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!