Two years ago this morning I got up, finished packing a bag and boarded a plane with Sylvie going from Boston to Buffalo. We barely made the flight- I mistook my 7pm ticket for 7am but managed to convince the Jet Blue attendant to let me on a 7:10am flight that was two terminals away. Sylvie and I made it within seconds of them closing the jetway. When we touched down in Buffalo I turned on my phone to call my dad and tell him we’d landed. Immediately four texts and three voicemails popped up. Before I could check any of them the phone rang again. Early that morning Jackie, my mom’s dear friend- my dear friend, my closet friend’s mother, my surrogate mother- passed away. I miss Jackie terribly. Today I’ve been letting happy narratives of Jackie pass through my mind. For those of you who knew her, I hope you’re doing the same. And, if you didn’t then you missed out! She lit up a room and had a contagious laugh that I can still hear so clearly. I like to imagine that somewhere in the great beyond my mom and Jackie are hanging out playing cards like they used to on our deck on South Forest on a warm summer evening. So, I’m starting this (long-overdue) post with a reminder to myself that life is short and that I’m lucky to know (and have known) such amazing people.
With those thoughts in mind, the rest of this post seems a bit trite and superficial. Maybe it is. Last week, on what would have been my mom’s 57th birthday, I headed to New York for an appointment with Dr. Hazen (the plastic surgeon). For the most part I am thrilled with my reconstruction results. Most days I don’t even think about my breasts, my implants, my scars. I feel normal. But upon examination, or even a casual glance towards the mirror after a shower, reveals that the right side is slightly bigger than the left and that the ripples of the implant on the left show through my skin. I also have a really boney chest, always have, and the way my rips stick out and subsequently cave in next to the implants can best be described as “corpsey.” I made the appointment with Dr. Hazen mostly to confirm that the left side wasn’t leaking and to see if there was anything she could do so the ripples wouldn’t show so much.
Again, Dr. Hazen is so great. I adore her. She explained that both muscle pockets got slightly over expanded and the right side looks bigger because more scar tissue is forming there than on the left, hence the ripples showing through my skin. The fix for this is another surgery where she would tighten up the muscle pocket on the left side so the implant sits tighter in the pocket. She can also put some fat to cushion the implant and fill the pocket a bit more. My immediate reaction was that I do not want to have another surgery. Especially for cosmetic reasons. Really, I’m fine.
But! A day after I got back from New York I tried on six or so dresses trying to find one that didn’t show off my boney, corpsey chest caves and started to reconsider. I wore a dress with a sheer turtleneck and a sweater over that! Clothes are just clothes. I can get new dresses. But I don’t want to have to buy things or dress to accommodate my chest. I want to not think about them or how the look or move weirdly. So… My current thoughts about this are: 1. I’ve already done so much, what’s one more procedure for better results? 2. Hopefully, I’m going to have these breasts for the rest of my (again, hopefully long) life and it would be nice if they looked good. 3. I’ve met my maximum out of pocket amount for my insurance, so everything for the rest of this year is covered. I don’t want to regret that I didn’t fix this in 6 months or a year. Dr. Hazen encouraged me to consider the surgery and get back to her. I wrote her an email yesterday asking some specific questions about the procedure. Can she actually fill the caves with fat tissue? Would it be cadaver fat? My fat? She already told me that it is a very minor same day surgery and that I’d barely even be sore. I’m waiting for her reply and will let you know what I decide.
Thank you again to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, advice, critical examination of my topless self, and to those of you who continue to make me laugh when I need it most.