I was devastated losing my nipples a week after trying to spare them. I know I’m not alone as many may have had the same outcome. I had wanted to be as “normal” as possible in my appearance, but the reality of normal is in one’s mind, an opinion.
After my implant surgery, I had one final decision to make: What was I going to do about nipples? I ultimately had four options presented to me.
- Reconstruct a nipple
- Tattoo nipples or scar covering tattoos
- Nipple prosthetics
Reconstructing a nipple would involve the use of cadaver collagen placed under the skin, then tattooing on the nipple color. Right away, I knew that was not an option for me. I’ve read articles where using the collagen could ultimately be absorbed by the body and go flat. I have lost my nipples once before, I did not want to take the risk of losing them again.
Tattooing is another option I could utilize. There are a number of 3-D tattoo artists that specialize in nipple tattooing across the country. Looking from a distance, the tattoos would look just like every other nipple and areola, but as you get closer you can start to see the difference. Or, many women have decided to tattoo over their scars creating some amazing pieces of art.
Nipple prosthesis is the last option, other than nothing. This would allow me to look at myself in the mirror and still feel like a woman. I would have the breasts and I would have the nipples without any of the extra worry. Many of the prosthesis could even be worn in the shower or while swimming.
The decision for me was an easy one. I knew reconstructing nipples was not something I wanted to do. It involved an out-patient procedure in the doctor’s treatment room, but I just did not want to risk losing the nipples again. I chose to do nothing for now, even though my plastic surgeon mentioned that having nothing “tricks” the brain into thinking that something is “missing” or “not quite right.” The other two options would always be available if and when I choose to do something. I was just happy to have the final surgery complete. I might look at myself in the mirror and laugh at the nipple-less boobs, but to be honest, I don’t think I would change it any other way. I see my scars and I see the qualities I possess: bravery, courage, and a promise to see that my daughter and nieces will not see this disease at a younger age than we have.
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