It's been a long time since I updated you on the state of my bosom.
Several weeks ago I had an appointment for my last "fill" - the final one that would pump up my breastical area and give me my C cup back.
I was not looking forward to it. The skin is stretched thin and tight, and I was afraid more saline would ending up busting me like a water balloon. It's so tight you can see the expander right through it.
This is what an expander looks like:
Do you see the big round, dark thing? Well, not only can you see that through my skin, you can see what color it is. Through my skin. The raised area around the edges? It created a raised area on my skin too. You could trace it with your fingers, should you desire.
I know that you don't.
Let me detour and say that it is not painful. However, it is not comfortable either. It is hard, with slight give, like a bike tire. I can't sleep on my stomach because it feels like I'm lying on a tetherball, and I'll slide off at any moment.
The most difficult part is, of course, dressing. I have a huge, high, rock hard lump on one side and a small, sad, soft, lonely breast on the other. I'm completely uneven and mismatched and it's hard to cover. I suppose, with a complicated system of pulleys, levers, padding and a touch of duct tape, I might be able to get both sides to match, but unfortunately, I don't have an engineering degree.
Since the weather is nice and my sweaters are put away for the season, it's even more difficult to disguise. At least now that I have man-hair I can take scarves and use them around my neck to try to mask the mismatch. It makes me hot and I've always hated stuff touching my neck, but at least it distracts the eye. Thank you, Miley Cyrus, for popularizing this fashion and making my cancer life easier.
So, back to my plastic surgeon appointment: getting even more saline in there seemed impossible. And, as it turns out, it was. My doctor declared me done, and we discussed the next step.
The next step is surgery to take out the expander, and in its place put in a silicone implant. This is the same implant used for women who want "enhancements.""
He showed me some implants in the size I will have (275 cc) and left the room for a bit. I sat there and looked at them, squeezed and played. I can't relate to them as breasts. Women say they feel natural - like real breasts. To me, it feels exactly like what it is - a bag of silicone.
When the doctor came back in I couldn't resist the impulse to say, "I'm just playing with my boobs." I wonder how many times he's heard that in his life? I'll bet at least a thousand. I said it anyway though, there are just some life experiences you don't want to miss out on.
Anyway, along with the implant on the mastectomy side I'll be getting surgery and a very small implant under the muscle on my non-mastectomy side. The second surgery/implant is just to try and achieve a symmetrical appearance - not that I'll be bigger, I won't.
In fact, he said I "might" end up as large as a B cup.
After 50 years of being the skinny girl with the big boobs, I could end up with an A cup? I guess I'll have a new identity - as a member of the itty bitty titty committee.
I'll be the chairman in no time, just you wait and see.
He has warned me all along that he can't give me back my breasts so I have no illusions that I'll look the same. According to the doctor, I have a difficult anatomy - I'm very small, "like an 18 year old." (You gotta love that doctor, don't you?) They took a lot of tissue and the skin is thin. It's likely the implant will show like the expander shows, around the sides especially, and I may have some ripples.. I am likely to end up looking like a woman who got a really bad boob job although he promised me he'd do everything in his power to give me a normal appearance.
I just want to get dressed without having a plan.
I left to talk to the scheduler, but when she found out I'd just had chemo she said she'd call in six weeks when my blood had the chance to return to normal.
Yesterday, I came home to a message on my answering machine.
"Good news! Your surgery has been scheduled for June 8th."
I am, frankly, dying to get this expander out of me, no matter the result. Better to dress around a rippling A cup than what I have now. But, June 8th is the last week of school and a busy time for a school secretary. My sub, who has been doing my job (in a most excellent way) since October, will be finished by then. With this surgery, I will need to take a week off for recovery, and because I'll have a drain again, I really will have to be off - no cheating.
As much as I want to make that appointment, and I really, really do - I may have to see if I can arrange another time. I'm not off work until the 23rd. While nobody is indispensable, I have a job because there is a job to be done. Lots of people have taken up my slack, and my boss has had to make do, and I'm not sure it's fair to do that again, even if it's only a week. I hope the surgeon can accomodate me for the following week or two weeks later, when the kids are gone and it's just invoice clean-up. But, I sure don't want to go through the summer like this.