Adjectives…or how do you define yourself?

Adjectives. Funny little words that describe things. Lots of words could be used to describe me. Short, blonde, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, granddaughter, niece, wife, silly, some call me funny, crazy, bitch (bring it on!), biting, sarcastic (this one I love!). Others call me witty (why, I’m not sure–got to have wits for that!), positive, inspirational, strong. Now the last few puzzle me at times. I do keep a positive attitude, yes. Why be negative? All it does is drag down the others around you and make you feel like shit as well. I don’t like pity parties, and I sure as hell won’t throw one myself. A pity party is a party that no one likes to attend!

Now, I have a bunch of other adjectives that I refuse to let define me. In fact, I’ve spent a good amount of my life trying to NOT allow them to overpower my statuesque 5’1″ frame. Those adjectives all center around being sick. I have several chronic illnesses which all feed off each other. The medical communtity has a horrible adjective for this type of situation and that is: co-morbid. How horrific is THAT word! I would like to bitch slap the mo-fo that thought up that word. Way to knock someone who is down. But I don’t let my problems overpower me. Most people who see me never know anything is wrong with me. In fact, they are usually shocked because the cover belies what is within. You truly cannot judge a book by it’s cover with me 🙂 It is all smoke and mirrors baby! I joke that I pray to the gods @ Sephora and Bare Minerals is the best thing since sliced bread (it is so true ladies!) but it helps me to feel better when I look good. My doctors have said to me “you look so healthy, so beautiful but when I look at your chart, I think what a train wreck.” Thanks bud, love ya too! But, that is my intent. I’d rather look good because I feel better when I do. Power of the positive mind.

So, think about how you define yourself? Don’t let the negative things define you. When you are dealt a blow, it isn’t the end of the world, and it shouldn’t define who YOU are. Be it a diagnosis of an illness, being let go from a job, whatever. Instead, ask for, or work towards a solution. Throwing a pity party and asking “Why me?” won’t get you anywhere. Instead put on some lipstick, your best shoes, and take the next steps.

Ok, lets try this again… but without nipples

So, I went thru the big surgery back on May 25th and while I bounced back pretty quickly, thanks in big part to my wonderful friend Caroline who came from South Carolina to help me recover, my boobs didn’t fare quite as well as the rest of my body and psyche. I chose the straight-to-implant, nipple-sparing mastectomy & reconstruction. I know, I know TMI out the wazoo! But these gory details do play a major part into the Rest of this story. In the nipple-sparing version, apparently only 40% of the nipples are successful. I had unsuccessful nipples. I may be a total over-achiever in life, but I had slacker nipples, and they began to die & become necrotic. Sounds soooo sexy, I know. Suddenly I was in danger of my nipples falling off. Really? After all I just went thru, my nipples were going to fall off and die? Cruel fucking joke if you ask me! So, what do you do in this situation? My doctor tells me that the first mode of defense against rebellious, underachieving, slacker nipples is to go thru hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Let me give you a little description of what this involved: Going twice a day, for two hours each session, over to the hospital to lay in a clear plastic tube that is only slightly larger than the diameter of my body. During this two hour session, in a pure oxygen environment, they increase the pressure until I am down several hundred feet, essentially diving on dry land, then gradually bring me back up again at the end. I can have nothing inside this tube other than the green cotton gown that I’m wearing and a bottle of juice. I have a TV over my head, which they put on the channel of my choice, but I am left for 2 hrs to stare and lay in the same position for the duration. Sound painfully boring. It’s worse than that. The scene really is somewhat science-fiction-esque. Five chambers down each wall of the room, all of us in identical gowns ‘diving’ at the same time in our ‘pods’. I went twice a day, 2hrs each session, 7 days a week, for 2 weeks. Holy boredom batman. The treatments were successful though. I regained bloodsupply, and my nipples seemed to be doing better. We were getting ready to go on vacation, so my doctor decided to take a bit of a step to insure that my nipples wouldn’t fall off–he super-glued my nipples on. Now, I have super-glued a number of wounds closed, but I never ever thought I would use my boobs and super-glue in the same sentence.

The wounds continued to bleed, and seep, and some scabs fell off, but no healing. Not at all. Some of the incisions had healed early on, but at 6 weeks post op one of them decided to join the fun and open up. Fuck. I went to change the bandages before bedtime & looked down and saw muscle peeking thru. OMG, seriously. Can I order a break please?? So, email to the doc @ midnight (which he promptly responded to–A+ to the doc :D) and I steri-stripped them together. I thought about super-glue or duct tape, and decided on a more sterile option. Saw the doc, he said I did the right thing, and a good job at it, and he wanted to see if it would close back on it’s own. Fast forward one week. Went to change the bandages again, and now the hole was twice the size! So, email to the doc @ midnight AGAIN (which he promptly responded to AGAIN–A+ to the doc :D) and he told me that he would do some skin grafting in the office surgical center the next morning, nothing to eat or drink after midnight.

The next morning, my father picks me & my kids up, drops me @ the doc for the grafting (my wonderful friend Ilene was going to get me). The doc takes one look at me and decides to change the game plan–we are going to go for major surgery TODAY. He wanted to remove the implants, wash the pockets, put in expanders, remove all the damaged skin & close me up. Then I’d have to heal & go thru months of expansion. Once expansion was done, I’d need surgery to swap the expanders for new implants. Then one more surgery to reconstruct the nipples. In other words, starting from scratch & THREE more surgeries. Fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck. So, call all the family, get the ducks in a row, and over to the hospital. To say I was freaking out a bit is just a minor understatement. But there wasn’t time for that. None. 7pm, they wheeled me into the OR. 10pm I came out, and was awakened by my doc saying to me look down and holding my gown open for me to, well, look down. He was trying to show me that my boobs were still there. Now, I had just woken up from general anesthesia aka milk of amnesia. My synapses weren’t firing all that fast. Took me a few minutes to register what he was saying. He apparently was able to remove the damaged skin & clean things out & still keep me in implants. Which saved me months & months of healing, expansion, and another surgery! I was thrilled. So while I am now nipple-less, and have ‘barbie boobs’ at least I don’t have giant weeping, bleeding wounds on my body. I’ll eventually get new designer nipples, and I’ll even get to get them tattooed. What do you think, should I get something fancy tattooed on them? 😉

So, right now I actually am at a unique advantage over most women. I don’t have to worry about any nip-slips, or high beams poking out, or nips showing through light colored fabrics. Be jealous bitches. Very jealous.