Monday, 18 March 2013

Hospital Visit

Popped to Morriston (Swansea... a good hour's drive away) today, Friday. I was overwhelmed on arrival. It's such a big hospital, more a village; new, modern and in the throws of expansion.

Morriston Hospital
It wasn't a long wait until I saw my female surgeon. I immediately liked her... sadly (after squeezing my belly) she said I didn't have enough fat to make more than an A cup (I'm a C cup and it suits my frame.) It's the first time I wished I had a larger belly (I thought I was doing quite well in that department.)  So the DIEP is out, in fact any procedure that uses a flap of my own tissue is really not viable... I just don't have enough.  She also mentioned that I had very youthful breasts (just have to drop that in!)  Kinda sad now I've got to lose one.

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.


Chris Stovell said...

Sheesh! I've just read this and am weeping. In all the sad and bad news there are glimmers of hope; I'm delighted that you're in the hands of such a good surgeon and I'm humbled by your feisty approach to events that are happening so quickly. Best wishes and love, Cx

Wendé said...

Dearest Lins: How good it is to learn that your treatment is being carried out in a brand new ‘state of the art’ hospital, that you really liked your female (great!), surgeon, that she has all the expertise necessary to ensure that the outcome will be the best one possible and that you were able to receive all your pre-meds on the same visit.

It is a disappointment that you can’t have a DEIP replacement because of your lack of tummy fat, or keep your nipple but that the alternative offered to you is the next best thing – all the more special because it is you have a surgeon, one of the few in the country who can perform the operation – is surely some consolation, as is the fact that the recovery time is so quick.

I’m not surprised that you have very youthful breasts; they match the rest of you. And the right one will have a new life; research and training for future surgeons.

Another plus is that your surgeon has given you two dates, two weeks apart. This indicates that she doesn’t believe the cells are multiplying at a very fast rate and it is wonderful that you were able to discuss this and make a considered choice with other members of your family. I think you made the right choice in deciding to take your planned holiday at Easter. It will be something for you to hug to yourself as the 11th April approaches. I hope you have the best hols possible.

Biggest hug xxxx

the veg artist said...

This is all sounding very positive. A definite plan of action is always preferable to the unknown. You can focus on enjoying yourselves, undergoing the op (and having a surgeon you like is always a plus) and then on recovery. I'm sure you will have 'moments' between now and then, but it will soon be over.

Maggie Christie said...

Aw Lins, I've just caught up on your blogs, both courageous and beautifully written. I remember a blog (or and FB comment - can't remember which) about your youthful boobs being much admired. :) Sorry you can't have DIEP - clearly you haven't been eating nearly enough of my choc brownies! You sound in good hands with the team at Morriston. Have the best time ever on your holiday. Mxxxxx

Midlife Singlemum said...

Good luck LIns and lots of love from me. I wish I could donate some of my tummy fat - I have plenty to spare. Have a wonderful Easter meanwhile. xxx

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