I was shocked to find that having my photos on the blog did not just make them visible to you who are reading the blog. It made these photos visible on google search with my name and personal information. I have removed my photos and replaced them with this space marker and the link to take you to the photo site. If you asked for a password, it is rosey2012 I don't mind sharing them with women who are looking for information. But not for the world to view with my address, and personal information. If you right click you may choose "open link in new tab" and not lose your place here. I know it's a little more inconvenient. I apologize for that.
They have been in my body since 12/6/2010. We have a love/hate relationship. They have for the last year and 7 months been sources of great pain, discomfort, agony or torture. I hate the pain. I love that I have the option to build foobies (fake + Boobie = foobie) and to feel feminine in a dress. Not so much like a trussed turkey with hot silicon "chicken tenderloin" breast prothesis, harnessed inside a chicken wire bra. Okay the bra is not quite that bad. But the whole kit is heavy and hot. I am so ready to pass them on to a needy person.
They wanted to see me asap, which happened to be this morning. Dr. Jon poked and pushed and said..."You are right, you are way softer than you have ever been but there is still some tissue expansion in there." But he was proceeding with the idea of surgery this Monday, July 2nd for my "second" stage exchange. That means replacing the TE with real implants, the Second Stage surgery. Then Dr. Puckett made a visit and decided he was not convinced it is a leak, perhaps there was just to change to my "capsule cavity" or to the muscle itself. They all agreed I was mushy/smushy so Dr. Puckett said, "Let's fill you up to the rim and see what happens. They did a 90 cc fill and I did not feel any pain, none of the "dislocating my ribs" level of pain that I considered normal. I had only the sense of pressure against the skin and the weight.
I have reached the holy grail....750 cc. The largest silicon implant in the Mentor brand is 800 ccs. So when you reach 750, they know you will accept the 800 without trouble. I did leak back though the needle site. Once home, it FELT like the TE was softer. I fully expected to call and tell them there is a leak. But upon observation, I realized I still feel pressure against the skin and the ribs, so if there is a leak, it is not a gushing leak. I am in a holding pattern until Tuesday morning when I see Dr. Puckett again. I will report the results to you. Do we have a miracle or do we have a leak.? Dr. Jon asked me if I believe in magic. I told him 'no. I believe in miracles." At the end of the post, I will show photos of fully expanded pucketts.
Let me me clear. As you scroll down, you will see NAKED reconstruction photos. They are not gory. Certainly not pornographic, but you may not want Jr or Juniorette walking by as your scroll through this page.
I have also gotten a few questions of curiosity from some by email, who just aren't really certain "breast reconstruction" meant or what the result is. So I have bravely set forth to assist in your education. A reconstructed breast is nothing like what Pamela Anderson sports around. At the VERY end I will show successful before and after reconstruction images so you understand what is possible as well as what a normal expectation may be.
Mine are fondly referred to as the "Pucketts". Of course some of you may not know that Dr. Charles Lin Puckett is the surgeon who PLACED these instruments of torture in my body. I love him. sigh. I got recommendations of him as "an excellent knowledgeable doctor with no sense of humor." I don't know which Dr. Puckett they saw. My Dr. Puckett, an older gentlemen who is slow to speak, listens intently, grins widely at me and maybe it's just cause I'm his favorite patient. *wink* He jokes with me and laughs. So if a friend or reference says...this doctor is excellent in skill but he has no sense of humor, go interview him. It may have been your friend without the sense of humor. Doing a consult with a doctor is not hiring him to be your doctor. Making a second appointment isn't either. You haven't really hired a doctor until you sign the consent for treatment form. And I suspect at the last minute you could still climb down from a table and say..whoa, I'm done, outta here, I have changed my mind. I'm not doing surgery...and you could probably pull it off.
To add clarity for those who do not know me, I had a Bilateral Mastectomy in Dec 2010 for Lobular Breast Cancer. After research and determining who I was and how I dress, I decided that while I might be able to deal with a breast prosthesis on a temporary basis. I could not however look at the future and accept that I would either be flat or wear the whole mastectomy bra get up. I did not want to think about it that much. So I interviewed with Dr. Puckett and made arrangements to have him do my Reconstructive surgery.
My first visit with him after the surgery, I sternly told him that I had not been informed that Tissue Expanders (TE) were constructed of concrete and rebar. I love my doctor and he listens to me, but I found it pretty much across the board; plastic surgeons typically don't volunteer information such as THIS IS GOING TO REALLY HURT. My actual breast surgeon (The doctor who actually the removed the breast tissue before Dr. Puckett came in to rebuild) asked me later if I felt I had been prepared for the reconstruction process. I emphatically answered NO. I was told, "It will require a longer recovery than if I just had a mastectomy with reconstruction coming later." I was not told "Because it will hurt, spasm and burn like fire from Hades itself."
The tissue expander looks like when empty--->
It has a soft ridged texture...kind of like that piece of gummy that got lost in the bottom of your purse, with all the fuzzies stuck to it. That's how it felt. Not velvety, not bumpy. But when you ran your fingertips over the surface there was a soft drag of resistance.
Some expander brands have ports that are not part of the actual expander, but the expander has tubing connected to a port sutured in the skin. Thank you Jesus for sparing me of that. I'm a side sleeper (Once this all healed enough) and if I had those ports sewn into my sides, I would still be sleeping on my back. *shudder*
The round dark circle is where the needle is inserted IN your port to fill the expanders once they are.... implanted. The circular port is magnetized metal. The doctor takes this small magnetic device (shown below) and moves it across your skin. When the device is moved over the area where your post is located, the magnet immediately stops and essentially POINTS at the port. The doctor presses down on the pointy end piece and it leaves a small X imprint on your skin.
I looked for a non bloody image of the expander in place. I didn't want to gross you out too much. The expander is pushed under the pectoral muscle and as it is expanded, scar tissue surrounds creating a "pocket" or "Capsule". The implant is "exchanged" months after the surgeon feels he has expanded enough OR the patient has decided this is enough or can't tolerate more. That is called your EXCHANGE or Second stage surgery. and it supposed to be less painful. A resident told me Dr. Puckett doesn't use drains for the exchange surgery, I hope he doesn't find a reason to make an exception for me. Supposedly the concrete bra sensation goes away. Many women after the exchange surgery refer to the implants as smooshies, squishies or foobs.
|This photo is nice and all but the depiction of the|
syringe is totally out of scale.
This is what they bring in to do the actual expansion,not that little syringe shown in the above photo. Those two HUGE syringes contain 60 ccs each (one for each side) but they connect to a itty bitty (diameter/gauge wise) long...butterfly needle. You can see the green "needle butterfly wings" lower on the photo than the syringes, right above those foot long needles. Ok. Maybe not foot long. But they are 5 - 6 inches long.
|Magnafinder is use.|
For more photos of this woman's bravery through cancer treatment
and reconstruction go to Angela's Cancer Story
|Read more of her story at |
|To view photo, click link and enter rosey2012 if asked|
As promised, I saw Dr. Puckett today, all of us thinking I had a leak. So after a 90 cc fill now nearly 2 lbs of water (which I will be sure to subtract tomorrow morning from the scale) this is how the Pucketts are looking. Total in - 750 ccs.
|To see Photo, click link and enter rosey2012 if asked|
|To see photo click link. If asked password is rosey2012|
Bird's eye view (so to speak) of the skin and tissue damage left from radiation. That rippling is not supposed to be there. I fully expect that Dr. Puckett will pull that chicken fat under the arm forward as much as possible and try to excise that damaged skin. 6/29/2012
|To see photo click link and enter rosey2012 if asked.|
Looks are deceiving. These are not as huge as they look. haha But this is a good view of the tissue expander "shelf" that is created when they are fully expanded. Much like how a pregnant woman will rest something on her abdomen, I have been known to set the computer mouse, the remote or and my phone on the puckett shelf. 6/29/2012
I'm feeling pretty confident in saying there is a slow leak...but there is also a big change in the muscle and skin. I am very pleased they were able to expand to 750 ccs, even if it is slowly leaking. The skin and muscle will easily manage the implant I desire. :) But I must wait for Dr. Puckett to concur. So that will be July 3rd. I expect they will schedule surgery in the next week or two. In surgery Dr. Puckett will cut open the lower "capsule" to let the implant fall down the chest a bit. He will cut the inner "cleavage side" on both to move the implants closer to center and pulling them out from under the arms. (Hallelujah, Praise God and Amen!) Then Dr. Diana told me to expect a TIGHT band will encircle my body at armpit level. I will wear that for a certain amount of weeks until Dr. Puckett is satisfied that the implant/foobies have settled into their new home and will not attempt to climb over the shoulder.
These are public images of successful reconstructions using expander to implant procedures.
To know that you don't have to worry about prothesis slipping, mastectomy bras that are hot and heavy, the straps that keep falling down making the prosthesis sag and roll. We are warriors, and we have battle scars. We are beyond that. We just want to walk down the street and no one notice our chest region. We want to feel beautiful in our clothing without the burden of prosthesis.
|Tissue expander - Left photos. Finished implant reconstruction - Rt Photos|
|Left photo - CLASSIC shelf appearance|
|Bilateral reconstruction..(tape is to hold scar formation flat)|
|Right Mastectomy with reconstruction and Left breast lift so they match.|
|Very normal in appearance|
|Which is before and which is after?|
I wonder if I could have Dr. Puckett give me a
tummy like that too?
|The Aerola is tattooed on by a medical tattoo profesional.|
And Meet the Pioneer of the 3D Nipple Tattoo - Vinnie Myers Yes, they are flat tattoo's inked in 3D I might do this. lol I think I doubt it...
**Disclaimer** Please note that this post is written about MY experience. It is not to say that everyone will have pain, trouble with Tissue Expanders, or need radiation. I do not pretend to think to advice anyone to choose one kind of Reconstruction surgery over another. I CHOOSE implants because of specific reasons with my doctor.