We chose an early appointment because we knew the visit would be quicker. It really doesn’t take long for the doctor to do the expansion, so earlier means they haven’t had time to get behind. J
I did learn that this will probably be the last expansion I have. This means that size will be reduced by a good bit as the final reconstruction steps are finished.
It was a little shocking how much the right side will have to be “lifted” to match the “normal” nipple height where the left now sits. And a significant reduction will be in order on that side to trim it down to match up the volume.
That’s fine. I had wished for several years that I had extra cash lying around to have a reduction. Doing it this way wasn’t exactly what I had ever had in mind but I’m not in control of all of this now am I?
The realization was initially that “Wow – I’m going to have lots of clothes that don’t fit.”
It will all work out. Some things may fit good enough – just not be snug. I may actually be able to experience something not being tight in the bust.
The new size is going to be much better for me as I get older. Less shoulder and back pain Better posture. And I will look younger!! (unless you look at arm flab or early signs of saggy checks.)
The GREAT news out of this visit was that I’m released to regain my full range of motion and flexibility. The Lymphedema Therapist will be happy but not as happy as me.
I want to be able to use and move my left arm like before and I know the longer I wait to get the movement happening, the harder regaining full motion will be.
We’ve also been discussing the opportunity to complete reconstruction during the gap between chemo and radiation. The discussion about this has included the Oncology Radiologist and he is good with it unless it too greatly extends the month-long gap that is normal between the two treatments. I’m not sure how long the plastic surgeon needs. I told him that the two of them (the experts) needed to figure that out.
My plastic surgeon has quite a research background at Sloan-Kettering so I have every confidence that whatever decision comes from their collaboration will be the best.
Apparently research on surgery results that took place before and after radiation are the same. Plastic surgeons can predict and compensate for the damage that radiation does to skin in their surgical plan. The skin on the radiation side will draw up. The unaffected side will need to be lifted in estimation to match what radiation will constrict to. Tricky business. But my doctor did at Sloan-Kettering shows that the predictions are accurate and produce natural results.
Heck. Unless you have fake ones, they don’t match exactly anyway. So a little variation is natural.
The main advantage of this is trimming a full six months off of the time it will take to complete reconstruction if it must wait until after radiation. The damage to the skin requires 6 months of healing before my final surgery could be done.
As long as the two docs agree – I’m in.
So we will see how that goes. I doubt there will be a decision in two weeks at my check up with my plastic surgeon – especially since I have 15 more chemo treatments but I’m glad to know there are options that can help this journey wind down sooner.