May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!
~ Robert Frost


Welcome to my blog. This is my story of how I faced my risk of breast cancer, the decisions I made, the support I received and my week by week recovery from surgery. I chose to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with immediate DIEP reconstruction at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston (March 2010). For more information on my 'Medical Team' please see tab above. I also have a wonderful circle of friends who have supported me throughout. They have provided us with lots of delicious meals and desserts. Many of those recipes are included above under "Feed the Flap" recipes. "Feed the Flap" is a term I coined when trying to increase my abdominal (fat) flap to ensure that I was a good candidate for the DIEP procedure. This was not something recommended by any medical professional, it was just something that made sense to me. I think it worked!! Feel free to join me on this journey and feel free to post comments.

Select the tabs on the left side marked Week 1, Week 2, Week 3..... to go immediately to the surgical/recovery part of this blog.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nipple Update

So I have had the Stage II DIEP and everything went well. I even posted pictures and talked about the lipo, BUT I didn't mention anything about the nipples. There was one simple reason - I didn't really like them. Remember, I loved my circles. Really loved the circles. So when the nipples were added I thought they were too big and kind of ugly.

Well, two weeks have passed now and I met with Dr. Tobias and Maria yesterday. They reassured me that my nipples would shrink to about half the size they were after the surgery and that with the tattooing they will shrink even more. I had already noticed that they had shrunk in the past two weeks. Maria also mentioned that it isn't uncommon when all is said and done that people wished their nipples were a big larger. And that nipples can be made smaller, but not larger. I am totally onboard now.

One of my DIEP Sisters asked me to ask Dr. Tobias just how he made the nipples, so he kindly sketched it out on paper for me. This is exactly what he sketched (I later found this picture online). I can't say this enough, but Dr. Tobias is not just an amazingly talented surgeon, he is also an awesome person. He listens and takes his time during office visits. Never once have I felt rushed or that I was taking too much time - not even when I showed up with four pages of questions for my pre-op. Yesterday I met four new "DIEP Sisters" in his waiting room. Each and every one of them sung the highest praises for Dr. Tobias, Maria and his office staff. What we all seemed to appreciate the most is that during one of the most difficult times in our lives we are cared for by such a compassionate and committed team of professionals who treat us as if we are their only patients.

Today I am wearing a sports bra and love that I have nipples. I am very pleased that I did choose this route. There were a few times when I wished I had just kept my circles. However, my ultimate goal is to look whole and for my daughters to not be reminded of my surgery when they see my body.

Binder Update: I've been wearing both a binder around my waist and a surgical bra for two weeks - 24/7. Seems that I could have switched to a sports bra sooner. So, the waist binder can't go just yet. Two more weeks is what Dr. Tobias recommended. So, following Stage II DIEP the binder is required for a month. And it's a 24/7 requirement. Then Maria told me that I really should be wearing biking shorts or exercise shorts as well as it will help with contouring on my hips where I had lipo. Well, I couldn't get those pants on me fast enough. So today, let me count the layers on my body: undies, binder, spandex shorts and jeans. Thank God, I didn't do this surgery in the spring or summer.

Next up:  Tattooing

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