Return of the nipples

As you can read from my previous post, I had a DIEP flap procedure to reconstruct my breast after the bilateral mastectomy. They were not able to save my nipples during the mastectomy so during the DIEP flap procedure the plastic surgeon, in anticipation, added an extra area of skin when he transplanted parts of my belly.

After my DIEP flap I struggled with the wound. The scar on my belly developed a pretty severe infection and I had a hole the size of a quarter for a good while. I was put on antibiotics to fight the infection and eventually the wound closed but other areas of the incision remained open. They oozed for a good five months.

It was time for the next step in the process. The reconstruction of the nipples as well as repairing the scar on my belly and liposuction to even out the skin surrounding my belly. I had some strange bulges.

On April 23, 2019 I reported to West Kendall Baptist Hospital for surgery. During the surgery, the plastic surgeon would take the extra skin and “build” nipples from it. Here is an illustration of how that is done.

He also removed the infected skin from the incision and closed it up again.

I woke up in the recovery room and they had put me in a corset or faja as they call them in Miami. The faja really helps post surgery will the healing of the incision as well as from the liposuction.

I had to wear the faja day and night and would only take it off to take a shower. As the swelling went down, I would tighten the faja. It’s a little uncomfortable in the beginning but you are getting used to it pretty quickly.

My nipples were taped and covered after the surgery and at the first post-op appointment the bandages were removed.

When they initially told me they would not be able to save my nipples, I didn’t think much of it. I was so focused on removing the cancer from my body but now seeing my breast, who start to look better and better every day, complete with nipples, it made me feel whole again.

After two weeks I started physical therapy to massage the liposuction areas to prevent it from becoming hard and painful. The therapy is pretty painful because the therapist needs to break up the scar tissue.

It took a good three months before you could really see the results for the liposuction. Everything looks really good and I felt whole again.

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