Yesterday was confusing, thought-provoking and more than a little monster movie-like.
I met first with Doogie Howser, my new cosmetic surgeon. I swear I have less and less a need for the niceties before I strip to my skivvies to give us all a good look at my loot. Dr. T was young and fresh, not at all what I expected from the premier boob man in the city, but there you have it.
He had his assistant take glamour shots of my chestal area (head not included) and take some measurements for his Carissa file and then he poked around himself, checking out my gut and butt to see how much flesh there was to fashion a new set. He chastised me briefly for having ample decolletage without the accompanying ample booty and showed Pete and me endless photos of pre-, post-, and (oops, flip past these horrific ones quickly) a few during-op women with huge scars on their tummies, various frankenboobs and a few implants. All curiously missing nipples.
Pete was a bit more traumatized than me - he said it was like lifting up someone's sunglasses and not seeing any eyes. I thought it looked like someone had censored out the good bits, and I was curious about the process to create the headlights. Apparently they gather up some flesh (by hand? special nipple crimping tool?) and then tattoo the area around it.
"Much more civilized," Dr. T proclaimed. "They used to take skin from the labia to make it look natural."
The short of it was that I went in there with one decision in my brain (bi-lateral mastectomy - so both gone - and simultaneous reconstruction from my own flesh) and left with a different one (single mastectomy and simultaneous reduction on the other side with reconstruction on the left later from an implant).
Anyway, turns out I don't have enough extra flesh to create any boobies of substance and the flesh of my flesh option can equal an eight-hour surgery and at least six weeks of recovery. Ouch. Before my body was compromised by chemo I might have considered the long surgery, but something about getting cancer makes me now consider things like relatively small percentages (complications in this case) rather more seriously. With the implant option, surgery may take only one or two hours and recovery is much shorter.
Do I really need both removed and recreated right away? What's so bad about implants? Which decision will make me feel less like offing myself in the recovery room post op?
My confusion was confounded at my oncologist appointment later the same morning when I learned that the chance of getting ductal carcinoma in my other breast is in the single digits. So removing both now seems extreme, but fuck, man, cancer is extreme, no?
The rest of the oncologist appointment went well. The stand-in doc was pleased that I had already noticed one lump getting smaller. The efficacy of these blasted chemo treatments will determine whether radiation or surgery must follow. Not enough shrinkage=radiation before surgery.
I haven't fully made up my mind yet, but guaranteed I'll be obsessing over my potential new set for the next several months.