Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Makin' Mountains out of Mole Hills

I sorta feel like the kid in the neighborhood that was the first to get a microwave/cell phone/Atari, something, well nothing that cool but none-the-less, the first in my hood. With that comes a bunch of things, like fuckin' some shit up and wishin' I would have known more going in. I am the one workin' out the kinks so that I can pass the wisdom I have gathered along the way onto you dear reader. It's like my public service announcement, if/when any of you women/men are put into a similar situation you will have more information than I did. First thing ta do, call me, then refer back to my written words here, I am not leaving much out.

Ya know how it's okay for you to call your brother an asshole but if someone else were to mutter those words you would beat the shit out've em? I can down-play things to make it easier for myself and others to digest. I can make certain unpleasant things seem tolerable since I have a guilt complex that I got off "easy" in comparison to a shit ton of others. BUT, when others do that for me, I get bucky.

I am going to take one final time to talk about my cancer. I got breast cancer and I took preventative measures to make sure that it does not come back. In two major areas, (after testing positive for the BRCA gene) I underwent pretty brutal surgeries that involved removing seemingly (a.) healthy breasts and (b.) ovaries and fallopian tubes. That was a huge and terrifying decision to be faced with but given the statistics I went with my gut and have no regrets. I did however want to go through the reconstruction process, I wanted to feel like a "normal" (loose use of the word normal) woman again so I had the brilliant doctors and nurses LITERALLY make fuckin MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLE HILLS. (I have been waiting to use that line, thanks Marie).

During the 8 month reconstruction of my breasts, that were completely removed, I had expanders put inside my chest, think Reebok Pump shoes. That was basically the theory behind it, the doctors put these balloons inside my chest under my pec muscles where my boobs used to be and I would go see my wonderful plastic surgeon every few weeks and he would fill 'em up. I did have the misfortune of one of my expanders getting infected, which was taken out the day before my big benefit party. I was thrown, I had been marching forward all along and now suddenly was set back about 4 months and I had to be ol "one tit mcgee" for over 3 months. I wish that I would've paid more attention to the exception to the rule, i.e. "if things do not go according to plan". Then maybe that would not have been such a major blow.  I played it well and I am proud of myself that I really did it right out in front of everyone and I don't think many people even knew. When you are small chested, no one is looking so no one really noticed. As weeks went by we were still fillin' up the expanders, and they grew to be like giant softballs inside my chest, which was a total pain in the ass, they made sleep impossible and bras pointless so I finally decided I wanted to be done. I wish I would have figured out exactly what size breasts I wanted and told them that straight out as opposed to trying to figure it out as I went.

It was time to start the process of finishing up. Let us not forget that this journey of double mastectomy followed by expander reconstruction started in July, it is now February.  Now we are back at the plastic surgeons office and the nurses are prepping me for my 6th surgery (holy shitballs) which was to remove the expanders that had been working at getting my skin and muscle stretched enough to fit a silicone implant in. Not my first rodeo, they asked me my name and birth date a million times, which I answer with all the patience I can muster and then ask: "so Mary, what size implants do you want today?"   I made it abundantly clear that I do not want globes, I want a certain amount of hang-age and bounce, I mean I have seen my share of fakes and they always seem so hard and set in their ways.  But alas, I knew I was in good hands so I relaxed into my anesthesia and went to sleep. 

The one thing I never stopped squawking about from day one of this whole "rebuilding project" was the subject of nipples. I mean, don't construct me a beautiful new foot if you are going to leave off the toes. That shit is just plain weird yo. I was sorta told that nipples don't really work, and they don't really last, but I didn't care. This was my non-negotiable. I'll tell ya, my guy origami-ed me some nipples. It is truly amazing. They are a bit obscene right now but he tells me they will shrink, thank god, cause these fuckers could direct traffic.

Unfortunately cancer is a growing trend, it is prevalent and seems to be gaining momentum. I went through a scary thing, I played it down and took it like a man (well, like a woman, but that is not how the saying goes) and now I have big boobs. That is most certainly not the point, it's over and for that I am grateful but it's a weird way to end the journey. I am happy because I am healthy and I can go bra shopping and bikini shopping now and I no longer have gross drains or expanders, or concave scars, I have a body back.  When ya think about saying how "lucky" I am that I got big boobs now ya might wanna just go ahead and think about what lucky means to you.  My best pal Ann (who went through major cancer complete with chemo and radiation) only further reinforced this when after her double mastectomy, her breasts were reconstructed from fat deposits from her belly, and people would say to her: "at least you got a tummy tuck out it." I understand that people want to point out the "silver lining" I think the silver lining is that we are healthy and alive, nuff said.

Suddenly it has dawned on me, I am a flat chested girl with big breasts now. Holy crap, this is going to take some getting used to. I won't be pissed if ya look. It really is fine work. 

(post op selfie)
             Okay, this is the last you will hear about me and my cancer story. Let's move on already.


  1. If ever there was a born writer/entertainer/motivator/wisecrackin/work of human art it is you MCB, I had a close friend loose out to breast cancer, and she might just have made some different decisions had she known someone half as insightful as you. So I hope your wise-dom finds it's way to others who need your strength, creative way with language and inspiration. Rock on with your bodacious self!

  2. I guess I'm gonna have tah come over to see the nipples then?