Here you will find a gallery of photos documenting each stage of my recovery. Content of these images may be graphic in nature, so consider this your spoiler alert for all of you with a weak stomach.
Side Note: Right and Left in this context depicts MY right and MY left – not how you’re viewing them straight on.
2 Days Post Op – Swelling on my right breast/nipple area, severe bruising, indentation on upper part of left breast. Swelling and bruising should reduce in a few days.
3 Days Post Op – Still some swelling on my right breast but the bruising has gone down. Incision line looks very clean at this point and is expected to heal with minimal scarring.
5 Days Post Op – Still some slight swelling on my right breast. Bruising continues to go down. The small red mark near my left nipple is a stress pull as the port for the fills lies directly underneath it. The incisions are coming along nicely as well.
One Week Post Op – After speaking with the plastic surgeon today, he said I’ll have to leave my right drain in a little bit longer than the left since there is still some swelling. Bruising has significantly gotten better. The ace bandage was a HUGE relief to hold the drain tubes in place! I can’t wait for my real implants! Wake me up when December gets here!
3 Weeks Post Op – I finally got my first fill which definitely makes them look interesting. You have to keep in mind that the expanders will never really look “natural” as they are a hard plastic meant to stretch your skin. Here you can tell they come out to the sides more than an implant would. In picture form, they look MUCH larger than they actually are as I’m about a full B cup after the fill. They definitely feel tight but this should die down in a few days after my body gets used to the intrusion of more saline. My right breast is still a little swollen but the doctor said that will be taken care of during my exchange surgery when I get my implants. As the skin stretches, the nipples and areola will all even out and go back to normal as well.
1 Day Post Exchange Surgery – Let’s just call these babies the first round! I spoke with my surgeon today and he enlightened me on what went on during surgery. Given that I had a pretty massive bleed on my right breast I had a lot of scar tissue build over the last 2 1/2 months. He was able to remove the majority of that but some was still left behind – primary underneath the right nipple. He didn’t want to scrape too much on that area as he didn’t want to risk losing the blood supply because that could cause the nipple to die. And I definitely don’t want that! The areola on the right breast is somewhat scrunched because of the bleed, so I was told to massage the crap out of that bad boy to get it pulled out again. All in all I think this is a great first round. As things start to settle, my left side is becoming slightly lower than my right so come April of next year, he’ll go in and lift, tuck and tweak any minor imperfections to make them as perfect as possible. Overall I’m thrilled! I can’t believe I look like this after a MASTECTOMY. And come bathing suit season, these girls will be ready to go!
19 Days Post Gummy Bear Implant Exchange – The previous silicone implants turned out to be a little less ideal than what I had expected. My right implant ended up falling about an inch below my incision because they were so heavy, which ended up putting a lot of stress on my skin. Not only that, but the regular silicone implants would move at their leisure inside of my body which wasn’t amazing. When you don’t have breast tissue to hold those implants in place, things start to migrate. I also ended up with quite a bit of rippling. Fat grafting would have helped hide that, but again, your options are very limited without breast tissue. The picture below shows 19 days post op after the gummy bear implant exchange. They actually FEEL like they belong in my body! Yes, they’re a little uneven, but who cares at this point! I’m finally happy with what I’ve got and my plastic surgeon was amazing! Definitely go for the gummies if that option is available to you! This is also without fat grafting – just the implant. My biggest concern is how they look in a bathing suit and I can most certainly say I’m very happy with that!
3 Weeks After “Gummy Bear” Implant Exchange – In April of 2014 I received my last round of revisions. I am finally in my highly cohesive silicone gel implants (AKA gummy bear implants) and I couldn’t be happier with the final result. My right implant had slipped a bit due to some minor complications and the revisions made were simply to make things a bit more even. In the photo below, my right side is still a little higher than my left to give it room to settle. For the most part, they’ve settled evenly. Just keep in mind, that there might be a handful of surgeries required to get you closer to the result you want. At the end of the day, however, always remember that this is a preventative surgery that will aid in keep you breast cancer free. It is by NO MEANS a “boob job”, no matter how good the end result may look.