I was supposed to begin reconstruction on Monday. I’d taken time off work. I’d alerted my coworkers and hiring managers and friends. I was packing my bags for a stay in the hospital and at my parents’ house. I had all my drugs in order: Dilaudid and anti-nausea medicine and all the other post-surgery requirements. I had a plan.
And then I saw my surgeon. It was meant to be a short appointment to mark my body for surgery. He started drawing on me with a blue Sharpie before stopping and getting lost in thought. Just when I couldn’t take it anymore and was about to say “What in the hell are you thinking and why are you staring at me?” he told me there’d been a change in plans.
“I don’t think we need to do the lat flap surgery. I have a better idea. Sorry for the ambush.” And then he told his coordinator to cancel my appointment with the hospital.
In the same minute, I was thrilled and devastated.
The situation is this: the skin on the problematic right side has softened a lot, and my surgeon thinks he can fix the problem with fat grafting. He’ll take fat from my stomach and add it to my chest, which will create more tissue behind the skin, and then he’ll revise the scars. The fat grafting and scar revision will be a very easy, outpatient surgery that I will still have on Monday.
Here’s the downside: once they do the fat grafting, it’s 6-8 weeks before he will insert the expanders. I was so looking forward to having the beginnings of a chest on Monday, and now it’s a few more months. When they do place the expanders later, it will be a much easier procedure than it would have been with the lat flap. But until then, I still can’t wear most of my clothes. If Seattle has a nice summer (fingers still crossed), I won’t be able to swear a swimsuit.
There is still a chance that it won’t work. I may still need a lat flap and will have lost months in the process. I can’t think about that, though; at this point, I’m just trying to be as hopeful as possible. I can’t let myself think about the alternative nor can I let myself really think about the next few months. If I focus on it, it’s too hard. So for now, all I can do is just go with it.