18 Comments

My New Nipple Has Eyelashes And Is Winking At Me

I have lost an important conversation starter. I now longer have a nipple-less boob.  At least I don’t think I do.  I actually don’t know what I have under the sutures and steri-strips and bandages.  I have a problem with thinking that procedures are less intensive than they generally turn out to be.  I have had this procedure scheduled for the last eight months.  Four months ago I went to the appointment and met the tattoo artist.  She started having me pick colors and showed me pictures of tattooed nipples.  Puzzled,  I talked to her about stuff until she began to prepare her supplies.

Me: “Um, don’t I get the nipple put on first?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m having nipple reconstruction with Dr Buescher.”

“You are on the schedule for a tattoo nipple only.”

“That wasn’t the plan!  What do I do?”

“We will need to re-schedule you.  Come with me.”

She was not happy with me.  But I didn’t schedule it that way.  The problem is that my plastic surgeon has a four-month waiting list for any procedure.  So what should have been February was end of June.

Now I vaguely thought she would just lift up the skin, put a purse suture or two to ridge it up a bit and call it a nipple.  Oh, no.  I knew I was mistaken when she started getting out the surgical kit and gowning up.  What really happens is a flap is cut from above the nipple site and brought down to the marked area and wrapped around and around itself until it takes the appearance of a little bud.  Then everything is stitched and steri-striped and bandaged.

This is a picture I found of the basic procedure although the raw nipple on the lower left doesn’t look like mine.  This one looks plain weird.  The lower right is after it has healed and the tattoo process is starting.

plasticsurgery.northshore.or

I was awake for the procedure.  Five 10 ml syringes of lidocaine are injected into the areas around the donor site/nipple site.  Then she began to cut deeply into my breast with the scalpel.  I could feel blood running down my abdomen.  I got woozy when I saw the pail full of bloody gauze.  It didn’t hurt at all, but it was the idea that I could tell a strip of me was hanging off my body and my body fluids were leaking out.  I was faintly horrified the entire time, although my plastic surgeon is such a talker that she kept me pretty distracted.  I was forced to look at it during my post procedure instructions.  A white tightly closed button-bud sat on my boob with sutures all around and above, covered by steri-strips.  I had to learn how to bandage it a certain way.  Dr Buescher is a perfectionist, and all her patients will be perfectionists too.

Apparently I was to go home after this and rest due to bleeding issues.  Since I didn’t know, I didn’t schedule myself off and it was critical that I go as we were short-staffed.  Sixteen hours later I drove home numbly at 4 am.  One of the tougher on call day/nights I have had in a long time.  Blood had soaked through my bandages and bra.  I wish someone would have told me to take the day off!

Today I took my first authorized shower and I touched it.  Weird.  There was no give to it.  It was hard as a pebble.  Wow.  Then my quirky mind saw it:   My nipple has eyelashes and is winking at me…..

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18 comments on “My New Nipple Has Eyelashes And Is Winking At Me

  1. Pain and discomfort don’t sit so well with me but I admire your courage and sense of humour. I imagine getting a wink each day from your nipple would be not something everybody else gets.

    • While I would rather not have another scar, and I think the eyelash will be covered by a tattoo, the funny image just popped in my head and made me laugh. Thank God He gave me the ability to see humor in pathos!

  2. Congratulations, I think. This post is decidedly the quirkiest one I’ve read in three years of blogging. This is the first post I have read by a young lady talking about her boob and nipple. I’m not prudish, and I am an authentic follower of Jesus. I love Jesus just like you. And I don’t know all the details of your cancer story. But this post, and your new nipple deserved some kind of response from me. I could not let this one go. Thank you for . . . . . . . .sharing? Is that appropriate? I have enjoyed reading many of your posts, even this one. Although I’m not quite sure why. Take care and God bless.
    Your blogging buddy, Steve

  3. I love the fact that you can still find humour in this situation Lori. You’re extremely brave. I send you Huge Hugs xxxx

    • I cant WAIT until it is DONE! SO long–since October 2010! I had no idea I would have to wait this long to look semi-normal again. And, sob, I wont even be able to post the results, although my plastic surgeon my use me as an example on the website–sans face of course! It was very frustrating to find a decent picture on the web when I researched the DIEPP reconstruction procedure. Most of the pictures are horrible. Mine turned out really well, so I want to give people hope that they don’t all look like that. So I will gladly “take one for the team”.

  4. As strange as this may sound, I pray God will give you a nipple there.

  5. Baruch ha’Shem, as we would say, which translates to Bless the Holy Name of God and that’s what we say when we mean “thank God.” For everything, for you, your survival, your reconstruction, your new nipple! Your amazing resilience. But really, next time you schedule yourself for outpatient surgery would you PLEASE remember to take yourself off the work schedule for the rest of the day???

    • I didn’t know! No one told me! I should have researched it! Honestly, Im so stupid about adult medicine that I really thought she would just do something like grab a bit of the end and do a purse string suture! Believe me I was smacking myself. But, I wish I could tell you the situation I was involved in during the 16 hours I was at work. You would then realize that my procedure was nothing compared to the child I worked with.

  6. Lori, I read this nipple post again and all the comments. As I said in another comment on another post, you are one of the most fascinating people I have ever known. I’m curious now. Have you healed from your surgery? Are you leading a normal boob life now? Do you have any restrictions or any wardrobe adjustments caused by the outcome? I can’t believe I’m asking these questions. Probably because I know you’ll answer them with your signature humor without thinking I’m being too personal. I still believe you are an awesome, brave, courageous person dealing with some difficult life situations courageously dependent on God to get you through. God bless.

    • Weird that you commented on this. I was thinking of posting about living with an amputation. I used to joke that all I had removed was a big old skin tag. But it isn’t true. As with any amputation, I live with phantom itching from the severed nerves, especially around where my nipple used to be. My nerves still think I have a nipple there. When it hits, it is an intense almost burning itch that no amount of rubbing can quell. All I can do is wait for my nerves to settle down. Cosmetically it is amazing. Except for a circular scar, you wouldn’t know it was constructed from my abdomen. Looks better then the old one actually. I have no feeling at all though. You could cut it off and I wouldn’t know. Now that I started this comment, I am going to post on it. There is so much more to say!

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