Who knew picking out breasts could be so damn stressful? And I thought making my appointments for mammograms, MRIs and ultrasounds was a pain in the behinds. It doesn’t even compare to scheduling consultations with breast and plastic surgeons. I thought I was pretty educated on this whole thing but I only skimmed the subject matter.
I am still really leaning towards the surgery in Chicago but Chad is really against it. I came home from class last night (did I mention I am getting my MBA part time?) and Chad and I opened a bottle of Nickel and Nickel, sat on the couch in the living room and had a real heart-to-heart.
His two sense: a guys point of view
He told me point blank, I can have whatever surgery I want: whatever size I want; shape, filling (ie gummy bear, silicone or saline). What he is most worried about is what happens in this 8-hour surgery and the 2-4 week recovery period. He doesn’t know how to prepare and what type of help he will need to call in. He will be very embarrassed that I am sharing this with the world (and maybe we will blame it on the wine) but he totally teared up when talking about this whole recovery period and the thought of a long surgery where anything could happen. Again, I am so lucky to have someone who is there for me… and thinking about these things with me. For the women out there that have to do some of these things alone, I don’t know how you do it. You are much braver than I am.
My two sense:
It does amaze me how ready I am to get this surgery over and done with. I am at a far different place than I was ever several months ago. The 3-4-hour surgery doesn’t phase me. What worries me is the MULTIPLE phases of surgery is something goes wrong or if I chose to go the expander route.
So just to go back a bit, I am leaning toward the direct-to-implant also known as the one-step surgery. This is the surgery in Chicago. I am learning that some of the physicians in DC will do this surgery but they suggest not doing it and have much less experience in it. Their reasoning is because of the following:
- the nipple can die
- greater chance for infection
- greater chances that you have to go back for a second surgery (redo)
The benefits of the surgery:
- ONE surgery
- Recovery time
- Immediate reconstruction with actual breasts
For the expander surgery (which is your typical implant surgery) the negatives are:
- MUCH longer recovery time (3 months)
- 3 months of not being able to sleep on your stomach
- won’t have your physical breast for 3 months; have harder alternatives
The benefits are:
- Less margin for error/redos
- Less opportunity for infections
My hair is about to fall out over all of this:
So I feel like Chad is about to kill me with all these appointments but July and August are filled with appointments with both breast and plastic surgeons. My thoughts are, if I am not in LOVE with anyone here, we will be off to Chicago since I have already met with the Dr. there and know his work is fabulous.
I am hoping a lot of my emotions and questions will be answered at the FORCE conference next week in Orlando Florida. I was fortunate enough to go last year with my aunt and it was such an amazing experience that I asked my husband to attend with me this year. One of the plastic surgeons that I have scheduled a consultation with is actually going to be presenting there and this will give both Chad and I an opportunity to see the latest and greatest in both research and surgery techniques that are available for women like myself. I was also extremely honored to be asked to co-facilitate a session for young women at risk and Sue Friedman, the founder and executive director of FORCE, has asked me to monitor two sessions as well (This means that I basically introduce the speaker but what an honor!)
Also, because of this blog, I have been able to recently connect with other BRCA+ women that will also be attending the conference next week and am so looking forward to meeting them! I had no idea what to expect from writing and am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet other women who are finding themselves in some of these same damn predicaments and to be able to discuss their thought processes on the choices we have to make going forward.