Sunday, November 20, 2005
We Can Rebuild Her
When Jamie Sommers was critically injured in a parachuting accident, the government stepped in and surgically replaced her legs, one arm, and an ear with new bionic ones thus making her the bionic woman. Granted she had to spend the rest of her life (or until the series ended) investigating fembots and terrorists for the Office of Scientific Investigations (OSI), but these new parts gave her cool benefits such as running over 65 miles per hour, being able to hear conversations taking place miles away, and the ability to lift and/or crush nearly anything. One might think that, since I currently work for the government, when a destroyed body part needs replacing, I might luck out and get ones capable of superhuman powers. Obviously since I am already committed to government work, I would put them to use only to benefit the government, right? I could surely solve any national debt issues with the tips from showing off the bionic pasty-spinning abilities. If only it were still the Clinton years. When war isn't on a president's mind, he has much more time for contemplating the benefits of bionic parts. But I digress . . .

This has been a long haul. Nearly a year ago I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. This means that tissue expanders were inserted under the muscle and slowly inflated over time to create a new breast pocket. Unfortunately I was badly disfigured from the original surgery. While we had great hopes much of it would resolve itself over time (one other reason for going slowly with the reconstruction), that was not the case. In order to have a better cosmetic effect, I opted for some invasive procedures last week. The end result is a much more "normal" appearance behind the twelve-inch scars on the sides of each of my breasts extending past my arm pits. Additionally, beginning at the newly created cleavage, each breast has about a four-inch incision. Even though there is plenty of healing that needs to take place, I am hopeful that the reconstructed breasts, while not exactly bionic, will be acceptable. The best news is that the implants feel nothing like the expanders. I do believe that once these incisions heal, I can look forward to normal sleeping positions and patterns.

The healing process has been good so far. Waking up from surgery without feeling intense nausea started things off right(even if the new anesthesia cocktail did elicit pillow talk confessions). Unfortunately I was so hopped up on steroids that I was not able to sleep much for two days. I made good use of my time and crocheted an entire throw-size blanket during those two days. Then the drugs wore off and I has wiped out for the next two days. My energy is returning faster than my mobility, but that too is returning.

The number one question on everyone's lips so far has been, "How big are they?" They are the same size they were before surgery, just more nicely shaped and not so hard. The whole point of the expanders is to expand the tissue to the desired size and then swap them out. It may not be my "desired" size, but they are at the intended size. These will never look like Pam Anderson or any other augmented pin-up. Actually, I'm kind of glad.

The second question seems to be, "Can I see them?" To answer this simply, no. Be careful what you ask for; healing isn't always pretty . More importantly, this arrangement of tissue and implants is now my breasts. You are actually asking to see my breasts. Is this a question you would normally ask? At least have the decency to buy me a drink first.

Sadly, not everyone has the means for reconstruction, either financially or due to other medical constraints. I realize that I am indeed lucky that my HMO is picking up the tab. Just a word to any woman thinking ahead to reconstruction. First, there are many ways to be reconstructed and only you and your doctor can determine which route is best for you. I was very apprehensive going into this second surgery. The first one was very uncomfortable and the expansion process, while not difficult, was uncomfortable. I wasn't sure that it was all going to be worth it. From the way it feels now, and the relative ease of this second process, I think that it was totally worth it. Don't let the fear stop you from reconstruction. If you are comfortable with your body without it, I admire you and wish I were you. But if going without reconstruction is going to stop you from enjoying one moment of life, then what are you waiting for?
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
6 chimed in

Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

E-mail me here
Please leave your mark
and sign my guestbook!



Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz
I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation
  • Click to join sistersinsurvivorship

    Click to join sistersinsurvivorship


  • www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from TwoHands-Jeannette. Make your own badge here.
  • © 2004 - 2009 by the author of Two Hands

    The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author.

    Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical or any other health care advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. Two Hands does not guarantee the accuracy of content and is not responsible for information on any of the websites that are provided as links.

    Powered by Blogger



    Search For Blogs, Submit Blogs, The Ultimate Blog Directory






    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12