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:
- Mastectomy, then implants to form a “new” breast.
- 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.