I just learned about another option for Breast Cancer Patients

pink-ribbon

I have been diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, which means that the breast cancer has spread beyond the milk ducts, and into the surrounding breast tissue.

I thought that I only had two options:

  1. Mastectomy, then implants to form a “new” breast.
  2. Mastectomy, no implants, but use a prosthesis which is inserted into bra.

I decided, before my consult with the plastic surgeon, that I was going with option two. I have had breast cancer previously, and a lumpectomy was performed. At that time, the surgeon inserted a “balloon” for radiation. The balloon enabled me to have radiation directly at the site of the cancer, instead of radiating the whole breast.   I felt like I had an alien in my breast for the two weeks it was there. I don’t want to have an alien in my breast for the rest of my life.

I learned that there is third option. It’s called a “flap.” Basically the surgeon takes skin and fat from the abdominal area, and recreates a breast out of the material.

The plastic surgeon I consulted with was very charming. He did not refer to my belly as “fat”– he said that I had a “good donor site.” Ha. Yes I do.

It was a lot of information to take into my brain all at once. To perform a “tummy tuck” on its own, removing extra fat and flesh costs upwards of $6000–last time I priced it anyway. The surgeon, with a twinkle in his eye, assured me that the insurance would pay for it.

What? My insurance will pay for me to have a tummy tuck because it’s under the diagnosis of “reconstructive breast surgery?”  Sign me up.

The plastic surgeon also “creates” a nipple out of the skin. Then, they work with a Tattoo Artist, who tattoos the nipple so it is the same color as the other. I am not a tattoo kind of gal, but I can make an exception in this case.

Right now, we are waiting for the Insurance Company to pre-certify all the procedures I need to have, and for the surgeons to schedule a date for surgery.

Meanwhile, I need to make plans for someone to watch Bailey, get my hands on a hospital bed, order “special” shirts for post-surgery, and order a special belt to hold the drainage bags that will be needed post-surgery.

I spoke to my neighbor, who had heard of this option called a “flag” before. I guess it’s been around for a few years now, but I had never heard of it before.

 

 

#cancerSucks

 

 

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13 thoughts on “I just learned about another option for Breast Cancer Patients

  1. I like that last and third option. Who wouldn’t want to have a tummy tuck if you have to have a new breast formed?. I’ve seen some videos on that tattoo procedure and it looks very natural. I hope the insurance co. will quickly approve this so you can get the schedule planned soon. Good luck.

    1. Thank you Terri. I had never heard of this until the other day. My doctor showed me before and after pictures from a book of photographs. It’s amazing what they can do these days.

  2. This is the exact procedure a friend of mine underwent last year. Her prognosis is very good and she was also thrilled with having the tummy tuck. I pray everything goes well and according to plan with whichever option you choose 🙂

  3. So sorry to hear about the cancer diagnosis Sue Ann (I’m a little late-catching up on my blog reader). I’m glad to hear you have options! It’s really amazing what surgeons can do these days. Sending you lots of positive thoughts and energy as you go through this.

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