I didn’t ask my plastic surgeon many questions before my surgery. I’m still surprised by this. I usually have tons of questions. I think this is because I met with someone who had the DIEP flap and spent several hours with her. It’s been so nice to meet others who are having this surgery or who have had this surgery because it’s not very common. I think I have more questions now than I did before!
The one thing we had never discussed before the surgery is how big I wanted to be. I remember thinking “doesn’t he need to know what size I want to be?” So as we went in to surgery, I made one request of him. I said “you can take every bit of fat you can possibly get off of me, but please don’t make me any larger than a C. I want to run in the future.” The resident anesthesiologist got a smile on her face when I said this…..I said “you know what I’m talking about!” If you like to run, anything bigger than a C, just gets in the way.
Here’s what he said. “I’m going to take this section (pointing to my left side belly) and turn it and put it on the right side chest, and I’m going to take this section (pointing to my right side) and flip it and put it on the left side chest.” He said after the surgery we would decide if I needed to be bigger, or I suppose smaller. The great thing about remembering to tell him my last request is he gave me a REALLY GREAT tummy tuck. He left nothing behind:) And he told me that he took everything I had to make my small B breasts. I think this is a compliment. I really don’t want to know that I had enough baby belly fat to make a size D or something like that.
Here’s the funny thing about my flap flip. I now have a mole that was on my left belly. It is now on my right breast.
I had been thinking about having it removed but I think it will stay. Here’s why:
Before I had my mastectomies I had a few moles on my chest area. This might be too much info for some, but I remember when I was first learning to breastfeed my first baby, my sister and Jeremy all laughed at the placement of one of my moles. (She is a La Leche League Leader and lactation consultant, so she’s allowed to look closely at my breasts…..lol) So when I had my mastectomies, I remember thinking that I was losing some of the quirky little things that give my breasts character and that Jeremy found endearing.
I’ve decided that I need to start finding the quirky little things about my new breasts endearing. Like the new mole on my right breast. Or the way my cleavage is uneven. I want to look at the scars as endearing reminders of my strength and tenacity. I want the whiteness of my transplanted flaps to remind me of clean and clear breasts and being cancer free. I want the little cinched up gatherings on each side of my breast to remind me that it is quite possible I will never have saggy breasts in my life because they have reinforced them so much….lol!
I’m working on it. I’m reminding myself that my new breasts have given me character, not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. I am trying to look at them not as the way we are programmed in our current culture to look at physical beauty but through my own lenses and to appreciate what it has taken for me to get here.