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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Part Three of Breast Recon- Third Fill

Picture a rubber balloon that is inflated. It's nice and firm from all sides. Round and bulbous. Now picture 1/2 of that balloon all shrivelled and deflated while the other half remains full and hard. That's the before and after of  a partial mastectomy surgery to remove a 9mm tumour.

As explained in  parts one and two, I had been through surgery to implant a breast tissue expander that would stretch the skin slowly over various "fills" so that eventually a permanent implant could replace it and my breast will look closer to what it had before this nightmare.

With the expander in place, the instant Dr. V inserted the needle into the portal (and we heard the faint "click" when that happened) my breast began to fill out the rubbery, wrinkled skin to a nice taut balloon surface again.

Size-wise, this blue plastic contraption sits in the palm of your hand. At the far right you see the magnetic "head" that slants straight up when the metallic portal in the expander implant is directly below. Dr. V marks the spot before inserting the syringe full of saline.

There was a slight problem finding the exact portal hole this time. It required a second freezing deeper into the area and a slight joke about putting me out for the two minutes this would take to empty the syringe into my breast, but the moment passed. The right spot was found, my toes uncurled and I held the gauze to my areola until Dr. V covered it with a band-aid.
As I pulled up the sundress I had arrived in, I noticed how my breast filled the sewn-in cup much better than it had ten minutes ago. The nipple that faced my armpit had begun to swing straighter, facing NE instead of due north. The wrinkles were gone! One more fill, another 40 cc's and then we waited for it to "settle" before removing it with another surgery.

I will have to get myself measured before that happens to see if I need any more saline or if that is enough. The skin has to stretch far enough to contain and close in the new implant, a real one that will stay firm and round for as long as I live. What a sweet deal! I'm telling you, I am so wonderfully happy with the entire process I could cry.

I came out of this experience on the plus side, I would say. It only cost me a few years of my life, but hey- the girls will be looking better than ever before.
Now if they could do something about the wrinkley balloon issues elsewhere on this 50 year-old chassis!

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