I have been horrible at keeping this blog up to date. I hadn't even realized my last post was in November. Wow how time does fly. I decided I should give another update as to where we are now on this journey called cancer.
I had decided to wait until after the holidays to get my port-a-cath removed. So in February I had my port taken out. Ironically it was exactly one year to the date that I had it put in. It was an easy surgery despite the fact I still had to be put under. I am not fond of anesthesia or the effects afterward. I have a definite scar on my chest near my collar bone that will always be a reminder of the device that helped me through chemotherapy.
In March I decided it was time to start thinking about reconstructive surgery. I had already researched the options that were available. Having had a bilateral(double) mastectomy, there are very few options. The first option is that I could do absolutely nothing. I had already decided that I did not want that choice.
The second option being to have implants. In speaking to several doctors, and also several women that had chosen this route I learned that because I had radiation, implants would not be a good choice for me. The radiation causes so much damage to the tissue that my body would most likely reject the implant, or infections can occur on a regular basis. I decided that I did not want to deal with more complications.
The third option was a surgery using my own tissue called a microsurgery to rebuild the breasts. The surgeon can take it from the backside toward the top of the hip, this is called an S-Gap, or they can use tissue from the abdomen called a DIEP.
I met with 2 surgeons in Salt Lake City. The first surgeon would only rebuild one breast at a time which meant 2 separate surgeries. I did not want to go through this 8 hour surgery twice so I decided to meet with another doctor. I am so happy that I did. Dr. Robert Ferguson is wonderful. We were able to come up with a surgical plan that I was very happy with.
I decided to do the DIEP surgery which stands for deep inferior epigastric perforator. This is the name of the main blood vessel that runs through the tissue is used to reconstruct the breast. In DIEP flap reconstruction, only skin, fat, and blood vessels are removed from the lower belly (the abdomen between the waist and hips). No muscle is removed. Tissue from the abdomen feels very similar to that of breast tissue. The DIEP is a called a "free" flap because the tissue is completely detached from the belly and then reattached to the chest area. Hooking up the blood vessels from the belly tissue to chest blood vessels is delicate work. The doctor has to use a microscope during surgery, therefore a DIEP is known as a microsurgery.
I was a little concerned because I was told by 2 other surgeons that I did not have enough tissue on my stomach to rebuild both breasts, but Dr. Ferguson felt confident that he could do it. So I put my trust in him and scheduled my surgery.
On April 18th I went in for surgery.