Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tattoo Tuesday (Not Really)

Today was supposed to be Tattoo Tuesday, but darn the luck, the tattoo lady at the plastic surgeon's office switched her tattoo day to Wednesday and totally ruined my alliteration. 

Yes, it's time for the final step in my tram flap reconstruction, tattooing the color onto the nipples.     At the time of the original bilateral mastectomy, the general surgeon basically scooped out all the breast tissue and left the skin, minus the nipples. The nipples had to be sacrificed,  because they contained breast tissue. And breast tissue is not something you want to hang onto when you have breast cancer. The process of the tram flap reconstruction included stuffing the saved boobie skin with muscle and tissue from my stomach (hence, the tummy tuck) and taking a strip of skin from my stomach and using it to make mock nipples that were about 3" across.  A month after the original surgery, Dr. Geter, the plastic surgeon, performed some kind of magic that drew up the skin of the mock nipples into, well, nipples, so the whole thing is now only 2" across (yes, I measured). True, they looked like enormous, hideous cockleburs at first, but they improved with the removal of the stitches, and, true to Dr. Geter's word, have improved exponentially now that they have had four months to shrink to a normal size. 

I'm both excited and nervous. I've never had a tattoo before. There are many reasons for that, one being that I can't imagine what I would pick that I would want to look at for the rest of my life. As with everything else on this adventure, I didn't get to pick this time, either. So, nipples it is. Maybe this will be my gateway tattoo...?

And since today is the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and since so many are posting on Facebook where they were that day, I will tell you that I had just gotten out of my car in the parking lot at the preschool. We spent the morning with very little information and much fear. When the children left at 11:30, I went home with my 2 year old daughter, laid down on the couch with the tv on, curled up into a ball, and cried. My 2 year old brought me her blankie for comfort, but it didn't work for me like it worked for her. 

Give your loved ones an extra hug and kiss today.

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