So we're down the implant route. I have to get my head round this now, after being so set on the DIEP... all change. I was told I will look fine in a bra but when undressed there will be an obvious difference between the two breasts. The implant will not 'age' with me like my own transferred body tissue might have. I've never been keen on the concept of silicone implants; they don't have longevity (so will need to be replaced in 10 years or so) and they can split. Although I've been repeatedly reassured they are safe. Later G11 made me chuckle when I mentioned I was worried about foreign bodies too, "...couldn't I get one from the UK?"
On to the positives. I'm undergoing a relatively new technique using a surgical mesh (Strattice®). The material is derived from porcine skin that has been treated and preserved so it can be used safely inside the body. The mesh works like an internal bra, cradling the implant and allowing some of the natural droop of a normal breast. Apparently very few surgeons in the UK are able to perform this operation, two are at Morriston and one of those is my surgeon. So I'm fortunate to be able to take advantage of this procedure. She's going to save my skin too, though regrettably can't save the nipple. Another plus point is that it will be a much shorter operation than a DIEP would have been (down to 3 to 4 hours) and a much shorter recovery time (only 2 - 6 weeks). As I'm always running around doing things and not very patient, bouncing back quickly is quite important to me.
My surgeon wants me in on the 28th, that's March. That's less than two weeks away. Typically it's the Easter bank holiday weekend and the only time we manage to get away on a break as a family unit is on bank holidays. So I'm torn. She's given me another date of the 11th of April. I'm to chat to J and G11 to see what we all think. My surgeon has to cancel other operations to fit me in so we have until Monday morning to decide.
The hospital suggested I have my pre-meds to save me coming back, it meant a bit of waiting around but as it's a long round trip it was well worth doing. I got a bit upset when they said they were going to take photographs, (I could refuse of course.) In the end though I ticked all the 'release' boxes; publications, research, training. My right breast WILL live on in all its youthfulness!
It's now Monday and after having the weekend to think about it and talking it over with J, G11 and with Jill I have decided to go in on the 11th April. I'm going to have the best holiday at Easter and make it one we'll never forget. Then from the 11th I can begin to start moving forward again.