Today, I am posting what will be my final "share". Afterwards, I'll likely only be showing them to women who might need them as a guideline of what is to be expected. Before my surgery, I googled "prophylactic mastectomy" on multiple occasions. Usually, after my search, I ended up highly discouraged seeing photos of what seemed to be so much disfigurement and mutilation. It seemed that my choice was going to end up making my body look much different, in a bad way. Really though, I didn't care much if my outcome was perfect...I didn't have this surgery as just a "boob job". It was never about that, and hopefully others in the same situation don't do it for the looks alone, because you'll be let down. The pain and detail that goes into breast reconstruction post mastectomy is extensive. It's a long process. This is not a "boob job".
I decided to share these photos for one reason. I do want people to know, all those scary images on google...they aren't the only possibilities. Myself, and many other women that have mastectomies have great outcomes. I'm only partially through with my surgeries, but, even in phase one, my breasts look good. I may be biased, but from my initial views of reconstructed breasts post mastectomy, I didn't have much hope.
My mom's reconstruction post mastectomy is what was in the back of my head, granted, she went through chemo and radiation before she did any reconstruction post mastectomy. The thing about my mom's reconstruction though, I believe she went with the doctor that she was referred to, not the doctor she picked. I'm not entirely sure this guy was the best pick for her. She had many complications, but, I mostly remember her being upset with the results, and I remember feeling like the doctor treated her body like a rag doll. The scars, the gaping wounds, the care...it was a nightmare. That's all I could recall from her reconstruction. Though, even with her mastectomy and reconstruction still in my mind, I chose to go through with this surgery...because no scar would be worse than the the emotional scars that breast cancer inevitably forms.
My main point of this post is that, it's not always bad. It's not always a nightmare. You don't have to go in thinking you'll come out looking disfigured. Plastic surgeons are better now than ever, and they just keep improving their techniques. I don't want someone to chose not to have a preventative mastectomy because they are afraid of the results. One of the nurses I had said something that was so right...you don't have this surgery for the cosmetic outcome, but it's okay to want everything to look good in the end. Plastic surgeons don't want you to leave their office unhappy. They want to make you look as perfect as possible. The images on google aren't always realistic. If I can offer that advice alone, don't take those images to heart. Go see your surgeon and request to see their photos, they'll be happy to share. Find a surgeon you're comfortable with. Find someone that you know is a perfectionist, someone that you click with. My PS was a breath of fresh air. I knew, at our first meeting, that I felt safe in her hands.
At the end of my expander journey, I know she was a great choice. Expanders don't have to look great, as they are only stretching the muscle to allow for the implant. The crazy thing is, even my expanders look good, in my opinion. I look at my results thus far, and I compare them to those photos I am so quick to recall and I know that not all outcomes are as scary as those photos, or my moms reconstruction. Don't let those photos scare you away. No matter what, if you're lucky enough to do this before you get told "you have breast cancer", the results should still make you happy. But, I do need you to know, there ARE good results. It's not always bad. Even more so, no matter what, you did/will do this for a reason. This is about saving your life, and no scar can make it ugly...it's a beautiful, empowering journey. Do not be afraid.
Side photo from final fill. Implants will be put in at exchange, evened out, and the "dog ears" will be removed. All in all, I couldn't ask for a better outcome in this first step.