Yep! My surgery chapters should now be closed. After almost a full year, I finally had my surgery to exchange out these expanders for the implants this morning! I cannot tell you how excited I am. I have had a total of four surgeries this year: auxillary sentinel lymph node surgery with port installation, double mastectomy with placement of expanders and port removal, ovaries removed, and finally today exchanging out expanders for permanent implants. As I think about this past year, I am amazed at all I have endured. I never thought I would have experienced chemo, radiation, and 4 surgeries within this past year all by the age of 37! It truly has been a whirlwind this year.
Since most people have no experience with expanders, let me tell you about them. This is what a tissue expander (on left) looks like before being placed verses a silicone implant(right side). As you can see, the implant is squeezable.
Once the tissue expanders are placed, they fill it over time to stretch your skin and muscle. Here is a picture of how it is placed.
You can see, there is just a thin shell of muscle and skin. Needless to say, it is uncomfortable. I was able to adjust to it pretty quickly. The biggest problem with the tissue expanders is feeling pressure and the inability of movement. What has been taken away this past year was my ability to hold my children on my lap and cuddle with them. The pressure of them leaning back on me was too uncomfortable. I am so ecstatic to be able to hold the kiddos and let them lean on me. Just the idea of the implant being able to move is thrilling to me. I can't wait to wear a real bra again instead of a sports bra.
Today has marked another chapter closed on this breast cancer journey. I want to thank everyone for the support and prayers given to me through my journey. As I recoup from my last surgery, I hope you take time to enjoy your Memorial Day weekend! Thank you again for hanging in there with me! It has meant a lot!! Take care!