Earlier this week I had my post-op with Dr. FixIt. Right after the surgery my post-op was just with his nurse, to get rid of the Teddy bear stuffing and make sure I was fine. At this appointment, I graduated into the next phase of nipple building. Apparently after surgery, there are 3 phases of … well, not really healing, since there was no nipple there before to heal. Maybe of curing? Like concrete. After all, there was spackle involved.
Anyway, at this appointment the yellow bolster sewn onto the new nipple was snipped off, like an unveiling (where’s the drum roll?). Dr. FixIt did a great job with it, and he was clearly proud of himself; it is a good match to Lefty in size, shape, and location. At this point, the color is not right yet; and the stitches under the bolster that are scaffolding the whole thing together remain in place. It looks like a nipple the way Coraline’s Other Mother’s eyes look like eyes.
The nurse also removed any lingering steri-strips elsewhere on my body, including the one covering the skin graft harvest scar, which does not look too bad.
After we were done patting ourselves on the backs with how great everything looks, it was time to patch things back up again. The nipple will need to remain “splinted” for another week (another two, in my case, since I’m out of town for a week). The nurse demonstrated the process. First she cut a strip of gauze called Xeroform, which has been impregnated with antibiotic and Vasoline – the same yellow stuff the bolster was made out of. She carefully wrapped it around the areola, ending the loop right on top of the nipple. This provides it some structure, and keeps the new skin moist (it’s very goopy). She then loosely covered the whole thing with dry gauze.
I can now wear a normal bra (without underwire). I do need to keep wearing a compression garment around my abdomen, but it does not have to be the big Velcro wrap; regular Spanx are fine. “I’m sure I’ll be more comfortable in Spanx” said no one ever… until me, just now. The area that was liposuctioned is still tender and itchy but coming along. The compression does make it feel better, more protected.
At my next appointment I’ll move on to the final phase of regrowth. Instead of the Xeroform, apparently we’ll be either cutting a hole in a piece of gauze, or using some Dr. Scholl’s corn pads.