Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A "B" or not a "B'" - That Is the Question

Breast reconstruction surgery. Am I going to do this or not? I understand that if I am going to have this surgery, I need to decide ASAP, since the tissue on the radiated side tends to become less and less flexible as time passes, making the "plumping out" of the tissue more difficult.

The plus side of having reconstruction would be that I would no longer need to wear a bra, if I didn't want to. The newbies would be firm as a foam pillow, with NO NIPPLES to show through shirts, unless I choose to have those babies reconstructed also, not just tattooed on. Also, the sweaty season of NC summer would be much more bearable, since the silicon inserts are hot, hot, hot.

The downside for me would be two-fold: first the surgery, which is no small undertaking, involving moving tissue from my latissimus muscles under the skin around to my front; and second, the after effect, which is loss of upper body strength. I have little enough upper body strength now; I hate to think how weak I could become. Also, although I am not afraid of surgery, I recognize that complications DO occur, so elective surgery needs thorough study.

For the past couple of weeks I have experimented with going to my exercise class with no prosthesis under the tshirt. For all the world, I look like I did at age ten, except for the gray hair and glasses; and I've got to say, I don't mind the look and I LOVE the way it feels. It seemed a little weird at first, going out in public with no bosom....fake or otherwise... but I have grown accustomed to the freedom from straps and elastic. I just wish I could go bare under all my clothes as easily as I can under a tshirt.

I have had conversations with women who have had reconstruction, but none of them were in the same situation as I am, with limited options in the type of procedure available. Most of them were able to have the surgery done at the same time as their mastectomies, and that alone would make a huge difference for me. One of my breast cancer friends has suggested that I do some investigation via a website, http://www.breastcancer.org/, where I will be able to find discussion groups centered on my specific questions and situation. I think that will be my next step.

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