The following work is owned and written by K. D. Bloodworth no one has permission to use, copy, edit, print.
Dr. W., a big burley Montana man with a great laugh and a great bedside manner that greeted me with a handshake and big smile. He has my chart with him. He must have been connected with QVC as he has all my information., Dr. W. starts going over all the test results and then starts with the options. At this point I’m feeling information overload. Come to think of it, it’s been information overload since I stepped up to the imaging machine for the second mammogram. I have to assume that this is a normal reaction for anyone going through this, what ever this may be. Looking back I think my case may not have been what most patients deal with during diagnoses and surgery. My first mammogram was performed on January 3, 2008 (may have been on January 7, I can’t remember) and my surgery was performed on January 29th. I remember that date just fine. Fast and furious would be the name for this event.
Back to Dr. W, he’s still going on about this and that and I’m really not paying attention. I know, this is not the time to be looking at your surgeon and all you can see coming out of his mouth is blah, blah, blah. Truth being, I had already made up my mind as to what I was going to do. Probably most women over think this whole breast cancer thing. I have never been one to over think much of anything. Over thinking, too much information, too many searches on the web, reading everything one can get their hands on, just confuses the masses in my opinion.
Ladies, let’s face the facts. During my life I have seen so many opinions on health issues I can’t count them all. Cigarettes weren’t so bad for you according to my mom’s doctor in the 50’s, then all of a sudden they are going to kill us all, even if we never smoked. Chocolate is bad for us, now it’s good for us. We never heard of cholesterol when I was growing up and my family cooked everything with either bacon fat or lard. Now we feel guilty if we eat an egg. Coffee was good, then bad, now good again. Wash your hair only once a week. Wash your hair every day. This stuff is just plain crazy. A little information goes a long way.
I’m not giving medical advice here, but you have to take charge of your own situation. You have control and you need to do what you feel is best for you. Stop the worrying about ‘what if,’ as we have no control over what if. Really, if I had bled to death in the ER during the ectopic pregnancy I wouldn’t be writing this story. And if I get ran over by a truck tomorrow on my morning bike ride I won’t be finishing this story. Stop with the worry! Shit happens. It’s called living. Sorry, I do tend to get off track from time to time. I could have never been a train. So, in mid-sentence I interrupt Dr. W. I look at him and say: “Excuse me but I have already made up my mind. This is what I think. I have two small tumors that are fast growing tumors. I don’t want to screw around with chemotherapy, or radiation, or a lumpectomy. I don’t want this hanging over my head and my life. I want a mastectomy and reconstruction. Get this over and done with is my best option.”
Now, maybe Dr. W. was seeing easy dollar signs in my eyes but I like to believe he wasn’t and he really thought my decision was the right one as he said it was. I guess we will never know but does it really matter at this point. Again, no ifs please!
“We can certainly do that, let me take a look.” He leaves the room and I get another cape. He’s going to walk right back in and lift the cape, look and feel both my breasts but he can’t stand there while I take off my blouse. I still don’t get it. I guess it’s the whole undressing in front of someone. I should probably Google that but then I would get 5,000 web sites and a million opinions.
After a couple of minutes of uh huh and OKs, cape down and me sitting back up, doc says, “you are a good candidate for reconstruction. Let me get the nurse to call down to Dr H.’s office and see if they can see you today.”
A few minutes later I’m down the hall and at Dr. H.’s office, a plastic surgeon. I’m into another cape, in a different office with different nurses and another new doctor. At this point I’m starting to feel like everyone employed at this clinic has got a good look at my boobs and in more times that I want to count, has even given them a good squeeze. And you wonder why I have no problems with taking my top off in the presence of medical personnel.
Now, Dr. H. is another good ol cowboy doctor, horseman, but very reserved and quiet. Very professional, even in his Wrangler’s and cowboy boots. We go over my records and my decisions. He takes a look at my chart and then a look at my breasts.
He explains that Dr. W. is right, that’s I’m a good candidate for reconstruction and augmentation. A new boob for the one they are going to hack off and give the old one a face-lift so it matches the new one. How cool is that? 57 years old and I’m getting new boobs.
Dr. H. explains what he and Dr. W will be working together during the surgeries. Dr. W. will be removing the breast tissue and removing some of my lymph nodes for another biopsy to make sure no cancer has spread to my lymph system. Hearing that was sort of scary as I have known several woman that had breast cancer and the cancer spreading to their lymph nodes is what killed them. However, my tumors are small and they caught things early, so all should be good. No ifs here. They want to split a muscle in my back, move half of it to my chest for support after my breast is removed. That sounds tricky. But he assures me it’s being done all the time with good results. The fact that the muscle is just moved and keeps it’s original blood supply makes for fast recovery. What he didn’t tell me was after recovery I will be able to flex my back shoulder muscle and make my reconstructed breast jump up and down. If I wasn’t 57 years old that would be a good trick for a stripper. I still haven’t learned how to make the right boob move up and down. All things in good time.
Then he asks me a crazy question, well crazy to me that is. “Do you want a nipple?”
“I can reconstruct you a nipple.”
Well, I never thought that during all of this they were going to cut my nipple off. I had seen surgeries on TV of breast lifts where they move the nipple but I guess I never saw a mastectomy. “How do you do that?”
“I will take some skin from your back and make a nipple. It will be hard all of the time.”
“So, let me get this right. You going to take a piece of skin off my back, make it into a nipple, sew it on my new breast and it’s going to look like I just walked out of a freezer all the time, correct? And my right nipple that just gets moved will work like it always has?”
“Yes, that’s how it work.”
“Will I have feeling in the new nipple?”
I don’t know about you ladies, but that just doesn’t do much for me. I’m already feeling sort of freakish. In the long run, it’s no big deal. It’s not like I’m the only one out there with just one nipple. At least the breast with no nipple will be perky.
“Nope, I don’t think I want a manmade nipple. I’ll just do without. Will be a good conversation piece. If anyone should see my breast with no nipple I can always freak them out and start yelling, “Oh my God, someone stole my nipple while is was asleep!” If I was prone to flash other motorcycle riders other than my husband that would really be sort of funny.
“What kind of implant do you want?”
Again with a decision, and we have all heard the news reports over the years. Silicone is good; Silicone is bad, leakers, saline implants, safe but wrinkle. At my age I have enough wrinkles, I don’t need one of my breasts to have wrinkles. Now that’s an attractive thought, no nipple but wrinkles.
The nurse brings in samples! So there I am in the exam room with this nurse and doctor playing with different kinds of boobs. But I’m having a big time playing with the different sizes, different materials, squeezing them, and trying to make them giggle. We go over the pros and cons and all the safety issues regarding silicone because I like the feeling of it the best. Right then I was wishing my husband was there to give me his professional boob handling opinion. I’m trying to think like a man right now. I guess size might matter. I decide on silicone.
Dr. H. smiles and says, “We just have to do the usual pre surgery test and set up surgery time. The day before the surgery you will come back here and I will do some drawings and measurements for the surgery. You will meet with the nurses and decide what size breast we will implant.”
With that in the makings, I shed my cape, get dressed again and head for the door. I’m spending way too much time at this clinic.
Once out in my car I call my husband. “Hey Pooh. All’s good.”
I explain everything the surgeon had said and what the plastic surgeon had said. I was feeling happy that I had resolve in the near future and I actually had a future. K agreed with everything I had told him, again making these choices easy ones, or as easy as they can be expected.
“There’s just one more decision to be made,” I say.
“What size boobs should I ask for?” Thinking that augmentation on my healthy breast didn’t actually mean just lifting. “You want stripper size or porn start size?”
Again I get the right answer, “I don’t care Babydoll, I just want you healthy and alive.”