My first plan for this post was to show pics of my post-surgery breasts. Then I decided not to post pics since many people are offended by breasts. Then I decided I would include pictures and preface them with something to the effect of: “If one were to get nipple reconstruction, one would look like this…” However, I am just going to show you pics of my reconstructed breasts because I am a female mammal and this is what this group of humans looks like underneath their clothes. I have legs, arms, fingers, toes, a liver, a uterus, a spleen. I have lots of parts, and here are two of those parts:
#carrie #stephenking #dirtypillows
I went in a few days before surgery to meet with my plastic surgeon, Dr. Maclin, and using a sheet of paper, he modeled the process of constructing a nipple from skin. He said he would basically be doing origami with my flesh. Here’s Big Mac with the paper nipple:
Even though the recovery was fairly painless, this was the longest surgery I’ve had in the breast reconstruction process. It was basically a five hour-long arts and crafts session for Dr. Maclin. Who needs Hobby Lobby when you’ve got the O.R.? Instead of glitter and Mod Podge, Mac* used my zaftig, sedated body to put his artistic and medical skills to use. During the five hour surgery, Mac took fat from my belly using liposuction, then transferred it around my implants to give my breasts as natural a look as possible. Then, he removed skin from my lower abdomen and created nipples from it (much like one creates something 3D through origami). He attached the skin using a “baseball stitch” in order to simulate the natural unevenness of an areola’s border. Lastly, he injected my port scar with some steroids to smooth it out since it was hypertrophic. (*Please note that I have the utmost respect for doctors, and in person I always address my plastic surgeon as Dr. Maclin, but to my friends and family, he’s often referred to as Maclin, Mac, Big Mac, or Dr. Titties.)
Mac is always cracking me up. When I was in the pre-op room, I asked him about the possibility of having pubes sprout from my nipples since he would be taking skin from my lower abdomen, and he said if this happened, then I could just get laser hair removal. (How funny/terrible will it be if I start having pubes sprout from my nips?) He then shared a brief anecdote about how when he was a resident, he had a “Grey’s Anatomy” experience with another resident, and she had hairy nipples, and she was embarrassed by them in their heat-of-the-moment tryst, and he was all, “I don’t even care right now!” I think that Mac is good at reading people and knowing what he can and can’t say around them/what they’ll respond to, and he knew I’d appreciate that story. Luckily, it looks like the area where he removed my skin is high enough on the abdomen that I won’t have to worry about any short and curlys growing anywhere outside of the mons pubis.
Another thing I appreciate about Mac is his use of metaphors. He has a metaphor for everything. A week after surgery I asked him if I could go swimming, and he said, “Oh heck no! You’re essentially a cheap watch: water-resistant but not waterproof.” I also appreciate how he makes me feel cared for as a person and not just as a patient. He left a note on my abdomen bandage after surgery: “461 days down, 6 to go!” During my overnight stay at the hospital, none of the nurses could read the note, but when I got home, I could read it when I stood in front of the mirror.
Let me preface this by saying that I do not condone the recreational use of opiates, but I totally get why people do heroin. The first time I received anesthesia was when I had my wisdom teeth removed, and I was so worried. Would I feel myself slip into unconsciousness? What if I woke up and felt the pain but lacked the ability to open my eyes or speak? However, I’ve come to enjoy the experience of being sedated. The anesthesiologist gives you a little something to make you feel reeeeeeaaalllll chiiiiilllll and then the next thing you know it’s six hours later and you’re in a room where you can discern some voices, but that’s about it, and then eventually you’re fully conscious and in another room with balloons and family members. It’s a real trip, man.
What I most enjoy about overnight stays in the hospital is having a catheter. I’m one of those people who has to pee about 10 times a night, so a catheter is awesome.
Before my mom left my hospital room for the night, we somehow got on the subject of Dr. Pimple Popper. Have you seen her videos? Dude. I woke up in the middle of the night in the hospital room, and for about two glorious hours I watched blackhead and lipoma extractions. I don’t do drugs, but if I did, I would probably just lie around and watch Dr. Pimple Popper all day. While I was confined to my house post-surgery I started paying attention to and posting Instagram stories, and I love hate-watching Busy Phillips’ stories. Do you follow her on IG? I can’t stand her IG stories, but I can’t stop watching them.
So June gave me not only new nips, but a new whip. After 11 years with her, my 2006 Mazda 3 threw in the towel. She had a variety of issues, and it was for her own good that I put her down, but I’ll always remember her fondly. She took me to and from California as well as up and down the Golden State coast. Many times she held me in her automobosom as I laughed, cried, screamed, and fretted. She was a good car, and she gave me six years without a car payment. In the end, I got $700 for her. I was proud of myself for buying a car without being accompanied by someone with a Y chromosome. When I bought my last car 11 years ago, I brought my dad with me. I don’t think I ever contemplated going without him. However, there was no way that as a 37-year old woman I was going to feel pressured into bringing a man with me to buy something. As I drove to the dealership, I ran through potential difficult scenarios in my head, and I’d practice my lines: “Look, asshole, just because I have a vagina and a pleasant disposition doesn’t mean I don’t know when I’m being taken advantage of!” but all of that premature anger was for naught. The salesman was great, and I got a great deal, and I love having a car with Bluetooth.
I have some serious Franken-nips right now. They’re dry, so they look crusty. I need to ask Mac if I’m allowed to put lotion on them. The stitches poke through my shirt if I’m not wearing a bra. I have no sensation in my new nips (and I never will), and they’re fairly erect right now, but they will subside within the next couple of weeks. In December I will get them tattooed, and that will complete the breast reconstruction process.
I’ve had a lot of successful surgeries in the past year and a half, and I’ve taken a lot of life-saving medicines, but what I’d really like is a pill that transforms my pre-frontal cortex, giving me the power to control my eating and spending habits. With this pill, I would maintain a BMI of 20 and save 20% of my income. But for now, I’ll continue to go out for dinner and drinks on the reg.