Finally, almost a month after my breast cancer diagnosis, I got to meet with my new breast surgeon and plastic surgeon today!
First, I met with the plastic surgeon. He’s a very bright and knowledgeable surgeon. We decided that my best option for delayed-immediate breast reconstruction was tissue expanders. So, basically, my plastic surgeon will place a tissue expander between my skin and chest muscle after my breast surgeon has removed the breast tissue. A tissue expander is an implant that’s more like a balloon. It stretches the skin to make room for the final implant.
Once the expanders are in and I am healed, I will go in for weekly or possibly bi-weekly “fills” where he will inject saline into the expanders and once we get to the appropriate size, I will have another surgery to remove the tissue expanders and the permanent silicone implants will be placed.
Because so many women in my family have had this procedure done, I didn’t have many questions.
Our appointment went well and then it was time to meet with the breast surgeon. I have recently began feeling another lump on my breast – the same breast I already had cancer in, but in a completely different place, she gave me a breast ultrasound and sure enough, there was another mass – bigger than my existing cancer.
She told me she’d bring my case up at the surgical board to see if other breast surgeons thought that we needed to biopsy it and possibly change our treatment plan, or leave it be and continue as planned because I was already having a double mastectomy. My breast surgeon is a lovely woman, very caring, smart and professional. I feel very comfortable with her and am very confident in both her and my plastic surgeon.
They both took time to answer my questions and never made me feel rushed – which is different, in my experience. Usually when I go to the doctor (pre-cancer, of course) they seem to rush you. I walked out feeling confident.
Then it came time to schedule my surgery, it was a 4-5 hour surgery, requiring 3 surgeons … so I couldn’t get on the schedule until April 20th. By then, 4 months of dealing with this. I tried to get my surgeries moved up, but I was unable to do so. I was only at stage one, so it wasn’t a complete emergency – from a surgeon’s perspective. From my perspective I am about to die. I was really upset. I asked, “What is the point of early detection if you can’t get treatment when you actually detect it?” But my breast surgeon took more time and explained that I would still be in stage one, so it would be ok.
I left, notified my family and friends … and now I am waiting.