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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stage III - Tattooing is complete!!

So last Thursday I had Stage III with Dr. Tobias and Maria in Boston. This was the first time that I hadn't done any research into what to expect.

Tattooing just seemed like the last step and would be the step that would make me whole again. Remember, all along I have been happy with the outcome. After Stage I, it was the circles, after Stage II (a few weeks later) I was happy with the nipples, lipo, etc and now after Stage III I am happy to look whole. Of course I am looking at myself in the mirror from a distance right now so I can't see the 'wounds'.

Up close, it's still a bit icky. I am wearing wound care bandages and gauze bandages under my bra. They look better now than they did last Thursday when they were just bloody nipples!! I hadn't realized just how tattoes are made. That's the lack of research. I knew I was still moving forward with it, regardless, so I didn't invest any further time or energy into it. I figure I invested a year and a half into researching my decision to have the PBM + DIEP that even a little discomfort wasn't going to be a big deal or hold me back. Plus, I absolutely trust Dr. Tobias, so that helps alot when moving through the Stages of DIEP.

Here's the play-by-play of Stage III. First you select your 'colors' from a palette. I deferred to Dr. Tobias who pulled my original breasts up on his computer and created a blended color to match my original color. Next, he tested the site to see if I would need a local. I did. Other than a few needle pricks from the local, I didn't feel a thing.

Most of the procedure, which was 2 hours long, I just talked with Dr. Tobias and Maria. I was able to ask lots of questions about my Stage I surgery and the 'issues' that surfaced way back then. I had no idea how he was creating the pigment for the areolar, but afterwards I got a good look at the bloody nipples and figured it out. Lots of needle pricks.

So, now my job is to keep them free of infection and not to let them scab up and get pulled off with the wound pads and guaze. A little Neosporin helps. I've had to take an antibiotic for the past few days and have one more day to go. Am also taking Tylenol since they seem to be a bit tender/sore.

I have one more follow-up to Stage III in late April, then I will be totally done with the DIEP.

Before I end my blog I will post about my reflections a year later. Then I will turn my blog into a book, which I will hold near and dear. This blog has been my 'friend' for a very long time now. It has also brought me a new 'sister', for which I will be forever grateful. This blog was there when I needed to air my feelings, but didn't have any place to do that. Blogging was a way for me to process what was going on in my head and in my heart. It was a way of seeing in black and white just what I was dealing with.

To anyone reading this, thank you for visiting. I hope that my blog has been helpful to you on your DIEP journey. My heart goes out to each and every one of you!
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