I never anticipated becoming a woman with a plastic surgeon in her life, but I have now been treated by two of them.
Five and one-half years ago, I had a mastectomy followed by the insertion of an implant. One of the things the surgeon and I discussed this morning was that most people don’t know what that means. Let me clarify: it meant a number of minor procedures, three surgeries under general anesthesia, and a painful breast expansion process that lasted for three months until I abandoned it. The results: two dramatically mismatched breasts, one looking something like a misshapen lump, and daily dealing with a “foob” — a fake breast insert to even out my appearance, which meant much adjusting of clothing and care not to wear V-neck blouses that might dip too low and reveal too much if I bent over. Once I forgot all about it as I rushed through my morning and, walking about that summer day, looked down to see that one side of my t-shirt was flat!
I had reached my limit where physical pain and mental hassle were concerned, so I left matters as they were ~ until last summer. Engaged in a wonderful ministry as an interim pastor to a healthy and loving church, I had begun to feel so positive about myself that I decided to address the one thing with which I was completely dissatisfied. In October, after a consultation with a new plastic surgeon repeatedly recommended by my nurse practitioner for the past several years (“I know you’re really pissed; would you please go and see this guy?”), I had a surgical revision of the lumpy
breast mess to round it out and remove a particularly irritating scar, and a reduction in size of the other breast so that they would match. More or less. Way more than they did, anyway. After a couple of weeks of healing, I was able to get dressed in boringly ordinary bras and shirts and go back to work.
This morning I had the tattooing needed to complete the project. (Use your imagination. No images today!) It will take a couple of weeks to heal, and at the moment it stings, so I am babying myself and relaxing at home ~ but I’m finished!
It’s a small thing, actually. I have friends whose breast cancers have involved far more, and I myself have certainly endured life catastrophes that make of this experience . . . well, a very small thing indeed. But it’s awfully nice to think that, when I dress or undress next month, my clothes will fit and, other than the scars, I will look pretty ordinary. I’m all in favor of ordinary.