Friday, August 28, 2009

Exciting News!

I have had a few days to settle down and let things process and am ready to share my exciting news with everyone.

I flew down to Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle on Monday, August 24th. My appointments went better than I could have ever expected. I absolutely feel at ease with my decisions and more than that, I am excited. I am even more confident that I am making the best choices for me and my family. I did feel a slight guilty though with being at the Cancer Center with all of the sick people battling for their lives when I was carefree and lighthearted as I skipped to my appointments.

My first appointment was with Dr. Hanson, the surgeon that will be removing my breasts. Upon my arrival and waiting near an hour to be seen, I was discouraged thinking that this was doomed for disaster, but was quickly brought about. Dr. Hanson took his time, had print outs, and actually taught me the process instead of talking down at me or simply talking at me. He was quite like the weather on that autumn day in Seattle, warm with a dry sense of humor. He had told me that I was a perfect candidate for skin-sparring mastectomies. I was hoping for this good news. This means that basically, they will gut the insides and leave the skin. I will not be able to keep my nipple though. He explained and diagrammed the scar that will be a straight line about two inches long that will rest in the center where my nipple once played. After spending over an hour together, I left the building confident in his abilities.

I am blessed to have such an amazing support network that extends beyond my family. Sarah and Tiffany had ventured to the big city to entertain with stories and lunch before my next appointment. Those two girls are simply amazing. They are both so sweet and I am privileged to be able to call them friend.

Tiffany accompanied me to my next appointment. We were at first taken back by the bite of the receptionist. She was less than professional in her mannerisms. Because she antagonized us, it was easy to assess that she herself was in need of more than an attitude adjustment. She might use the employee discount and fix her dominating laugh lines and crows feet! Anyhow, we simply loved the doctor in her quirky, somewhat chaotic personality. She was very easy and likable with a beautiful smile and flat chest. We got to look through some sort of brag book with pictures of some of her past clients. I secretly was sizing these other boobs up to see how I could compare. I don't know if Tiffany had ever been to an appointment like that before, but I did what I am used to and sat there shirtless for quite a bit of time. After some lifting and shifting and a few quick squeezes, we decided that the best option for me would be to use tissue expanders then implants with Alloderm. The expanders will allow for better shape of the new boobs. Initially, I had just wanted to do a one step and bypass the expansion process, but after speaking with Dr. Chatal, I understand the importance of shaping. Alloderm is cadaver tissues that will be used to alleviate the need to stretch the muscle to cover the implant thus minimizing my discomfort. It makes not matter to me if some strange skin is inside me. I wonder who or what it came from though! It wasn't like I expected picking a size and shape or anything like that. She didn't want to overwhelm me with so many decision, so at this point, I haven't gotten more that just an overview of implants.

Overall, I am super excited and looking forward to what the breast future will hold for me... a handful or maybe a little more! Recovery shouldn't be too difficult. It will be just three days in the hospital and about two weeks in Seattle. At the initial surgery, Dr. Hanson will remove the nipple and breast tissues and Dr. Chatal will insert expanders. For the next six weeks, I will be seen by the plastic surgeon to actually do the expanding until we come to a size that we are both comfortable with. Then STEP TWO... I will be doing the exchange surgery. Simple as it sounds, exchanging the expander for the implant. As I have previously conveyed, I have little formal information on this topic, so I will pass it along as I get it. Now to research implants, oh the shapes and sizes...

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