Back in July my consultant M talked about the option of a diep flap reconstruction. 18 years ago when my Mum developed breast cancer the choices were lumpectomy and a distorted boob or mastectomy and a prosthesis. Today we’re luckier. There are lots of very good reconstruction options including temporary expanders, immediate silicon, latimus dorsi or diep flaps. Diep flap is nothing short of a free NHS tummy-tuck relocating skin, fat and blood supplies from below the navel up the abdomen into the chest to create a nice, 100% natural replacement breast.
I thought exchanging my right breast for a flat stomach was a pretty good deal, even though diep is a long and complex surgery. I was certain (having been attached to it for a long time) there was enough squidgy flab on my midriff to create an average sized breast. We weren’t talking Dolly Parton after all! M asked me to stand up so she could take a look and I stood there feeling awkward all the while day-dreaming about my new ‘no diet, no gym’ super flat stomach. Then she dropped another bombshell. “No, I’m afraid you don’t have enough fat to create a new breast” said M. What? I don’t understand! I’ve seen that stomach day-in day-out and its cosy layer of fat would look much better shoved up onto my chest.
Scrambling around for a way to change M’s mind, I tried convincing her with the most plausible, medically sound argument I could come up with. There must be enough fat because my BMI says so. How could she possibly explain my ‘keep off the pies’ rating if I didn’t have enough fat to build an average sized breast? Where the hell IS all this weight if I’m not covered head to toe (but mainly on my stomach) with a thick layer of gloopy fat?
“It’s not fat, its bone mass” she said. My dreams of the ‘no diet, no gym’ flat stomach were lost forever.