Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I just found out to day from the plastic surgeon that I won't be able to use my own tissue to reconstruct my breasts after surgery. I don't have enough abdominal fat. Even though I just had a baby 2 months ago, I'm too thin to have my breasts reconstructed from my abdominal fat.

This is probably where I'm going to get offensive, so... If you're prone to getting your feelings hurt, you should probably stop reading NOW.

I don't want to hear the jokes like, 'I've got plenty - I'll donate mine.' or anything either. I don't want people saying/thinking, 'Why are you whining you've got a flat belly?' I don't even want the cute comments of 'Go to the donut store/etc & eat lots.' To be completely honest, I don't want anything but a bit of sympathy for my situation.

I want to look NORMAL. Not like a Barbie doll or some skinny chick who got a boob job to try to look better. Instead I have 3 options: 1 - (the most viable) is implants, 2 - no reconstruction, and 3 - no surgery at all (least viable). I'm pretty sure that I won't be comfortable with myself if I don't at least have something there, so I'm going for the implants. The thing is that I really don't want to look like I've had a boob job. I mean REALLY don't want to. I don't want to go for a month (or more) with tissue expanders that don't even look real. I don't want to live w/ the over-expanded balloons on my chest for at least 3 months (according to the surgeon). I don't want to have to have another surgery to replace the expanders with the implants. I don't want ANY of that to happen. However, I'm stuck w/ things the way they are.

Before you go off thinking that I had unrealistic expectations and/or I should just be happy that I get to have reconstruction, let me tell you what I knew/thought before I went in. I knew there was a possibility of not having enough tissue (read back a few posts & you'll see me say just that). However, from the books & photographs of real women who'd had the procedure, I thought I was ok. I am also happy that any type of reconstruction is available for me. I know what non-reconstructed chests look like and I don't know that I could live with that.

However, those of you that really know me should realize that my main goal in life is to be that natural, normal, happy woman that guys & girls alike feel comfortable talking to and laughing with. I don't try to be skinny - I eat like a horse most of the time. I don't wear skimpy clothes or wear lots of make-up. I ride horses as a form of entertainment. If I have one pair of shoes that hasn't been out in the horse-lot I must have just bought them & never worn them anywhere. I try to get along with everyone by cracking jokes if necessary (they're usually un-funny, but sometimes that makes them funnier), giving comfort if necessary, etc.

I'm also more than a little obsessive compuslive and get out of whack if plans change. Sometimes even something as small as parking in a different area (like at my work) can leave me feeling a bit out-of-sorts. Yeah, I know I should probably get some medication/treatment for that. So that OCD aspect of me is one of the big reasons this has upset me so much. Just imagine if you can, how much just my diagnosis screwed w/ me w/ my OCD and desire to be normal. Can you say, "FAT CHANCE!"?

Tomorrow I meet w/ the breast surgeon and have more tests (see previous post for my actual schedule). Hopefully, I won't find out anything else that messes with my mind.


Doreena Worth said...

I so understand where you're coming from when it comes to people's attempts at humor. It gets old pretty quick. People were always saying to me that they'd finally have a reason to get that boob job. It's just not funny sometimes.

I've just recently become aware of your journey through a friend of mine from high school / Facebook (Sandy Smith Hayden). I myself have survived breast cancer twice now. I never had the genetic testing so I do not know if I have BRAC-1 or BRAC_2. I was stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma HER2 positive estrogen negative. I originally had breast segmentectomy with axillary dissection followed by 8 chemo treatments & radiation. The cancer recurred two years later after the birth of my daughter. I then had a mastectomy followed by a year of Herceptin chemotherapy. That was in 2005 & so far so good. I would sorta like to know about the genetics but I'm unsure what I would do with this information.

I elected not to have reconstuction as I was sick of surgery from ports, etc. I'm truly sorry that you're unable to have the reconstruction that you really wanted. Thankfully there are other options available. I'll be checking your progress & saying some prayers for you. I can't say I know exactly what you're going through. Every case is different. But I have walked in your shoes to some extent. Hang in there!

Nancy said...

I'm so sorry that you won't be able to have the reconstruction you had hoped for. Sometimes, it feels as though once you have cancer...it's just one blow after another.
I just recently read where they can also use part of a muscle in the back to do the same thing that the abdominal muscle does...is that a possibility at all?
I wish there was something I could say that would make you feel better. But, I usually end up putting my foot in my mouth!
Hang in there. I'm standing with you!

Mes for Life said...

Sorry Erika, thats a bummer, know I am out here praying for you! Keep us posted....margie

Krystal L. said...

Who cares what anyone else thinks about your boobies! There yours not theirs! No matter what happens (reconstruction or not) you will be able to walk proud b/c you'll know what you've overcome. Don't worry about what everyone else thinks b/c more than likely your going to be the only one worried about your boobies. I know I haven't endured your struggle but I take it from a girl who pretty much has no boobies (or ever has even while pregnant!) and the ocd to worry about it also, you just have to love you and not care what others think. Good luck girl! I'm praying for you!

Samantha said...

Oh that sucks! I am so sorry that it didn't turn out how you wanted.
I myself haven't had breast cancer but I saw my mom and MIL battle it and everything after the cancer was gone. I totally get that you are disappointed. You have every right to feel like that!

I hope that you start getting some better news soon.

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