THREE WEEKS TODAY

“Have you ever tried on a 26 triple a training bra and worn it around the office for a few hours?” I asked Dr. M, (my plastic surgeon, also referred to previously as Dr. Hottie and Dr. Dreamboat) “You know, so you can feel what it’s like and understand it from an empathetic perspective?” I said this with a straight face; I wasn’t kidding. After all, how can a man unless he is a man who likes to dress like a woman for pleasure, understand the feeling of wearing a bra that is like six sizes too small, but can’t remove it because this new bra is actually her upper body now.

“No, I haven’t,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, not quite sure what to do with this patient standing in front of him who teeters on the border of provocateur and jokester. “Though I understand what you are going through,” he said with a little too much confidence if you ask me. “No you don’t,” I replied very much assuredly. We chuckled and I realized right then and there that since I would be seeing him for the next six months at every other week, if not every week, I would be buying him this as one of my parting gifts when my new breasts were finalized.

There is no way that any man could ever know what it feels like to be wearing a bra that is too tight 24/7 for three weeks straight. Let me also add that in addition to the feeling of the ever tightening shrink wrap, there is also the feeling that the hooks on the back of the bra have become bent and are perpetually poking into my upper back.

I am not complaining. This is not complaining. As a matter of fact, I actually have enjoyed the entire process of this bizarre world I have found myself in. I am happy to be alive, I am happy that it has only been three weeks and I feel this good. I am ecstatic that I have used this life trauma as an excuse to write more and to share my truths and vulnerabilities that would make author Brene Brown’s heart sing. I actually spooned with my partner today for the first time in three weeks. I was able to lie down on my side for more than fifteen minutes. This is progress.

As I was recapping my doctor’s appointment, my beloved friend Morgan reminded me that my breasts were never as big as I may have thought and that actually they were quite small. “Well compared to you, I can understand why you would say this,” I volleyed back because she has those yummy boobs that all boobalicious women complain about. We laughed. “No really Alayne, your boobs are smaller then you think.” Joykill. Who knew in all of this tit discussion I was smaller than I thought. This got me thinking about size and expectations of size as I progress down the tissue expander path these next upcoming months. When I asked the Doctor when I would be expecting the start of the filling to begin, he said, “Alayne, you said you didn’t want to be that big,” repeating back my comments from our initial meeting that seemed like eons ago.

“Well I don’t want to be that big, but I don’t want to look like a seventh grader with breasts that are just starting to bud like I do now,” I replied. “Well, okay then,” he said with a knowing smirk. “We’ll start next week.”

Goodie, something to look forward to.

As an added bonus, Dr. M. gave me the green light to exercise yesterday so I had an extra bounce in my step all day. I promptly called my beloved Kathy Martin (aka trainer I adore) to see if she had room in her 8:00am class the following day. Here’s the thing; though, I fully realize that this first workout will likely not be the full hour heart and body pumping workout I have grown to love, I must be patient as I don’t want any set backs because I decided to foolishly push myself to try a pushup or a burpee. I just want to feel the normalcy of my life again. I want to see my workout peeps sweating and complaining because they don’t have this upper body issue going on as a comparison. I want to be surrounded with healthy people. I want to feel my endorphins again from physical movement instead of Oxy. (By the way I am now 2 days free of Oxy and yesterday only took two Motrins all day). I want to have the excuse to put on my workout clothes and my sneakers and look in the mirror at my new upper body with the knowing feeling that this too shall pass. I want to drive up to the Newport Bellevue Ave. Pulse parking lot filled with Mercedes and Audis and Range Rovers and feel the pace of my beloved and privileged life I have designed as my world and feel normal again. I want to laugh aloud when I try to modify the absurd exercises that have been a part of my regular life, knowing that before I know it, this past few months will have seemed like a dream and not the nightmare that I had first anticipated.

My photographer friend, Julie had suggested we continue onward with photos of my body three weeks in and I completed my afternoon with a photo shoot. Like I said previously about trying on clothes as idiotic, a nude photo shoot three weeks after surgery is probably not the most body affirming activity. However, I really saw the need for these photos because my doctor had no pictures three weeks out. I really feel like if he did have a monthly photo from beginning through a year, so many women would feel much more at ease going into this. Besides this because I really don’t know if he will even want these photos, I want them. I want to remember what my “lovely bad ass” self accomplished. (My beautiful breast doctor, Dr. W called me this).

I had the fortune of seeing a patient of Dr. M’s who was eight months ahead of me and I think that was one of the best things I could have done. As many of us control freakettes know, it is often the not knowing that is the hardest during experiences like this. The idea of trust is a great road to follow but after you read all of the potential things that can go wrong, (seriously about forty pages of what can go wrong) trust is not necessarily your go to emotion.

So I stood in Julie’s beautiful photo studio surrounded by the kinds of lights Ava Gardener probably had in her photo shoots in the forties, bare, stripped, and vulnerable. As I stood face on, daring the camera to show anything other than courage and bravery, I realized how this moment for me was in some ways a closure to my first fifty two years. I wish I could put the photo shoot on this writing because I am so proud of myself and how far I have come as a woman who is always on a personal quest to just figure her shit out.

Aren’t we all? No matter what types of darts and swords are flying at us, no matter where we are at in our glory and our darkness, the work is never done. Sometimes we get a bullseye, sometimes we miss the mark, but it all ok in the end and if it is not ok, it is not the end. I am not sure who said this quote, but at this moment in my delightful existence, I am confident that this part of my life is the end and that end is a great excuse to celebrate its teachings and start something new with its lessons.

So new for me is tomorrow. Getting back on the horse and getting to the gym, the place that made this experience the so far knock on wood success it has been. For sure if my body hadn’t been as fit as it was going in, there is not a chance that my attitude about my world on this new day would be the ten that it is. Of course after tomorrow I may not be able to walk after my class, so this writing may be all bullshit, easy to talk about the gym with the starry eyes from the couch. The only negative is that my bounce back means that the three weeks of help will surely come to an end now. But this is one of those rare welcomed filled with pleasure negatives that I am happy to say good bye to. Humbled, happy and grateful and cardinal landed smack in front of me on my fence at the exact time I was looking out the window. Life does not get better than that.

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