Back in November when I found out about Weird Cancer Guy, I thought the possibility of fake boobs was a serious positive. That was before I realized surgery was involved. Plenty of people OPT to get fake boobs. But once we met with the plastic surgeon today and heard the whole run down, I was a little less enthused. This is going to hurt. After everything he said, I responded in my head: “Yeah, but it’s not chemo.” Brian sat quietly listening. The appointment wasn’t at all what I thought it would be.
Brian, I think, was imagining stacks of magazines featuring different cup sizes. Or perhaps actual “lingerie models.” Instead of bringing Esquire to the exam, he brought in a Porsche magazine. “I’m not getting airbags, if that’s what you’re thinking,” I said. “Or a convertible top, weirdo.” There were no bins of different-size water balloons for me to consider either. But the surgeon did hand us two different implants, which were kind of like heavier water balloons that would give you a black eye at high speeds. He explained they can get punctured. Well, there goes my dream of swimming with swordfish.
We talked about the process, which involves putting a thing called an “expander” behind your muscle wall. I envisioned an Edward Scissorhands contraption, but it’s actually like a rubbery change purse. Every week, they inject saline into it to make your muscle expand and create a breast. Then, you do another surgery where they switcharoo the expander for an implant. The “cherry on top” is the nipple. I choose to bar the possibility of high beams for life and go with a tattoo instead of a constructed nipple. Now how does that work? Jackie with an E imagines that some dude from the Sons of Anarchy bumps the surgeon out of the way and gets busy burning a 3D nipple on. The doctor said there are more clinical tattoo artists not located in a Hawthorne alley. Whew.
Once we landed on a plan (reconstruction during the mastectomy surgery plus implants), the exam began. Measurements were taken and a mug shots of my boobs. “Turn to the left.” “Turn to the right.” That was it. We went home. The sun was out, so I collapsed on a Power Puff Girls blanket on the driveway with the dog and thought about new boobs.
1- The best thing the surgeon said: “You don’t have enough fat around your stomach to make even one boob.” That’s the closest I’ve ever felt to super model.
2- The Oregonian interviewed me today for a feature story on what to say to your kids when you’re dealing with cancer. It will appear in this coming Monday’s paper. Just talking about how my kids have conducted themselves through this makes me incredibly proud.
3- Before today, I had not realized that getting a full mastectomy is like an insurance policy. It gives me the best chances of not getting a recurrence of breast cancer and staying with my family longer.