I have only been on Nicole's site for a short time, and have realized, from the chat, that there are more women than I thought, that are either going through, or have had to deal with the same breast problem. So, I thought I would share my experience, for those who have fears, the way I had, but didn't know where to go to talk with others.
I am 45 yrs. old, married to a wonderful, supportive husband, and have 4 grown sons, 3 grandchildren, and I dare not forget my 2 yorkies, who are spoiled rotten. lol
Thirteen yrs. ago, I was diagnosed with fibrocystic disease. I had found a lump, and went through a terrifying 3 weeks, waiting and wondering if it was cancer. That was the beginning of 9 years of pain, questionable lumps, needle aspirations, and needle biopsies.
In March of 1997, after the results of my second mammogram that year, my doctor advised me of his concerns. The fibrocystic disease had become so massive, that he was concerned that cancer would be undetectable. He asked me to consider having my breast tissue removed and replaced with implants. I was a little horrified of the thought at first, but more horrified of cancer.
I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon, that I had been referred to, but wasn't happy with the consult at all. He wanted to do a full mastectomy, to begin and then put in implants later. I asked about doing surgery, and removing my tissue from under the breasts, so I wouldn't be scarred horribly, and he decided that I should see a doctor at their breast clinic.
This doctor ended up being a nightmare! She was very cold and matter of fact. She was upset with me, because I didn't know my grandmother's history - she died when my mother was 5 yrs. old. She then proceeded to tell me having my tissue removed was ridiculous -- she would put me on vitamin E, evening primrose, and male hormones. She stated that most likely, my voice would deepen, and I could grow facial hair, but what was I concerned with "my health or my appearance?"
I left her office $300.00 poorer, and cried all the way home, ready to give up.
My husband suggested, that I try to find a PS in another city. It was a while before I gave in to the idea, but one day, I decided to get on the Internet, and search for PS's in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where some of our best doctors are located. I had a list of about 20 plastic surgeons, and started making phone calls, but just didn't feel comfortable with any of them. I was ready to call it quits, but after about an hour, decided to call the last office on the list.
I hit the jackpot -- his credentials were excellent, and he could do the ba procedure, removing my tissue from the same incision. And as luck would have it, he had a cancellation, and could see me the following day.
My consult went very well. He was honest and open about what I should expect. He stated that we would have to be careful about size ( I did want to go bigger, needed to get something out of this). He explained when removing the tissue, if you go too big, it can cause the skin to become very transparent. I decided to leave the choice of implant size up to him. My surgery was scheduled on June 4th, 1997, my 40th birthday. That morning, showered and standing in front of the mirror, I started thinking that in a few short hours, my breasts would be gone. What if the implants didn't look right with no tissue there? What if I hated the implants? This was it. I couldn't change my mind after my breasts were taken. I was scared! No, I was petrified!
Thanks to the support and love of my husband, he helped to reassure me, that I was doing the right thing, and that it would be all right.
After the surgery, I could only relate my pain to someone laying a cement block on my chest. I never was in any great discomfort or pain. It was just uncomfortable. I had to stay in the hospital, for a 24-hour period, and was released.
The next few days, is a fog, between painkillers and Valium, I don't remember much of anything, except sleeping a lot.
I saw my PS, at one week, and then at 3 weeks. He became very serious, at my 3-week appointment, after checking everything, and telling me I was doing fantastic. He said he had to tell me something. He said they had sent my tissue to pathology, to make sure, and they DID find cancer. My eyes instantly started to well with tears, and he smiled and said, "NO, be happy, it was in the very early stage, and therefore it was gone." He called me his poster girl, and wasn't going to let anything happen to me.
I have now been cancer free for 5 yrs., I couldn't have asked for a better 45th birthday present!
I have had to have 2 surgeries since, for capsular contracture, but that gave me the opportunity, to go into a test study for McGhan cohesive gel implants. Only 25 plastic surgeons in the United States are participating in this study. I feel honored that I could be part of a break through for safer silicone implants marketed in the next few years.
Having the time off, due to the surgery, has given me the opportunity, to find this site, and meet some wonderful people.
Thank you Nicole, for bring this site to all of us.
I have had no regrets on my decision and I AM loving finally having breasts! I have McGhan cohesive gel, 360cc's in left and 450 cc's in right. I was a 36A and am now a full 36D or 34DD cup. I went with a textured, teardrop implant which is a nicer look for women with no tissue. I am very happy with the cohesive gel, as it has a softer, more realistic feel, than saline did for me.
I hope that my story helps any women that could be dealing with having to make the choice I did. MY decision saved my life.
View My Photos - Diane