Just a day, just an ordinary day…
TGIF! It’s the second Friday the 13th in a row, which doesn’t happen too often. And neither does my blogging these days, so I wanted to give it a go.
I met with my plastic surgeon yesterday so she could ensure the infection was cleared up in my left breast. I spent all week nervous and hitting up The Googles trying to find different complications due to breast tissue expanders.
I would not advise this.
Even though each expander is instilled with 450ml of saline, my left breast is significantly bigger than the right. In my google search, I repeatedly read about capsular contracture, a common complication of breast reconstruction surgery. As with any foreign object surgically placed in the body (tissue expanders, implants, hip prosthetics), our bodies naturally form scar tissue around the foreign object, and that scar tissue is referred to as a capsule.
Most often, the capsule is a thin, soft layer of scar tissue that is not detectable. But, in some cases, the capsule hardens and contracts around the foreign object causing increased tightness and pain. In my case, I felt this was happening around my left expander. That breast was larger, everything felt tighter and I was experiencing increased pain on the left side.
Every night this week before bed, I would take my shirt off, stare in the mirror and go to second base with myself.
MarlaJan: Hey babe, does my left boob look bigger than the right?
MarlaJan: I think I have a capsular contracture.
Steve: A what?
MarlaJan: (rolls eyes) Nevermind. (continues to manhandle breasts)
Steve: Wasn’t your left one always bigger before all this? Maybe your left boob is destined to be bigger.
MarlaJan: Um…. ask yourself if you’re being helpful.
As soon as Dr. Fahey walked into the exam room and asked how I was feeling, I expressed my concerns that I developed a contracture in my left breast. She looked me over, examined each breast (ie- felt me up), and used her magnet to access my magnaboob port and check for any excess fluid.
No fluid. Hoooray!!
She assured me that everything looked and felt great, the infection cleared up, she saw no signs of my developing capsular contracture, and sometimes during the expansion process, the breasts can become asymmetric.
But why so much pain? Why does it feel so tight?
The nurse in me wanted a much more scientific answer than “you have two foreign objects where your breasts used to be filled to their max capacity with saline to stretch your skin and muscles I cut away from your chest wall. It’s going to feel tight and cause pain”
Hmph. Well, that sounds…. logical.
I wonder if my mother was this annoying when I had all my heart surgeries. Probably not.
The next step in this process is to wait for my muscles to get used to their new home, and begin looking at dates for my second surgery. Due to the few setbacks I’ve experienced, I was prepared to have to wait much longer that originally anticipated. When the mastectomy was first scheduled, Dr. Fahey had figured surgery two would be around the end of March, but after the week-long hospital stay due to the seroma and infection, she had mentioned waiting until mid May to early June.
While I’m not a typical oncology/breast cancer patient, I’m still not a typical healthy woman who chose to have a preventative mastectomy. Dr. Fahey has decided than rather wait, we go ahead with the surgery sooner rather than later. Obviously she wouldn’t do it too early, or put me at risk where my muscles or the pocket formed for the permanent implant could damage the integrity of the implant, but her thought is than rather keep the expanders in longer, causing me “stress” which can trigger another lupus flare, get them out, and get me comfortable with implants.
She brought in two implants for me to play with; silicone (a cohesive gel which is often referred to as a gummy bear implant), and saline. I prefer the feel of the silicone, they feel like natural breast tissue, and less dense than the saline. There are conflicting reports that women with autoimmune disease, specifically lupus, should not get the silicone implants. When I spoke to McDicky late last summer, he assured me there is absolutely no scientific evidence in those reports, and that he is fine with me choosing the silicone. Of course, I’m still in my head about it, hitting the Googles, and then quickly regretting reading any articles.
In two weeks I’ll be due for another chemo infusion and see McDicky immediately after, so him and I can discuss the surgery.
That’s about all I’ve got left in me for today. Have a fantastic weekend. Sunday is the birthday of one of my favorite blog friends turned real life friend, Stephanie! Happy HAPPY birthday, my love!!!
Love you all <3