21st September 2009
He gives me a booklet to look at and explains the procedures they can do. He asks me to go behind the curtain to remove my clothes. He calls a nurse to come in the room to observe the examination.
The surgeon looks at the dressing under my arm and checks there is no lymphedema.“Do you have any pain still?”
"I’m just a little stiff and it throbs.” I reply
Then he examines my breasts, stomach and bottom.
“I am 5’7 in height, 9 stone in weight and a very active diabetic. You and I know there is no fat to take.” I reply smiling at the consultant. Ok I came across a little too direct, but he saw my words were brought about because of nerves and he smiled at me.
“I can see that.” he rubs his chin in deep thought.
I hear Steve moving about on the other side of the curtain. I know exactly what he wants to say, but he remains tight lipped.
Then the plastic surgeon looks at my back and pinches it. I start to think I could do life modelling without a problem. There are so many people prodding and poking. I’m not an exhibitionist, but there is a bigger question I have to think about. Would I be as comfortable with my body after the mastectomy?I was never known for my breasts just my personality. Could theses people put my breast back and it not look deformed?
I’ve looked at pictures on the internet and some look ok. They were not the same as their original counterpart, but they looked ok.
“I think I would like to do a LD flap.” said the plastic surgeon.
It means removing the muscle from my back to my chest to make a pocket to encase the implant. With a small crescent of skin still attached to the muscle from my back to fill in where the nipple was. It means a nice long scare across my back, but they can hide it under my bra strap. The new breast will have a lovely tear drop shape scare on it where the nipple was.
To me scars are not a problem at all. They are just a talking point when swopping stories. I did say it did not bother me, but he was insistent it had to be under the bra strap. He noted I already had a scar on my back from a previous operation to remove a mole in 1993. The area had become infected and the stitching had burst. Leaving a crevice of a scar on my back which has never bothered me, but my back is not my front. I will not be seeing my back first thing when I wake up.I look at the plastic surgeon “Thought you might choose that one.” I reply. “There is no fat on my body and you would scare me further if you tried any other procedure.”
“Have you been doing your own research?” the plastic surgeon asked.
“Nope, Just the leaflet that was sent to me via the breast care nurse.”
The surgeon admired my relaxed approach to the upcoming surgery. He noted that I had done a lot of research and understood the complications that could arise.
It was agreed that I was perfectly in proportion and it would leave me distorted if he did any other procedure accept the LD.
“Would you like bigger breasts?” asked the plastic surgeon.
My husband quickly replied in a calm mellow voice “No, My wife is perfect as she is. Just leave her breasts the same size. It is what we both want.” Well direct and to the point I thought. In fact he impressed the surgeon which made me smile, but we had not discussed size.
“We shall try, but you do understand it can never be the same as your original breast. We do try to make it match the other breast in size and shape as best we can.”
I nod my head thinking well it could be worse no breast and prosthesis. I don’t think I could have handled an empty space where once I had my breast.
The discussion is moved onto implants and types.“We will use a silicone implant, are you ok with my decision?” asks the surgeon. “I know silicone implants have been spoken about a lot in the press, but they are safe. They act more like the real breast unlike other implants.”
Yes I have heard bits in the news about how they can burst and cause issues, but he reassures me that the silicone implants have changed in design now and look more natural. So I agree to the silicone implant once it had all been explained. It is only a small implant thankfully.
The operation is set and he asks if I want to have more time to think about it. I quickly reply. “No, I want it over and done with. I’ve researched it and I do understand ifs' and buts’. I want my life back to normal and to move on from this whole nightmare.”
Which I know is not a realistic view to take because I have to be monitored closely after. They will do this for five years or until they are satisfied. Which then will turn into yearly mammograms only if no issues arise?
The surgeon makes a few notes on a piece of paper in front of him and says,
“Then I shall discuss my plan with Miss S and set a date. Do you have any further questions you would like to ask?”
"No I shall leave the rest to you and Miss S to discuss.”
Both I and my husband thank him for his time.
“Don’t worry your wife is in safe hands.” The surgeon replies to my husband as we leave his office.