Exactly two years, nine months and four days after my initial diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer, I finally had the final procedure to complete my reconstruction. I got my 3D nipple tattoos. They look pretty good, especially considering I can still go without a bra but there isn’t a blank slate when I look down. They will lighten up to reveal more of the 3D effect over the next few weeks. Right now, they kind of look like little pepperonis. The other option other than going nip-less or the 3D tattooing is nipple reconstruction surgery (which I’ve touched on in the past.) There are a couple of different ways this can be done. The Boob Whisperer uses the skin from the reconstructed breasts to form a nipple. I’ve also seen where some plastic surgeons use a donor site, like the inner thigh. The reconstructed nipple, once healed, is then tattooed with nip-colored pigment to resemble a real nipple. Since I favor going braless but still wanted that finishing touch, I got the 3D tats. Also, as I have previously stated, reconstructed nips have no sensation. In fact, 80% of my left breast, and about 50% of my right, is numb, so what’s the point? If they aren’t going to actually work then it’s a hard pass from me. I know lots of ladies want them and they look very nice, it just didn’t make sense for me.
At my last appointment at The Boob Whisperer, I asked to see my initial photos. The ones with the cancer boob. Looking at the photo you can totally see something is wrong so I’m not sure why it took me so long to notice. I’ve learned though that Monday morning quarterbacking and what iffing doesn’t solve anything. This is the path I was meant to be on. I believe in fate and that God has his reasons for putting me here. Finishing this part of the journey is bittersweet. It’s always hard to let go of a doctor who has seen you through so many ups and downs. I’m hoping now that I will just have my oncologist every four to six months. And speaking of my oncologist, a few weeks back I talked about how my insurance company, HealthNet, was dropping Dignity Health from their network. This meant my oncologist would now be out of network. Well, miraculously, HealthNet approved my continuity of care request so I can continue seeing my oncologist at in-network cost. They only approve these for a few months at a time so in April I will need to reapply, but I am just thankful I don’t need to start over with a new doctor. Now, if God forbid I have a reoccurrence, I’m not sure HealthNet will approve treatment where I had it before, University of Arizona Cancer Center, because it’s part of Dignity Health. At that point I would likely need to change doctors but I am in no way going to start borrowing trouble and worrying about what ifs. Now I will enjoy finishing this last step and continue thanking God for each day I am able to enjoy.
Here are some photos of the long and winding road that led me here.