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No more lopsidedness

After I had my mastectomy, I swore that I would never ever have another surgery again. Duke loved me even if I didn’t have a right breast, my in-bra prosthesis looks natural even if it wasn’t quite as large as my other (34 DDD) natural left one.

Then my left shoulder started to drop, there is a visible difference between my right and left shoulders. My left is at least an inch lower and now slopes down at an angle. My blouses all slide down to the left now, no matter what I do. Then my rib-cage began to expand. Ouch, honestly, I thought I had a tumor pressing up on my ribs. My shoulders constantly ache, sometimes my neck hurts too.

Out of morbid curiosity, I weighed my silicon prosthesis, it weighed a kilo (2.2 pounds)! Who knows what my real breast weighed? Probably, a kilo and a half (over three pounds). Try wandering around with an extra three pounds hanging from one shoulder all the time.

When I talked to my doctor about it, he told me that I really needed to consider having breast reconstruction because eventually being off balanced like that would affect my spine.

Which is why on Tuesday, I am going to start the process.  Seguro Popular provides the surgeon and the operating room, but I supply the pieces. My first acquisition was a tissue expander.   My surgeon is going to do a Lattisimus Dorsi flap reconstruction combined with the expander.

What will happen is that the doctor will take tissue from my back, bring it around to the front and attach it. Under the flap he will place the expander. After the surgical sites stop draining (approximately a month, though my mastectomy took much longer), they begin to pump saline solution into the expander in order to stretch the tissue. I understand that it’s uncomfortable at best, and downright painful at worst. I think it’s probably similar to getting your braces tightened. My surgeon says the process can take up to 5 months in total.

I have the option of having my right breast reconstructed to whatever size I prefer and then getting my left breast reduced. My plan is to stop short of my natural abundance,  having large breasts is not really good for your back, and has always been the bane of my life; when I was young, men used to talk to my chest, (considering how short I am, it was really obvious that they weren’t looking at my face).

I am not looking forward to the procedure, but it’s a medical necessity for me. I guess when I found out that medical insurance providers in the USA automatically cover reconstruction if they cover mastectomies, I should have realized that it was something that I needed to do.

 

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!

6 comments

  1. Some people are never well-balanced even after reconstructive surgery. Oh, I was talkin’ about their minds. You’ve always been one of the sanest and most well-balanced, so you’ll do just fine. Best wishes.

  2. You have been in my thoughts and remain so. Prayers that all goes well – I’m sure you’ll be so glad you had this done, and will be on the far side of it before you know it. I’ve been in this situation (albeit re other body parts) and we must just do what we need to do to be the best we can be in the long run. I send wishes for a speedy recovery.

  3. I hadn’t realized that such an extreme imbalance would happen, but it makes sense. Sorry that you have to go through even more surgery.

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