Tag Archives: implants

A sudden and unexpected visit back to Doctor 1


Doctor report number NINE. I can’t tell you how much I’m pushing myself to write this one. And … believe it or not … for the first time since this project began, I did not take any notes during this appointment.  I planned to take notes. I even brought my little breast doctor notebook with me, confirmed that I had a functioning pen (there are never any guarantees in my world) and opened both of them as I waited for the doctor to come in. Literally poised to begin scribbling.

But I took none and, thus, we are limited to the confines of my memory for details about this big event.  God help us all.

Anyway … as I mentioned a few days ago, I decided rather spontaneously that (along with Doctors 4&5) I wanted to give Doctor 1 a second visit.  ‘Spontaneously’ is sort of true and sort of not true.  Doctor 1 has never left my mind (and, apparently, the mind of a few other readers as well).  I mentioned that I was still thinking about her as we entered round two (10/20/11)  and even made a follow-up appointment with her office at that time that I was forced to cancel due to a family issue. So, a few days ago, I stopped hemming and hawing about the whole thing and called her office. And she was able to see me immediately. My husband was not able to rearrange his schedule this week to come, so my mom came along for the appointment.

We got there a few minutes late and the staff was already waiting for us so we went right in.  Doctor 1 came in, met my mom and we got to talking about everything immediately. I was pleased/delighted/tickled (whatever, you get the point) to learn that she’s been keeping up with the blog and thus knew a lot of what I’d been told along the way.

I explained to her that I had gotten caught up in “blog fever” and was following the direct path dictated by the voting … but that her name had never left the front burners of my brain. I explained that, while I felt very fortunate to be choosing from two great doctors for a mini-lift/implants combination surgery, her recommendation of a full lift and very possibly no implants sounded like a good option for me as well.

Didn’t I start this whole thing saying I felt saggy from years of breastfeeding?  It’s really problem one that I was (and am) looking to solve.  I never wanted to make myself huge.

My mother and I talked to Doctor 1 about everything we’ve learned so far from the other doctors.  For the record, Doctor 1 is a saline as well as an over-the-muscle believer.  I was on the same page with her on the first point but was unsure about the second.  But we weren’t really talking implants at this point.  We were talking full lifts.  And, while she certainly made me feel as though she’s seen much worse cases than mine in this area, we both agreed that it would be the easiest and least complicated way to get me to my goal of physical, pre-breastfeeding restoration.

Further, she’s not a big proponent at all of the whole mini-lift. She says the crescent incision on the top of the nipple does very little to raise things up and often the nipple stretches to fill in the areas where it was and where it is now creating a rather oversized end result.

I think at this point I actually volunteered to take my top off.  It was the best way for Doctor 1 to explain to my mother the technique involved with the full lift.  So, off came my top and out came her breastmarking pen.  (I’m guessing it must have other uses but who knows?)  Inking in the exact placement of the cuts really enabled both of us to see exactly how things would fall (or rather rise) in place. And this literal blueprint allowed me to bring the proposed plan home to my husband so he’d be in the know about everything, too.

Now, we were ready to see some before and after pictures. Doctor 1 took us into her office and shared them from her computer.  (I want to point out that she is the only doctor who personally handles the “aftertalk” of pictures, finances and other questions with her patients. Everyone else had an assistant. I like this personal touch.) Again, she showed us images of several women who opted merely for a full lift over implants, or perhaps went that route after removing implants from a botched job.  And these ladies all looked great.  Very natural. The higher, more consolidated breast tissue actually seemed (visually) to increase the overall volume on some level.  Or so I thought.  And, with a full lift-only surgery, there would be less risk and overall maintenance.  Definitely something to think about.

My mother asked my husband’s ‘What about insurance and complications arising from elective surgery?’ question. Doctor 1 was very frank. She said ultimately that any complications brought on by this surgery would not be covered by insurance. But then she said a few things that enabled me to exhale.  First of all, she said that every patient who undergoes this and similar procedures in her practice must first submit to a complete physical (in addition to the mammogram required by all other doctors) to rule out the potential for any health anomalies or other irregularities that can occur during surgery.  She said that approximately once a year they discover a health issue in a patient that prevents the surgery from moving forward.  Of course, it’s never a big deal because it is caught beforehand.

Once a patient’s health is cleared through the physical, the chance of a complication arising during the surgery is very slim.  She said that she has had only one person come down with an infection since Katrina (the Hurricane – it’s still how we classify things chronologically in New Orleans – it’s like saying ‘B.C.’ around here) and she was able to treat her quickly and easily with oral antibiotics.  She added that, like the other surgeons we interviewed in round two, she fully guarantees her work and would not charge a patient for any repair or revisions that might be necessary.

I left the office feeling very good about the appointment. I was glad my mom had gotten the chance to meet Doctor 1 and ask her questions but sorry that my husband had missed it.  We walked to the car together and I felt my stomach turn at the thought of writing yet another doctor report.

Oh, and I made a mental note to drive very carefully so as to avoid any kind of accident.  Mothers talk a lot about the importance of ‘clean underwear’ in these situations but I don’t ever remember hearing any warnings about the potential embarrassment of strategically inked-up boobs in a crisis.  And, for the record, I’ve showered three times since this appointment and I’m still wearing the markings.  They’re a little faded but I could still totally demonstrate Doctor 1’s proposed full lift technique in a pinch. (Pardon the pun.)

And now, I need to go think about this whole thing.  A lot.  So much so that I sort of expect my brain to start smoking.

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Blog Entry about Nothing


I tried to write today. Honest.

My biggest problem … besides being in a general sort of funk … is that I somehow managed to delete my ideas list from my phone. I never claimed to be a genius, did I? But, even without my list (aka lifeline), I still had a few tricks up my sleeve so you’d think I’d be fine, right?

Wrong. And so I began processing my thoughts …

(1) Hey! What about the next Name Those Boobs game? Nah, too soon.

(2) Well, duh. What about the next vote? No, no, no. I am not ready. Not today. No.

(3) What about that thing I saw about Denise Richards’ concerns about her implants and her daughters? No. Her situation is very different from mine. She was 19 and I am … not 19. And she admittedly went too big and is worried about her girls’ constant exposure to the great emphasis put on her appearance as an actress. Not really my issue.

(4) What about that story I saw about the new studies linking light drinking and breast cancer? No. It was the lamest, most slopped together story that seemed unfounded and basically went nowhere fast.

And so it went … with idea after idea after idea … all evening until I flipped on the TV and mindlessly tuned in to an old episode of Seinfeld.

Which gave me the idea to write this ‘Blog Entry about Nothing.’

I literally lay in my bed and typed it sideways on my phone (really bringing the expression ‘phoning it in’ to life). I promise better things tomorrow. At least I hope I do.

Gotta get out of this funk.

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Prepping for Round Two Voting Tomorrow


Okay, we’ve got five consultation appointments down (hard to believe!) and an incredible amount of information to digest.  But only two doctors can advance to the second round.  (Kinda feel like you’re watching America’s Got Talent?)

So, here’s where you come in.  I want you to help me pick these two doctors … so I’m providing you with a Cliff’s Notes version of ODNT to help you decide.  (Didn’t you just love Cliff’s Notes … and didn’t you hate the teachers who knew how to circumnavigate them when creating their tests?  And did you know that the original creator of these books was actually some dude from Nebraska in the 50s named Cliff?  He lifted the idea from his buddy, Cole, from Canada who had already started publishing Cole’s Notes up there. Yes, I am serious.  And no, I didn’t know that off the top of my head.  Duh, Google!)

Anyway, please take a look at your cheat sheet below … but remember … I’m the teacher now.  And what does that mean?  It means there’s a lot of shit in my five carefully scripted reports that cannot be found in these excessively condensed notes.  Shit that could sway you in any direction.  So, my recommendation …. and my request … is that you review the doctor visits and help me cull these five down to two.  (Maybe I can get an 800# for voting like American Idol.)

I’ll likely start the voting tomorrow so please get thinking for me.  Oh, and don’t forget to play the Boob ABC game (from 10/10/11).  We’re halfway there. Thanks, all!

  • Doctor #1 – Full lift and (maybe) implants later; Prefers saline; Not too big; Two procedures
  • Doctor #2 – Mini-lift and implants; Prefers silicone; Big to get your $ worth; One procedure
  • Doctor #3 – Full lift and fat injections from abdomen w/some stomach contouring; Medium-sized; One procedure
  • Doctor #4 – Mini-lift and implants; Prefers saline; Not too big – 270-330ccs; One procedure; Insurance offered on implants
  • Doctor #5 – Full  lift and implants; Prefers silicone; Not too big  – 280-300ccs; One procedure
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Dear God, don’t skip the background checks!


A few days ago, some of you may remember seeing a reference in one of my reader comments to yet another plastic-surgery-gone-wrong news report. (Thanks, Stephanie.)

Long story short, a woman named Dinora Rodriguez, 40, went in for what she thought was “routine maintenance” on her breast implants and came out with one of the worst botch jobs in recent history.  (See news video below.)

The technical term for it is symmastia … but you and I would call it a … uniboob.  (Horror movie scream!!)  Her “surgeon” cut across two pockets of breast tissue allowing the implants to join together and create the mammoth single entity.  The stay-at-home mom woke up from her surgery to discover this nightmare.

“My breasts looked really bad,” she told MSNBC. “It looked like I had one big breast instead of two. And the pain was terrible.”

And, if that wasn’t bad enough, the “surgeon” also took it upon himself to operate on a scar near her eyes and give her a little lift there … without her permission.  After that surgery, Rodriguez was no longer able to close her eyes completely.

Holy shit, would I be mad!

She went to this “surgeon” … I’m sorry but I just cannot NOT use the quotes here … on the recommendation of a friend. (I’m thinking that “friend” now deserves some quotation marks, too.)  Unfortunately, she failed to confirm that this “surgeon” (let’s just call him an assclown from this point forward) was board-certified.

Big mistake for her boobs … I mean boob … oh, whatever.

And, yes … of course, she sued the assclown.  With her settlement, she’s been … for lack of a better word … rebuilt. She’s also now featured in an ad campaign by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to promote the dangers associated with using unqualified surgeons.

There really needs to be a WAY better system in place to check in on these (so-called, in the assclown’s case) doctors for the protection of the wide-eyed consumer. Can you believe that only four states have laws on the books requiring that physicians disclose the specifics of their medical backgrounds? And … even more implausibly … Louisiana is one of them! (I know, right?) Go, typically underdog home state! Kudos also go out to California, Florida and Texas.

Appointment number four is tomorrow. Guess what question I’ll be leading with?

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The Mammogram Results


“NORMAL, NORMAL, NORMAL!!!  I’ll bring you a hard copy of the report so you have it for your surgeon when you make your choice.”

This was the text I received today from my friend and, more importantly, my OB/GYN regarding the test results sent to her this morning.

I can’t hide my smile but I’m not going to lie. The first thing I did was cry. I had decided that everything was fine, would be fine, would always be fine … and I believed it. Still, there was this crappy little nagging feeling in the back of my mind that was nervous as hell.

I knew my mom was nervous as the subject came up a lot. She’s had a few of her own scares so she was a good resource to have around and also, you know, my mom. I knew my husband was scared as he’d become a prolific texter … warning me not to overgoogle anything … and then yet somehow quoting statistics and percentages that he could only have discovered through his own excessive online research.

But let’s go back in time a little. When I first heard the news on Tuesday, I knew that my aggressive nature had to kick in and I needed to nip this concern in the bud as soon as possible. Which is why I texted my OB/GYN as I was leaving the doctor’s office. Poor thing does have a life of her own and was probably trying to deliver someone else’s baby as I called both her office phone and her cell phone. And then I texted her.

I managed to reach her quickly and we discussed two places where I could have the tests done. The first place was very highly regarded and would be able to give me my results instantly. Instantly after the first available appointment on September 29, eight days away. I would have no hair or fingernails by then.

My doctor knew that … which is why she called the second place, a reputable one located closer to home for me and already in possession of the results of my last mammogram. Comparing these test results is one of the best ways the technicians can detect changes and, sometimes, problems in their patients. They could see me late the very next day. That was yesterday.

I’m sure you can guess which option we chose.

So, I left my house for my mammogram at the same time I’d normally be picking up my kids. My doctor (remember also a neighbor and good friend) even offered to get my children for me and have them start their homework alongside hers. Sooo sweet, but my husband was able to make himself available to me and the kids for the afternoon. Which I really appreciate.

I walked into the imaging center and signed in. Then, I found a decent magazine. Then, I was called up to go through all of the insurance and registration rigmorale. Then, back to my People magazine. (Did you know that Kim Kardashian wore three different gowns on her wedding day?) Then, they called my name.

As instructed, I went to the back area, women only, and changed into my stylish pink paper vest, which I nearly ripped in half exiting the ‘dressing booth.’ I made a nervous joke about it to the lady sitting in the same small waiting area as me. She just stared at me with a blank look. I thought a nasty thing or two about her in my head … then felt like a jerk when a translator finally came over and gave her the same instructions I received. In Spanish. Well, at least she didn’t hear what I said in my head. Which was in English anyway.

Armed with my now crappy Karma, I was escorted down the hall, first into the room where the mammograms are done. The technician there was very nice and patient with my nervous shell of a self. She maneuvered and manipulated my body to take the images she needed. This was my third mammogram. I had my first at age 35 and my second less than a year ago.  And, for whatever reason, this one hurt the worst.  Some of my friends hypothesized that they need to be that much more thorough when a problem is suspected.  Who knows?

While there … and thinking so much about breasts and lumps and implants lately, I asked the technician her thoughts on the impact that implants can have on the accuracy and efficacy of a mammogram.  And then I explained how my lump had been detected and why I wanted to know.  She said that, while there are arguments stating that under-the-muscle placement does decrease the odds of an implant causing a visual obstruction in a mammogram, there are still no guarantees that a problem couldn’t form behind that implant and thereby be invisible to the technicians.  Cancer cells, tumors and other problems can occur anywhere in the breast tissue so no placement is one hundred percent foolproof.  Then, we finished up the procedure and our informal teaching session and I was returned to the internal, ladies-only waiting area … until I was called again for my ultrasound.

Apparently (and this is not hypothecized), when there is a suspected problem, an ultrasound is also ordered to accompany the mammogram to rule out any issues. I haven’t had an ultrasound in years.  Do you know they actually warm up the ultrasound conductive gel these days? It was a welcome change from the frozen system-shock of years ago.

The ultrasound technician was just as lovely and soft-spoken a person as the mammogram tech.  The lighting was dimmed, decor nice and new age music was on.  I honestly felt a little like I was going to a spa for a massage.  And then, of course, I remembered that I wasn’t.  Still, I lay on the table and tried to relax completely, appreciative that there was no pain or discomfort associated with this test.  The tech commented on the fibercystic tissue in my breast, inherited from my mother.  Then, she moved the wand around over my left breast in search of any problems.  I tried to read her face for any signs of concern.  Just a poker face with a positive demeanor.  I didn’t really know what to make of any of it. She took a few pictures and said she wanted to run them by another tech elsewhere in the facility so she left me in the room, alone with my stupid thoughts, for a few minutes.

I lay there on the table while she was gone and thought about everything I’d learned during the last day as well as during the last month (ODNT is one month old today) … and thought about all the amazing people I’d heard from in the last 24 hours.  I had literally gotten inspirational messages from friends from grade school, high school and college, friends from former jobs, parents of my children’s friends, new friends and even people I’ve never even met. Incredible. I felt completely and suddenly very moved ….and then a little panicked.

I hadn’t really thought this plan through.  I had brought a buddy with me to every consultation appointment so far which, with one small exception, provided only general information to me and never any kinds of bad news.  And yet this time, partly due to the last minute nature of everything, I’d chosen to come alone.  What if she came back into the room with bad news?  How was I going to drive myself home? My imagination ran a little wild for a few minutes until she came back into the room.

No bad news. No real news other than that there was no bad news.  She couldn’t comment too specifically on anything and said they’d send everything over to my doctor who would then be contacting me. And, unfortunately, it was past closing time now.

Still, I left that office feeling pretty good.  For whatever reason, I knew this wasn’t going to be an issue. I have no idea why and I won’t deny that I was still a little nervous up until the point when my personal doctor contacted me with the good news today. Maybe it was all the prayers, good vibes, rain dances and other positive energy the universe sent my way yesterday.

Thanks, everyone. I feel loved. :)

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The Third Consultation – with a third (and entirely new) option


Remind me never to schedule my breast consultations two days in a row again.

(I wonder if anyone’s ever uttered those fourteen words in that order before.)

It’s really too much breast manipulation, medical jargon and complicated reporting for me (and my shrinking brain) to tolerate in such a short time frame. So, I want to write everything down as quickly as I can before it disappears into a black hole somewhere in my mind after I sort through the junk mail, curse out a telemarketer or something.

Today started off just fine. A nice change from the last two days. After I got everyone out the door and threw myself together in yet another two-piece ensemble (never realized how many dresses I had until they were off limits), Ashley was already outside in the car waiting for me. Again, I would be prompt today since I was not the one driving. We dropped her youngest off at his little school and headed out to meet doctor number three.

We found the office quickly and got to work on my third set of paperwork. I’m always amused at the subtle differences in the forms from office to office. These forms asked me if I was on Facebook.(He better not be planning to tag any damned pictures of me.) I said yes and assumed that maybe I would just be recruited for a fan page of his work somewhere. But who knows?

The waiting room was a nice one, very contemporary in design. And there were abstract paintings here and there of the female form. Seems appropriate, yes? The plasma wall-mount TV was there purely for the purpose of running a tape loop of their best breast augmentation products. My dentist does the same thing. Well, his tape loop emphasizes teeth, of course.

Ashley and I passed the time by flipping through his before and after book. Impressive, as most have been. It didn’t hurt that he seemed to have a lot of particularly gross patients with which to work. (They’re all headless, so I can say whatever I want here!) There was a lot of particularly saggy skin not to mention a whole array of nipple piercings and tattoos (some with their own piercings worked into the design) to help us arrive at our clinical assessment of “gross.”

It wasn’t long before the nurse came out and called my name. She escorted us into the first examination room and seemed surprised that I had a buddy with me. She said she often serves in that role. Do other women usually go by themselves??? (Thanks, Ashley, for coming today.) I took off my shirt and threw on the robe without really even thinking about it, getting infinitely more comfortable with my toplessness lately. (Yeah, that’s probably not a good thing.)

The doctor came in pretty quickly and asked a few questions. I think I had the robe off within two minutes of his arrival. I couldn’t help but notice that his examination included not only my breasts but also my stomach. Immediately, he was able to offer his recommendations to me in a choice of two options:

(A) I could get a lift (the same full lift described at the first doctor appointment) in one surgery and then have implants inserted in a second surgery. Like my first doctor, he strongly urged that these two procedures be performed separately … but for a different reason than the first doctor. He said that, during the combination surgery that includes both procedures, 90% of the blood flow is cut off from the nipple and therefore there is a chance that (look away to the faint of heart) the nipple could die. So, two procedures it is, then. Moving right along …

Or

(B) I could get the same lift and use a grafting technique that injects fat from another area of the body into the breasts to increase their overall mass. He said not everyone is eligible for this procedure and again asked to see my stomach. (Now I get it!) Oh, and yes, I have enough spare fat to move it upstairs. Yay?

I kind of like this new B option.

The upsides? My stomach would be a little smaller and apparently “contoured” following the surgery. Bonus! And there would be no foreign objects in my body.

The downside? It costs more than the lift/implants combo as it involves more actual surgery. The incisions for what I’m going to call the FRP (Fat Relocation Program) are very small and hidden in the bikini area. After time, they and the anchor incision are expected to be barely visible.

And Ashley did point out one significant fact to my now-swimming brain. Yes, option B (the lift/FRP combo) would cost more than option A (the lift/implants combo) … but … there would be no maintenance. With the lift/FRP combo, I would never have to worry about replacements, leaks, explosions or any other ‘natural’ disasters that could ever befall an implant. So there would be no further (unknown) costs associated with this pay-more-now-but-no-more-later option. Definitely food for thought.

Concerning the implants, he said he uses both saline and silicone, the latter of which costs about $1000 more. He said, in his opinion, they are both equally safe and durable but that his patients are typically more satisfied with the authentic feel of silicone. In either situation, problems can occur and replacements are generally required after ten or more years. He added that, with his implant patients, he likes to see them annually to check in on everything. Concerning mammograms, he said there are two schools of thought. Some say the implants obscure a full view of the breast tissue and therefore can be very detrimental in detecting a problem. Others argue that the implant actually pushes up on the overall breast thereby propping it up in its entirety and making it easier to get a full view of everything. So, the score there is still 0-0.

But, despite providing the implant information to me, it really seemed like he was favoring the fat injection method. He made a pretty strong case to Ashley and me about the whole thing. And we saw some ridiculously impressive before and after pictures of mastectomy patients for whom he literally created entire breasts (and sometimes nipples) for these women from their abdominal tissue. They looked incredible. Lovely breasts and a flat stomach was the consistent end result. I can’t think of a category of women who deserve it more.

I have so much to think about. And still a mammogram to attend. What a day …

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I am the boob girl


I am the boob girl.

I almost went with boob lady, but I like the ability to sing my version to the tune of ‘I am the Walrus.’ (For my pop culture-challenged friends, that’s an old Beatles song.)

Last night, I had a meeting at my kids’ school for the women’s half of the parents association. We’re a pretty tight-knit community. Everyone knows you … or at least everyone knows someone who knows you. And the fact that I was co-president of this organization last year with my dear friend, Ashley, pretty much prevents me from flying under the radar there at all anyway.

(Note: you’ll be meeting Ashley better next week as I’ve added her as an Appointment Buddy.  And she’s up for the Wednesday appointment.)

Anyway, this was the first big meeting of the school year. And, more importantly, the first one I wasn’t running (I know, Ashley … CO-running!)  in a while … which left me available to visit with other moms before and after the meeting a bit.  The topic of conversation initiated with me over and over again? Boobs, of course.

Specifically MY boobs.

I was a little surprised it (they) kept coming up as this was the circle in which I had chosen to lay low the most … assuming some of these women would think I was nuts. I’m friends with so many of the parents there … and the teachers … and the principal, for Pete’s sake! I wasn’t sure I wanted to unleash everything so close to home.

Worlds colliding, you know?

The funny thing is, that although I hadn’t directly contacted most of these ladies about the blog, many of them had already seen it. And read it.  And liked it.

I really do need to get over myself, don’t I?

Anyway, I spent the night jumping from circle to circle, talking about my boobs with the kind of enthusiasm that allows you to know the subject of my conversation from across the noisy room. (Hand gestures and repeat grabbings of your own boobs will always give you away, FYI.)

I even got the opportunity to see and feel another mom’s implants in the bathroom before the night was over.  Seriously, it was her idea and she pulled me into the ladies room.  I guess it seems only fair considering how many friends I’ve been flashing lately.  And, by the way, Kelly … they were spectacular! (Yes, of course, I have her permission to use her name.  Never mind the fact that I got it over drinks later that night!)

After the meeting ended … and I talked to no less than a dozen people about my boobs … we all went out for drinks and the discussions only deepened.  Again, I found myself surprised by the women (and men, apparently) who had been tuning in and were regularly keeping abreast (how many times can I use that one really?) with ODNT.   There were two women there I had never met before who have already taken the big plunge.  And these ladies were more than happy to have the opportunity to discuss ‘all things boob’ with everyone and learn even more with me during my research process.

The bottom line is I think I’ve created a bit of a new identity for myself … as ODNT or perhaps just Old Dog, which I can live with.  But, you know, it’s kind of nice having my own identity after all these years as my kids’ mom, the school’s president, my mother’s daughter or any of the other familial connections linked to me. (Wink.)  And, hey, my boobs actually scored me lunch today at one of my favorite local burrito joints.  (Thanks, Alyson, Robby and Izzo’s for a great meal!)

And these are still my ‘befores!’  Think … of the possibilities!

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