Preventive Mastectomy: Exchange Surgery Week One

Posted August 19, 2016 by Prairie Wife - 8 comments

Note: I decided to include real pictures of my body in this post because I know that it will help to prepare other women as they begin this journey, as well as help educate family members and friends. I hope that you my readers, will be respectful of that choice, and if you are offended at the thought it’s best for you to stop reading here.

It’s absolutely astonishing to me what the world of medicine can do…absolutely amazing!

Not only have we reduced my breast cancer risk to less than 2% but I now have a pair of breasts that look dang good in a t-shirt. Which you may recall was my goal all along in this process. I still have a lot of healing to do and one more surgery but, I think you’ll agree when you look at the pics below, that modern plastic surgery (and my doctor) are wonderful!

mastectomy to exchange collage

My exchange surgery didn’t quite go off without a hitch, which we all know is they way things tend to happen.

seintra implantsMy Plastic Surgeon (PS) had planned to use teardrop shaped implants but, once he was in the OR he couldn’t get them to look they way he wanted. He switched them for Sientra High Profile Round Textured Gel Implants filled to 385cc (this info is more for those going through this process than our regular readers). He also added more Alloderm skin grafts on the sides of my breasts to ensure the implants didn’t shift into my armpits. My skin is extremely thin (probably because of nursing all those Cowkids) and he felt I needed some extra support. All in all, he spent three hours working on me and when I woke up I immediately felt the lightness of the implants compared to the solid expanders from before!

Once I was awake enough to walk a bit and use the bathroom we were released and went to a local hotel room to spend the night. The next day I slept off and on. My good friend SouthernBelle came by to give me a facial and allow The Cowboy a break to get out of the hotel for a bit. We were cleared by my PS to travel home when we felt like it. I was in little to no pain so, we headed home exactly 24 hours after we were released from the hospital.

The first few days I felt a bit bruised in the area of my stitches. Even with that, I’d rate my pain a 2 or 1 and I didn’t take any heavy pain meds after the first day. I easily slipped into the routine of sleeping sitting up and keeping my arms in T-rex position. It’s actually been really hard to stay still as I now have NO pain…none. I AM super tired. It takes about 5 hours of sitting still to make up for an hour of interaction but, I was prepared for this as well. My biggest fear is I’m moving too much. I know I need to keep still to allow my skin to heal around the implants and keep them in the correct place.

exchange week 1 sideIf you look at the pics you can see how truly amazing my PS work is. Those of you that have a more critical eye may notice my nipples aren’t exactly even but, they never were before the surgery. The divot at the top of my left breast is showing a bit more as the swelling goes down. It will take months for the implants to settle. Apparently there is a mysterious thing called “the drop and fluff” that should happen around week 6…I’ll keep you posted on that.

I know I’ll need the fat grafting surgery to help hide wrinkles that will continue to show up, but we knew that already. If I put a bra on you can’t notice any of these tiny (at least to me) imperfections…I’m seriously ecstatic.

I’ll continue to lay low these next few weeks per doctors orders, but have no fear, I can still type new blog posts with my T-rex arms! 😉

Exchange Surgery Week Two

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8 thoughts on "Preventive Mastectomy: Exchange Surgery Week One"

  1. Kendra says:

    So happy for you Cathy that something that took great courage to do has turned out so well. They look great ! You are amazing for sharing your journey and your willingness to out yourself out there in he hopes of helping others. I hope it’s helped you as well in the process

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thanks you 🙂 It has, it forced me to take pictures when I probably wouldn’t have…and looking at them helps me to realize just how much has been accomplished in three months!

  2. Angels conte says:

    You are a brave women and sharing your experi experience with other women makes it even better they look great enjoy and stay well

  3. Karen says:

    You are so inspirational! I think they look awesome and can’t believe you are almost finished with this journey! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you 🙂 It feels great to be past the halfway point for sure!

  4. Heather says:

    I have said it before, but I will say it again. You are truly an inspiration! Please keep sharing your experience for all those women out there who are going through this. It really is truly amazing and disturbing to realize how little resources there are for women who would like more information in order to consider a preventative mastectomy. It is alarming that there are so little resources for women who have young children who have to go through a mastectomy, preventative or NOT preventative. In talking with you, it was most shocking to realize the resources out there better help a completely different category of women, particularly leaving out young mothers with children AND particularly women choosing preventative mastectomy to reduce their breast cancer risk. I hope your readers realize this & are as supportive of you & your family as my & my family. Prayers for you & your family! Miss you, too. So appreciative that we were able to catch up before your second surgery!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you so much for your words of support and encouragement!

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