Friday, February 26, 2010


  1. Check out this quick television spot on aureole pigmentation and Beauty Through Cancer. It was on WLOS(the ABC affiliate in Western NC) last night. They did a great job explaining aureole pigmentation as one of the last parts of the breast cancer reconstruction process.

  2. The Summer I Had "Barbie's" Breasts
    (extra-ordinarily large and with NO nipples) My Breast Cancer Experiences Pigmentation Breast Tatooing Reconstruction": Beauty Through Cancer

    The breast reconstruction process is as unique as each person that survives breast cancer. So I preface my comments by saying that my choice and process is my individual choice which does not mean it is right or wrong for anyone else. It was right for me. I hope that this information helps those making decisions and/or their loved ones.
    I found the Her2 positive (negative for estrogen or progesterone) breast cancer through a self-breast exam at the age of 43. The first mammogram did not show any abnormalities. My family practitioner continued to push for another mammogram. This mammogram showed a tumor that was very close to the chest wall. It was in the 1st Quadrant of the breast on the left side. (Most breast cancers occur in the right breast and the 4th Quadrant, near underarm.)
    I started with chemo and then chose to have a double mastectomy. The reconstruction process was about a 4 month process. The process started with the placement of "expanders". These basically look like implants without any solution inside. They have a port in them where saline is injected every week or every 2 weeks by the plastic surgeon.
    The "expanders" stretch the skin. This prepares the skin for the insertion of the breast implants. It is a delicate process as the skin needs to be stretched just enough to give a realistic appearance to the implants.
    What I didn't realize was that "just enough" was much larger than my chosen implant size. I couldn't believe how perky and large those "expanders" were. I actually had a dream that I was in a dark movie theater. I was startled by the movie and jumped. When I jumped the straw from my soda popped my expander and water flooded the theater!
    During these 4 months as my "expander" breasts grew I had NO nipples. They were taken with the mastectomy. The plastic surgeon had been able to make a very small fold of skin that could be...could be an artificial nipple. I had no aureola. I never knew how strange this would feel to me everytime I looked in the mirror. This truly was the summer that I had breasts just like "Barbie"!
    I never heard, never thought about this part of the process....aureole pigmentation. After the "expanders" were removed my implants were inserted in their place. Several weeks later I had an appointment with a permanent make-up artist. She does aureole pigmentation for breast cancer patients as a free service and a way to give back. She lost her mother to cancer.
    Now, a tattoo where your nipple used to be at first sounds pretty painful. However, by that time I was more accustomed to pain than I ever wanted to be. Also, the loss of sensation in the breast can be a blessing during this step. She did some topical numbing and then the tattoos. There was some discomfort 3 or 4 hours later. However an over-the-counter pain reliever took care of the discomfort.
    I never knew the difference that this step would make in my healing process. My new oncologist on first look thought that my nipples had been spared. The artistry of the plastic surgeon AND the artistry of the permanent make-up artist created an amazing 3-D effect.
    My "Barbie" Breasts are now long gone. I have my normal size breasts back AND I have nipples. Barbie doesn't have either. :)
    I am attaching a couple of links for reference with information and video. I hope this is helpful.
    Aureole Pigmentation Breast Reconstruction
    Beauty Through Cancer

  3. You're my hero.

    Sending big hugs and blessings.