Friday, August 20, 2010

Oh Canada and Keep Going, True North

Big day today, feeling sore and achy after working last night, but so happy I did.  Sure felt good.  My arm was in some pain, but got better over the course of the day.

Met with much exalted and recommended plastic surgeon today.  In honor of her home country and it's national anthem, I will call her True North.  There is something deeply true and genuine about her from the moment she shakes your hand.  She has a great presence, Diva in the highest noble order.  Our first hello happened when she came out to the waiting room and got Husband and I herself.  That was a brilliant touch.

True North has an engaging, charming presence, and fabulous physical presence, reminding me of Christie Brinkley for her blond model good looks, and Gabrielle Reece, the former professional volleyball player, for her healthy athletic body.  I liked True North very much and felt very comfortable with her.  It was also great to see her little baby bump, twins coming at the end of the year!

We initially discussed my diagnosis and pathology reports, and discussed whether or not I could be a candidate for a DIEP, the tummy tuck into breasts option.  I asked her a few questions about it, and then she recommended we go ahead and do an exam of me, and we'd chat after that.

For the exam, she asked me to put on a kimono and get naked, except for my flip flops, and left the room while I changed.  When she returned, she had me stand in front of her, open the kimono and let her take a look at all my 51 year old glory.  After we went in to another room and she took naked photos of me, my before pictures.

There was something absolutely terrifying and exhilarating about having the photos taken.  She has an incredible coffee table photo book displayed in her waiting room entitled Reconstructing Aphrodite by photographer Terry Lorant.  The book is filled with incredibly beautiful photos of breast cancer survivors displaying their new breasts and/or bodies and telling their story.

Wow.  Is it possible I could have that in exchange for all this misery, trauma and loss of my former body self?

It is easy to see that True North has a caring, affectionate way about her, and it seems as though she is truly motivated and excited about transforming patients bodies and their lives.

After the exam and photo session, we went back to her office to discuss.  She said I would be a very good candidate for a DIEP, and felt that depending on the surgeon's recommendation, agreed with a left mastectomy for Flopsy, and a prophylactic mastectomy for Mopsy.  She explained we can only do one tummy tuck, and not disregarding my cancer, her focus is the cosmetic appearance of my new body after surgery.  She highly recommended we do the whole thing for the most symmetry and satisfactory result.  It would also eliminate the need for an implant if in some future date a recurrence of cancer were to occur in Mopsy.

She explained during the procedure, I would need three surgeons.  The breast surgeon, the plastic surgeon (her) and the micro-surgeon.  She gave me the names of two highly recommended breast surgeons, and the fellow she always uses for the micro-surgery portion.  She recommended I meet with all of them, and then come back and meet with her to discuss lots more information regarding the DIEP.

After the appointment with her, I met with her planning coordinator and they tentatively scheduled me for surgery on October 26.  I was both impressed and a little taken aback by their expediency to close the deal with me, so to speak.

Overall, I left the office feeling as if I had found the right person for the job.  Very impressed with her, her staff, and her positive attitude and belief that she could achieve a result I would be very happy with.  This is obviously her calling, and was inspired by her father, a surgical oncologist.

This evening, out of curiosity I decided to check out any reviews of her on Yelp.   There were several glowing reviews and three unsatisfactory ones.  The nature of the unsatisfactory reviews were very unsettling to me.  I do plan on discussing them with her.

I can see how plastic surgery results are very subjective, the same as dining in a restaurant.  I work at a fabulous restaurant, as you know, and sometimes our reviews on Yelp are absolutely brutal.  I know this.

I will be making appointments with the surgeons and hope they concur with the reconstruction at the time of my primary surgery, and will give me their assessment of True North's competence and abilities.

My chemo for today, which is usually first thing in the morning, was scheduled for this afternoon.  It was awful cute, Vonda texted me when I was running late from meeting with the plastic surgeon, asking where are you girl?  I told her coming from the City and Kitty, my chemo nurse knew I may run late.

As much as I hate the torture, I always look forward to going in to the Center.  First up is Lady Brown Sugar Grace at the front desk.  How she makes me laugh and want to high jump the counter to give her a big hug.  She is pure love.

Then Vonda always comes bounding round the corner like a Golden Retriever, with a welcome just short of a lick on the face. Love u too girl.

Then of course Kitty, wheeling her little tray over to me, and hooking me up.  We have great little snippets of conversation here and there during my chemo, about God and life and lessons and trust and faith and trying to get by.

Oh and Mariah and Krissy, always a loving hello and checking on me.  More angels.

I keep saying this, but I won't stop saying this.  How could I ever do this without them, my angels at the Cancer Center?

I was so tired when I got home, it's weird how at first after the chemo I feel so groggy and tired.  After a few hours, that subsides and the wired arrives.

Hello baby. Make yourself comfy, we will be up a couple of days together.

For five more weeks, I will sleep only a few hours over the course of two days, Friday and Saturday.  These are the nights I open the door to who knocks, my creative muse who always brings along my shadow.  On these nights of sleeplessness and restlessness, I make company with the two.

Inspiration and Vexation.

I hope you sleep tight when I wander the streets tonight, letting myself in to your house, eating out of your fridge like Nigella, cuddling in your bed next to you, whispering things in your ear like

Love your life.
Seize the day.
If you are going through Hell, keep going. (thanks Winston Churchill)
If not now, when?
Just do it. (shout out to Nike)

I will give the doggies and kitties in your houses treats, I will let myself out quietly, and when you wake in the morning, I hope you wake refreshed and happy, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and make something really good for dinner tomorrow night too.

Cause I'll be back.

Let me tell you one more thing.  Last night at work, my handsome busser, my favorite, was so happy and surprised to see me, in my red wig no less.  He is usually a man of few words and teases and plays with me a lot.  He really touched me last night.

He got tears in his eyes telling me about some of the things he has been going through in his life since I've been gone.  He said when he gets really down, he thinks about me and all that I am going through and how brave I am, and he says to himself "I don't have problems" and gave me a big hug.

At the end of the night, he was done before I was, he gave me a bear hug and whispered in my ear.  "Keep going."

Ok baby.  Ok.

1 comment:

Just a Technical Services Librarian said...

Kudos on your night at the restaurant, and so impressed with your very thorough thinking on the plastic surgery options. And come on in and feed my dogs treats anytime--and they'll give you a doggie-love face washing in return.

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