Tag Archives: lift

‘Twas a Week since my Surg’ry


‘Twas a week since my surg’ry
To take out the mass
I still can’t believe
It all happened so fast

We started out chatting
And blogging ’bout boobs
Yet somehow this week
We’re onto chest tubes

We’ve learned about mole rats
The kind with no fur
And we’ve all guessed which boobs
Go with him or with her

We’ve met lots of doctors
Who all aim to please
Some say just a lift
Some say double Ds

If you go with an implant
Then, you’ll need to choose
‘Tween saline and silicone
With both you can’t lose

But you’re not done yet
Now you must decide
If it’s under or over
the muscle inside

The scars, anesthesia,
The risks and the price
It all made my head spin
This roll of the dice

And we found a lump
in my breast on the way
But learned it was nothing
Hip-freakin’-hurray!

Then later an x-ray
Revealed a round mass
Attached to my lung
And we struck an impasse

So a CAT scan, a spec’list,
A loud MRI
Soon gave us to know
that a surg’ry was nigh

So I dealt with my fears
And I packed up my stuff
And I went to the hospital
‘Cause I’d had enough!

Through IVs and catheters
Chills and Code Red
I came out of it all
I’m now home in my bed

My right side’s still achy
It hurts when I cough
So I’ll rest, write & e-shop
Hey, look! That’s half-off!

My friends were amazing
My family divine
But the best thing of all
was to hear “It’s benign.”

20120407-223706.jpg

Advertisements

The Ghosts of ODNT Past


As promised, I’ve been thinking a lot about everything. And reviewing my thoughts from the last (almost) three months.  I sat in a coffee shop for hours recently … sifting through every single one of my blog entries to date … searching for clues of where my real feelings lie.  And I don’t even drink coffee!  Chamomile tea and a banana managed to sustain my right to loiter at the bar on my laptop all that time.

Anyway, over the course of my walk through ODNTs past, I came up with the following little jewels …

  • August 22,2011I sort of feel like I want to reclaim some of who and what I was before becoming a mother. Physically, I was a woman with a flat stomach and boobs in the right place.
  • August 26, 2011I am unhappy with my post-breastfeeding body and I am merely looking to restore it to its original form. I am not, repeat NOT, looking to Pamela Anderson-ize myself.
  • August 31,2011They’ve never been huge. But, at one time, they were at least what I would have called “inflated” … as well as situated correctly on my chest.  (And from later in the same entry)  So I started thinking about it. And checking myself out in front of the mirror, lifting things up to where they used to be. To where they’re supposed to be.
  • September 14, 2011She (Doctor 1) said that, particularly on a smaller person like myself, oversized breasts will actually create a look of added weight overall on a woman’s frame.
  • September 22, 2011She (the mammogram technician) 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.
  • October 8, 2011He (Doctor 5) said that the biggest mistake women make is going too big or too wide. He added that women should look to correct and improve the shape of their breasts and not just be worried about their volume. He actually said smaller breasts are “more elegant,” which I’m pretty sure makes me Audrey Hepburn.
  • October 30, 2011Okay. I’m definitely getting a lift. That’s the one thing every doctor … and even my mom … agreed on.

I feel like I’m finally starting to get a little clarity here.  And I’m finally starting to see the answer through the murky fog and haze.  Maybe.

Does anyone else see it, too?

20120407-223706.jpg

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 …

20120407-223706.jpg

 

The Second Consultation – a polar opposite experience & some other unwelcome news


I woke up this morning to my alarm slapping me in the face and telling me to get out of bed. My daughter had choir practice and needed to be at school extra early today. Never mind the fact that the rain and my husband, hit hard with a headache again, kept waking me throughout the night. It was time to get up, throw everyone together and out the door so my day could begin.

Yesterday morning couldn’t have been smoother but this morning was a little … bumpy. (Sooo not the ‘explevatory’ word I want to use here.) Nobody was in an especially good mood, with my daughter being the real star of that dark and dramatic show. So, once they were all off and on their way, I was left to get myself, now really not in the best of moods, ready for appointment number two. Remember to wear a two-piece ensemble again, Michele. (If I ever forget and wear a damned dress, I will have to stand there completely naked for the examination. Topless is demeaning enough.)

Fortunately for me, my friend, Vanessa, was my appointment buddy for today. And, even more fortunately, she offered to drive … enabling us to get there on time today … unlike last week when I was in charge of the driving. I Googled the address from the car and we got there without incident. All improvements from last week.

After finishing the elephantine amount of paperwork a second time, Vanessa and I were left to peruse the waiting room and all that it had to offer. The TV in the corner blared ‘The View’ for anyone interested in hearing about Danny DeVito’s latest exploits. The requisite glass cabinet of upscale Obaji skin products was on display on the wall near the exit. There was an additional glass case featuring all of the doctor’s Mardi Gras memorabilia. Clearly, he had been this organization’s king at some point in the past. And his membership was probably paid for by the many sets of beautiful new breasts that may have, ironically, been flashed at his very float for that parade.

Vanessa and I flipped through his ‘Breast Book’ – filled with page after page of impressive before and after shots. True, there were some women who either had no business being befores or were fairly disappointing afters … but most had made significant improvements in their areas of interest. There was even a before and after picture of a man who had reduction surgery. And, yes, we both thought he had made the right decision. All of the pictures were headless, including his, except for one. One beautiful blonde woman with a smile as wide as Texas wanted to be sure she got credit for her efforts. And did she ever look happy!

We were just finishing up the book when the nurse called my name and we went to the examination room. She handed me a gown and told me to put it on facing forward. Oh, and I want to mention that this room had some nude Venus de Milo-y statuettes here and there as well as a plastic resin cross-section of a boob.

Isn’t this exactly what I was looking for last time???

20110920-032724.jpg

And, as I was undressing and putting on my gown, Vanessa took her top off … just for me to see a comparison. She promised before, remember? First of all, I want to compliment my friend (who I will point out is six years younger than me!) and say she has great boobs. Everything looked to be very much in the right place to me. Did I have that six years ago? Of course, I didn’t get to look at them long because, about two minutes after she unhooked her bra and pulled down her strapless spandex dress, the doctor walked in without warning … forcing her to throw her sweater around her chest and sit there throughout the entire appointment with her bra in her hand and her dress at her waist. Our little secret.

The doctor wasted no time with me. I kind of expected a man to be different. He got right down to the examination and was fairly physical with my breasts. He immediately said that the first thing he would recommend was a Bilateral Supra Areolar Mastopexy, which is sort of like a mini-lift. It wouldn’t lift as much as the full lift suggested at my first doctor visit but it also wouldn’t leave the anchor scar (line from the nipple to the breast base with a perpendicular c-shaped scar under the breast). The only incision needed would be made around the nipple and the implant could actually be inserted through that opening. Unlike the last doctor, he said the two surgeries could be done at the same time and that, since the only incisions made would be around the nipple (rather than the full lift’s anchor incision), scarring would not be an issue. And he seemed very confident with his answers.

When I asked about implants, he said he uses both kinds but much prefers silicone over saline. (I know. Again, different, right?) He said the silicone implants feel much more real and less invasive to the patient.

When I asked about the recovery period after the surgery, he said there would be some pain but that I could exercise after two weeks. (Woohoo!) He said the breasts are taped down a few weeks during the healing process anyway. (Sounds awesome.)

When he asked me how big I wanted to go, I looked at Vanessa and we came up with the same conservative “Not too big” (me) and “Small C?” (Vanessa). He seemed surprised with our answers and said that you want to go big C or small D to really get your money’s worth and have others notice the difference. I think he mentioned something about my husband at this point. (I really wasn’t wild about this conversation.) And then he asked to take my headless picture for my file. (Please let me know if my pictures hit the internet so I know when to file for free boobs!) Perfectly nice man. Seemed to really know his stuff. Just sort of felt a little like a number. Two lifted boobs, D, silicone, check.

Of course, he did leave us to play with his sample silicone implants – the 330cc, the 420cc and the whopping 450cc – which would translate to me being a full D. With my small frame and my just under 5’4” ‘stature,’ I looked like I was about to topple over. I might just need to take it down a notch.

They say everything happens for a reason. And I mentioned earlier in this post that he was pretty physical with the examination. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, of course. But without that literal manhandling, he would never have found the lump he found today in my left breast. Yes, lump. Which was also what I got in my throat when he told me. Remember that scene in Sex and the City with Samantha? Damn.

(I love you, Vanessa, and am so glad you were there with me today.)

So now, in the middle of this whole thing, I need to go get a mammogram to determine what the hell he found today. I would have had to do it for any of these surgeries anyway, but now I’m just going with a little more urgency … and anxiety. And I have another consultation appointment tomorrow. Sigh.

20120407-223706.jpg


The First Consultation Appointment – Pt. 2


So, we went into the examination room, still tasteful and completely boob-less in décor, and waited for the doctor.  My stupid phone rang again but, this time, I ignored it.  Not going to fall for that one again, iPhone.  I wanted to be mentally prepared for her when she came in.  So, I started trying to organize my thoughts.  Virginia wanted to throw her gum away and we joked about what she might see in the ‘Biohazard’ bin in the room with us.   She screwed up her courage, lifted the lid and tossed in her wad of gum.  Of course, we saw no used saline bags or spare nipples (sorry to my friend who can’t stand the sound of that word).  Too bad though.  That would’ve been a cool addition to this story, wouldn’t it?

It wasn’t long until the doctor came in.  She was very down to earth and Virginia and I both felt immediately at ease with her.  Score for the introductory appointment! The first thing she did was have the two of us switch places so I’d be across from her for the consultation.  I can’t imagine how she was able to determine so quickly that the patient was me and not my ‘gifted’ friend, Virginia. (Um, yes, I’m totally being sarcastic.  You don’t really know me that well yet so I thought I’d clue you in.)

The doctor interviewed me first.  I think that’s standard protocol, or at least it should be so they can get to know you and therefore know what best suits you boob-wise.  She listened to me explain that I was a 42-year-old mom of two who nursed nearly four years between the two of my children.  She laughed and said that, with most moms nursing an average of six months per child, it’s like I’ve nursed eight kids.  Damn.  Kate Gosselin I am not.  But maybe my boobs are.

And just as we were laughing and feeling very comfortable about the whole thing, she called for my top to come off. (My brain was racing. She had complimented it when she first came in.  Maybe she just wanted to try it on.  Geez … wake up, Michele!)  The moment of truth was here.  I think I actually looked at Virginia at that point and apologized. She offered to leave but I said no.  I’m supposed to be public here.  I mean … not webcam-for-the-blog public … but public in the sense that I wanted other opinions.  I wanted another set of ears hearing everything from the doctor.  Helping me remember everything. And digest everything, for that matter.

With me now topless, we started to get into the nitty gritty of it all.  She measured me to determine where my nipples fell (Again, sorry to my nipple-fearing friend.  You might just need to skip this chapter) and get the whole lay of the land, if you will.  The long and the short of it is that my breasts weren’t the worst things she’s ever seen.  And my nipples weren’t ridiculously low or anything like that. We then proceeded to discuss a worst case scenario or two that made me feel a little better about myself.

So, after seeing my ‘presentation’ and getting to know me a bit, she said she would recommend a lift for me personally.  She explained that, by grabbing everything that had spread out (and down) over the years and clustering it up back together in a higher place on my chest, I was likely to get exactly what I was looking for in boob-wear. My nipples would also be moved up and slightly reduced in size. (FYI to nursing mothers, this procedure does not impede your ability to breastfeed in the future. No nerves or anything else are cut here.) My breasts, now higher and more compact, would in fact appear larger.  She added that, if at a later date I decided I wanted a more substantial size, I could always go back there and slip a pair of implants into the higher, fully healed breasts.

I cannot stress enough how much she encouraged having these two procedures (the lift and the implants) done separately for the sake of healing and minimal scarring. She explained that the incisions made from the lift (described as anchor scars) would be nominal if you don’t overfill the breast at the same time with an implant.  They would only serve to push out against the healing incisions and thus create a more visible scar. And I saw several before and after pictures testifying to this fact.  She further added, as it’s the first place many of us go in our minds, that her costs for doing the two surgeries individually or together are nearly the exact same (as she gives discounts to repeat clients) … but she said many of her patients are so satisfied with the lift that they don’t always return for the additional implant surgery.

We talked a little about implants as well and she said she preferred saline to silicone. I mentioned that I’ve heard silicone seems to be coming back into vogue now but, after so many years of being removed from the market due links to cancer and other health issues, I had no interest in being a guinea pig for the new and improved version. Especially since they’ve only been made available again as an option for the last few years. She agreed.

She also said the exact same thing that I have heard from woman after woman with whom I’ve spoken about this project.

“Don’t go too big!

She said that, particularly on a smaller person like myself, oversized breasts will actually create a look of added weight overall on a woman’s frame.  Yeah, not really what I’m looking for here at all. I already enjoy cheese enough that I don’t need my boobs helping to make me look fat.

So, armed with more knowledge than I knew what to do with … and scared shitless that I needed to go through this process three or four more times …. I left the office with Virginia.  But not before telling the doctor about my online journal.  She loved the idea and its name and encouraged me to come back to visit again if I had more questions or needed explanations about anything.  I’m a big fan of this doctor so far. Of course, I’m not sure what I’m going to decide in the end … but she was a very good place to begin.

My next consultation appointment is Tuesday, September 20.  And I feel like I need to start getting organized already!

20120407-223706.jpg