Skin and Nipple Sparing Bilateral Mastectomies with Immediate Placement of Tissue Expander/alloderm - Tacoma, WA

Foobs

Foobs.

Fake boobs.

Rising out of nothingness…Suddenly. In Biblical fashion.

The surgeons very kindly took me seriously when I said the prospect of traditional dual mastectomy horrified me. They inflated temporary tissue expanders to about half capacity before I left the operating room. So when I explored my chest in the recovery room there were these little convexities–booblets–complete with my very own nipples, right where I’d expect to find them. Mightily encouraged (this is all hearsay, mind you–I’ve no memory of it), I am said to have gleefully exposed them to anyone who’d look–the spouse, my dear friend Peggy, and whatever nurses & techs were trying to keep me breathing instead of flashing the entire floor.

So I’ve discovered an inner extrovert. If it only emerges after anesthesia, I’m good.

I was apparently good that day, as the spouse was heard to say, “Gee–it looks like you’re nineteen again!” Bless him. We won’t talk about how he knew what I looked like at 19, except to say that it involved a communal swimming pool and some self-conscious skinny dipping. There are those who will remember the ’70s & how that used to be OK. Nowadays, if I’d been much younger, there’d have been arrests.

But, nobody gets to stay 19 forever, even a second time ’round. I left the hospital with the medical equivalent of saran wrap holding my chest together. This would stay on an additional two weeks, providing increased heat within really thin skin that needed to establish new circulation, and a way to peer at the nipples–which until the surgeon told me, I didn’t realize might dry up and blow away.

So now, three weeks out from the original surgery and with regular infusions of saline, foobs have emerged from the primordial booblets. Given my profession and the profound effect words have on women’s sense of self, I’ve always been careful to give body parts their correct names–at least with patients of a certain age and comfort level. But special circumstances create the need for new vocabulary. An email friend who’s been through the same process tells me this stage is the “foob” stage. From the Latin, of course: fake boob.

Seems entirely appropriate to me, as these have certainly passed up my 19 year old booblet moment. Booblets are cute and unassuming. Foobs, well, foobs make their own way in the world. Anyone who accidentally runs into me won’t hurt me, but might come away with some serious bruises right about foob height. Which means we’re not talking “real” breasts yet.

I’ve got another one or two infusions to go before the tissue expanders reach their limit. Or I reach mine (this is not a comfortable process). A couple months after that, once things have stretched and settled to the extent they will, the expanders are exchanged for implants that feel much more like “real” breasts. And with any luck, I’ll start feeling real again, too.

I really hate the expanders and don't want to post pics in case looking at them keeps others from reconstructing. My mother didn't reconstruct & looked & felt awful for it. These aren't "real" breasts, but pectoral muscles. And getting them to look like real breasts is quite a feat. I'm hoping for the good look/feel Dr. Nichols's staff keeps telling me about once I have the "real" implants in place. Only 3 more weeks, now! Scared, but excited. Hoping for relief of pectoral and back muscle spasm, as the silicone is supposed to be much softer and more breast-like than these saline-filled plastic things expanded to their limit.
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Don't worry about photos...there are plenty of them available. :) My mom waited almost 2 years to reconstruct. You're right, it's not a fun process, but I'm hoping you get great results over time. Hang in there!

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I enjoyed reading your review. You have a lovely way with words including your sense of humor. I suppose you need a bit of humor to navigate the long challenge of reconstruction. What size were you original breasts and how many cc's will you need to achieve your final foobs? I mean boobs. Good luck with the next infusion. Thank you for sharing your story on RealSelf!

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Tacoma Plastic Surgeon

Absolutely wonderful, caring surgeon, support staff and nurses.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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