Saw the plastic surgeon yesterday. I really liked her. This is good.
We walked through the different surgeries and options. She validated that I’m a good candidate for DIEP/SIEP reconstruction based on physical exam. There is another test that she will order – a CT of the belly – to see whether or not I have big enough veins/vessels/something. The idea is that the CT will tell her if my vessels are big enough to allow for the surgery. So, this is good. Now I wait for news from the schedulers. I hope that December 17th still works – it is a challenge to schedule this surgery as it is an all day event for the plastic surgeon (8-10 hour surgery).
The go/no-go on this surgery will be determined by scans done at the end of November – before the next surgery consult. At that point, scans are done to see just how well the chemo has worked. This will be the best information we have prior to surgery. Decisions will be made based upon these results.
What was good was that she helped me to better understand the recovery and helped me feel more comfortable with both the surgery itself and the recovery from the surgery. She helped me to understand that regardless of whether radiation is required, the option that is likely to have the best outcome (both aesthetically and recovery wise) is to do the reconstruction immediately (so with the BMX). From her perspective, I am healthy. I have no comorbidities (that is, I don’t have other illnesses that would increase my risk of complications).
I’m amused at how she looks at my body and wants to sculpt it – to reshape it – and casually mentions a revision surgery that involves lyposuctioning various extra fat bits to allow for a better cosmetic outcome. She comments that you don’t realize the fat is there until after the first surgery – you become more aware of different fat pouches after they remove the belly fold. I cannot help but feel pleased about this potential sculpting, but I’m also cautious about it. It is not surgery that I would choose to do in and of itself.
Somehow, I am feeling a lot calmer about the surgery – a lot less anxious than I was before. It seems more like something that I can handle – I can get over it – I can recover from it.
I feel a little calmer at the idea of looking down after the surgery and seeing myself – if they are able to spare the skin and nipples (they only do this if the various in-surgery biopsies are clear) – then when I look down it will look like me. My outside will be the same, the inside will be different – but it will still all be me. With less belly my hips will look huge .. instead of difficulty fitting shirts, I’ll have difficulty fitting pants … and yet, this doesn’t bother me. I can imagine myself looking sleeker – feeling good about my body.
For the last week I’ve been replaying the diagnosis … I don’t know why, but my mind seems to be on replay. I keep going through the day in my head – the day everything changed. Today I’m able to see beyond chemo and even beyond surgery – and that is good.
This decision feels right …