Breast Cancer at 41 – Barbie Boobs
Written on May 22, 2013 – It’s a subject that may embarrass many.
Today was the day I have been looking forward to since July 31, 2013. It was my consultation for the next step of my breast reconstruction. The next step – nipples.
Yes, you read correctly – nipples.
When I had a bilateral mastectomy on July 30, 2013, the entire breast, including the nipple, was removed because I was positive for cancer. They do offer a procedure which saves the nipple, but my doctor advised against it because I am BRCA2 positive. If you were following the Angelina Jolie story, you would know it was a “big deal” she was able to keep her nipples. My guess would be because she did not have cancer and the surgery was preventative, but this is just speculation.
During a mastectomy, the nipple is normally removed because it is considered breast tissue and therefore a breeding ground for cancerous cells.
In my mind, I thought my nipples would be added when I received my final implants during my reconstruction surgery February 25, 2014. I had no idea that nipples, as Perfectly Goofy Gail likes to say, “is an after market part.”
Right now, I have what I refer to as “Barbie Boobs.”
Barbie Boobs look fantastic in clothes.
Barbie Boobs look fantastic in bathing suits.
However Barbie Boobs do not have a nipples.
Women’s breasts have nipples.
Some women choose not to have their nipples reconstructed and that’s fine. It’s their choice. But when I look in the mirror and stare at my naked body, I feel incomplete. Now don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my strong body. I am normally not ashamed or embarrassed about my body even when I have put on a few pounds. However, now in the gym locker room, with others who don’t know my story, I feel self-conscience. I feel like Frankenstein and I don’t want to feel embarrassed or ashamed, but I do.
At my consultation with my plastic surgeon, he said my reconstruction looks better than 99% of the breast cancer reconstructions he has seen. I can either choose to do nothing now or I can choose to have my nipples reconstructed or tattooed on my breasts.
Some women choose not to have nipple reconstructed because they do not want the protrusion of the nipple through their clothes. All three of my doctors – my plastic surgeon, my medical oncologist and my OB-GYN all listed this as why I should NOT opt for nipple reconstruction (my surgical oncologist has not commented on the subject). I can see their point. As someone who has always made sure not to have her “headlights” showing, it was a VALID point. However, as someone who has had a bi-lateral mastectomy I have a different opinion.
Having had my breasts cut off, I don’t care one little bit about my nipples protruding. I don’t care if it embarrasses you because NOW it would NOT embarrass me. I’ve been sliced, diced, expanded, poked and prodded. I have fake boobs. I have implants. I have been through a lot of crap. I want my freaking nipples and I’m sorry, I HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO LET THEM SHOW (if I want, which I’m not sure, but I would LOVE to have the option)!!!
My plastic surgeon knows I like to get things done right away, but he also knows I run. Recovery from this surgical procedure will limit my mobility for 1 week to almost 3. He knows I am training to BQ this summer, therefore I need to fit this procedure into both of our schedules and that has proven difficult.
Who would have thought I would be so obsessed and want something fixed so badly? Who knew how important nipples could be?
Next Up: Breast Cancer at 41 – Areola Tattooing!