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Category Archives: boob job

Four Years And Still In Mourning

Today I gave a pep talk to a woman I admire in hopes that some of my own life experience might help her. She is having problems with both men and women who feel that it is okay to say cruel and hateful things to her simply because they disagree with her. The tone of her initial post felt like she was about ready to throw in the towel on doing the work she enjoys because of these hateful people. So I posted the following to her:

I want to tell you a story and I hope this helps you get your feet under you a bit better. Several years ago, back before I was a skeptic and before I had a decent sense of self worth, I had a boob job. I hated the way they looked after breastfeeding two kids and I thought that, as I approached the age of 40, it would make me feel better about myself.

I ended up developing necrosis due to unconfirmed surgical complications and I lost both of my nipples and areolae. I don’t know if there’s a worse experience than watching your own intimate body parts rot away but if there is, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

There’s much more to the story which you can read on http://boobcast.com if you are interested.

About a year after my chest healed, (I was severely deformed and required two reconstruction surgeries which i have long since had, to rousing success) I was finally in a mental state to start writing about what happened to me. I was bound and determined to write about it because if I DIDN’T write about it publicly, then, in my mind, the hack that did this to me would win.

That wouldn’t do.

There were SO many times when I had to stop in the middle of writing a post and go have a good, long cry. But I did it. I did it because I REFUSED to let my situation dictate my life. I refused to let what others told me change what I truly thought was the right thing to do.

Boobcast has made a real difference in women’s lives. I get regular emails telling me as much. I talk to women regularly who are scared and in need of reassurance and advice. I’m so very grateful I can do that.

When I was a little girl my father told me to “Stand and fight if you believe you’re right”. I learned determination from my mother who, after a motorcycle accident that left her in ICU for six months, taught herself to walk again when doctors said she never would.

Believe me when I tell you that I know it’s hard. I know it’s disheartening and some days you just want to give up and let the world go to Hell in its own little monogrammed handbasket. And some day you may decide you’ve had enough and that’s okay.

But please don’t let THEM make that decision for you.

I really hope that helps her. She’s doing good work in the skeptical and critical-thinking community and I would hate to see her give up because of all the hate mail and awful things people say about her in the blogosphere.

Unfortunately, this good deed of mine seems to have had some emotional backlash. I realized that even though Boobcast is doing good work, I am still in mourning for my loss. It has been four years as of yesterday since that first surgery and it still hurts emotionally. Not to the degree it used to, but it’s still a visceral pain. I feel nauseous remembering what I went through. I have tears in my eyes remembering what it was like and I wonder if I will ever completely heal emotionally from this.

I have had people suggest that I just walk away from Boobcast for a while. I can’t do that. Women email me regularly asking questions and seeking advice. I know what it’s like to be that terrified so abandoning the thing I have created here is not an option.

The upside is that where there were once great, wracking sobs, there are now just tears and a dull ache. Four years seems like forever and a single heartbeat at the same time. I guess I’m healing. They keep telling me that healing takes time. It’s just taking so long. I know that it will never be truly over because I will always bear the scars of reconstruction as a reminder. I will also always be here for others going through this nightmare.

I can’t abandon my post as long as I’m needed.

It has also been suggested that I start talking to women’s groups about what I have experienced. With the settlement I have, I’m not sure I can do that, but I’m looking in to it. The recent cease and desist letter I got about my comments on the Complaints Board scares the Hell out of me. We’re having a lawyer look at that to make sure that it only pertains to the settlement and not the case itself. If that is the case and it only pertains to the settlement, I will probably start doing that.

In the mean time, life continues on. I still need to have one last round of tattooing done and hopefully that will be it for the medical stuff. I’m thinking that perhaps I’ll do it in November or December, depending on the tattooists schedule. I’ll post when I have something concrete.

 

Feeling Helpless

Have I mentioned lately that I despise feeling helpless? I hate this feeling with a blazing passion.

Since finding the response from someone on the Complaints Board, I have been dealing with a great deal of rage and grief. I haven’t consulted a lawyer about this yet because right now I am emotionally incapable of having a discussion about this without breaking down into a sobbing mess.

My husband has contacted the doctor’s office and requested that their lawyer send us a copy of the agreement that we both signed. Since our original copy disappeared, we need to know for certain what we are dealing with. However, when Ken spoke to our trust lawyer, she said that just because someone on their side violated the agreement, that doesn’t mean that I was permitted to do the same.

I’m really not sure how that works. If someone breaches the terms of a contract, then that contract becomes null and void, doesn’t it? I really feel like I’m back at square one with this whole situation. It’s as if the surgeon and his people can do whatever they want, but I have no recourse. If I DO publish the name publicly, then I could potentially open myself up to a lawsuit.

If any of you have any ideas, I’d appreciate the input.

[Editor's Note: This post has been edited to remove a link and name under advice of my lawyer. Visit here for details]

 

My Legal Settlement – An Update

I finally found a way to login on the complaints board (see the first part of this posting below) and post a response to the accusation that, it appears, was most likely made by him or a member of the surgeon’s staff. I also sent an email to his office through his website letting him know that I knew about that comment.

In addition, I let him know that, because that comment was so obviously written by someone in his office, I considered that a breach of contract. On the down side, our lawyer has said that just because someone on his side broke the contract, that doesn’t mean that *I* can. So I’m just going to keep linking back to that initial post I made before the contract was signed whenever I need to reference the surgeon.

[Editor's Note: This post has been edited and certain links removed on the advice of my lawyer. Please visit here for details]

 

My Breasts – One Year Later

One of my regular readers asked for what amounts to a critique of The Twins from both my perspective and my husband’s. So here we go: What I think of my boobs almost one year after reconstruction.

They’re BIG. I know we’ve been over this before, but DAMN. They’re still really big. Those of you who have seen the breast reconstruction photos know I’m not even half kidding. Those are ALL me. No implants. After all the problems I had related to implants, I insisted that they not be used.

They look natural. They bounce, they sway, they’re not plastered to my chest like a pair of angry headlights. They even do that fallout thing. In other words, when I’m laying on my back naked, they migrate towards my armpits like normal boobies do.

In a push up bra I have cleavage for DAYS. AND they pass the Pencil Test with a 4.0 GPA.

I love the Twins and I’m beyond grateful to have them so please understand that the critique I am about to give is in NO WAY meant to imply that I’m not happy with what I have. These are observations on my own reconstruction that other women may or may not experience.

There are really only a couple very minor things. First, on the cleavage side of my right breast there is this one little spot where the flap was sewn in that looks just a little bit uneven. The only angle that can be seen from is the top and in this photo you have to look very hard to see it. The right breast is the top photo.

You can see a tiny bit of lumpiness where the green intersects with the breast. It is also a little flat on the front from that angle making the breast look slightly squarish.

The left breast, pictured below, is a better example of the slightly squarish look shown here. This HAS improved over the past year.

There is also a very minor indent where the scar is but that’s just what happens with any scar.

As far as the feel goes, they are pliant, yet firm. Since *I* know how they were constructed I know that firmness comes from the transplanted latissimus flap muscle. On the bottom outside edge of both breasts, if you probe, you can feel the outer edge of the muscle flap.

When you do a full on grope, it’s the muscle that makes up the firmness and the fat that makes them soft and pliant.

Many of you have asked for the perspective of my husband, Ken. I will be asking him to write guest articles on the more emotional aspects of necrosis and recovery from that in later installments. In the mean time, here are a few of his comments on the Twins one year out from surgery.

Ken: “Due to the procedure, there are some areas that are a little squarish. Considering what Dr. Elliott started with, they’re AMAZING! They also came out much bigger than both of us expected but that’s NOT a bad thing.”.

When asked about what my breasts feel like, he comments, “They feel amazing and they fit my hands well. They’re big, they’re full and they have a nice heft to them.”. He thinks that, appearance-wise, the Twins are a good size for my frame.

In general he reports that he can’t feel the flap. If he feels in detail, he can feel the scar tissue (the scar lines where the flaps were inserted) but nothing unusual.

Tomorrow I will post detailed photos of what the Twins AND my back look like exactly one year after reconstruction so stay tuned.

 

My Emotional Healing – One Year Later

In just a few days I will celebrate my one year breast reconstruction anniversary. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed already. Yet here I sit with the Twins neatly filling out my  New Orleans t-shirt.

My regular readers know that the time before my reconstruction was  really bad. I talked honestly about feeling like a deformed, sub-human thing. I considered myself to be mangled and a not human being.

I also talked about wanting to kill myself. More than that: I had a plan for killing myself. I suffered from severe suicidal depression because of the mangled remnants of my chest. Once during the period that I had been hooked up to the VAC machine I called suicide hotline. She saved my life and I am grateful. She’s one of the reasons that I write this blog.

Unfortunately, the time period before the surgery was MUCH worse. I knew I was much more serious about it than I had been previously because I wasn’t talking about it at all. My performance was SO convincing that no one in the family had the slightest idea that I had a plan in place to end my life if financing for the reconstruction had not come through.

I’ve come a LONG way since then. I’m much more content. I have real periods of happiness now. I understand that the severe depression was solely situational. In a case like that, no medication would have worked.

I LOVE the Twins. They have some minor flaws and quirks that I will talk about in another post. But I am SO grateful to have them that the flaws are a relatively minor issue and are, for all intents and purposes, inconsequential.

As happy as I am to have them, I still have some unresolved anger issues. I’m not normally a violent person. Nor do I generally wish for harm to come to people. There IS, however, one exception. The surgeon. I still feel he was negligent. I think that something happened during the initial augmentation and lift that led to the subsequent necrosis and I wish him to suffer just as much as I did.

I will not cause him harm. I’m not that kind of person. But I would definitely throw a party if someone were to pulverize and powder the bones of his hands with a sledgehammer. That’s all. I don’t want him dead. Death is too easy. I just don’t want him to do to someone else what he did to me.

So, yes, I’m angry. I feel cheated. But I was so emotionally fucked up that I settled just to get the hell away from him. How’s THIS for screwed up? In the state of Florida no other plastic surgeon will even SEE you while you’re under the care of another plastic surgeon.

I have more emotional healing to do even after a year. I have these moderate anger issues to deal with and I still have sorrow surrounding the loss of my original breasts. There are times when I write a particularly difficult article here and it leaves me in tears.

Please understand that I do not blame this blog for my tears. Boobcast has been a haven of sanity. Writing these articles, being this open and honest, has kept me sane. I still just have brief periods where I grieve the loss of my breasts. I grieve for what I put my husband and family through. I grieve for two years of my life lost.

Yeah. I still have some healing to do.

 

Why I Had A Boobjob

This is the week of my one year breast reconstruction anniversary. To celebrate, I’m telling it like it is. In today’s article I’m giving a no-holds-barred account of why I had the initial surgery that led to losing my breasts and the subsequent reconstruction.

This isn’t an easy article for me to write. I’m definitely not the same person I was then. Not by a long shot. Of course something like having my breasts basically rot off was going to have an impact. I would like to believe that it changed me for the better.

Now I’d like to take you on a trip in the Way Back Machine (My thanks to Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman) to 1981. I was either 13 or 14 and in Junior High. That is, of course, the time when little girls start developing breasts. I was no different.

I had no idea that I was developing. I just didn’t notice that anything was different. Neither did my parents. I had to be told by a friend of mine that I shouldn’t wear a sheer dress shirt because boys could see my boobies. So because I didn’t know what was going on and neither of my parents paid attention to my development, I went without training bras for much longer than I should have.

Fast forward to 1983. I was 16. We were at the only decent women’s clothing shop in Powell, Wy. My mother had dragged me there to go bra shopping. The woman doing the fitting said I had pendulous breasts. Of course I had no idea what that meant then and there was no real way to look it up. There was no internet and research materials were really limited in a town no bigger than a hiccup. But that stuck with me. Somehow I knew from the tone of her voice that there was something wrong with me.

Fast forward to 40 years old: Two children and two decades later my breasts looked like flat wedges of flaccid flesh and my nipples pointed at my toes. I HATED my breasts. So I started looking for a plastic surgeon to give me perky boobs. I had two consultations and both said the same thing. My breasts had degraded as far as they could go. They weren’t, at least, going to get any worse. Both gave me a presentation about the anchor lift type of mastopexy because of the degradation level of my nipples. After a few days to research and review the information, I showed it all to Ken. Along with the price.

Here’s where my judgement went south and obsession set in. Ken said he didn’t think we could afford it. I told him the stories that I have written down above. He told me if I could find a way to do it for less, than I could do it.

That’s when I found the guy who did the initial surgery. He was part of our barter network. He offered his surgical fees on barter. All we had to pay for was the implants and the clinic fees.

Yes, I was so desperate and so obsessed that I went against all advice and had the surgery done by a doctor on barter.

I DID have the forethought to investigate him and there was nothing negative in his record. There was no indication aside from his abrupt, borderline-rude bedside manner that he was inept.

I say this with tears in my eyes: I just wanted pretty boobies. Every woman I had seen in magazines and on TV had pretty breasts and I just wanted that to be me for once in my life.

So I did something insanely stupid and it cost me dearly.

 

Nerve Damage With Breast Augmentation

With any type of surgery you can expect to lose some sensation. Sometimes it’s just temporary. Sometimes the nerves are just so damaged that there’s no way you’ll regain all the feeling you had before. Breast surgery is one of those situations where you will never be the same.

Even if you have a transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) there will be some nerve damage. Nerves get torn, cut or separated causing a loss of sensation. There can be wide swaths of numb areas. It depends on what type of surgery you have as to how much nerve damage and loss of sensitivity there is.

There are three major types of incisions used in a breast augmentation:

Periareolar – This incision is the most concealed, but is associated with a higher likelihood of inability to successfully breast feed, as compared to the other incision sites. The incision is placed at the bottom half of the areolae. Consider that there will most likely be severe reduction in nipple sensation with this type of implant insertion.

Inframammary – This incision is less concealed than the periareolar and associated with less difficulty than the periareolar incision site when breast-feeding. This incision is placed in the underside crease of the breast. The reduction in nipple sensation probably won’t be as severe with this type of implant insertion. Consider that a big bag of water is being shoved up under the muscle or skin. There WILL be some reduction in breast sensation.

Axillary – This incision is less concealed than the periareolar and associated with less difficulty than the periareolar incision site when breast feeding. This incision is placed in the armpit. The loss of nipple sensation won’t be as severe as with the periareolear, but again, you’re having a big water bag shoved under the skin or muscle. There will be loss of sensation.

No matter what type of insertion you have for breast augmentation, there WILL be some nerve damage. Whether it is temporary or permanent is an individual experience.

 
 
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