Glaring Headlights

March 10, 2014
by admin
by Guest Blogger Kelli Anderson

My headlights are always glaring!

I don’t know what my surgeon was thinking, but I am stuck with his creative vision of nipples…more like his Picasso vision of nipples! In his defense, though, reconstructed nipples are supposed to flatten out over time, which is why most surgeons will make them twice as large as the final desired result.

Unfortunately, though, my nipple nub will never flatten out. I had the type of reconstruction that included taking a piece of cartilage from my ear (along with skin from my groin area), so my nipple nub will stand the test of time.

Forget about going braless! Other reconstructed women rave about the liberation of going braless. No such liberation for me. My nipples are so exaggerated that they stand out in a down coat…like a cartoon caricature!

I felt like I was in a cartoon when I caught my (then) 12-year old son staring at my boobs as I relaxed braless in my pajamas. Poor kid; all he has heard about for the past four years is verbiage and buzzwords that no kid should have to grasp: breast cancer, BRCA-positive, mastectomy, chemotherapy and reconstruction. It is no wonder he stares…just trying to figure it all out…glaring headlights and all.

My reconstructed friends tell me I should go for a nipple revision whereby my surgeon will shorten the nubs. I am sure it could be a simple office procedure. Maybe then I would complete the process and get my nipple tattoos. Yes, here I am in the breast rehabilitation profession, and, yes, even I have not completed the process!

It is quite common for women to stop short and not fully complete their breast reconstruction, especially when revisions are needed. Have any of you stopped short of your final goal during your reconstruction? Why do we give up? Is it because we are so exhausted from it all? I can totally relate…

Just trying to figure it all out…glaring headlights and all…

Kelli Anderson, OTR/L, CHT, CLT
Breast Rehabilitation Therapist
Breast Rehabilitation & Healing Center
(Bilateral mastectomy 2007; reconstruction 2008; revision 2009;
nipple reconstruction 2008; still undecided about areola pigmentation)

Kelli Anderson

Kelli Anderson

Kelli is an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist with over 20 years clinical experience in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation.

Responding to her own breast cancer experience, Kelli then became a board-certified lymphedema therapist with a specialty in Post-Mastectomy Lymphedema Syndrome (PMLS). She then expanded her occupational therapy practice (Progressive Hand Therapy) to include breast rehabilitation and complementary healing strategies. She has developed a center that will be modeled by many in the field. Contact information about her center can be found here:

Breast Rehabilitation & Healing Center
99 Kinderkamack Road, Suite 211
Westwood, NJ 07675
Phone: 201-497-6175

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