The article I mentioned in the previous post included a full photo shoot with my awesome breast surgeon. She is really terrific and I’m so glad she chose me to help with the article. The photo shoot was a great experience. Plus, it’s the first time in ages I’ve been photographed with my clothes on and my head in the shot. LOL!
However, the nipple tattooing was NOT a great experience. I went into it thinking that of it as the final step in a long and arduous experience; closure. It fell far short. The nurse or tattooist or whatever she is had only the slightest idea of what she was doing and I’m left with terrible results. I kept thinking it would look better after a few days, but after a week, I expressed concern with my breast surgeon. She said I was right to be concerned — they didn’t look right and that I should call my plastic surgeon and get an appointment as soon as possible. So, while Joe is very kind and considerate, I’m mortified and even physically uncomfortable. Fortunately, I see my plastic surgeon, Dr. S, next week. He’s such an awesome doc, both in his craft and as a person, so I know he’ll have a solution.
Meanwhile, the boobie drama continues. (sigh)
A local journalist, Anne Block, has written an article on my experience, especially as it relates to my experience at the Breast Surgery Center at Allen Texas Health Resources. I will let you know when and where it’s published.
Also, tomorrow I get tattooed! Finally! It’s been six months. I can’t wait!
More cutting and poking today to fix some of the places where the tissue on my body didn’t make it. All is well, just very sore. I’m so lucky to have great doctors and husband. I will elaborate on the procedure when I’m less fuzzy. Feel your boobies today, girls.
These three things describe my recent weeks. They have occurred simultaneously and independently throughout and still describe my current state.
My doctor, whom I visited a couple of days before New Years, was pleased with the result of his most recent work. It’s always hard for me to tell because I can’t see beyond the stitches, scars, and swelling. He can see how it will evolve, though, like any true artist. Joe, of course, pretends not to see the ugliness and for that, I am so very grateful. The doctor has scheduled an appointment for February to discuss the “clean up” which will involve some fat grafting to my chest, scar scouring (he used a medical term, but I’ve forgotten it), and final mammalia rendering. I still look like Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. Only now, it’s after Christmas and I am ready to put this all behind us.
For New Years, we went to my small, quiet hometown in Arkansas for my 20 year class reunion. It was wonderful to see so many old friends. Because of Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with many of them — what a blessing. We had a lot of fun catching up. There was a lot of love among us because so many have been through a lot — devastating car accidents, loss of loved ones, marriage, divorce, babies, grandbabies, and so much more. We experienced a lot of emotional “cleanup” ourselves. Additionally, I was able to reconnect with a family I have unofficially adopted to be my surrogate mother and sisters and my estranged blood sister and nieces, as well. That was harder, because my sister isn’t well and I feel as though I should step into a maternal role with her. I can’t do that — we’re in our late 30s and have our own children. I can be her friend, though. I can share the loss of our family with her, but not for her. I can let her know she’s loved, as I know I’m loved.
I attempted to go back to work on-site this week. Three hours on the road each day and a full day sitting in an uncomfortable chair in a loud, stressful environment proved overwhelming. I haven’t managed stress well at home, much less at a place where I can’t go hide and just cry or meditate through it. It makes me feel so weak that I struggle still. Hormones? Medication? The ongoing discomfort? I don’t know. On the second day, my manager figured out that I wasn’t doing well and he sent me to work from home for the remainder of the week. I am SO grateful, especially since the current cold snap makes everything hurt, even in places I don’t have feeling anymore. My workplace may be a stressful environment, but it employs some compassionate people and they’ve been very good and patient with me. That makes me want to work harder and better for them.
Speaking of work, though, the incidents of the past year have definitely made me realize that as much as I want to do a good job, I do not want to BE my job. Life is short — it’s so cliché, but life really is short. My family and I have to be my top priority now and always. No one ever said, on their deathbed, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” I’m working hard, but I’m living harder.
So I’ll leave you with that. I’m finding peace in places and with people I never thought possible. My family is my greatest gift, my husband is my hero, and my friends have continued to lift me up. When love is your top priority, you can do anything.
Joe warned me. He was gentle but he did try to guide me in a different direction. The surgery to construct mamillia (nipples) was Wednesday…two days before Christmas. I didn’t think it would be that big a deal. Just some more plastic surgery magic using scalpels and sutures. Bit more to it than that. I have to wear lots of gauze and no bra, so I am lumpy and unsupported. Very ugly in the blousy area. It’s also more uncomforable than I expected. What was I thinking? Plus, it will be three months before I can get the color tattooed on. I’m glad to be alive, but I’m tired of this.
As I sit and whine about how much my arm hurts from where the hospital took blood this morning, I’m reminded of all the people who will be spending their holiday (perhaps their last) in the hospital this year. I appreciate the offers of prayers, but ask that you use them for people who need them more.
I love you all. Merry Christmas.