New Body Parts, a Big-Ass Truck and Cat Helpers

Yesterday was the big reveal of my newly reconstructed nipples. I did not expect anything other than an “ewww yuck” sort of feeling. I knew they would be too big, riddled with stitches and scabs. Still, after 9 days with bolster dressings it was a relief to be free and I was curious as to what lurked under the tegaderm. I was happiest when they were cleaned up and under new dressings. Not for the first time I had the distinct impression that these new additions were not really mine. It is a very strange thing to get new body parts.

The good news is the new nips are healing normally, the bad news is I do have a small seroma, confirmed by ultrasound. For now it is wait and watch. Monday I will see the plastic surgeon and hope to have the stitches removed. If the seroma has grown it will be drained with a needle. Ugh.

Also in the good news column, my sister’s mastectomy/DIEP flap reconstruction went very well yesterday. I spoke to her this afternoon. Her description of this surgery is spot on:

“I got hit by a truck,” she said.

We agreed something really should be done about that stupid truck that hit us both.

My brother-in-law Gino bought himself a truck a few years back that was so humongous his wife dubbed it “The BAT.” That stands for Big-Ass Truck. Even his license plate reads “BAT.” I think both Anne and I know what it feels like to be run over by the BAT. Compared to that, some new nipple weirdness is just a minor blip.

This morning I took a proper shower for the first time in ten days. It felt great. As I carefully folded and cut 4X4 bandages to make new dressings, my sweet boy cat, Lord Cotswold the Handsome, decided to assist me by jumping into the bathroom sink. He is a water freak. End result? A gigantic hole in the 4X4’s big enough for twenty nipples. So nice to have cat friends to help me with these new girl parts.

Cotty never met a sink he didn’t like.


Post Op Ups and Downs

It has been 5 days since my latest trip to surgery land. At the end of the week the doctor will remove the bolster dressings. Right now I can’t see what the new nips look like. Fine with me. It takes a while before things calm down and start to look normal. I can wait.

I reminded myself that healing takes time just this morning as I was getting cleaned up. Since the bolster dressings need to remain dry, I’ve been extra-careful in the shower. But those lovely markings made by the surgeon’s purple Sharpie did not want to come off. I worked on them very gently today ¬†with baby wipes and that is when I noticed an unpleasant squishy feeling in the left breast. There is no mistaking the feel and sound, yes sound, of excess fluid trapped under the skin.

Blech. Probably a seroma forming. It’s the most common complication from any type of breast surgery. Most seromas resolve on their own as the body slowly reabsorbs the trapped fluid. This can take up to a year. Sometimes this excess fluid can become infected or begins to get so large that it has to be drained surgically. Double blech.

I wonder if chocolate is good for a seroma?

Valrhona – a classic chocolate and one of my all time favorites.