s striving for perfection. Pretty amazing that he really does do this every day but still has that mindset.
Since the swelling has gone down over the last week, we had noticed a little bit of asymmetry. Turns out, based on the location of the port, that my left expander has rotated about twenty degrees clockwise, which makes sense why I was feeling it a little bit more in my armpit than the right side. This is easily fixed during the exchange surgery – he will reinforce the side as well. Since the expanders are somewhat lateral, he’s requested I wear a tight sports bra to pull them in and prevent any more movement. That’s an easy fix! It still fascinates me to watch the way he approaches things… His classical art background really comes out.
Other than the minor issue with the expander, we are both very pleased with the results. Incisions look great and nipples are healing well – he mentioned we may do a little bit of nipple tattooing, as you can lose pigment in the process. But that is a ways out – after the exchange surgery and all that is done. And that will be the final touch!
We are still planning on 640 cc Natrelle 410 (gummy bear tear drop) moderate height, full projection implants (I know that’s a mouthful, but for anyone going through this themselves each of those words has meaning!) So that means 2 more fills – the next one will be in 2 weeks and 50 cc each again, and then I will see him 2 weeks after that and we will fill anywhere between 30 and 50, depending how they look. At that point we can schedule the exchange surgery for about 2 months out. Hard to believe we’re already talking about that – but so freaking awesome!!! I can’t reiterate the importance of finding a plastic surgeon you love and trust – you really do see them a lot!
So that covers the first “D” to address… Drains. As for the others (Driving and Doing stuff) – I’m cleared to start driving, as well as slowly increasing activity!! Obviously my pec muscles are still sore and have been through a lot, so I’m not going to be crazy and think that miraculously I can do everything, but that’s a huge relief!! This time spent with my family has been absolutely wonderful, but the timing of this is perfect that after my Aunt heads back home on Sunday I will be able to move back to my apartment. I wouldn’t change a thing about how my recovery has been, and I am SO grateful for all the help, but now that I have Dr. T’s blessing I’m ready to regain my independence, slowly but surely!!
It’s so crazy that I’ve already reached this part in my journey. I met my plastic surgeon almost 6 months ago, to the day. And after 5 months of (purposeful) waiting, I’m here “on the other side.” So much planning and preparation, both mentally and physically. And it was all worth it. The timing was perfect. And everything went exactly as planned. I am so eternally grateful.
Yesterday I sat on the patio and watched some of my closest family and friends splash around in the pool together. My parents, my aunt, my roommate, and my god daughters and their parents. On a Wednesday. As much as it sucks that I even had to have this surgery, I’m so grateful for beautiful moments like those. I call them “colliding of the worlds” moments. Ones that would have most likely never happened if not for my surgery/recovery.
I’m sure I’ll have a whole sappy blog post about all this, but suffice to say, I am so blessed to have had such a wonderful experience, between my incredible doctors and the support of my family and friends. In this crazy, messed up world of ours it’s easy to focus on the bad. But these last few weeks have shown me the good. I have such a renewed faith in humanity, and in the beauty of the human spirit.