ONE MONTH + MY FIRST FILL
Is time accelerating now that I am older? How could a month possibly go by at this speed of light? Writing the words, “one month” seems almost like the Twilight Zone as I wrap my head around this timestamp.
Yesterday was my first fill. Actually the appointments are called “Drain and Fill.” Sounds disgusting, and the actuality of it actually is, but it is pretty straightforward. Apparently the drains removed from my back still drain and since they were taken out at the TWO WEEK mark, the reservoir that continues to accumulate must be emptied.
When Dr. M first mentioned this to me, he described the feeling as a waterbed in my lower back. I didn’t feel this the first round last week, but this week I definitely did. I made my way back to the gym again this past Wednesday and as I was jogging, felt this strange sensation that made me have to hold my lower back. I then realized the feeling was the squishy sensation he had described to me. Yuck. It didn’t hurt, but it was definitely part of my awareness. When I went in to the office yesterday, he said the amount was less than the previous week.
In case you haven’t realized, going to the doctor has become a part time job. The assumptions about your availability for any time any day for the follow up visits for this shindig are startling. If you are the type of person who has a Monday — Friday 9–5 job, I am not really sure how you could navigate the job and the Drain and Fill appointments. It is not just the appointment because the actual time is about ten minutes max, it is the time to get there, to get back and the tiredness after. Sherri, the lovely woman at the front desk has to figure out the doctor’s schedule. Bless her because remember breast cancer is BIG BUSINESS and apparently so are tummy tucks, double chin fixes, body sculpting and all other kinds of bizarre body changing we women have been told we must consider to look “better.”
So when Sherri says, Monday at 8:40am or Thursday at 4:40 pm, that ten minutes turns into three hours because even though I can basically see Warwick, RI from my house in Bristol, RI, to drive there is about an hour at that time. Forget about the drive home at the 4:40 time slot because on a Thursday afternoon everyone is headed home too. I am not complaining; I am grateful I have created the life I have to afford the luxury of time. I asked Sherri how many women can not do these appointments at the frequency that they are required. She told me that some women actually lose their jobs because of these appointments. Speechless. I realize I live in a bubble as I considered the women who must decide between a doctor appointment or work or childcare. I feel helpless when Sherri tells me this as I muddle through my own reality of seeing if I can get a different appointment time because of traffic and this makes me feel bad about myself and I know is ridiculous.
I sit there in the office waiting for my appointment with my super cool man who has kindly driven me. My plan, unbeknownst to him, is that he would come into the room with me so the good doctor can take a look at his hand size and this would become the go to measurement for the max boob fill. When I pop this on him in the waiting room after he mention that he wasn’t going to join me when I go in for my appointment, he is kind of horrified half trying to decide if I am serious (I am) or joking (I am not). But of course when I consider his feelings, (we women are supposed to do this in a healthy functional relationship, who knew?), I realize this could be kind of awkward and embarrassing for him. I of course comply with him because truth be told I cherish my healthy and functional relationship and I am totally in love with him and his feelings.
I do though ponder the possibility of taking a picture of them or drawing an outline because I really want my new inflated boobs to fit nicely in his hands. I also do not want to be so big that I look like a bad MILF porn star. Anyway this is where our eighteen year age difference shows its age difference. Or maybe it is just that I am a super open book or rather open gate as I love to speak up, speak out and say what is directly on my mind. I am also spontaneous and truthful and direct. You either love this about me or you run the other way, but it is very much how I live in the world and it takes a strong secure man to be part of this party for sure. He is this for sure. Hands down (or up, however you want to look at it).
I head into the room alone leaving him and his beautiful hands in the waiting room and lie on the table gown open in front as I wait for the doctor to tell me what is about to happen. He is the consummate professional and prepares me with a balance of professionalism and warmth that is a unique character trait and I trust him immensely. He decides on a quantity with the nurse, 100 ml or something like that whatever that means as it relates to your breasts getting pumped with a mysterious fluid ( yes I forgot to ask). As the fluid mysteriously enters the tissue expander I swear I can feel its odd entrance, it is uncomfortable, but I am looking forward to the fun of this new and upright upper body. Kind of like trying on a bright red lipstick when all you have been wearing is nude.
Anyway, when I am all done with this wacky, who the hell thought of this procedure, Dr. M. tells me to try on a form fitting shirt and place my hands over the top of my breasts because this is where the first fluid will mostly be hanging out. To see how my upper body is really going to look, this is the way I need to get a gauge. I realize as I write this that all of this writing about my upperbody is certainly going to lead to the automatic focus from my eyes to my top half when people who are reading this will see me for the first time. What the hell. I am so raw and stripped from this experience that I welcome any glance at this point.
So today, May 5th, Cinco de Mayo is the fun day I try on the form fitting shirt. Today is the day I take a good look in the mirror and decide my boobalicous fate that lies ahead of me this summer. Good problems for sure.
3 week photos by my dear friend, Julie Brigidi. The back looks rough at 3 weeks, but dying from breast cancer is rougher for sure and this is my rawness. The weird black marks are from the frickin surgical tape I finally got off! This will look way better 8 months from now. I saw a woman’s back at that mark and you can barely see the scars. Bodies are amazing.