Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Era of Reconstruction

When a woman is facing a mastectomy, as I am, she inevitably also considers surgery to restore the piece(s) of her that will be gone because of cancer.

Yes, I'm talking about visiting plastic surgeons. Is this TMI? I don't think so. Even if you are not saying so, you are wondering a little bit about it, too.

Yesterday I glided into the gleaming offices of Dr. Impossibly Handsome (IH), a plastic surgeon of good repute. He had been referred to me by my general surgeon, Dr. Solemn. Solemn, knowing my queasiness about those who practice the cosmetic arts, had given me a rather short list of dudes — and they are all dudes — who take breast reconstruction very seriously.

Dr. IH seems to be one of those, and told me the majority of his breast surgery is reconstructive surgery — music to my ears. I have no wish to place myself in the hands of a man who pads his bank account fueling the desires of women who are insecure about their racks.

After a long conversation about my option (yes, according to him I have about one option), it was time to uncover the raw material he would have to work with, whenever the day comes. It felt like being in a very boring episode of that plastic surgery show, oh what is it? Nip Tuck. It is a very different experience to be examined for cosmetic purposes. I did get a nice but medical-sounding compliment on what's already up there, considering my age and the fact I had children. And the greatest news of all: I have plenty of belly fat that "would make two nice breasts." Yay, Dr. IH. He knows what broads want to hear.

I looked at his nurse and said, "You mean this would be gone?" gesturing to my abdomen. She nodded vigorously.

Now is a really good time to think carefully about how and if physical "wholeness" means anything for wellness. I'm not sure they are necessarily partners but I know yesterday's visit made me start to think about putting them both on Team Roseana's Cancer.

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