Second diagnosis of early stage breast cancer 6 years a part. My mastectomy was May 19, 2011. I knew what to expect visually, but I had no idea what to expect for after care. First 3 weeks were difficult in terms of arm movement, sleeping and bathing. However, I returned to work in 3 weeks! After my surgeon performed the mastectomy, Dr. Kim came in and installed expanders which were placed under the chest muscle. No pain or discomfort really, only what I would describe as tightness. These expanders were filled weekly which was no great concern either. Visually my breast shape was not attractive....yet; uneven and flaps of skin were still present with stitches and scarring under my armpits. I was assured everything would stretch and even out...it did and beautifully! For the expansion visits, the nurse would clean the area to be injected and slowly fill the expander with saline. This went on until we were comfortable with the size I wanted to be (about 2 months). Because I had radiation on the left side back in 2005, that muscle wouldn't stretch as far limiting the ultimate size. September 26, 2011, was the exchange surgery which means, the expanders were taken out and my new healthy silcone implants were installed. I couldn't wait to get home that same day to see them. When I finally could remove the bandage, I stared in the mirror in astonishment! They were wonderful!
8 weeks later, Dr. Kim created the nipple area during an outpatient visit, but under heavy anesthesia (which today I consider a work of art). 2 months after that procedure, the areola was tattooed; they look amazingly natural too. I can confidently tell you, it was worth every tear as I emotionally traveled through the various stages of adjustment (a) for how I looked, (b) for the loss of feeling around the area, and (c) what my husband would think. This was the best decision of my life. I wish I had been granted this surgery back in 2005. I am confident in my future and grateful for my new healthy "girls".