Sunday, February 9, 2014

16 Days till we say GOODBYE to the LADIES!

And the count down is on... Well technically the count down had begun when my sister was diagnosed invasive ductal carcinoma. We are now 16 days out till we say goodbye to the ladies, the girls, the puppies, the bikini stuffers, the fun bags, the bosoms... what ever you call them... My boobs are being removed. Hurry!! A boob job that will be covered by private health insurance/medicare!!!!

At first this does look like the perfect opportunity to go up a size. Jokingly this was Rod's first question to my surgeon as well! He was stoked! He couldn't wait to sit with a cigar and "admire" adult magazines playing the circle game.. you know that game where you circle with a big red text in all the things you would love to have and wish someone would buy them for you?? (Sorry for sharing that Rod!). We quickly learnt this wasn't exactly how it was going to be.

I am BRCA1. I have the breast and ovarian cancer gene. As my sister pointed out... we have the same genes as Angelina Jolie... Can't you tell?? I have an 87% chance of getting breast cancer and a slightly smaller chance of ovarian cancer. The best method of reducing these numbers at my age is to literally take out all of the tissue in the breast and to remove the ovaries. The ovaries we will get to a later date. For now its the breast tissue issue.
A double mastectomy involves making a small incision from the lateral or outmost aspect of my breast to the nipple. I write small incision without really thinking about it... In fact, have a look down at your chest. Imagine a large line that extends across and circles the nipple. This isn't small... this incision is huge. I have opted to have ALL tissue removed... this means my nipples as well. In my opinion there is no point going through all of this and leaving a huge chunk of tissue sitting on my chest as a ticking time bomb! This obviously is a very personal choice. Many people do decide to keep their nipples. I have been previously told that the familiarity of seeing your own nipples there makes this process easier for some. There is no guarantee that there will be any feeling in the nipples either. In fact most are left with small either permanently erect or one erect and the other not which presents issues of its own!

Blue surgical lines illustrated above.

After the tissue is removed I have made the choice to have spaces or expanders inserted. This I have been informed will be a very uncomfortable experience however worth every bit in the long run. Pretty much the expanders allow the skin layer and surrounding muscles to settle and relax prior to having reconstructive surgery. This in theory will lead to a better and more natural looking result. After approximately 4 to 5 weeks we will start to slowly inflate my temporary friends till I am happy with the size. This entire process will take anywhere between 7 weeks to 6 months depending on how well my body copes with this process.

Following this I will then go under again for silicon implants to be inserted and at a later date tattoo nipples to be done. For those who know me well I am terrified of needles so this part will be interesting!!!!
If you haven't already guessed... this will not look like a normal breast enhancement. I will have large scars, tattoos for nipples and literally skin over the top of an implant. Breast implants in the normal situation are implants underneath already healthy breast TISSUE. This layer of tissue helps with the "normal" appearance of a breast and the implants are generally inserted from the base of the breast upwards - thus resulting in no visible scars. A number of ladies who have previously had the surgery I am about to have, have pointed out that the above mentioned surgery to be only enhancement... Our surgeries really do result in FAKE BOOBS, or more loving known to us as our foobs.

I have made the choice to document this process as recommended to me by a friend. These surgeries have been a difficult decision to make not only for me but also for my family. This will be a journal of everything I will be going through over the next couple of months including photos and images. I have the hope that maybe this might help someone else in the future with their decisions regarding having this gene.

This news will be coming as a shock to many as well as only my closest family and friends know what I am about to go through. Please call me or message me if you need. Please feel free to comment and share this blog.

Tam xox

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tam, I'm a 25 yo journalist from Brisbane looking at undergoing the same surgery this year. Very brave for you to document this process and I'm sure it will be incredibly helpful for others. Would love to keep in touch if you can reply with your email.