It has been a few weeks now since my last op. I can’t lie, I don’t think I was prepared at all for what ensued. It is most unlike me, but for some reason I didn’t do quite as much research as I had in the past and consequently my recovery has been full of surprises.
My consultant offered lots of reassurance about the procedure he was carrying out; from the origami approach he would use to create my right nipple to the lipomodelling of the left breast using fat from my inner and outer thigh and upper abdomen. I felt the familiar feeling of being marked up for theatre as he started to draw where the incisions would be made on my thighs and boobs. It dawned on me at this point, I was wearing a very expensive pair of cream knickers, French and lacy and when I looked down they were now full of purple surgical pen which has yet to come off despite numerous attempts with Vanish and other associated stain removal products!
I was surprised when I woke up to discover the surgery had taken four hours for what I had understood was minor surgery. I returned to the ward and was keen to eat something so I could make my way home as quickly as possible. My newly created nipple was dressed Jean-Paul Gaultier style and I would wait another two weeks before finding out the result. My left bobber resembled Dolly Parton – its new inflated size and to quote Dolly – “Plastic Surgeons are always making mountains out of molehills”, this was definitely true in my case as my left boob went from a C cup to a DD.
My legs quickly swelled and by the following morning measured 40 inches compared to their normal 35 with bruises from hip to knee. I couldn’t sit, lie or stand without pain. It was much worse than I had anticipated. My flesh touched from the top of my legs all the way down to my knees and overlapped pressing together like lovers in a warm embrace but without the benefit of any romance. It didn’t feel like me; I felt truly awful and very sorry for myself.
Two weeks later at clinic was the big reveal. Something that looked like a nipple. I started to cry – again – tears have become a constant companion on this journey. It’s difficult to explain the psychological impact of not having your own breast and today made a big difference in coming to terms with what has happened. Now, I wait for my tattoo – six months if I have it done on the NHS or three months if I pay privately…we’ll see.
Over the last few weeks, my nipple has decreased in size so it is now really quite small. It’s also flattened at the top and would benefit from a stitch to ‘fix’ it into position. I’m hoping it doesn’t shrink anymore but as it is, it’s probably ok. I can’t wait to have the tattoo done.
My legs are another story. As part of the procedure, both legs were used to lipomodel my left boob. I’m seven weeks post op and currently have significant changes to the structure of my legs on both my inner and outer thigh. Every day I wear a very glamorous pair of Marks & Spencer body shapers as per the instructions of my consultant – I wear these for 23 hours a day and the hope is they will smooth the lines. My problem is, I don’t have lines, I have gouges in my thighs. They really sadden me and I am struggling to come to terms with this. If I had known the surgery could have ended up this way I would have not had it done. Having since spoken to the plastic surgery nurse, she has told me when you are slim, the results may be less favourable. This wasn’t on my consent form and nobody said this to me prior to my surgery. Everyday, I cry at what I am left with – another reminder, another disfigurement.
So I will wait. The final results will only make themselves known up to 6 months post op – I have a little way to go. In the meantime, am doing everything I can possibly do to improve them, from walking every day; yoga; massage with my newly acquired body roller and applying liberal amounts of oil prepared by Sonia. Sonia is our resident aromatherapist and advisor on the science of natural healing.
Rather than focusing on how bad they look, (and they do), I am repeating a daily mantra along the lines of my legs are getting better every day, because I know how important it is to be positive. Our body is capable of healing itself in many ways, but sometimes we are so lost in trauma, we lose our way.
At the end of the day, I have been blessed with life and amidst all the twists and turns, it is important to remember, today, I woke up and I will do everything I can to celebrate each precious moment.
Sending you love and light, – Tootsie xx