I hate using the word nipple. I suppose this might be our crazy twisted view of breasts. We can show breasts freely at the beach or at the Mall (some of us can) but mention breastfeeding or see a breastfeeding mom and we get nervous. (By the way, I think this is crazy) I think it has to do with the nipple. So deciding to get nipples or to leave my breast looking like Barbie’s has been a bit difficult. Why do I need them? I don’t. Why do I want them? I’m not completely sure. I have a bunch of little reasons why I want nipples. And since people have asked me how I’ve come to this decision, I’ll share them with you. And a few of you who did a search for nipple reconstruction found my crazy blog and are considering nipple reconstruction as well.
1. My locker room phobia. I reason in my head that if I have a nipple I won’t scare anyone who might glance my way in the locker room. Especially children. They are only used to nipple-less breasts on Barbie and Ken. I’m hoping with a nipple to feel a little less abnormal.
2. My Dear Plastic Surgeon says it will look more like a breast. And I believe him. He says it will draw the eyes away from the scars around the breast. Which is amusing to me because it’s not like I’m going to topless beaches, but I do see myself in the mirror every morning and I know what I used to look like. So does Jeremy.
3. The erotic factor. Yes, I did just say that. I lost any bit of feeling in my breasts when they took them. I may as well like what I see. Women actually are visual despite what the relationship books tell you. We know what looks good and what doesn’t.
4. The erotic factor for Jeremy. He would deny any need for nipples. He’s sweet like that, but I don’t believe it for one minute.
5. My kids. I’m glad my kids still have me. But sometimes I wonder if having normal looking breasts would help them in some way. Normalcy is good, right. I used to joke after I had mastectomies that Elijah (my son) would either like really flat women or really big breasts when he grows up, since he was only 1 when I had mastectomy. I figured laying against my rock hard chest would somehow taint his view of women’s breasts. Silly, I know, but it’s how I pass the time when I’m bored. I don’t think I have big breasts now, but a year or so ago, after reconstruction, I was reading to Elijah and he had his head on my breast and it must have occurred to him that they felt like a pillow, because he sat up and pushed on my breast like he was rearranging the pillows and said….”mommy, you have BIG nana’s.” This was our code word during breast-feeding and it has stuck around. Jeremy and I laughed. Compared to my rock hard chest, they do feel pretty darn good. I like having normalcy, I like having pillows, and breasts with nipples are normal.
6. It completes the job. It feels incomplete if I don’t have a finishing point…..no pun intended. Thankfully they won’t resemble Madonna’s cones.
7. I can’t feel it, so it’s not that big of a deal. The funny thing is that I do actually have some sensation in my breasts. I suppose the stem cells from the fat transferred is somehow healing the transferred skin. Very interesting. But I still didn’t feel much at all. Very mild burning sensation.
8. I can make them whatever size I want. I could choose that for the breast mound and I can choose it for my nipples as well. And, if I’m not happy, Dr. D said he can make them bigger or smaller. I like not having to wear a bra, so I’m worried they will be too big, but he has said I can make them flatter if I want. I suppose I could make them inverted if I wanted too….lol!
9. I hate feeling guilty for wanting breasts again. I know this is stress I put on myself. But lots of people offer their opinions when you are doing reconstruction. Just some advice from me here….but saying”do what feels right for you” is the best advice to give a woman post breast-cancer. She’s been through a lot. But a lot of people, who don’t know what it’s like, have said “why do you need them?” or “mine are small too.” And all I can say is….yours didn’t get cut off, nor does it have scars, they can feel when your husband touches them, and the nipples respond when you’re cold. If I want to have three surgeries to plump my breasts up and make them look like a breast by adding nipples…..and I have a plastic surgeon who will do it for me, then I will! I’m done feeling guilty about wanting normalcy.
10. I like taking risks. I could stay ok with Barbie’s boobies or I could risk no one seeing them but me and liking my breasts and having them look normal to me. I also have a pretty good plastic surgeon so the risk is minimal.