I met my plastic surgeon. Words I never imagined I’d write. Or think. He passed the ‘human’ test with flying colours.
He greeted me by name, smiled and looked me in the eye. Tick.
He shook Lilah and Adam’s hands and learned their names. Tick.
He asked permission for every touch and apologised for the strange squeezes and tugs of my flesh. Tick.
He gave me all my options without prejudice and answered my many questions. Tick.
But now I have too many options and no perfect one, so Big Decisions will have to be made. I wanted my new boobs made out of my flesh and not implants. He poked and pinched my body in various different places. Not enough flesh on the thigh or back and not quite enough tummy fat for two boobs at the size I would prefer. Boy, did I feel like a plucked chicken on the chopping block being sized up for the best cuts. And never before have I wished more for a fatter belly.
Before my body changed for pregnancy, my boobs were consistently a size D cup. This is the shape my body wants to be without babies and ice cream. My surgeon doesn’t think he can make the new ones bigger than a B cup. A dramatic shift from the F cups they are now.
He also told me the bilateral mastectomy (both boobs off) is not statistically a guarantee the cancer won’t return. It’s more likely my bad boob will get me in the end, not my healthy one. Stats I could find (it’s very hard to find stats that represent your exact situation) say that there’s a 0.7% risk of contralateral breast cancer, a new cancer in the healthy boob. So the risk of keeping the healthy boob is fairly small. If he did a breast reduction on the healthy boob instead to match the reconstructed breast, half the breast tissue would be taken out so that risk would be halved.
The alternative option is to do the single mastectomy on the bad boob and reconstruct it from my tummy fat. There is enough for one boob at D cup. Then he’d reduce the healthy boob at the same time to match the size of the new one. I get the risk halved from the healthy boob and matching D cup breasts. But there is still that tiny, tiny risk.
And ultimately why am I risking it? For bigger boobs? For vanity?
There is the consideration that I have no clue how I will actually feel when I see my new size B boobs and they will be markedly out of proportion to the rest of my body. I will be looking at them for the rest of my life so I have to consider how that will feel. If I can’t accept them, the psychological stress is a far higher risk factor for cancer returning than any small benefit from getting rid of the healthy boob.
So it’s small boobs, 0.35% lowered risk, possible psychological distress.
Proportional boobs, 0.35% higher risk, less stress.
One week to decide.