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Category Archives: fear

The Great Nipple Debate Continues

As my regular readers know, I have been going back and forth about nipple reconstruction for this past year. Most of my worries have been based in fear. I realized a few days ago what another concern is.

I have these great breasts that are already a little droopy. I’m concerned that the nipple placement will make them look even droopier. If that happens, I’ll be back at square one with nipples that point at the ground.

Logic tells me that Dr. Elliott wouldn’t do that to me. He knows what I’ve been through. But because I want everyone going through this (or someone who might know someone going through this) to see that they are not alone in their feelings, whatever those may be, I’m writing it all down and sharing my fears and concerns with you.

I’ll know more when I see him for my one year-ish check up around the end of this month. That’s when I’ll talk to him more about what type of flap reconstruction he wants to do, what, if any revisions can be done to deal with the squarish shape of my breasts and placement of my new nipples.

As usual, I’ll report back when I learn more.

 

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.

 

The 200th Post

As the title says, this is the 200th installment of BoobCast. Today I am writing about you, dear reader. Today’s installment is all about the support and the stories that people have shared with me since I first started this blog on Oct. 11, 2008.

When I first started writing this, I was also fairly active on a website called All About Plastic Surgery (http://www.allaboutplasticsurgery.com). When I posted what had happened to me it didn’t take long before I was inundated by questions about various aspects of the surgery. You can find that entry here: http://boobcast.net/2008/10/14/questions/ People expressed a great deal of concern about how well I had checked out the surgeon, what indications I might have had and what legal recourse I might have taken. During that period so many people gave their support and I am grateful for it. So my thanks goes out to the women of the All About Plastic Surgery forum. They were the ones who inspired the idea for BoobCast.

Now you’re probably asking yourself, “Gee Maria, why do you call it BoobCast? Were they wrapped in plaster or something at one point?”

No, dear reader. There are reasons this site is called BoobCast.  In 2007 the podcasting community lost a precious member by the name of Joe Murphy. He died of a vicious type of cancer that took him quickly. During his medical treatments he talked in vivid detail about what was going on, the testing and all of it. His strength inspired me. I wanted to be as strong and as brave as Joe Murphy. So I planned to podcast what was going on with my breast necrosis. The name of that podcast was going to be BoobCast.

I never met Joe but his life inspired me. It just turns out that I’m not that strong or that brave. To honor that bravery I have kept the name.

I also owe thanks to a very dear friend, Tee Morris. When I was trying to find the strength to create BoobCast, He was there for me. He gave me mental and emotional support by letting me know that I *could* do it. I’m sorry I disapointed you Tee but want to thank you for being a friend when I needed one.

In the time I’ve been writing BoobCast I have had people email me directly for advice. Of course, after reading the email, my advice was always “Contact your PS (plastic surgeon) and ask for [fill-in-the-blank]. Whether it was about bruising, skin texture or pain, I advised talking to their doctor. If they couldn’t get a decent answer from that doctor, talk to another one.

The one that really broke my heart was the husband of a woman who, a few days previous the email,  had the same procedure I had. According to her husband, the pain pills her PS had given her weren’t doing much and she was in constant pain. She couldn’t eat or sleep and she was suffering. I told her husband to call her PS immediately and insist on different pain meds and not take NO for an answer. i explained that, right now it was his job to advocate for his wife since she couldn’t do it herself.

A couple days later I got an email from him saying that her PS had changed her meds and she was doing MUCH better. It’s emails like those that made BoobCast well worth the emotional pain of writing those early posts.

I also want to thank everyone who talked to me about BoobCast at DragonCon last year. Being told in person that I’m making a difference means the world to me. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

Finally, my thanks to Carol Montoya, Lolly Daskal and the Woman At Denny’s. I promise that once I’ve had nipple reconstruction and recuperate from that, I WILL write the book. The foundation is in the works already.

My thanks to you all for reading, commenting and talking to me. Here’s to another 200!

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2010 in anchor breast lift, Anxiety, barter, boob job, Bra Fitting, bra sizes, Bras, breast, breast cancer, breast health, breast implants, breast lift, breast reconstruction, breast size, breast volume, Cash fees, checkup, chemotherapy chemical, clogged surgical drains, communication, complications, compression bra, compression dressing, cortisone, cosmetic surgery, cryotherapy, debreiding, debridement, deformity, dehiscence, Depression, Drain, Drugs, emotional healing, emotional scars, Excise, excise fluid, fear, Flashbacks, flourouracil, Fluid, granular tissue, granulation tissue, Healing, Hospital, Hospital fees, Hosptial Costs, implants, Incisions, Infection, Insurance, interferon, Invisibility, keloid, keloid scars, laser, Latissimus flap, latissimus flap reconstruction, malpractice, mammogram, mastopexy, Medical, Medical Insurance, memory, Nausea, necrosis, negligence, Nipple prosthetics, Nipple reconstruction, Nipples, Pain, Pain Management, plastic surgeon, plastic surgery, Plastic Surgery Disaster, podcast, Post surgical depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Prescription Drug Addiction, Prosthetics, PTSD, radiation, Reconstruction, Recovery, Scars, Seroma, serous fluid, Sex, silicone sheets, situational depression, Sleep, slow healing, suicide, Surgery, Surgical complications, Surgical drains, Surgical Fees, Ta Ta Tuesday, Uncategorized, V.A.C. machine, Vacuum assisted wound closure, wet to dry bandages, wheelchair

 

The Movies In My Head

Originally Drafted on 9/24/08: This is another post in the Flashback series.

We all have these movies that play in our heads: Telling off the boss; That comeback we *should* have thought of 10 minutes ago; Kissing your favorite movie star. We all have a million “what if” moments we stockpile and replay on a regular basis.

My movies go something like this:

FADE IN on our bedroom. DH sitting on bed:

DH: I’m sorry. We just can’t afford to pay for your reconstruction surgery.” FADE OUT

Scene 2: Location: Bridge at Night. Camera follows human silhouette plummeting from bridge. FADE TO BLACK

Yeah. Really stable.

From a logical standpoint I know that we’ll be able to get the financing for the surgery. As a last resort we can take the money from our investment account. So it IS going to happen.  But thanks to the latest release from What-If Studios, I’m still imagining being stuck like this for the rest of my life.

I’ve been dealing with this for 14 months now and I’m looking at another five months before the first surgery.  Then probably another three months before I have nipples again.  After all that, there’s at least a year of healing. Fortunately there are good drugs and I’m getting in shape. I’ve already lost 12 pounds.

I’m just emotionally wrung out and more than ready for this to be over with.

Why May? Scheduling conflicts abound. December is obvious. January is my birthday. February is my youngest son’s birthday. March WOULD be okay, BUT April 4 is our wedding anniversary and April 25 is DH’s birthday. Then, we have BaltiCon in May. That gives me 11 weeks to recover before the rigors of DragonCon. So THAT’S why I’m waiting until May.

In the mean time I’m trying not to buy tickets to more of the What-If Studios productions.

 

Better

My right eye is feeling better. No one is dragging barbed wire across it anymore. So I think I’m going to start making plans starting this week for my new project that I’ve been talking about.

But first…a bit about nipples.

I know I’m not mentally ready for another surgery. I don’t even want to think about planning for it. Even after nipple reconstruction I’ll have to have them tattooed. After all nipples aren’t the color of Pale White Chick.

I also have to consider that if I DO have nipple reconstruction am I going to be looking at nipples that point at the ground again?? The Twins are big and they hang a bit. Dr. Elliott feels that a lift won’t do much of anything unless I lose at least 30 pounds. But then the Twins will shrink. That thought still freaks me right the fuck out because I still equate shrinking with losing them.

Yeah. I gots me some issues to work through still.

As it stands, I’m still debating the nipples vs no nipples debate. I may want the surgery eventually. I don’t know if I’m going to go back to looking at prosthetics for a temporary fix. I’m starting to feel like I’m sliding backwards.

Again.

It took us 5 years to decide that we’re moving to Orlando next year. I don’t make serious decisions easily. So I’m waiting again.

Maybe I’ll get the fake nips just to see. But then I’d know they’re fake and I feel like that would be lying and kind of demeaning to what I’ve survived and conquered thusfar with the plague-level botch job the HiQ did on me.

It’s times like this when I’m in free form blog mode that I wish I could reveal that quack’s name so that others don’t get hurt by him. Maybe if I just reveal the latitude and longitude of the practice?

I really need to find that agreement I signed and figure out a way around it.

My point in this rambling diatribe is that I will eventually figure out what to do. In the mean time I’m still wading through a bunch of mental crap. Wheee!!

 

Zombie

While I was doing the wet to dry bandages before the debridment, I frequently felt like I was a zombie. No, I didn’t want to eat brains, though I DID want to severely damage the HiQ.

***WARNING! GRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD***

No what I mean is that when I would peel off the wet to dry dressing and pull away bits of dead flesh, I couldn’t help but feel like I was, at least in part, an undead zombie. Here I was dropping bits of flesh. And that’s what zombies do…walk around, eat people and drop bits of their body.

Instead of eating people, I felt like this situation was eating me alive. And not just in the literal sense. I began losing myself to this situation. I WAS a bouncy, vibrant, spur-of-the-moment type of person before I became Zombie Maria.

It has only been in the last month or two that I’ve come back to myself. I’m not there yet. I still shamble a bit, though there are no brain cravings. And unfortunately I still haven’t gottten past the point of wishing the HiQ ill. I really couldn’t actually do anything myself. I’m not that kind of person. But you can damn betcha that I wouldn’t be feeling bad if he were to accidentally get his hands crushed.

 

Debridement

It sounds scary. I was terrified when the HIQ said that at the next appointment he was going to “remove the dead tissue”. I anticipated pain. I even had a panic attack. As if I wasn’t enough of a basket case as it was. I didn’t even get an explanation as to how it would be done.

By this time I was crying at least once a day. It had finally sunken in that things were really bad. I had lost both nipples and areolae. The tissue was completely dead. The tissue itself was blackened and rubbery. In some places it crackled when I pushed down on it. So it had to be removed.

Dead tissue is a breeding ground for infection and if it wasn’t removed, it would have caused infection that would have gone systemic and eventually killed me. So debriding, even though it sounds terrifying, is actually a good thing.

When we came back for the next appointment, the HiQ STILL didn’t explain exactly what would be going on. Thankfully his nurse did. She explained that this wouldn’t hurt because the tissue he would be removing was dead so the nerve endings were dead too. Because the nerves were dead, there wouldn’t be any sensation except for a pulling sensation.

I sat down and kept my eyes closed the entire time. I do know that he cut the tissue off with surgical scissors because I saw the instruments before the procedure.  All I felt was pressure and tugging. No pain aside from the emotional grieving of having lost an intimate part of myself. I grieved for the loss the same way an amputee or breast cancer survivor would.

It still freaks me out some that he was cutting tissue off my body. It sounds like something out of a horror movie, doesn’t it? Just the concept was enough to freak me out. Yet through all of this I explained calmly and in clinical terms to Hubby what was going to happen. He was, again, not allowed in. I refused to expose him to it and I was determined that I would do my best to maintain a facade of normalcy.

I failed about half the time by this point. But I tried, by damn. I tried.

The most important thing to take away from this post is that if you have to endure debridment, it is NOT painful. It sounds scary but what’s scarier is what will happen if you do NOT have it done. So have it done and do something really nice for yourself afterward.

 
 
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