Saturday, September 18, 2010

Size A, Revisited

At the time of my surgery, my doctor inserted an expander filled with 50 cc's of saline. This week at my post op appointment, Cindy Carson, PA added more. It was a fascinating process. The expander valve is located towards the bottom center of the expander. Cindy used a magnet to find the valve and inserted a small needle. Before she inserted more saline, she pulled blue fluid out of the expander to test that the needle was in the right place. After seeing the blue fluid, she added more saline.

First, I would like to say how much I like Cindy Carson. She is definitely straight forward. But, she also has a kind gentleness about her that I really appreciate.

Second, the procedure did not hurt as much as I thought it might. Similar to my right side, I have very few active nerve endings in the breast area. Cindy recommended that I take Motrin when I got home for the muscle tenderness that could result from the expander's increased size. My muscles were a little more tender for about the first hour. Still, from what others have told me based on their experiences, I expected a lot worse. Maybe so, as the expander increases in size, I guess. For now, even though I still have the residual pain from surgery, I am encouraged that the muscle pain resulting from the expander process will be manageable. I hope this means that we will be able to fill the expander faster.

With the addition of the saline, clothed, I look like I have a breast on my left side. Unclothed, it reminds me of the shape and size of a knee cap, with a nasty scar from being split open across the top. A war wound.

Emotionally, it has been hard to look in the mirror. The skin has been pulled and pressed over the muscle and the muscle stretched over the expander. The result is skin with distinctive puckers, like a tufted chair cushion. I also feel the muscle flex a lot more readily. I assume this is because the muscle is much closer to the surface.

With this recent expander fill, I can see that the tufting is starting to subside. Cindy tells me that if I end up with divots in my skin that they have ways to fix those, using body fat. She also tells me that it looks the way that it is supposed to look, even describing my skin as looking good. I trust her.

Regardless of how it looks behind the curtain, not many women get to revisit their youth in this respect. (I think I was size A in junior high school.) The weight on my chest is much different from the weight of my chest with breasts. And even more different than the weight I carried mentally when my chest was riddled with cancer. I prefer this weight. Size A, revisited.


  1. What a process. I had no idea how it all works. Thank you for sharing and for your beautiful words!

  2. I find this fascinating, thanks for sharing. You're such a brave person to do that. Most people could not do what you have done, Marsi. There is definately a light at the end of the tunnel. Lova ya, Shelley