The reconstruction saga continues.
After digging up as much research as I could (not much), I turned to my support group for any insight they might have. Through one of the lovely ladies in that group, I was able to talk with a plastic surgeon. She practiced/trained at MD Anderson and now has her own practice in Austin, TX.
She quoted some statistics for complications — something my doctor didn’t. She said it was a higher than 25-percent chance of complications, and that high of a percentage made the fat-grafting procedure unwise.
I have a bit of an internal struggle with all of this. When I had my infection last year, everyone around us — including the internal medicine department at MD Anderson — was telling us to take the expander out, but Dr. Kronowitz wanted to wait it out to see if I could overcome the infection and still keep the expander.
“No! Why would I?”
That was his quick response to Alan at one point late in Jan. 2013 when he asked about removing the expander.
I trusted him and took those risks. He was right. I have options open to me now that would not have been possible options if I would have taken the expander out.
So, I want very much to trust that he wouldn’t lead me down a path that he thought was dangerous. At the same time, I’m really afraid of the consequences. Add the fact that I ALREADY had complications when he put in the expander. With all of that, I’ve decided not to move forward with the fat grafting option.
However, while I spoke with the plastic surgeon from Austin, she told me that if it were daughter or mother, she would recommend a DIEP on the radiated side and implant on the prophylactic side.
I mentioned that I wasn’t a candidate for DIEP reconstruction. I thought this to be true because when I told Dr. Kronowitz I was having my left side removed, he said I do not have enough abdominal tissue to reconstruct both breasts. That was the end of the discussion.
But, to hear that people do implants on one side and DIEP on the other side … well, that brings in a whole other option.
The recovery for the DIEP will be hard. The hospital stay is six days instead of three; however, I feel as though the long-term will be better for me. We have read a lot about people having chronic back pain or lack of strength after the back flap surgery. The DIEP flap would not involve my muscle at all so once I’ve healed from the actual surgery, I feel as though I will feel better long-term.
I spoke with Dr. Kronowitz’s physicians assistant, Katie, late Friday. What it all boils down to is if Dr. Kronowitz believes I have enough tissue to recreate my right side. I won’t know that until I see him again … the day before surgery. So, at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, I will make a decision. My options are:
- Move forward with the back flap surgery
- Move forward with the DIEP surgery if he says I can do it
- Delay the reconstruction on my right side.
Any prayers for clarity on the right decision as we meet with him on Tuesday will be great. I already know what I feel is right. I’m just not sure it matches up with his opinion.