You must think I’m a bit of a tease. Talking a good game about the big reveal in my last post and then going all radio silence on you for nearly two weeks. Sorry. But have you tried that cod recipe yet? It’s pretty delish… See Main Course.
So here I am three weeks post op and things are looking and feeling pretty good. These puppies are definitely an improvement over the hard-as-petrified-wood expanders that preceded them (husband says they are “night and day” and I have some idea why he thinks that, considering my right “boob” was previously only a couple of inches under my collar-bone for crying out loud). Also there are no metal parts that can set off anything at airport security. So I can stop carrying that surgeon’s letter around declaring that I have legitimate bionic bits should anyone suspect I have a couple of ak-47s under there.
Now I just wait. Wait and see what will be. How they settle. Whether that right side behaves or whether it decides to get all sclerotic and tight and squeeze things out of shape… creep back into collarbone territory. I tried reading a little on the internet about what to expect after implant exchange surgery and there is a lot of talk about “dropping and fluffing,” which also applies to good ole breast augmentation post op. These are terms I had never heard before — not sure if they use them here in the UK or whether they just say “settle and soften.” But the former sound exciting and a little bit naughty, don’t they? Like something someone who isn’t paid nearly enough would do to one of the male actors in a certain kind of film before the cameras start rolling… If you don’t know what I’m talking about you need to get out less and rent more pay-per-view.
Sorry. It’s nothing that exciting. The process of dropping and fluffing seems to be about the newbies finding their right spot after the muscles and the skin round them chillax a little. I don’t know what to expect and have learned throughout this ordeal to expect the unexpected… although I certainly hope not to wake one morning and find that one boob has taken up residence under my armpit or some bizarre such thing. Seems unlikely so I’m not going to worry too much about it.
It occurred to me as I was thinking about the last year that much of this process (being sliced and diced and blasted with drugs and radiation and then sliced some more…), well it’s really been an exercise in patience and tolerance. Now I am being patient again, or at least trying to. I’m back at the gym, but can only work out my lower half, of course. Today at the grocery store I bought too many things and had trouble carrying the bags the one block home because I knew they were heavier than what I should be carrying at this stage. So I stopped and rested at the bank on the corner. And for a few more weeks I will dutifully continue to forego my lacy fluorescent bralettes and opt instead for an armour-inspired sports bra to hold things in place and encourage the twins to behaaaave, baby. Yawn. Borrrrrring.
But that will all just be a flash in the pan.
When I was first diagnosed I spoke at length to my plastic surgeon friend, Beth, who encouraged me to find a good cosmetic surgeon from the outset because, as she put it, once the cancer part is over, what you are left with is your cosmetic result and that becomes your focus. There is much truth to this. At present, my focus is indeed on my cosmesis. But that in and of itself is a beautiful thing. Because even if, in the end, the cosmesis is not ideal, it sure is nice not to be living, breathing and sleeping cancer and the killing thereof.
The key is not to become obsessed. And not to be tricked into the pursuit of perfection, which is something that befalls many who go under the knife for cosmetic reasons whether it be purely by choice or in order to reconstruct something that needs reconstructing for some medical reason (such as a dog bit your face off or you had cancer or what have you).
When I stand in front of the mirror, it is impossible for me not to see that things have been done to me. Strange things, at this point, given that there is still tape over my incisions. I try not to dwell on it. Or if I even begin to dwell I am reminded (often by my husband) that few people our age look “perfect” even without having had all this crap befall them. He does have a good point… I mean I am forty. And a forty-year-old person has (usually) forty-year-old body parts. Forty just ain’t twenty, is it now?
You know something? It is odd that ageing is a foregone conclusion, that by virtue of being alive we age. But by virtue of being human we fight so desperately against ageing and, in many cases, fear and loathe it and all that it brings.
I say bring it on. When people bitch about ageing, I get it. I do. There is a lot about it that isn’t very fun and so much of it is out of our control. But to be able to age, that’s why I did all the shit I spent the last year doing, isn’t it? I did all of that so I can watch my children grow up and find their own way and experience all of those bittersweet things that life, that ageing, brings with it.
Besides, forty is the new twenty, at least as far as my tits are concerned. Now if you’ll excuse me I have some dropping and fluffing to attend to.