MY LAST FILL
I simply cannot believe that I had my final appointment with Dr. M. this past Monday for MY LAST FILL before my final surgery. What this means for the laypeople out there and hopefully there are many because reconstruction on mastectomied breasts is not something I would expect in anyone’s daily vocabulary, is that my boobs have been sufficiently expanded beyond the final size. If I could explain this feeling of boobs that get to be injected with saline so the tissue expands making them ready for the switchout of the permanent silicone replacements, it would be like almost too much air in balloons. No wait, even better… do you remember Super Elastic Bubble Plastic? Remember blowing into the red straw with the little puff of the God knows what chemical at the end of the straw pushing your air ever so gently to get the balloon to blow up? A perfect one was when the balloon would just get so big and you knew right when to stop, these are now my boobs.
My boyfriend asked me after I gave him the new and not sure if they are improved version view if I felt embarrassed to walk around with them. “Should I be embarrassed?” I asked seriously because the funny thing about monthly new boob size is you lose perspective of what is normal. I can’t really tell if they are over the top other than the humorous conversations I have had with my partner and my friends. I also gain perspective when he places his very large hands over them and they barely fit, this is a funny way to judge how big they really are. Go big or go home is what I have said on more than one occasion to my Fabulous Doctor M. I can kind of see how people become addicted to plastic surgery, I so easily slid into the “just a little more” category of boob filling. Thank goodness for my very reasonable doctor who kept reminding me of the first thing I said to him at our initial consult.
“The only concern I have is that I have heard one thing about you and that is that you tend to go bigger than the patient actually wanted.” I really did hear this from a couple of people and at the time it was a serious concern. How time has changed. Now it is he who is putting the kibosh on me. The irony. Back to my boyfriend’s question about embarrassment followed by,
“Are you pulling up your shirt like you are doing with me with other people?”
First, the notion of embarrassment- this is so funny, I have actually had so much fun with this major shift in my upper body. I can’t believe I am saying this aloud and I am sure I have said this in multiple writings post surgery now that I am used to this new oddity that is part of my life. I recently stopped in at LULULEMON and bought some kicking new tank tops that if I wore them alone would definitely make me look like some aging porn star, but I secretly (not so secretly anymore after this writing) love wearing them at least under a sweater. There is something about the uprightness of it all that has totally changed the way my body looks back at me in the mirror. At least I got some bonus out of this whole wacky and traumatic experience.
What are my options anyway? Wallow in self pity or enjoy the process as part of perpetual life coming at me? I choose the latter; I usually do. It takes a lot for shit to bring me down. The other question Michael asked me was about the frequency of shirt lift offs. Mmmm. Well maybe, kind of, well occasionally. I am the type of person who likes to perpetually teach and share. I just can’t help but think with the frequency of women in our lives diagnosed with breast cancer I am being helpful to women by showing them and letting them feel the crazy baseball like hardness of them. I mean my work is with mostly women and my young team is going to come across this. It is more about education so it makes it a little less scary. I am not forcing people to take a look or a feel, but once someone gives me a full on chest hug, there is a human curiosity of what the hell is going on here? I like to talk about it loud and clear; it takes away the awkwardness at least for me anyway. So no I am not embarrassed at all, I love my new temporary badass very fake breasts and yes I do lift up my shirt at the drop of a hat for people I know (so don’t get any ideas if I have no clue who you are, there will be no revealing). Part of the healing process for me in this last almost five months is the open and honest dialogue and this is all a part of the speedy recovery.
I told Dr. M. when I was in his office this past Monday that I was actually going to miss these bad boys. He assured me that I would not miss them at all. I think I will miss the forced conversations they spur. They are a unique jumping off point for honesty and truth about cancer, the strides that the medical profession has made in breast cancer and the unique one size does not fit all aspect to the experience. Every single person I have had the privilege to speak with about this wild and frightening ride has a different story, different decisions, different surgeries, post care, post recommendations, recoveries. Not one story is the same and I am no expert just because I went through this so publicly. I have done no research except as it applies to me and I cannot be a voice or an instructor other than to continue to share my own yellow brick road, (omg- I almost wrote the word journey). I am looking forward to the next surgery only because I am hoping that along with the new and hopefully final way my upper body will feel and look, it will also represent the final closing of a book I hope I don’t have to reread. This would be the best outcome indeed.