You Can Have Whatever You Like
Sang to the tune of a T.I classic (because, obviously)
Silicone or Saline your boobs will look pristine…
Shouldn’t fuck with textured, and should stay off a trampoline..
Want it you can get it my dear, those breasts you always wanted , fuck cancer I swear. Yeah.
(You wouldn't believe how many times I rewinded the real song to make sure the syllables were on point. I am a perfectionist, what can I say?)
So here I am rounding out the year long journey that is breast cancer. As I sat in my plastic surgeon’s office a few weeks ago, I was really trippin’ off what a whirlwind year it has been. So much happened, and it all felt like yesterday. I went into this appointment just sort of expecting to talk about the logistics of my exchange surgery, and be on my merry way. No. Turns out there are a few things you have to consider ahead of your new breasts.
Let’s Zack Morris time out on this again, for a hot second.
For those of you who aren’t up to speed on all things breast cancer speak, you might be asking what do you mean when you say exchange surgery? Does this mean you started feeling yourself a bit too much and decided to exchange your first set of implants for something bigger? Nah.
When you undergo a mastectomy, your plastic surgeon will put in tissue expanders. What are tissue expanders?
Tissue expanders are inflatable breast implants made to stretch the skin to make room for your breast implants. These expanders feel very uncomfortable and unnatural. Several of my friends have asked to touch them, and the general consensus is they feel like cement.
I have had my tissue expanders in for almost a year. So that is almost a year of being deathly afraid of injuring people after a hug, not being able to comfortably sleep on my side for too long, and let’s not forget trying to lift weights at the gym and feeling something move in your chest leaving you wondering if something is damaged.
Why did I have to wait so long?
Well, there was chemo. Then radiation. That’s a fuck ton for the body to endure. Your body needs to be healed properly before tackling its next obstacle course.
You can imagine my excitement as I sat in my doctors office looking at implants and making decisions about what to get.
So the questions were:
Silicone or Saline? Silicone gel gives a more natural look to the breasts, while saline has the consistency of water, and is known to potentially ripple or wrinkle under very thin skin. Some people choose saline because in the event an implant ruptures, your body will harmlessly absorb the fluid. In the end, I decided on silicone as I definitely wanted a more natural look and feel.
Over the muscle vs. under the muscle? I didn’t realize this was a thing, until one of my peers in the breast cancer space dropped some knowledge on me about the pros and cons. I decided to broach this with my surgeon on this visit — in which he sort of side eyed me and said that he already put my expanders under the muscle, and that is typically his practice. Ok, so not much decision to be made there. However, what are the pros and cons? Over the muscle will ensure that the shape of the breast will not change as the muscles contract. Eg: If you are a heavy weight lifter, then over the muscle makes sense. Over the muscle is also a less invasive process with lower recovery time. The caveat to over the muscle is a slightly less natural look, perhaps causing the breasts to ripple easier. In terms of going under the muscle, (which apparently my fate has already been locked in there) your breasts will look more natural with less rippling, however more recovery time will be attached to this. Your breasts may also sit a bit high until your muscles recover. I happen to love my plastic surgeon and trust him completely, so I am really not upset he chose the under the muscle option for me. He is a perfectionist, and I really didn’t have a strong opinion on this, to be honest.
Smooth vs. Textured? Ok, so this is a hot button agenda item right now in the breast cancer community. Why? Textured implants will now put patients at a higher risk for what is called Breast Implant- Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. I will give you a moment to google that. It is rare, however something to be cognizant of when choosing your implants. While textured implants help the implant stay in position over time and there is less chance of rippling, I opted for smooth. My surgeon asked me “what my goals are” and I said “to not get Breast Implant -Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.” So, smooth it is.
After making these decisions, I am now good to go. Recovery time is said to be shorter with this surgery, with the procedure only taking about. 2 hours, and I can go home the day of. I am told recovery time will be about a week, with no jumping or working out for about 3 week to a month. (So if you have seen my Instagram story from Barry’s Bootcamp a lot these past few weeks, my apologies — trying to get the workouts in)
Now for the last and final burning question. In the spirit of suspense I waited until the end to talk about the size of my new gal pals. This really isn’t a big reveal, but I am bored, so let me have this.
I decided to stay the same size. There I said it. I actually wanted to go smaller, because I don’t need to get out of speeding tickets anymore. My surgeon encouraged me to stay the same size as he felt that even though I had a larger chest for my frame, he thinks it is very proportionate and makes the most sense. So, yeah. Looking forward to waking up in a morphine coma and checking ‘em out.
Bottom line, my life is coming full circle. I was flat chested until I was 17. I woke up one morning, looked at myself and saw I had boobs. On March 13, the exact same thing will be happening again. Slow clap for science!