ROCKSTAR STATUS INDEED
“Are you alayne white?” a very kind woman and soon to find out a client of our Providence location asked happily at the registration area at Women and Infants Hospital yesterday morning. I had just registered and was off to the next phase of my final surgery time slot. She was checking in with her I presumed husband by her side. I didn’t recognize her, but her head scarf and fine hair gave me the clue that she was familiar with my story as I have been writing endlessly. This is the gravy of writing; you get to meet people and hear their stories in all areas. We respectfully didn’t keep each other long, but the knowing in our eyes said volumes as we immediately connected through our cancer experiences. Words are not necessary, the smile and the warmth was a great way to head into my surgery yesterday. My “living apart together” partner kept walking as he is used to these recognitions by now. I gather from him that these peripheral conversations a half hour before my final surgery are not necessary, but I embrace them because the intent is always from a great place. I never feel intruded upon even in this private moment because it was my choice to write and to publicly speak about this mastectomy. I love when people approach me and share their stories and am thrilled to think that my stories help to let Pandora out of the box. It is only my opinion that talking about the fears, the humor, and the female experience of cancer and all of its ramifications are helpful. This may not be true for everyone, but if the permission is granted because of my writing, then so be it. I have always felt that talking honestly about the feelings and thoughts about any life experience coming at you is part of the healing because the alternative in holding that in is usually more dis-ease over time. Just my two cents.
I made my way to the second floor to the community of women waiting with their men to be checked in for whatever female ailment was about to be cured. C sections, mastectomies, lumpectomies, salpingo oophorectomies, hysterectomies and transgender operations even, Women and Infants seemed to have the superchick monopoly. A bustling female ailment business surrounded me and my partner while we took a seat to join the party. What were my thoughts as I waited? Would I stay over or go home? (my choice). I forgot to write a brief testimonial for my friend, Peter about why Roger Williams University is an asset to the community, does my mother even know that this is going on, when would I be able to exercise again, would the size of my replacement tits be too big, too small or just right, blah blah blah. Mostly though I just took nice deep breaths, took Michael’s hand and allowed myself to relax. I was actually looking forward to anesthesia to shut my fucking brain off for a few hours. I was actually looking forward to a recovery vacation to shut it down for a bit. You know you are a nut when you are looking forward to a week off of work because of a double mastectomy reconstruction surgery. This is fucked up, I know. I have been busy in a good energizing sort of way but I was looking forward to the first chance to stop for a bit and use this surgery as a reason to do so.
Next stop the height measurement, blood pressure, temperature and the scale. I get that the anesthesiologist needs to know your weight, but since I have had this surgery in April, I have avoided the scale at all costs. Six months of swelling, tissue expanders and drugs assured me that the scale was not going to be my friend. Rather than torture myself, I just went with how good I felt and refused the call of the female torture chamber we call a scale. As a matter of fact I removed the scale from my bathroom and put it away never to be used again, because I have accepted that it will never be the number I desire so fuck the scale. Until yesterday when I had to step on it. Why did I look? My crazy female head that I seriously thought I had in check started that familiar list making… how much do my clothes weigh, my shoes, my fake breasts, all acceptable deductions, maybe if I hadn’t eaten a half of pint of mint oreo cookie icecream as my last supper, Okay I think I can safely account for a five pound deduction. I am happy to report that I quickly shut that part of my brain down because it is crazy and I have done way too much work on my self to undervalue my worth because of a scale. This is one of those female crosses we bear and I for one can’t stand this but needless to say, I got sucked back into the vortex in a nanosecond.
I write about this because I want to acknowledge the silliness of taking a potential number obsession to the surgery room. I am about to have silicone implants put in to replace the hard baseballs I have gotten used to. I am about to have my nipple disconnected and reattached, and the doctor is also going to go into my previous ports of entry above each of my hips to suck fat out of my sides of my legs so my cleavage looks more natural and less Barbie (his choice not mine). I laugh at this. Then on top of all this as Dr. Michaud (aka Dr. Hottie) starts drawing with a black pen all over my front so he knows the areas in need of tweaking, I ask him how much the tissue expanders weigh hoping he is going to say five pounds. Yep, bat shit crazy, but here I am. Take me or leave me. (By the way, he said two pounds, damn.)
As I waited for the anesthesia Doctor, I felt the bustle of the presurgery room, pregnant women preparing for c sections, women preparing for their mastectomies and then I see a man with a beard getting carted off and naively comment because after all we are at Women and Infants, hence the word women. Then it dawns on me that she was becoming a he the same day I was reinventing my she. (The same day Hugh Hefner died, seems apropos doesn’t it?) And I felt so happy that I was in a hospital that is progressive enough to be part of his new life. The business of female, I don’t know how this hospital is not fiscally healthy. Women are big business and this was just two hours of one day.
When Dr. Anesthesia walked in we became fast acquaintances because she too recognized my name as she is a client too. Yay! I knew I was in great hands as far as the sedation went and the camaraderie that took place in that silly little room sealed the deal that all would be ok. I went in at 8:00am, was home, yes home, by 3:00pm, liposuctioned , 475cc silicone inserted feeling like I just got tackled my Gronk. It’s done. Now I just have to remove the bandages and my boobilicous staycation begins.
ROCKSTAR STATUS INDEED.