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Topic: when do implants start to feel normal?

Forum: Breast Reconstruction — Is it right for you? Discuss timing and various procedures and techniques.

Posted on: Nov 13, 2012 02:30PM

ConnieGreene wrote:

I know it's probably way too early and going from saggy DDs to this is all way new

but wanted to ask anyway - I had my bc with recon surgery on the 23rd. She did a fill yesterday (300 each side) and will have one more next week -pretty sure it is as far as I want to go...

when do they feel "natural or normal"?????

I am waiting until after all treatment is done before next surgery to replace the TE to the saline ones

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Nov 13, 2012 03:06PM fhny2012 wrote:

Hi ConnieGreene,

In my experience, the TEs never felt normal or natural.  But that being said, I had my exchange 3 weeks ago and it's a world of difference.  I know not everyone has this experience, but I am very happy, and while it's obviously never going to be the same, the implants feel comfortable, and I feel like my silhouette looks like the pre-BC me!

So give it time - and know that the TEs are just temporary. 

I hope you feel better every day - I know it's a cliche, but you will get through it, and it does get better.

Dx 4/20/2012, IDC, Triple Negative, 2.8 cm, BMX on 5/14/12, 1 micromet/19 lymph nodes, 4 round A/C, 4 round Taxol 6/12 through 9/12

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Nov 13, 2012 03:07PM, edited Nov 13, 2012 04:20PM by itsjustme10

Because of the way they're constructed, TE's tend to be harder than permanent implants, so I would say just get used to them, and tolerate them while you have them.  But apparently TE's have a hard back, which is what makes them feel so sturdy, plus you have the filling tubes n your body, so they're not going to be the world's most comfortable thing - but it's totally do-able.  Just remember, these are temporary. 

Because I had radiation, I had my TE's for 14 months, and actually just had them swapped out for silicone implants yesterday, and while it's too soon to tell you how long it takes for them to feel normal or part of me, other than the stupid surgical bra with straps made for an amazon, not someone 5'1" tall - lol - yikes - they are more comfortable already. :)

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Nov 13, 2012 05:38PM ConnieGreene wrote:

so HAPPY to hear that!! Now I know it's just not me being weird ;) thank you!

Dx 9/5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/23/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/03/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 12/03/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/01/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/15/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/16/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Nov 13, 2012 07:30PM CTGirl12 wrote:

I had my surgery on 9/11 and was a DDD before all this.  So I get the big change you are going through.  I am going for my second fill on Monday.  As you get closer to the size you want, do the fills hurt more?  I haven't decided yet if I am going to have the saline or silicone implants.  What are the major differences?  I have heard a few women say that the silicone is more comfortable but I am uneasy with the history around it.  I still have plenty of time to decided but want to make sure I make the right choice for me. 

Dx 7/16/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 1/26 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 09/11/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Hormonal Therapy 11/12/2012 Tamoxifen
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Nov 13, 2012 07:39PM thatsvanity wrote:

It has been 1 year and 7 months since I had surgery for my PBMX.
And they feel as close to normal as I think u can get to real breasts. They will never feel 100% like real breast tissue because it isn't breast tissue, it is for me a silicone implant. They have very little feeling and they kind of remind me of a rubber beach ball under my breast skin. But they move and they are soft I feel better when I wear a bra or I get some aches in the left breast. My nipples still shrivel when I'm cold. But they are just as much a part of me as my old breasts. I hope that helps. It just takes time to feel at peace with your new breasts for me it was about one year. Best wishes for healing well!
Amy Lynn

Atypical lobular hyperplasia(11/11/10) PBMX NS mastectomy on 5/26/2011

Dx 11/11/2010, Stage 0, 0/0 nodes
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Nov 13, 2012 09:34PM Sleep wrote:

Hi Connie Greene, I have had my silicone since aug 6 and as of today it still hurts especially if I bend over while in a setting position.ugh it smarts. Tonite I'm with heating pad and ice pack altenative. If this does let up somewhat in the future praise b to GOD . For all us . I long to feel normal again don't you? with Love & kisses Sandra green.

Dx 12/23/2011, IDC, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 13, 2012 09:58PM Beesie wrote:

I had my MX with expander surgery 7 years ago and I've had my implant for 6 1/2 years.  The implant has felt "normal" for a long time - it's become a normal part of my body. It has never felt uncomfortable and I'm very used to it. But it's not natural, it doesn't feel natural and it never will. Amy Lynn, your comment about feeling like you have a rubber beach ball under your skin is similar to how I feel.  My implant must be smaller than yours Wink though because what I say is that it feels like I have a softball implanted under my chest muscle. And while I'm used to the implant and don't notice it most of the time (except when I get phantom itching, which I still get after all these years), what I've found is that even after all this time, if I do something unusual that strains my pec muscle, I notice it.  For example, I don't lug heavy suitcases very often, so every time I do, it strains my pec muscle and I feel tightness or discomfort around implant.  The simple fact is that with implant reconstruction, we are asking our pec muscles to do something they weren't made to do. And from my experience, sometimes they let us know that. 

Connie, I hope what I'm saying isn't discouraging... as I said, my implant breast is part of me now, and for the most part it's comfortable, but it's not a natural breast and it doesn't have any of the qualities of a natural breast, except for the shape and appearance (although I never bothered with a nipple). So feeling comfortable, feeling normal and feeling natural are different things. Hopefully you will get to feel comfortable and normal, but don't expect natural or you may be disappointed. 

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke

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Nov 14, 2012 10:29AM ConnieGreene wrote:

thank you all.....I know they will never feel natural but hoping I won't feel them 24/7 like I am now..

gotta say pretty weird feeling having them UP there where they belong.....

My dr prefers Saline - she does both but when I asked that was her response so I am going with those.

My first fill didn't hurt at all - just tight for about 24 hours then they felt like they did before the fill

2nd and probably last is next Monday - going to a C.....I love smaller ones!

Dx 9/5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/23/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/03/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 12/03/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/01/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/15/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/16/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Nov 14, 2012 01:16PM Crescent5 wrote:

Connie what do you prefer? Silicone or saline? Your dr doesn't have to have these things hanging from her chest for the next 50 years. Has she given you the opportunity to feel both? While many women can be very happy with their salines, most PSs will say silicone is  better for reconstruction. They feel more like breasts, they don't slosh, and rippling is less with silicone (I dont think all saline implants slosh, but I've heard of a few women who dealt with that).

I'm almost 8 months out from exchange & 7 weeks from revision. Even though I've been obsessed with my chest for 2 years, I barely think about the girls now. So I'd have to say they feel "normal" to me now. It really would have been much sooner, but one was in a funky position.  With the TEs, I was always conscious of them. Always. And even though I had some weirdness thanks to the displacement, I really had that ahhhhh moment when I woke up from exchange surgery.

Good luck! =)

Dx: ALH, LCIS 10/10, PLCIS 11/10 ~ PBM 1/13/12 ILC 4mm & 7mm found post MX Stage 1 Grade 2 ER/PR+ HER2- 0/9 nodes Oncotype Score = 6, Tamoxifen 4/12 ~I want this sh*t to leave me alone

Dx 1/13/2012, ILC, <1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 14, 2012 02:16PM ConnieGreene wrote:

I have no idea on a preference to be honest. She showed them to me but still have no idea....guess I better look into it further? It won't be for a long time so I have time, right?!

thank you for the insight!!!!!

Dx 9/5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/23/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/03/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 12/03/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/01/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/15/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/16/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Nov 14, 2012 02:41PM Dianarose wrote:

Cresent5- I noticed that you had a onco score of 6 as I did. I also had lobular, but I had 17 positive nodes and still got a score of 6. I wonder and will have to research if most women with lobular are getting the lower scores. It's so frustating so I went ahead and did the chemo because of the nodes. MO wasn't even sure if chemo was going to be for nothing, but felt I needed to do something.

Connie- I still have my expanders and probably will for quite sometime. They are like rocks and hard to sleep with, but I am at peace with them as I really look great in a strapless dress now. Just try to find the positive with the negative. It keeps us going forward.

6/10/13 mets to ovary now stage IV

Dx 3/22/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 2, 17/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 05/31/2012 Cytoxan, fluorouracil, methotrexateRadiation Therapy 12/03/2012 3-D conformal external beam radiationHormonal Therapy 08/10/2013 Aromasin
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Nov 14, 2012 02:47PM ConnieGreene wrote:

<running off to find a strapless dress...giggle>

Dx 9/5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/23/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/03/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 12/03/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/01/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/15/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/16/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Nov 15, 2012 12:13AM Blessings2011 wrote:

Oh, I don't think the TEs ever feel normal, unless you are used to having boulders under your muscles....(I'm writing in my iPad so I can't do the funny icons here....)

However, when you get your permanent squishies at exchange, you'll notice a difference.

I didn't have the immediate relief that many women feel because my PS had to do so much pocket work, I had more pain and more restrictions.

But I gotta tell ya - I LOVE the way they look!

Allergan smooth saline, high profile 700 ccs. And the best part? They're always warm!

Now I just have to get used to them moving when I flex my pecs.....

(I'm almost 3 months out from exchange...)

Dx 9/15/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/05/2011 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Surgery 08/22/2012 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Hormonal Therapy 09/05/2012 ArimidexHormonal Therapy 10/22/2013 Femara
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Nov 15, 2012 09:33AM ConnieGreene wrote:

yay!!!!! these look weird too.....but my PS says they loook fabulous............

Dx 9/5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/23/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/03/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 12/03/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/01/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/15/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/16/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Nov 15, 2012 09:52AM Dulcigirl wrote:

Yep....trying to get used to the feeling that "they" do tricks. When I yawn, when I reach certain ways......I've been able to feel them move. But last night I was getting ready for bed and I looked in the mirror and tried to flex. Oh my word.

First I giggled. Then I cried a little. Life can be so strange.

"I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles." ~ Audrey Hepburn

Dx 9/12/2012, IDC, Stage ISurgery 10/16/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Surgery 02/14/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/22/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)
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Nov 15, 2012 10:43AM ConnieGreene wrote:

OMG I know!!! They are the weirdest dang things - I swear when I bend over sometimes they feel like they are going to fall out the top!

Dx 9/5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/23/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/03/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 12/03/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/01/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/15/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/16/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Nov 15, 2012 12:40PM Blessings2011 wrote:

I told my PS that instead of nipple/areola tattoos, I was going to get tatts of hula girls across my foobs since I seemed to be able to make them dance so well!

Dx 9/15/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/05/2011 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Surgery 08/22/2012 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Hormonal Therapy 09/05/2012 ArimidexHormonal Therapy 10/22/2013 Femara
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Nov 15, 2012 01:26PM Hollycat wrote:

hi girls..I am 16 days post op with these awful TEs. I really hate them. I am sad to say mine don't do a lot of moving or tricks. I understand that they do become a little more bearable over time. I am counting on it!!! They are "settling" a bit. I got 300 ccs on the table so they are kinda starting to look something like a foob. Still...can't wait to get the real deal in there. I am doing silicone. My PS thinks that saline ripples and wrinkles. At age 46, I kinda don't care..I doubt I will enter any swimsuit contests or pose nude...ha ha!!! Just get these torture devices out of me...yikes!

Dx 9/6/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 09/04/2012 Lumpectomy (Left)Surgery 10/31/2012 Prophylactic Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Surgery 10/31/2012 Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Hormonal Therapy 12/08/2012 TamoxifenSurgery 02/07/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)
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Nov 15, 2012 02:44PM Dianarose wrote:

Blessings2011- I never thought about which is better as far as warmth. Is saline warmer than silicone?

6/10/13 mets to ovary now stage IV

Dx 3/22/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 2, 17/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 05/31/2012 Cytoxan, fluorouracil, methotrexateRadiation Therapy 12/03/2012 3-D conformal external beam radiationHormonal Therapy 08/10/2013 Aromasin
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Nov 15, 2012 06:37PM ConnieGreene wrote:

right with you Holly!!!!

Dx 9/5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/23/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/03/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 12/03/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/01/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/15/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/16/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Nov 15, 2012 06:38PM ConnieGreene wrote:

way too funny blessings!!!!! You made me giggle out loud

Dx 9/5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/23/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/03/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 12/03/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/01/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/15/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/16/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)
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Nov 17, 2012 02:43PM Crescent5 wrote:

Dianarose, I remember when you got your score. I'm pretty sure I told that I would have considered chemo with those nodes. I'm going to shoot you a PM.

Dx: ALH, LCIS 10/10, PLCIS 11/10 ~ PBM 1/13/12 ILC 4mm & 7mm found post MX Stage 1 Grade 2 ER/PR+ HER2- 0/9 nodes Oncotype Score = 6, Tamoxifen 4/12 ~I want this sh*t to leave me alone

Dx 1/13/2012, ILC, <1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 17, 2012 04:52PM Beth1951 wrote:

I got my TEs during my BMX. For several weeks I felt like I had an uncomfortable underwire bra on. I think I am getting used to that now.

I was DDD so I am looking forward to a C cup. Dance is my therapy so the implants were important to me. I have only had one fill so far and I was surprised at how uncomfortable it was the day after the fill. I wonder if I will get used to it with time.

Connie you mentioned that you had 300cc with your fill. How was that? My PS only fills 100cc with each fill. So, I am hoping by going once a week I will be completed by the holidays.

My husband has been great throughout the process. He too is just glad that the cancer is gone and we can move on with our lives.

At first I felt really self conscious and always wore a scarf. I returned to my dance class last week ( where I used to feel self conscious because of my DDD's) I wore a COOBIE bra ) slightly padded and a shirt with ruffles. I had to giggle, I was the smallest breasted or not breasted woman in the group.

It was good to be back.

So, I get my second fill ( 100cc each side) on Tuesday and then we head to my daughter's house ( 4 grand-babies) for THanksgiving. It will be tough not wrestling with the big Grands and even harder not to pick up the Littlest Grands. I am just hoping the discomfort of the fill isn't as bad as the first fill.

Beth

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your own wild and precious life ?" Mary Oliver

Dx DCIS, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-Surgery 08/20/2011 Lumpectomy (Right)Surgery 08/10/2012 Lumpectomy (Right)Surgery 08/27/2012 Lumpectomy (Right)Surgery 10/17/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)
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Nov 17, 2012 06:51PM CoolBreeze wrote:

It's been 3 years and it still doesn't feel normal.   I don't mind that much but I do mind the itching.  3 years and I still have the phantom itching.

Ann's cancer blog: www.butdoctorihatepink.com .....multicentric/multifocal IDC/ILC+DCIS/LCIS/ADH Official dx? "Your breast was a mess." ~UniMastectomy/Chemo/Herceptin/Tamoxifen/Recon Almost Done! Oh wait. mets to liver 5/21/11 Now Stage IV

Dx 8/17/2009, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Nov 17, 2012 09:19PM ConnieGreene wrote:

the 300 fills were fine....like you said it feels like an uncomfortable underwire...but I have to tell you it feels better after the first fill then it did before!!! I can sleep on my side again which is huge to me!!!!

There is one weird thing going on though. My right one is red - like it's irritated or something? Obviously I don't feel it but....the left one is fine but it's a little flatter - the right one is rounding nicely. I see my PS on Monday so I will see what she says.

She asked if I wanted to get them done before the chemo started so that's why she went 300 each...and will do the same this Monday!

Dx 9/5/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 2/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 10/23/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 12/03/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 12/03/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/01/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/15/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 10/16/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)