Yesterday I had my first visit with Dr. FixIt since midway through chemo, when he did my final breast expander fill. If you’ll recall, Dr. FixIt is my plastic surgeon – i.e., the guy ultimately responsible for cleaning up everyone else’s mess, and helping me to realize my goal of getting a perky rack out of all this bullshit. The plan was to wait to see him until a couple of months after radiation therapy, and here we are.
The procedure is to replace the breast expander on the right side with an implant, and otherwise fix things up a bit – he commented that there’s a lot of damage from the radiation that he can see, so there’s some work to do there. The skin after the mastectomy was also pinched on one side (hard to explain in words and I’ve promised not to post any frontal nudity photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination…), which he’ll smooth out. I will still need a follow-up procedure 2-3 months later to do some touch-up and to slap on a nipple.
On the left side, he’ll do a reduction and lift to get things moving in the perky direction. Sometimes to do a lift they will put in an implant as well, simply due to the position change, but he does not think that’ll be necessary for my situation. So that’s good.
It’s an outpatient procedure with an approximately two-week recovery time, and generally much less involved than the mastectomy. They’d told me that would be a six-week recovery, and it took me half that long, so hopefully I’ll have a similar experience this time. On the downside, and much to my dismay, this procedure will involve drains again, and on BOTH SIDES this time. I HATED the drain! I forgot to ask how long I’ll need them in – hopefully not for as long as before but who knows.
Along the lines of recovery time, I told him that I’ve been invited on a backpacking trip to a hard-to-get-a-permit, life-list location, but it’s four weeks after the surgery. Is it maybe a bad idea to plan a backpacking trip that soon? Um, that would be a hard YES. But as Tad said, I sorta knew that. Oh well.
Finally, with all my surgery questions answered, I moved on to the topic of my lymphedema. I’ve been waiting to discuss my surgical options with him because lymphedema surgery is a microsurgery technique, and so typically performed by plastic surgeons. I knew Dr. FixIt does not perform these procedures, but I figured he’d have some knowledge and opinions about them.
Turns out he knows of the doc I met with at UCSD (Dr. Cutie?), although he does not know him personally. He commented that he is very green – may not even be board certified yet. His overall takeaway was that not a lot of surgeons do these procedures … because they don’t work all that well. If they worked better, more people would be doing them and it’d be more common. He acknowledged that the risk is low, but the chance that it’ll do much to help is fairly low too. I appreciated his candor.
So, I’m on track for my 9/11 surgery date with a pre-op to be scheduled for probably the week before.