..Remember that stuff? You’d blow through a straw and a bubble of….,well,… plastic ,would come out the other end. I am not sure what we then did with the bubble. I remember it just hung there. I do know the stuff was pretty toxic…and probably caused cancer. But I digress. Here is the update from the pre-op…again you don’t have to read this. But I promise this won’t make you cry, although, the last one was not supposed to make you cry either.
Thursday Jan 17th:
We met with the Plastics man on Thursday and for some reason, looking at his face, all that ran through my mind was “super elastic bubble plastic”. I kept singing the song from the commercial. Dr. Hergreuter is his name and he looked like he had been sneaking into the back office for one too many of his own Botox injections. He looked around 55 years old but in reality was probably closer to 90.
Before meeting Dr. Hergreuter,Gina (my Gina) and I, were shown into a room and treated to a movie. Yippee! We were very excited until we found out that popcorn was not included. This lovely film, put together by the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons gave us all the ins and outs of breast replacement surgery. I already knew most of this info from my late-night internet excursions, but I think Gina was fascinated. Dr. Plastic told me that I could have everything I wanted…a new left breast and a lift to the right…on ONE condition. If and only IF the cancer had NOT spread to my lymph nodes. If this was the case, then he would have Dr. Christian “sew me up” and I would get no new breast until after radiation. I told him of course that I didn’t want radiation but he said my health came first and yada yada yada…you know…let’s work on your life before your looks speech. I’m getting a little tired of that.
Then Dr. Plastic proceeded to tell me “no” to everything I asked….Can I run in a week? Can I weight lift? Kick box? Walk the dog? Punch you in your wax-like creaseless face? I finally agreed to be a “good patient” and follow ALL of his directions and basically do nothing in the form of exercise until he tells me to. Or until I turn into a lazy-psychopathic-daytime television watching-cookie eating-monster. Whichever comes first.
Again, this will all be a moot point if the stupid cancer has moved into my stupid lymph nodes.
**I have found a way to overcome my cancer. If I act like an 11 year old and call it “stupid” out loud, then it can’t hurt me. I may even stick my tongue out at it**
Our next stop was to see Charlotte who is Dr. Christian’s secretary. She was lovely and then she introduced us to Maryanne. There are certain people in this world who were born to do the job that they do. Maryanne is one of those people. I don’t even know what her title is. It should be “easer of all fears” or “one who calms”. Maryanne basically walked me through everything that will happen to me in the next week. The pre-op with the anesthesiologist, the horrible needle filled with radioactive dye that I will get the day before surgery, and the timeline of what will happen the day of surgery. She talked to me about nice things like private rooms and scary thinks like lymphodema (a possible permanent side effect in taking out the lymph nodes) and she did it all with a beautiful lilting voice that made me want to curl up on her lap and take a sleep for a week. She was big and round and soft and didn’t seem to want to be anywhere else but by my side. I wondered if she went home and complained to her husband about all the needy people she had to talk to every day, but somehow I didn’t think so. She was an angel. And angels never complain. They do their jobs and they love their jobs and they have more patience than God himself.
Maryanne then hooked me up with a fancy jacket that’s like a “johnny” but more stylish. It called a “Jacki” (marketing genius!). The Brigham had received a recent grant so all breast cancer patients got this fancy jacket to take home. It has velcro where the buttons would be and pockets to fit my lovely drains that will be sticking out of my body when I get home. It is a black polyester jacket that looks like something I would have worn in 1982 over my black and red pinstriped pants on a night out slam dancing at Spit…you remember, on Landsdown Street? Anyway, I also got a couple of new bras that close in front and 2 white cami’s(also with drain pockets). I am not sure why they think I need to look well dressed as I lay in my bed but I guess they figure that my self-esteem will be low enough that it can’t hurt to look like I am sleeping in my dancing clothes. Whatever…free clothes are free clothes.
They also gave us nylon back-packs chock full of toys and journals and pamphlets for the kids. Each was age-appropriate and well received from Aidan and Maeve who immediatly wrote in their journals. Calvin, on the other hand, declared he was “fine” and didn’t think reading that scary stuff was going to help him. Then he asked me to tell his teachers about my cancer so he “could get out of doing school work”………
Does anyone know a good military school that I can ship him off to? I hate 14 year olds.
As we left the Brigham our arms were loaded down with bags of free stuff. We looked like we had spent a fun-filled day on Newbury Street shopping! What a place — we did not encounter one grumpy person at the hospital or at Dana Farber all day. That’s amazing. This is a huge hospital and I am glad I had Gina to help me navigate the corridors but I have to say, once I was in a room and face to face with a doctor or administrator, I did not feel like a number. They really went out of their way to make me feel like I mattered.
That’s it…for now..till next week
OK everyone, say it with me … “Stupid, stupid cancer”….doesn’t that feel good!
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OMG… I met with the same Maryanne, and yes, she is wonderful. She has a very nice way about her.