My Battle with Breast Cancer

Surgery, Mastectomy, & Expanders – Oh My

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I have been very open with my battle with breast cancer, and I don't want you to think I have been holding back.  Truth be told, things have just slowed down.  It seems like when I was first diagnosed things happened so quickly, now that I am finished with chemo everything has slowed to a tolerable pace.

Tomorrow, I will be having a right mastectomy and begin the reconstruction process.  The reconstruction process seems to be a long one, and involves a few surgeries.  But, it is all going to be worth it. 

When I had my left mastectomy, I thought my breast surgeon put a tissue expander in at that time but I was wrong.  Actually, he had left extra skin for the reconstruction process. 

Here is what an expander looks like.

Breast tissue expanders
The round grey looking area is where they will insert the needle to add more saline.  The object of all of this is to slowly stretch the muscle.  The muscle? You say. 🙂

This is how it is done.


As you can see in the photo above, the expanders go under the muscle. 

When I asked my plastic surgeon how big my oobiebays would be after surgery he said, "You will look like an eleven-year-old again."  We all got a laugh out of that. 

I have to deal with the drains again, but they will only be in a week or so.  Then after a few weeks, I will go in to have saline added to my expanders.  When the expanders get to the size we are wanting, then I will go in for surgery to have the implants put in. 

At this time, I don't know how long this process will take, but I am on the road to a full recovery!

Tomorrow I am posting a game of some sort.  There will be people in the waiting room needing entertainment, the surgery lasts for 3 hours, and I will need entertainment after my visitors leave.  So, be sure to come by and play along.

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  • Reply Jennifer January 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Will say a prayer for a good outcome and a speedy recovery! (And that eventually you will look like a perky 17 year old again!) 😉

  • Reply CeeCee January 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Prayers for a successful surgery and a quick recovery!

  • Reply Joanie January 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Good luck~keep up that positive attitude! Thinking of you…

  • Reply pam January 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Best of luck

  • Reply Melanie January 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    BEST OF LUCK!!! I know you’ll continue to sail through this with grace and humor. I’ll be sending my thoughts for a comfortable surgery and post-surgery and speedy healing. (light) Hugs (so as not to squish the air out of the expanders 😀 )

  • Reply Cynthia D'Alba January 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Good Luck. Will be thinking positive thoughts for you all day.

  • Reply Megan -Best of Fates January 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Good luck! It’s so interesting they go inside the muscle – do you know why?

  • Reply Pamela January 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I miss the like button when I see comments that make me want to agree or smile.
    I suppose you won’t be posting photos of the progress?

  • Reply Julie January 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Re: TypePad: [Another Chance Ranch] Pamela submitted a comment on "Surgery, Mastectomy, & Expanders – Oh My"
    You know what, Pamela, I think I will!  Would that be wrong of me?  Give me your opinions.

  • Reply Karmyn R January 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I am saying a huge prayer for you!!!

  • Reply Muddah January 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I’ll be sending positive thoughts and prayers your way tomorrow – will look forward to hearing how things go!

  • Reply The4Crows January 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Julie- it’s your blog, your story, your experience and your way of helping other women/men go through breast cancer by reading what you have gone through. You do what YOU feel comfortable doing and are led in sharing! Did that help any?

  • Reply The4Crows January 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I was trying to reply to your question above from Pamela…
    Thank you for sharing all that you have. Hadn’t heard from you in a while and just saw you on my twitter feed. Hugs & Prayers my friend! Working on a project here in Tulsa now w Happy First trying to name their next t- shirt on Facebook. If it wins 30% of profits go to my charity- Susan G Komen! So far it’s ahead! Yay! One of these days they are going to figure this thing out! Faith, Faith, Faith! Looking forward to hearing more updates!

  • Reply SharonFaye January 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I appreciate your sharing the information. If you have no problems sharing your progress, I think a lot of people would appreciate it. A friend of mine had breast cancer and I remember her being very frustrated not knowing what was in store. No one really seemed to tell her or show her what to expect. In your own way, you’re helping other women fight breast cancer by simply reading about your experience.

  • Reply BB January 11, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Jools… you know you have helped people heaps already. You will continue to do so, regardless of how much or little you choose to share. Do what feels right. I just know I love hearing about your progress, big and small. You are a very beautiful person, and I know this step will help you feel more like a woman again.
    Healing wishes flying your way!


  • Reply TrueKrit January 11, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Julie, I had the same surgery that you will be having. Mine was in August 2011 and I just finished this journey last week, so about 5 months. My first mastectomy was in March 2010, and I did take over a year to decide on removing the other breast and starting reconstruction. It’s good to finally be able to take your time to think and make your own choices. I am very happy with my results as I am sure you will be too. I am still amazed that my surgeon could make something(like 2 whole breasts) out of almost nothing! You will get through this just fine. Remember, unlike your first surgery, this one is a good and positive thing and your choice. Wishing you a speedy recovery !

  • Reply Monie January 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I know you are excited to be at this point in your recovery. My prayers are with you and for the surgeon as he does your reconstruction.

  • Reply Jen January 13, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Praying for a successful and speedy surgery. Your attitude is just wonderful, Julie!

  • Reply Dennis Rode January 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Yeah, it may take longer time for you to recover, but I’m sure the end-result will be worth the wait. I’m glad you shared your story in your battle against breast cancer, and I’m sure your readers are praying for your fast recuperation.

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