Mastectomy & Reconstruction Timeline

After meeting with my plastic surgeon this week, I feel confident in her abilities and my decision for a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.  It’s still overwhelming and emotional – I’m not going to lie.  But, she instills confidence and hope with the outcome of the procedures.  If you’re just tuning in, I had a setback with my lumpectomy which required a change in direction and a new treatment approach from here out.  The good news is that I won’t need radiation after all of this (at least, it’s highly unlikely).  I thought I’d bring you all up to speed on my upcoming surgery and reconstruction plan.


Mastectomy & Reconstruction Timeline:

November 3 – Boob-voyage & birthday party – Gotta try to have some fun with this, right?  Wigs & bras worn by all.  Let’s burn some bras!

November 5 – My 37th birthday – I will never complain about getting older again.  So grateful to have another birthday!  I’m proud to turn 37 and will fully embrace this coming year!  I get to start it off by getting rid of my 36-year-old cancer-laden breasts and receiving a new set of boobs.

November 6 – Mastectomy of both breasts (called a bilateral or double mastectomy) by my cancer surgeon.  I need a mastectomy of my left breast to remove cancer, but the surgery on my the other breast is called a prophylactic mastectomy, which is a preventative mastectomy to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

These are expanders that will be inserted under my chest muscle at the time of the mastectomy. This photo shows filled expanders, so they will be 'flatter' than this when surgically implanted.

November 6 – In the same surgery, after all of the breast tissue is removed, my plastic surgeon will insert expander implants underneath my chest muscles.

November 6 - Oh, there’s an election going on?!?

One to three nights post-surgery – Amount of time in the hospital

One to two weeks post-surgery – Amount of time that a drain (or two) will be attached to me, which evacuates the blood and fluids from the surgical sites.

Week of Thanksgiving – Expanding starts (add saline to the expanders)

Every two weeks for a couple of months – Increase expansion by adding saline, which will stretch the chest muscles

The left diagram shows how the expander is filled with a butterfly needle every 2 weeks. On the right, it shows how a silicone implant will take the place of the expander.

February – Exchange surgery (swap out the expanders with silicone implants)

May – Nipple reconstruction (if I choose this).  With mastectomy surgery, I will lose all sensation in my breasts, so this would be for aesthetic purposes only.

August – Areola tattooing (and other tattoos if I wish to cover scars, etc.).  If I don’t do nipple reconstruction, this tattooing can be sooner.

 

Obviously, things can change – which we’ve already experienced – but it’s nice to have a general timeline of what I’m still up against in this battle against the big BC.  I’m both sad and angry at this next phase of my treatment.  I’m heartbroken and pissed that I’ll never have sexual feeling in my breasts again… I’m still young, and this is ridiculous!  Luckily, I have an amazing, supportive and loving (and did I say amazing?) husband.  I also love both my surgeons and know they have my best interest in their hands.

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Mastectomy & Reconstruction Timeline

  1. Thank you for your honesty and total exposure throughout all of this… I think of you a hundred times a day and you are in our family prayers every night. You are beautiful and oh-so strong! Fight on, Sister! We are forever behind you… Much love!
    Christina and the boys

  2. Thank you so much for posting this timeline- I will be going through this same process in a couple of weeks – it seems every time I talk to a doctor they add another step in the process. I just need to know the timeline and I can handle most anything.

    I hope by now you are feeling much, much better and on your way to a happy, healthy life!!!! Thank you again!

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