It’s worth it!

As a woman, we have to put up with a bunch of nature’s bullshit.  I’m mainly talking about all of the hormonal nonsense that we have to deal with.  There are the weeps, the whines, and the plain old what-the-fucks of life’s emotional roller coaster.  When I was pregnant, I was all over the place, emotionally.  I can’t help but feel like my post-op attitude is akin to the hormonal response following the birth of my girls.  After they were born and after each of my BRCA related surgeries, I’ve felt a near-euphoric zest for my life’s blessings.  (My husband is probably laughing to himself while reading this. He’s wondering if euphoria, to me, just means that he has to wake up more with the kids in the middle of the night. Ummm…? Yes.)

It’s really kind of miraculous what our bodies can endure.  Growing another human being inside of us, taking off body parts and replacing them with a mixture of man-made parts and donated parts from your own body.  None of it is easy, but all of it is worth it.  It’s almost Machiavellian.  We have to get our period, go through a myriad of hormonal fluctuations and a ton of physical discomfort to have children.  But, it’s worth it.  I had to chop off my knockers and get them rebuilt from scratch, but now I know I won’t get breast cancer.  It was worth it.

I’m two weeks and two days post-op.  Although I’m still sore, the discomfort is fading.  I’m tired, but I’m motivated.  The past few days have brought us spectacular fall weather.  The girls and I went for walks and I had no problem pushing the double stroller to our friends’ houses for impromptu playdates.  I’m enjoying the post-op high of watching my two little blessings run around giggling with their friends and each other.   They won’t have to put up with nature’s bullshit for many years to come.  But when they do, I’ll have them look in the mirror and I’ll tell them from my own experience, “It’s worth it!”

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Freedom’s Road

At last week’s post-op appointment, my doctor told me that everything looked great and to expect my swelling to increase over the next week.  Tomorrow will be two weeks since I had the fat grafting procedure. That’s supposed to be the peak of post-lipo swelling.  I’m definitely swollen and the bruising, although still there, is starting to fade.  I can already see that the results are pretty incredible.

The rippling in my breasts seems to be mostly gone.  As I study my new boobs, I think I see a faint ripple here or there, but nothing like the ocean waves that I saw before.  However, now I see why my surgeon warned me that usually fat grafting has to be done twice.  He said they took out about 1200 cc’s of fat out of my legs and injected roughly 250 cc’s into the breasts.  So he took a little extra just for the fun of it (I’m telling myself that was an early birthday present.  32 is looking a lot better!).  Not all of the fat that was injected is expected to “take”.  I asked him where the rest of it would go.  In my head, I was picturing how fat separates and rises to the surface when you cook chicken soup and that gooey, yellowish junk needs to be skimmed off.  Would I have to start skimming fat off of my boobs at the end of the day?  Gross!  No, he said, “it dissipates just as fat would normally do so?”  This boggled my mind, as well.  As I started to say, “Wait… how does that happen naturally?”  I stopped myself and realized, “Oh…. like when people work out and the fat “melts away”.  Gotcha!”  (Maybe if I had tried that earlier, I wouldn’t have had 1200 cc’s to take out.  Genius!)

So as I am still a work in progress and my swelling and fat almost miraculously disappear, I continue to feel sore and more tired than usual.  I am happy to be driving again and to feel independent with my daughters.  I loved having the help of my parents and my mother-in-law, but I’m thrilled to not take away from their time anymore and to be so reliant on them.  I’ve gotten myself into the mindset that I am going to be sore, but it will get better with time.  Some people have chronic pain, but this will be fleeting.  Pushing myself and doing more things on my own, for and with my daughters, is exactly what I need to get better.  And although I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to recovery period after liposuction, JFK said, “The best road to progress is freedom’s road.” 

The Real Scoop on Lipo

So you want the real scoop on lipo?  Most people who get liposuction are probably doing it on the DL, so they’re not going to be forthcoming with the dirty details.  Luckily, I will.  Be warned, it’s not pretty (but I’m hoping in about 6 weeks it will be).

Ya know the 300 workouts that I should have done to achieve the body of my dreams?  Take all of the soreness that I would have felt after all of those squats, leg lifts, and whatever else trainers make you do so your thighs and butt look good (I wouldn’t know) and combine those into a few days of cumulative soreness.  “Transitions are the hardest.”  That’s what my plastic surgeon’s nurse warned me.  When I’m not moving, I feel great!  Move a muscle?  Feel the proverbial burn.  It’s definitely not painful per se, but it looks like someone took a bat to my legs and butt.

I now know what it was like to sit on an ancient thrown… or at least an old toilet carved out of marble.  A soft toilet seat cover.  My kingdom for a squishy, soft toilet seat cover. (I’m so tempted to grab my daughters’ princess potty cover with its padded ring of comfort.)  And I hear that crotchless compression pants are going to be all the rage for spring 2014.  Mine have side zips from my knee to the underboobs, hook and eye closures for added compression, and fine Parisian lace around the bottom hem. Ok fine, the lace is probably not from Paris, but the fact that they’re crotchless makes up for that.  But before you go onto the Agent Provacateur website and order your pair, please note the following.  You can only take them off when you shower and since your bladder and tush cheeks are so squished together, going to the bathroom can be challenging (on many levels).  Luckily, the nurse had a helpful tip for this part too and I’ve found a new use for the post-summer surplus of red SOLO cups previously used for fun things like games of flip cup and beer pong.  Cut the bottom off the cup and use it as a pee funnel so you don’t get the lovely compression garments dirty. Amazing!

So far, I see only a little bit of a difference in the shape of my legs due to swelling, but I definitely don’t see any more rippling in my boobs anymore.  All of that leg fat is sitting nicely atop my implants giving them a rounder, softer appearance. As I still don’t have any feeling in my breasts, the fat grafting and scar revision don’t hurt.  Yes, my breast bone area is sore and I can feel a little bit of discomfort where my little one accidentally slammed her head into the one strip of my left breast where I’ve regained sensation, but I needed that cuddle as much as she did and the residual pain is worth it.

Comparatively speaking, after the previous two surgeries, this is a breeze.  Maybe after the nose job, my double mastectomy, the implant swap and now fat grafting, I’m just used to plastic surgery?  I’m accomplished in a way I’d never imagined.  I never would have thought that, before age 32, I’d already have achieved Gold Status on the Joan Rivers Scale of Plastic Surgery.  Now I just need some Botox… and if I can manage a facelift before 40, I may get Platinum for life!

 

The Final Countdown

It’s the final countdown.  T minus 9 hours.  I’ve already reached the point where I have to stop eating and drinking.  It’s go time.  I was calm up until this moment. (Yes, take away my food and drink and I inevitably freak out.)  Now I start to let the anxieties creep in.

Will I get the same anesthesiologist?  Will she be having a good day? What if I wake up in surgery and flip the fuck out, causing instruments to go flying and people to panic? What if I get an infection post-op? Blah, blah, blah, all the depressing crap that comes with thoughts like those (and too many hours watching medical dramas on TV).  I could really go down the rabbit’s hole.

Luckily, I have the good sense to stop myself.  (Plus, I’m exhausted and just want to go to sleep already. I’m sure one or both of my girls will be up sometime soon.) I remind myself that by this time tomorrow, I will be back home and this set of surgeries will be done.  I can put this chapter behind me and move on.  I will still have the radical hysterectomy to look forward to, but that is years away.  I’m excited for this to be over.  I’m thrilled that I have knocked breast cancer out of my life and man, I’m gonna have the tits and ass to prove it! 

Kind Of Like Vacation

It’s Monday.  That means this week is now real and surgery is imminent.  I’m going through my mental checklist.  (When will I ever learn to write this shit down?  My Mom brain is a virtual sieve.)  Get to the grocery store, the dry cleaner, and… damnit, I already forgot the rest of the errand-y things.  I want to layout the big girl’s school clothes for the week because it will make it that much easier for everyone to facilitate the morning routine.  I need to organize the snack cabinet and the refrigerator, throwing out old things or the healthy crap I bought in the hopes that my kids would all of the sudden enjoy fruits and vegetables instead of cereal bars and pretzels.

But I don’t want to spend my time doing any of that stuff.  I want to be with my girls for the next few days until I go back into the drug-riddled home that is the electric recliner in my bedroom. I can stress about all of the minutia, but it doesn’t do anyone any good.  I know that all of that stuff can be done by my incredible support system (my husband, my parents, my mother-in-law, and the family and friends who have all so generously offered to do it all for me).  

I used to worry about how the girls would react to having me incapacitated for a week or two.  When I told my big girl this weekend that “Mommy is having surgery again this week, so …”, she finished the thought for me (quite animatedly, I must say). “So… you’re going to sit here in the chair and maybe in bed sometimes.  And Nanny and PopPop and Gammy are going to come and take care of us, right?!?!”  She knows the drill.  The little one, who is super attached to me, might not enjoy this as much as her big sister, but that’s the great thing about kids.  They are adaptable.  They might fight the change in the beginning, but it doesn’t take long before they accept it and then make it fun.  She will soon realize (as her sister obviously already has) that Mommy having surgery means going to the frozen yogurt store pretty much everyday, new toys to play with courtesy of her grandparents, drawing with markers instead of furniture-safe crayons, and loose bedtimes.  It’s like vacation with the added comfort of knowing Mommy is just one room away.  Sounds kind of awesome for everyone.

Good Luck

Did you ever wonder why people say it’s good luck for it to rain on your wedding day? Or when a bird poops on you? Or when you step in shit?  It’s because they’re trying to make you feel better.  There’s really no luck involved at all.  You were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time if any of those things happened to you.

Last week, I took my girls to a local farm with a friend of mine and her two daughters (same ages as mine).  My big girl and her little one weren’t afraid of anything there.  They happily fed the animals together, getting right up to the goats, deer, and other dried-corn loving creatures.  My little girl and the other big girl were pretty freaked by the whole thing.  I don’t blame them.  I am totally grossed out by these animals, too.

However, in my endless effort to make my girls less fearful and neurotic than I am, I marched right up to the llamas and held out my hand for the goofy looking bastards to come and get ’em!  Batting weirdly long lashes at me from under her fluffy, snow white fur, the llama ate from my hand.  Yuck!  But I smiled at the girls like, “Yeah, Mommy’s got this.  No biggie.”  Then I turned back to the llama and as if to say thank you, it spit right in my face.

After the initial shock wore off, I tried to remain calm so that my little one and my friend’s big girl didn’t freak out and start crying.  All I could do was laugh… that is until I breathed in.  Holy crap, the smell was worse than anything I’ve ever smelled (keep in mind, I’ve changed diapers continuously for the past four years and have been thrown up on more times than I can count).  In my head, I always thought that llamas and camels spit in the same fashion as tobacco chewers, like one big gulp into a pot in the corner (DING!).  No such luck, it’s more of a full coverage spray action.  My husband is so sad that he missed this moment (I’m sad no one caught it on camera, it would have gone viral… now instead, I’m stuck worrying that I’m going to get a virus).

It definitely wasn’t the greatest moment in my life, but imagine my surprise when someone told me today that they heard it was good luck when a llama spits in your face.  I’m pretty sure (like every other “good luck” scenario) that she was just trying to make me feel better.  I’m not running out to buy lotto tickets, but maybe I’ll pretend that the good luck is going to stay with me through next week’s surgery, at least.

“Can you milk me, Focker?”

Summer is officially over.  It’s taken us a few weeks to wrap our heads around this change in seasons.  Fall to winter, winter to spring, spring to summer, those three all seem so easy in comparison.  Getting our family into our school year routine has been like engineering a machine with interlocking gears that all have to fit together just right in order to run smoothly.  The big girl is in school five half-days a week; she has three after school activities.  The little girl is in school three half-days with two other activities.  Naptimes, bathtimes, bedtimes, I took on a small part time job, and my husband is studying to go to grad school.  As September nears its end, we have finally started to see our little machine run with fewer jerks and grinds.  We’re enjoying fall with its cool crisp air, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches.  So now it’s time to throw a wrench in our family’s fall machine.  Surgery #3.

I’m a week away from what I had expected would be new nipples and the thighs I’ve always dreamed of (but never wanted to work for).  I have thought long and hard about this and have decided that I’m not going to get new nipples.  But you can bet your ass that I’m getting the lipo and fat transfer!  (Don’t bet on my ass, because half of it will be in my boobs in about a week).

I have weighed all of the options: nipples, no nipples, 3D tattooed nipples.

I will never breastfeed a child again.  Biologically, it can’t happen since all of my milk ducts were removed along with the breast tissue from my double mastectomy.  So by the Focker Theory of Transitive Properties (hi, math nerds, welcome!), if “you can milk anything with a teet” and I have no milk ducts, then I shouldn’t have “teets.”

I also hated that feeling when my old nipples would pop out to say hello when it was cold out.  I always felt that it brought me unnecessary attention at the wrong moments, perhaps even misinterpreted by some.  I can’t even imagine that being a permanent problem.  Ugh, the sheer thought gives me the heebie jeebies (I just instinctively looked down to see if my nipples popped out.  That’s called Phantom Nipple Syndrome.)

I’m loving the freedom of wearing shirts without a bra.  This is a luxury I have never had before.  If I had new nipples, I’d feel it necessary to wear a bra with padded lining all of the time to hide them, which would kind of defeat some of this whole ordeal’s silver lining.  And what’s worse than high beaming all of the time?  Displaying an areola tattoo in anything white or light colored.  No thanks.

The last part of the decision fell to my husband.  “Do you miss nipples?” I asked him.  He (almost too quickly) said no.  I knew he was aware that I didn’t really want to get new ones, so I thought maybe he was just being supportive.  So I gave him a week or so to mull it over before I asked him again.  “Do you want me to get new nipples?”  “Nope” was his answer.  I still think he’s thinking more about my desires than his own in this instance, but I appreciate his support.  I also figure this isn’t my final opportunity.  If I get nipples now, it would be a bit difficult to get them removed later.  However, if I don’t get nipples now, I can always add them at some point in the future.

Although I won’t be getting nipples during surgery next week, my perfectionist plastic surgeon (the best kind, in my opinion) is going to revise my scar.  This will also give me a little lift (thanks, doc).  If I had had this procedure as previously scheduled in June, I probably wouldn’t have given it the thought that this decision deserved.  But every time the fall wind blows, I know I’ve made the right decision for me.