Normal is a relative term.
But in this case, I think it is appropriate.
I use it because today was the final surgery in my reconstruction and for the first time in 2 years and 3 days, I have nipples.
I lost them when I had my double mastectomy and reconstruction in 2015, as for someone with Ductal carcinoma, the nipples are the biggest source of ‘ducts’.
Of course, what I have now are not ‘real’, but they look like the real thing, which is a step forward. I don’t have to feel self-conscious when changing or even dating.
One future step will include tattooing them so they are not the same colour as the skin they were made from.
It’s amazing what can be accomplished with today’s advances in medicine. Because of that, I have been able to reduce my risk of breast cancer recurrence without even going without breasts, and without any obvious sign to the outside world.
In addition to the nipple reconstruction, the surgery also included lifting and reducing the left side which was noticeably larger than the right, as well as evening out my abdomen where more tissue was taken on one side than the other to create my new breasts. The final piece was revising my abdominal scar to eliminate some ‘denting’ and removing excess skin from my pubic area that made it stick out.
Everything went really well, although overall it is a fairly painful procedure. I am resting at home, and because everything was surface (no muscle involvement) I have been told I can return to dance in about 10 days (work in 2 weeks).
It truly is the final piece in a long journey.
The other thing that was done while I was under was that the lymph node that was swollen and causing issues was removed, to kill two birds with one stone. It was decided to remove it as it wasn’t obvious why it was perpetually swollen, and this will eliminate the possibility of it become an issue in the future.
There is, of course, a lot of swelling that will take quite a few weeks to see the final results, but I am cautiously optimistic that things will all look ‘normal’ in the near future. Already, my chest is now more or less even, and my pubic area looks like it should.
Sometimes ‘normal’ is positive and possible.