I'm not embarrassed by this question, nor do I feel like I should be. Let's face it, its not an easy question for many to ask in the first place, and the fact that some feel comfortable enough asking me, makes me want to help them understand. Friends, family and even strangers from the online world have asked me, "how do they feel?" Well, I'll do my best to describe it.
There's a reason there's the term called 'gummy bears' floating around when referring to a particular type of implants. I say type as there's confusion as to whether there really is an implant called the gummy bear. As far as I know, there's not. There was an initial implant the FDA approved which got the term gummy bear, but it really just means a highly cohesive gel implant. This term was coined by plastic surgeon Dr. Grant Stevens, of Marina Del Rey, California. The implants I received, not actually called gummy bears, are a high-strength, smooth, non-textured, cohesive silicone gel. This means, when the implant is cut in half, it retains it's shape and it doesn't ooze out, much like a gummy bear would do if cut in half. Well, there you have it, that's what it feels like when touching my breasts. There's no longer any texture to feel inside the breast, no fibrous areas, lumps, etc. It's just like pressing into a smooth gel. Some feel that using the term gummy bear trivializes the needs and reasons behind getting implants. I have a different way of looking at it. It was how we were able to explain my surgery to my kids. We used gummy bears as an example, they got it. It was no longer scary to them, and now they can talk about it. There's more on that to come.
|By FDA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons|
At this point, I'm two and a half weeks out from surgery. The breasts are beginning to soften, the implants are beginning to drop and settle into place. I wasn't sure what I would feel, if anything, after surgery. Your breast tissue is being taken out, all of it, and if you're lucky enough to have a surgeon like Dr. Chrysopoulo, he will take the painstaking time to make sure any traces of tissue fiber are taken out of the fatty layer just under the surface of the skin as well. In doing this type of surgery, you risk cutting nerves, that's a given.
I was amazed that I could feel the nurses and doctor touching areas of my breasts upon examination hours after surgery. For the most part, the majority of my breast surface was numb...I only felt the idea of someone putting pressure in an area. However, there were parts where I could actually feel the touch. I was ecstatic. It only got better from there. As days passed, I kept telling my husband that I could feel more and more of my breasts when showering or being examined. It was when my nurse commented on my nipples reacting upon examination that I got really excited. That means there's nerves.
I never thought I'd have feeling in my nipples again. So many stories I read, women have lost that sensation. I'm so thankful that mine are at least reacting to touch, even though I don't have full feeling in them as of yet...who knows, I might someday. What I do feel in my nipples is a soreness, much like your nipples feel when pregnant or nursing...they ache to the touch. This is different than feeling the gentle touch to the nipple, I don't feel that nearly as much right now. But I'm happy to feel the aching pain, because it means I can feel, and I'm happy they react. I've got to focus on the positives.
As for the breast itself, each one is completely different. My right breast has different areas of numbness vs. my left breast. For my right breast, majority of the underside is completely numb, but the entire upper portion and leading to the sides retained complete sensation, from just outside the nipple to the edges of the actual breast. For my left breast, majority of it is numb until about two inches out from the nipple, at which point I have complete sensation again, all the way around. Remember, I'm only two and a half weeks out. I have faith that more sensation will return with given time.
But for now, I'm so completely happy with what I have. I've come out on the other side better than expected, and you can't take that happiness away.