It's been a minute — almost a year in fact. I had intended to post about my four-year diagnosis anniversary, but then I just kept on living my cancer-free life and didn't bother. I did start thinking about my five-year anniversary, which is a big deal because when you're first diagnosed and ask the obvious question, "Am I going to die?", the answer is always expressed in terms of five-year survival rates. To be part of the five-year survival percentage feels like a major victory.
At five years out, I wanted to be done with all cancer-related surgeries, so I went back to my plastic surgeon and decided to do a minor revision surgery on my left breast to improve shape and symmetry. Hey, I've come this far, why not go for gold? It's all covered by insurance, which is shocking because my health insurance has never been great. To improve breast shape, my surgeon uses liposuction, both removing fat and adding fat that's been taken from elsewhere (stomach or thighs). I've really missed having someone grab my upper thigh and proclaim that I have "an ample amount of fat to work with." At one point he asked me if I'd be okay with moving my love handles to my breasts. "Um, yeah, I'm cool with that." I guess that's how people get hooked on plastic surgery. Don't worry, I have no desire for additional surgeries. The rest of my fat is quite happy where it is.
On Monday I went in for my surgery. Jeff and I have so many memories in that lobby. "Hey, remember when I woke up in a pool of blood and we rushed here in a panic? Good times!" We were told to arrive at 9:30am, and my surgery didn't happen until 2pm. Jeff had finished another intense graduate school semester the day before and was thrilled to spend his first day of freedom in the hospital. I made use of the time by going over a lengthy list of all the things I'd been holding off asking him to do until he finished school. "Congrats. So proud of you. Now, while I'm recovering, you'll obviously need to fetch me whatever I desire, but can you also change the printer toner and fix the pool valve and fix Julia's iPad and follow up on the air conditioning warranty..." By the time they wheeled me off to surgery, he wasn't sad to see me go.
The surgery was outpatient, so I was home by dinner time. Everything went well. I'm sore but this recovery is nothing like my DIEP surgery. The worst part is having to wear a medical compression suit that goes from my bra line all the way down to my knees, with optional suspender straps. Imagine the most vicious pair of Spanx you've ever seen. They put it on me while I was unconscious, squeezing my unresponsive body into this teeny-tiny suit. They must have had a team of at least six people to accomplish that. I hope any medical observers had left by then.
Apparently I'm supposed to wear this suit 24/7 for three weeks. Conveniently, there's a giant hole in the crotch for using the bathroom. Paired with a surgical bra, it feels like I'm fully covered, and then I remember my vagina is on full display. Am I supposed to wear underwear over it? The compression suit is black, so I look like I'm Catwoman and I've mistakenly put my panties on over my form-fitting black suit. It's definitely a statement look. I also love that the compression suit has a layer of itchy black lace around my knees. Why bother? Am I supposed to feel sexy in this? Is the lace supposed to distract from the crotch-hole?
They told me I was allowed to shower, but I can't imagine putting this suit back on while I'm sore. Like zipping up your skinniest pair of skinny jeans over open wounds. Um, that's a hard no. Maybe later this week.
This weekend, I'm supposed to attend a charity brunch, and I realized I have nothing to wear that will cover both the surgical bra and the compression suit. Does anyone have a fancy floral turtleneck below-the-knee dress that I can borrow?
Cancer really is the gift that keeps on giving. All these fun adventures! Until next time.