Less Breast = Fuller Life! -Surgeon and Procedure
The more I've considered reconstructing my nipples, as opposed to skin grafting them, the more I like the idea. I worry about the ethics of getting areolas tattooed on, and I ask the opinions of others who share my values and beliefs. The answer is unanimous: Go for it! Having a free nipple graft will increase the amount of work of caring for the wound, dressing it, and making sure my darlings don't bump or smash it. And after a few weeks of that, heaven forbid I might lose some or all of them anyway!
I've had my husband take pictures of my breasts, both from front and profile angles. Then I go online and find "before" pictures of women who have breasts similar to mine. Not that difficult. I keep all pictures of women whose breasts I find beautiful, or at least acceptable, post surgery.
At this point, I was still deciding how to locate a surgeon. Dr. P has terrible staff, and it seems that I can only deal with her for EVERYTHING. But Dr. L is cold and unfriendly. Plus she requires that I lose 20 pounds before she'll schedule my surgery, and my insurance approval is only good for 90 days. I definitely think I could have lost 20 pounds within 90 days, but would there have been an opening for me before my time was up? Both surgeons are already booked into mid January, and my approval expires in March.
I booked a consult appointment for Dr. M in Long Beach, California for January 20th. I've talked to my grandfather, who is more than happy to let me convalesce at his house, but is unable to care for my boys. I talked to my aunt who is more able and certainly willing to help me, but is extremely busy with her own 4 children, and my uncle is working and gone for long, long hours every day. She also tells me that her sister and family have been living with her for several months, and they have just barely got their house to themselves, again. So, I was deciding what to do. Of course it would be ideal to have surgery in California, but the more I thought of it, the more impractical it was. And let's consider what my children would be going through: not only would they be away from their home and their father, their mother would be unavailable to them. Unable to hold them or pick them up, and I'd be relying 100% on my aunt who was rarely home to care for them. Sounds a lot like neglect, to me. They'd have a hard time sleeping in beds that weren't theirs, and I wouldn't be able to pull them out of bed and into mine for comfort. I would be sleeping in an upright position on a chair somewhere. Hmmm...
Part of the appeal of Dr. M is that his picture so obviously showed him wearing makeup, and there was a definite feminine quality about it. I love gay guys. They're fun, they're feminine (without the same hormonal moods), and they're attentive to beautification details! The gay hair stylists were always my favorites. But I find him on FaceBook, where he shows he is married, and his wife is a bimbo-looking blond who writes him annoyingly cheesy love messages every day. So he's not gay, and he's so superficial he needs an all-plastic wife. No thanks. Funny, it was okay to be superficial if you're gay, but not if you're straight. Well call me a prejudiced biggot while I stereotype people. It must be true.
I forgot to call and cancel that consultation. My bad. I'm still keeping Dr. P on the side because should I change plastic surgeons, I actually need him to write a letter stating that he is not performing the surgery. So it's better to stay on his good side. I sent them a Christmas card, and I call them occasionally to let them know that I'm trying to find some family to help me during my recovery, and that's why I haven't scheduled surgery yet. Not entirely untrue...
Finally, I schedule the surgery with Dr. P. I'm still not sure I'll let him be my surgeon, but I've decided to book another consultation and give him the pictures I collected off the internet of what I want and see if he's willing to do a nipple reconstruction and remove as much tissue as I want removed. I have since found out from a letter from my insurance company that the reason they initially denied the claim was because he said he was going to take out 600 grams per breast, and they required 750 grams per breast to consider it medically necessary. How do I make it clear that I want at least 1000 grams per breast removed!? We're talking around 5 pounds total weight removed (from both breasts)!
So I get another consultation with Dr. P. This time, I found a babysitter so that we could have one another's full attention. I couldn't close the robe over my breasts. That was a bit humiliating. Oh well, their time was limited. I showed Dr. P my collected pictures of real reduction patients, to give him an idea of what realistic results I was hoping for. He agrees with me on how nice they look and asks to keep them in my file because they give him a good idea of what I want. That made me feel more confident, and I agree. Next, I ask him about the nipple reconstruction. I literally watched the expression of contemplation on his face while he processed that. He told me he had never done that on a reduction patient, not that he couldn't. At first, he seemed a little put off by it, but by the end of the appointment, he had warmed up some. He went from, "Why would I reconstruct your nipples?" to "It would be really easy to do that, and the healing would be less complicated, too."
I also explained to Dr. P, again, just how small I want to be. I demonstrated with my hands how I want about a handful, and the rest GONE. He said he would do his best. Apparently because of my enormous size, there really is a limit to how small I can go. Dr. L mentioned this, too. I said I would like to be a B or a C. Apparently that is the very smallest I could ever possibly go, and I may still come out a D or DD. By the way, if that happens, I will be very unhappy about it. Nonetheless, I left my second consult with Dr. P feeling a lot more confident about his understanding of what I want and his ability/willingness to perform it.
That being said, I officially chose Dr. P to do the surgery and follow through with the surgery and pre-op appointments already set.
One interesting thing I'd like to mention is that during this appointment, Dr. P flipped through my file trying to find the pictures they had taken of my breasts. They hadn't taken any. He was shocked that I got an insurance approval without pictures. Hmmm. How little he seems to know about what Sue does and does not handle. Can we say "overpaid"? He told me it was really important to remember to get my pictures taken at my pre-op next week. Once again, is this my responsibility to remember? I already have insurance approval. If he doesn't get pre-op pictures, then he won't be able to add me to his "before and after gallery." That's his loss; not mine. Too bad I find the guy extremely likeable. You couldn't have paid me to make the effort for Sue. But Dr. P was very sweet, and he loved my kids, after all...