You’re doing what?

Since launching the Previvor blog I’ve been overwhelmed by the support, encouragement and love coming my way, I’m feeling surprisingly relaxed.

I had literally only told a very small number of family members in person that I was going to document the whole process via a blog and I only emailed my mum and immediate family a day or two before it all went live!!

I think this was partly because I was nervous, much like keeping a baby name to yourself before your children are born, I wasn’t prepared to open the whole thing up to discussion or opinion just in case it made me hesitate to do it.

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I must admit, I was procrastinating a little when it came to launching the Previvor Facebook page, let alone this blog, some of the thoughts I had going on in my mind were:

  • What will my friends/family/colleagues and business clients think?
  • Do people really care?
  • What if it ‘gets out’ and strangers start putting their 2 cents in?
  • Do people really want a ‘nipples and all’ journey of the process?
  • Will my friends still be able to look me in the eye once they’ve seen my boobies?
  • How does my hubby feel about me taking pictures of my boobs for other people to see?
  • What about the school Principal – what will he think if he stumbles across the page?  And the husband’s of my close friends, and the School Reverend – oh dear!!

Do you see the pattern in the questions above?  It took me a minute, but it’s pretty obvious really!!

The questions are all about everyone else!!  This isn’t how I live my life, so why was I all of a sudden so conscious about what everyone else would think?  So after slapping myself about a little, I went ahead and I’m here sharing my story.

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I’m pretty honest, open and raw when it comes to conversation and I pride myself on integrity and truth, so at the core of this, is just me.  Like it or hate it, it’s who I am and this is what I’m doing.

Walk away now if you don’t like it!! (seriously…..I really mean that).

I’ve had quite a few friends, including some nervous male friends, ask me for more information about the whole ‘process’.  So let’s start talking about the details……

I’m having my breasts removed in full, nipples and all and it’s ‘scheduled’ for Friday 28 February.  To help answer some of the questions a few people have asked this past week, I’ve noted some of the questions and answers down:

So Yas, what exactly happens?  Do they take your whole breast?

Yes, they literally take it all!  I’ve opted to have ‘non-nipple sparring’ surgery, which means I won’t have nipples afterwards either. 

Where do they make the incision?

I’m having the incision directly over each nipple.  I’ll end up with a scar across each breast, which over time will fade.  If it’s anything like my caesarian scar, you’ll barely notice it.

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Are you having a reconstruction (fake boobies or Foobs)?

I initially didn’t want to have any kind of reconstruction, however after further research and discussion with doctors and other women who have undergone the procedure, I have opted to have a small reconstruction.

Are you considering a nipple reconstruction?

No, I’m not really that interested in replacing my nipples with any kind of reconstruction.  I may consider a medical nipple tattoo down the track, but for now I’m going to enjoy not having to ever worry about lining up my nipples daily and then adjusting them regularly when they move around.  No more high beams – whoo hoo!!!

Are you going to get yourself a big set of boobies?  One friend suggested an F cup!!

Absolutely NOT!!  I love to train and compete in various sports and there’s no way I want to have anything bigger than what I have now.  Since having children, I range from a meaty A to a big B cup and I’ve ‘asked’ the Dr for an A+ to B- cup (if that makes sense).  I don’t really want to be a full B cup, as it’s quite large looking when the breast is a nice, neat reconstruction.

Did you know that when Leigh and I first started dating, he bought me a bra and knickers set, you’ll never guess the size of the bra…..it was a 10DD (seriously!!  But the history of my boobs and their late bloom and then instant overnight arrival is a whole other blog)

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How long will the surgery take?

I understand that the two stage process will take around 3-4 hours.  The breast surgeon removes all of the tissue first, and then the plastic surgeon will commence the ‘tissue expander’ reconstruction.

What does the ‘tissue expander’ reconstruction mean?

Officially, thanks to the resources available via my plastic surgeon, a Tissue Expander and Implant Reconstruction involves a tissue expander (an empty silicone bag) being placed under my muscles in the initial operation once all the breast tissue is remove.  Over a period of time (between 6-8 weeks), I visit my plastic surgeon and have the prosthesis ‘expanded’.  Sterile saline is injected through an internal valve and the skin and muscle expand with this process, and eventually, a pocket is created under the skin and muscle for the permanent implant.   I can wait to show you pictures when this all happens to me!!

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A second surgical procedure will then be needed to replace the expanders, as they are not designed to serve as a permanent implant.  I’m told it’s like having two ‘bricks’ in your body, with them being hard to touch.  Be warned if I happen to hug you while I have the expanders in place – it might feel a bit funny!

Apparently they’re very ‘perky’ too, it’s been a good 10 years since I’d be able to honestly call my breasts ‘perky’.  I’ve seen some pictures and it’s a little ‘extreme’ during the expansion process.

Thankfully everything returns to a more ‘natural’ looking breast once the tissue expanders are removed and replaced with the implants.

Maybe I need to get myself one of these shirts…..

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How long will you be in hospital?

It’s estimated that I’ll be in hospital for up to 7 days.  I will have ‘drains’ in each breast for this time.  I understand that it minimises the infection risk to remain in hospital and because I’m having it done ‘privately’, I’m able to stay.

When will you be able to train again?

OK, I’ll admit it, this is MY question!!!  I love to stay active, so naturally this question came up when I met with the plastic surgeon.  In case you’re wondering, no, it wasn’t the first question I asked!!

It’s really dependent on my healing, however as a firm believer in a positive mental attitude and the power it has in life, I’m thinking that it won’t be too long before I can resume some light training, which means walking initially, perhaps some water running and definitely some wind trainer and modified gym sessions.

I won’t be able to run, swim or jump on the bars of my road bike for a fair amount of time, up to 8 weeks I’d think, but I’m predicting that I’ll have the tightest legs of my life based on the amount of lower body work I will be doing.

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What have you told your kids?

The 100% absolute truth of course!  They know about the high risk factor, the breast removal, the nipple removal, the reconstruction and we have discussed at great length the fact I won’t have nipples ever again and how it might look and feel.  Naturally given they’re 6 and 7 years old, I’ve left out all of the gory bits, but as far as communicating the details to them, they have both been a part of the whole process, including the fact that I’m doing this blog and they are both incredibly supportive beyond their years.

So, there you have it, some of the basic details about the journey I’m about to take as honestly and openly as I can be.

Leigh has been a big supporter throughout the whole journey, which really started around 10 years ago when we first discussed this as an option.  I’m grateful to have a husband, partner and bestie who understands not only my need to take this path, but he’s completely behind the blog and my desire to document the whole journey.

Miss 6 stated it best……..and if you have made it this far through the whole blog, it will well be worth finishing up with her statement.

She said “Mum, I think it’s great that you’re going to hospital and staying in for 7 days.  Just think, if you don’t do this, you will end up having to be in hospital for a year or more when you’re sick if you get breast cancer’.”

Wise words Miss 6, very very wise words!

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