21st June 2017 – surgery day
Pre-op mark up – size 34F
A Junior Doctor spent half an hour drawing pen on me to ensure everything was properly marked up for surgery. As mentioned in my Thoughts on boobs blog I’m pretty comfortable getting my boobs out but I sensed an air of awkwardness or was it just intense concentration on the doctors part? He kept apologising for taking so long I reassured him by saying “surely this is one of the most important parts of the process – you’ve got to get this right”. No doubt this took the pressure right off?
Lots of cupping, measuring with a tape measure, spirit levels came out at one point and other measuring paraphernalia. Him darting me looks when he tickled me with the pen and when I sneezed a few times. Lots of pondering and chin rubbing. Also lots of sniffing – which I maybe unhelpfully commented on but it was the hottest day of the year and pollen was very high. He barely acknowledged my remark and continued with his masterpiece.
Some further iterations were made by Mr Turton (my amazing consultant) and I was surgery ready.
23rd June – post op
I didn’t really know what to expect following surgery, but I was pleased to see two bumps in the right area of the body looking pretty perky. I continued to do a ‘show and tell’ to anyone who I struck up conversation with so was feeling good.
The ghastly drains you can see in the picture need to remain in for 2 weeks and is to help avoid infection. I have to empty them every morning and night and measure the mls removed from each of the four drains. I carry them around in little shoulder bags – which I’m not sure what I’d do without.
4th July – two weeks post op
My first outpatient appointment with Mr Turton post surgery was today. I was hoping my drains were going to come out too 😬 and I wasn’t disappointed.
My dressings came off and my drains came out! I was expecting pain when the drains were pulled out, but I wasn’t even aware they were out until Mr Turton said.
Mr Turton looked very pleased and when I saw my new boobs in the mirror I couldn’t believe how well they looked. Again I wasn’t sure what to expect and I thought I’d look really strange without nipples but I was very happy. Good job Mr Turton 👍😘.
2nd August 2017 – 6 weeks post op
I’ve been told my scars are healing really well. Mr Turton even took his own pictures this time! Again pregnancy hormones are still in my body from Elsie which is helping with the healing 😍. I was told to not get my scars too wet – no longer than a 15 minute bath and to not use any products on my scarring. My skin has been incredible dry since surgery and was advised to use bio-oil which has worked a treat but not to put anything on the scarring yet.
My dressing marks have nearly gone. They were too sore to rub off before now but because I’ve been having better showers the dressing marks have softened and I’ve been able to wipe most of them away.
I’ve been asked by quite a few people if I can show side pictures of my boobs too and the anchor scar. I’ve tried my best with the selfie but you get the general idea 😃
27th October 2017 – 4 months post op
So chemotherapy has definitely reversed some of the healing from surgery:
- My scars have gone redder
- They are more tender as fluid builds back up as fast growing cells die and regenerate
- Some of my sutures (stitching) have protruded out
- Boobs look more deformed and bumpy
- Incredibly dry skin
I’ve been told that it’s a normal reaction and once chemotherapy is over the recovery process should revert back to normal.
I generally wear a sports bra at night and bralettes during the day. I’d never heard of them before but lots of people are interested so I’ve added a few pictures. It’s a cross between a cami too and a bra. They have no underwire so don’t rub on my scars and they are really comfy. Mr Turton has said my sutures will start to soften at 4 months and so shouldn’t feel as scratchy, and they are definitely starting to feel better 😁.
12 months on and my boobs are looking much the same. My scarring is less red but they are still tender and it can be uncomfortable at night. I can get away with not wearing a bra at night but it’s not as comfortable.
I’m still wear bralettes and underwires are a big no no. They’re just so uncomfortable. The reality is because my boobs are so rock hard I probably don’t even need to wear a bra for support but I know I need to wear one.
The soreness this long after surgery is almost certainly due to nerve damage and the way in which the tissue and cells surrounding the implant has deteriorated (because of chemo) and regrown. I’m seeing Mr Turton again next month to take stock.
Running has also been interesting. My boobs do not move in the same way. In fact they do not move period. So there’s no bounce. Having had boobs for 25 years this is something I’m finding strange to say the least.