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April 26, 2012

I have a new kind of cozy

but you can't buy it in stores.  Well, you can buy the parts, but they sure don't create this:

or this one.



Nope, I have the new style (close your eyes if you fear TMI...this is one of those posts), er, nipple cozy, if you will.  Now, before you say, "Oh, how utterly clever!" I can't even take credit for the term.  My friend, Becky, over at Suburban Matron (who has been a wealth of information and a rock of support), first uttered (well, typed) it (to my knowledge), so all credit goes to her.

Now, I did not directly jump into the cozy, but if you recall, began (or ended) the latest surgery with my bra bandage bondage which was more a massive slathering of gauze.  I was taped to the gills and had the adhesive marks to prove it.  This past Tuesday was the day of reckoning:  my post-surgical visit with Dr. X who would remove all of the bandages (and tape...OWIE!) and then, well, I didn't know what came next.   No after photos, yet, though, thank Gawd.

Dr. X dutifully zipped the steri-strips off my thighs and while my thighs do not appear any smaller (darn you, no lipo!), the "dog ears" (scar tissue) from the first surgery are now gone.  Well, not gone so much as transferred to another location.  You see, since he is a very green doctor and waste not want not and all, those old dog ears are my new....(are you ready for this...think of it in a medical way):


Yes, if you remember, while I had a skin-sparing la-la-la awful surgery TWO years ago, the nipple went bye-bye.  For no good reason as it turns out, but I'm trying not to be bitter.  Instead, I am trying to be impressed by the absolutely amazing talents of my plastic surgeon.  He took the bits of skin that held my drains in and turned them into a work of art (well, I think at least in Peter's mind).  

He removed the bandages on Tuesday, the oodles of gauze pads and voila.  Yes, a few stitches, redness and blood, but if I didn't know better....Peter was just in shock and I can't say it wasn't pretty amazing to see what they can do with leftover skin.  Even the color is so similar.  I'm sure it's just temporary and I will still have to be tattooed, but really...quite impressive to look and feel so...natural, so normal, so...symmetrical!

Oh, and the cozy?  Well, the new nipple is actually still quite, er, swollen.  Let's just say I'm glad it's not swimsuit season yet as half of my chest would have a Madonna (you know, in that video) look to it. Not something I'm exactly willing to parade around and show off.  Now, the doctor reminded us that the swelling will go down and things will soon look and feel more like normal.  Of course, given the lifting and tucking on the other side, I'm beginning to lose site of my old normal and just going with natural.

Given the delicate nature of the surgery and the long healing process, the, uh, nipple has to be cared for quite carefully.  Lots of antibiotic ointment and, yes, a newly created nipple cozy each and every day for the next three weeks.  I can't have too much pressure, but have to wear something that keeps all the gauze in place.  The surgical bras (are they made of steel?) help keep it in place, but are just too binding.  

Thank goodness I thought to buy a few camis a while back with a little built-in bra and they are doing the trick without causing too much discomfort.  So, I need an additional 15 minutes or so each day to do the whole thing...slathering, creating the cozy, throwing on the cami, then adding the cover to the cozy (the skin has to be covered by gauze and ointment) and finally whatever else it is I do to get ready.  I've also been throwing a bit of ointment on the left side as it's still looking a little, well, injured, and I figure it can't hurt.  Oh, and yes, just like the bandage-bondage, this bra/ointment/cozy deal is 24/7 until further notice...as well as no baths, swimming, hot tubs.  Did I mention I'm glad I did this before the summer began?

And...there you have it. One more step completed, and really, just a few more weeks until I'm back in my exercise routine and spending most of the day forgetting what happened two falls ago.  Actually, I even do that now for the most part...and it's a pretty good feeling.

Lest I forget (and those of you with skittish minds, avert your eyes), I had the most amusing/sweet/adorable/thoughtful conversation with Nicholas tonight.  He has seen me from the beginning, before, during and after all of the surgeries.  He is the least phased by it (in fact, pretty much not at all) and usually just wants to know how long the surgery will take and will the doctor finally fix my na-nas?

Tonight he happened to see me.  He saw the left side first and said, "Aw, what happened?!"  I explained how they had to nip and tuck to make it equal to the other side (which he then demanded to see).  I removed the gauze, he took one look and said, "Aw, it's growing back!"

And that reminds me that my decision to never hide anything from him gave him possibly (and, yes, a bit inadvertently) one of the best learning experiences of his life.  Not that I wouldn't change the past in a heartbeat, but that little guy has more understanding of this whole situation in his little finger than....well, he's just awesome and that's that.



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I adore your LG! He always seems to know exactly what to say! :-)

I am amazed at how doctors can use skin to create something else entirely! I am glad it is symmetric and natural, what a great feeling. I hope you continue to heal and feel better.

It is wonderful to hear the contentedness and peace in your writing, especially after such a bumpy year+.

"It's growing back!" Bless him!

I'm so glad you are pleasantly surprised with the results. It is truly amazing what those plastic surgeons can do.

I had to tape my cozy on, are you not needing to do that? Carry on and remember to keep taking it easy for a while. xoxo

Yeah, it's really amazing what plastic surgery is capable of these days. Aside from the aesthetics, or perhaps thanks to them, you get some great results that feel like the real thing. Well, in any case, I hope you have luck with the tattooing.

It's okay if we haven't seen the results of your surgery, because we know that your plastic surgeon did the right thing for you. How comfortable is it now, anyway?

It's so weird talking/writing about nipples isn't it? Thanks for doing so. This part of reconstruction needs to be discussed too.

I came across your blog via Boing Boing and decided I'd go looking for the post that the State Dept decided was so uncool. All I have to say is that you, ma'am, are inspirational, and they have rocks in their heads.

Keep on keeping on and best regards from Australia :)

It's been 5 months since your surgery, how is it now? I'm assuming that you're already back to your daily routine. Well, you just have to exercise daily so that the muscles in your breasts would be firmer and stronger, thus, making it more resistant to any possible pain.

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