Tag Archives: expanders

Expanding my horizons, and my breasts…

It has been a minute since posting…I’ve been feeling better… which led to a bout of stir-crazy-ness which led to me overdoing it so here I am back in bed. Rest is important. I swear I will find that special balance between resting and cabin fever. Let’s catch up. My pre-reconstruction process of my mastectomy has begun. In the past few weeks I have received two saline injections in my breasts, through a magnetic port under my skin. Having magnetic breasts is pretty cool and I will miss this part about having expanders… this was taken right before my first post-surgery expansion.

Breast expansion is a process over a few weeks to a few months of filling my temporary saline implants to my natural size. After that, my body heals from the final expansion for about 4-6 weeks to let the skin recover. Then I’ll have my second surgery to put the silicon implants in and I will also be removing my Fallopian tubes at the same time to eliminate my ovarian cancer risk. (And finally be done with it all hooray….eventually…one step at a time.) The expanders as I have mentioned before are quite hard but the silicone implants will be very natural feeling.  A needle and little rubber tunnel is attached to those tubes and I get about 120 ccs of saline in each breast at a time.

My expanders are placed behind my pecs and boy do I feel it with each expansion. That muscle is SO not in its home and it knows it and is yelling at me today. That makes this healing process feel much more like a circular journey. I get an injection every Wednesday. Wednesday is fine, it really doesn’t hurt, I just feel a tightness. However, Thursday is a bitch. Pardon my French, but today is a Thursday so you’ll have to excuse me. Thursdays consist of just trying to stretch & relax the muscle and riding through the discomfort until it passes. Each expansion is more painful than the last, the fuller my saline spacers get. I have about 3 more injections to go. I’m already feeling happy with the way they look. If you didn’t know everything I’ve told you and the process I’m going through, you would have no idea that I recently underwent a double mastectomy. It is amazing how far this procedure has come. I was prepared to lose my nipples, look unnatural and just accept it happily and completely because I evaluated my options and it would all have been absolutely worth it. That has not at all been my journey. Everything (knock on wood) has been going incredibly smooth. My doctor said that I was healing  as well as it could possibly get.  These are my breasts today, after my second expansion. As you can tell my cat is still not coping well with the fact that he can’t sleep on my chest. He’s desperate! My allergies have improved greatly since this new rule… Bonus! 

My current temporary spacers look semi normal, but they are strange. They are rock hard and sutured into place inside of me. So…they don’t move. I can’t move them at all. Not even if I try to nudge them. No dancing or running amuck for me for the time being. I am definitely looking forward to the permanent silicone implants! However, I can stretch my arms out like the letter ‘T’ now and touch the back of my head. Progress! My arms are no longer t-rexing exclusively. Although I do find myself naturally shifting to that position when I have to go out in public. It’s a protective stance. I keep my arms up so no one can bump into me. If a bus or a train is too crowded I have to let it pass, because I can’t lift my arm up to hold the rail. There are a lot of little things here and there that make it a little tricky to navigate the world but I’m out there giving it my best effort. As for my healing process, my nerves are starting to heal and let me tell you….It is a strange sensation when they reconnect. It’s electric. It can feel like little zaps, and sometimes feels like drops of water trickling over me. This is really awesome and amazing because it means I am getting some of my feeling back in my chest. I will never have all of it back, but getting some nerves back is a huge win for me! When I take shower I always check the temp before hopping in because I can’t feel the temperature on my chest, but my body still reacts. My nipples get hard in the cold, or when they are touched even though I can’t feel it. It’s all really interesting! Yesterday marked my 4 week anniversary since my mastectomy and it’s been quite the month. One part of me is like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been a month!” While the other half is saying, “Wow I can’t believe it’s only been a month….” I will be transitioning back into the working world soon. I hope my arms get the memo when it’s showtime! Well. It’s time for me to do my new Thursday post-expansion ritual of chest exercises and muttering obscenities. ‘Till next time! Xoxo.
 This is just a picture of me appreciating the beautiful walk to my last doctor’s appointment. The weather has been killing it. That is all.