News on the cancer front continues to be positive for me. Everything is stable. The only medical issue I am facing, which is somewhat cancer related, is that one of my breast implants ruptured. Apparently it was an internal rupture, meaning it was contained by tissue surrounding the implant. I have no symptoms and probably would never have known at this point other than a plastic surgeon reviewed some of my CT scans last fall and caught it. While she indicated that dealing with this (exchanging for a new implant) is not something that has to be done immediately, she said that when they see it, they feel like they should probably address it. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not an issue at all for me and 10 being medical emergency, this is about a 1.5. I don’t really have any desire to do anything about it, but since I’m feeling pretty healthy otherwise and would like to prevent complications that might arise from a ruptured implant, I’m planning to do the exchange in about a month.
The plastic surgery consult was pretty amusing to me. Other than my breast implants following the bilateral mastectomy, I’ve never really considered plastic surgery. Not that I’m against it. I’ve just had more critical health issues that have come up at a relatively young age, so it has never been much of a thought for me. Anyway, back to the consult. When my plastic surgeon brought up the implant exchange, she suggested I consider whether I might want to exchange the other implant also since I’m already going to be sedated, they are opening me up, etc. Why not kill 2 birds with 1 stone instead of possibly undergoing another surgery in a few years or suffer complications in the event the other implant ruptures? This idea alone kind of blew my mind….I mean why fix something that isn’t broken? Or do they expect it to rupture? Is she just trying to drum up more business? In all honesty, I don’t think she was trying to pressure me into excessive surgery, I think she was just trying to cover her bases and inform me of all the different options. Things really got crazy when she brought of the idea of “smoothing things out”…scar lines, etc. by using fat from my abdomen. WHAT?!?
Me (thinking): What did I just hear? Liposuction? To my stomach? The exact problem area of most women, but especially those of us who have been pregnant in the past? The especially problematic area for people like me that gained over 50 pounds with each pregnancy? Removing the layer of fat that just sticks there…no matter how much weight is lost? That can’t be right? To be so casually mentioned….? What is going on? Where am I?!?
Me (aloud, after composing myself): “So…..so, are you? Are you saying you would take fat from my stomach and add it to my chest?”
Plastic surgeon: “Yes.”
Me (obviously she doesn’t get the gravity of what we are talking about, I need to act it out): “So.” Clearing my throat and pointing at my stomach. “You would take fat from here. And put it here (pointing at my chest).”
Plastic surgeon: “Yes.”
Me (talking very slowly now for complete understanding and maintaining strict eye-contact to show I mean business): “So, my waist would get smaller and my chest would get bigger?”
Plastic surgeon: “Yes.”
Please, women who might be reading this article, pause for a moment to consider what is being offered. The holy grail of fat redistribution; less in the waist and more in the chest (or “bosom”).
At this point I started laughing hysterically and the plastic surgeon started to look uncomfortable. When she realized I was indeed laughing, not crying, she started to awkwardly lightly chuckle along side of me.
So many things about this….
While after childbirth I did experience a dramatic desire to get several pounds of fat hacked off of my abdomen and have noticed over the years that there seems to be an everlasting layer of fat around the abdomen that is just stuck there…forever; I would never in a million years have thought I’d be having a discussion with a surgeon about liposuction to the area. I don’t even make time for haircuts (I get 2 per year) or wash my hair (1-2 times per week). And in the spirit of continuing my minimalistic ways, I am strongly leaning towards just doing the bare minimum in this surgery, which would be just replacing the one ruptured implant. But, I continue to look back on the conversation with amusement. Breast cancer continues to be a journey for me and I can’t help but smile that the journey at this point in time includes conversations with a plastic surgeon about liposuction. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get any better than this for a metastatic breast cancer patient.