DIEP flap Education: Boobs in the Bathroom
DIEP flap education and boobs in the bathroom? Really? Yes! Really! When a woman has had breast reconstruction, especially when you are using your own tissue, it can be of great benefit to show other women “the goods” when they are contemplating the same surgery. The mere visual may seem a bit comical but let me share with you what I have personally experienced.
There is nothing comical about hearing the words, “You have breast cancer”. It is often a mind-bending, confusing Journey for women and men to go through. We talk about it a lot on the Journey Facebook group.
We have also discussed, in a half-joking manner, “Yes, I show others my boobs in the bathroom!” When your breasts have been removed after a mastectomy and then rebuilt using your own tissue, it is nothing short of miraculous to many; patient and potential patients alike. Women who have had DIEP flap are commonly very willing to show others what this incredible plastic surgery procedure looks like post-surgery. Women who are contemplating the surgery are generally amazed at the soft, warm, natural look of breasts shown to them by women who are willing to share their results.
A group of friends from Oklahoma recently shared their own experience. Here is what some of them had to say.
Rhonda: I remember sharing our adventure in the Toby Keith restroom and how eager we were to share our outcomes with those facing surgery. Since three of us were post-surgery and two were pre-surgery, I thought we might be able to provide some input from both perspectives.
Sarah: … I was just so touched and so amazed that night that these women, who were basically strangers, would share something so personal and private with me. But the truly inspiring part was that they shared it with me just to make my journey a little easier. They shared their stories and their scars with me so that the steps I was getting ready to take would not be so scary. Now I am forever connected to them for the love, kindness, and generosity they showed me that night. Take that, nasty cancer.
Juliana: Love it!!!! Boobies in bathrooms!!!! Here’s my input. Throughout my 2-year journey that would follow my port placement, many more DIEP ladies would cross my path, ALL offering to show me theirs! And I looked!! Now, post DIEP, I realize that I needed to see this, several times throughout my journey, to be comfortable with it and had a real life visual of what to expect.
Toni: … boobies in the bathroom….Lol! My journey was so different in that being brca1+ I had a choice? Kinda? And I didn’t do a flap. BUT I got on a plane and did the unthinkable because I saw it can be done with grace and bravery and laughter. This has really been a weird, wild, incredible year and while I’m not loving the actual process at times my gratitude for THIS and honestly more for everything else in our lives have increased immeasurably. Who knew?
My experience: Boobs in the Bathroom, DIEP flap Education
I’d like to share my experience. I was at a breast cancer symposium in April of 2017. I saw my breast surgeon who performed my nipple sparring, skin sparring, double mastectomy. She was presenting that day. I did have time to say hello to her and get a hug. She introduced me to some of her patients. They, too, had mastectomies. A couple did not have reconstruction while another did and had implants.
I introduced myself and they began asking questions.
- “We heard you have had DIEP flap.”
- “Who did your surgery?”
- “How was recovery?”
- “Was it difficult to travel after having your surgery?”
- “Are you happy with your results?”
Let’s stop there. I looked at all of them and said, “Would you like to see the results? We could step into the bathroom and peek.”
Wide-eyed, they all began to smile, a couple of giggles and a definite, “SURE!! Let’s go” from every one of them.
We stepped into the near-by bathroom. I stepped back into a stall with the door open trying to be as discrete as possible to others in the bathroom. They all stepped into the doorframe of the stall. I asked, “Are you ready?”
Still smiling with anticipation, they all stood there waiting. I lifted my shirt and bra and then I heard it!
“Wow!”, “Oh my gosh!” “That is unbelievable!” “They are beautiful!”
I looked at one woman and she began to tear up. I asked, “Are you OK?”
She looked at me and said, “I just can’t believe this. It makes me so happy to know this is possible.”
I did my usual lifting and jiggling so they could see how natural they are. I also invited them to touch them. This precipitated even more amazement. I pointed out scars on my breast and my tummy, so they would know scars are included in this package deal. But it was the shape and natural feel of my DIEP flap breasts that truly overwhelmed them all.
What’s the ending to this story? A few short months later, one of those women courageously called me to ask for my plastic surgeon’s contact information. So, you see, the DIEP flap education and boobs in the bathroom was a learning experience resulting in a new Journey for a breast cancer patient.
I hope to stay in contact with her to see where her Journey leads. The point is, seeing a woman’s results one-on-one has developed a community of women who share a common experience, being rebuilt after a breast cancer diagnosis. No picture can replace such an experience.
What’s Your Story?
Have you shown your post-surgical DIEP flap to others? Was it in the bathroom? More importantly, did it positively impact the other person and inspire them to move forward with their own Journey through DIEP flap breast reconstruction? I’d love to hear your story.