Monday, May 31, 2010

Sometimes, it's good to be a goddess....

Let’s recall that Saturday, after five torturous days of no petite scones, I finally put my foot down rather menacingly. In other words, I made the Sad Cancer Face and spoke of The Kone’s crushing disappointment, day after day. As I said, menacing.

So yesterday I walk into Starbucks, apprehensive but confident, cautious yet optimistic, sunny yet dour. My eyes dart to the pastry case, but before I can even say anything, it begins:

Doug: The scone is back!
Wayne: We have petite scones!
Chuck: Look! Did you see the scones?

Before I can even utter a word, a petite scone has been carefully selected, placed in a bag, and handed over with an air of solemnity as befitting the occasion. I then take the opportunity to talk to Manager Dave, who hadn’t been in this week as the Scone Travesty was taking place.

Me: I see the Kone scone is back!
Dave: Yeah, I hear there were problems.
Me, gravely: Hmph, were there ever……
Dave: The issue is that our current distributors are on their way out, so they’re not really motivated to do things right.
Me: Like make sure there’s a Kone scone every day.
Dave: Exactly. There have been all kinds of things going wron….
Me: So what you’re saying is that Starbucks axed this distributor because of their casual and insolent attitude towards Kone’s scones?
Dave: Well, I’m sure that was on…..
Me, continuing: An issue that they probably read about on my little blog that’s sweeping the nation?
Dave: I can’t really say tha….
Me, conspiratorially: Oh, that’s okay, I understand you can’t divulge such things. (wink) It’ll be our little secret, the influence of The Kone in all major Starbucks’ decisions.
Dave: But I don….
Me, as I traipse out the door to deliver to Kone his scone: Not to worry, lips sealed! Toodles!

I tell you, while it’s not always easy being me, at times there are rewards…..

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Miss Tasha, every retailer's dream

Starbucks, Tuesday

I stride in briskly and purposefully as usual, setting an example for the little people on how to carry oneself at all times, with gravitas and élan. Also as usual, as soon as I get into line I scan the pastry case, looking for the petite scone. It’s very rare that they screw up so royally as to not have it, but when they do err so grievously, I need to be prepared with choice #2. Egads, no petite scone! And egads, what’s this? No petite anything? No mini-donuts?? What ho?

Diane is helping the woman in front of me, but clearly she needs to be apprised of what’s going on immediately.

Me, sternly: Diane, situation! Situation! We have a situation! Mayday!

I look at her, and then look pointedly at the case, with raised brows.

Diane: Oh no, no you don’t mean…
Me: Oh yes. A situation. What are we going to do about this? There’s not even anything else mini for The Kone!
Diane, to the woman she had been helping: She needs to get a scone for Kona.
Woman: Kona?
Diane: Yes, you know, her dog Kona!
Woman: Oh, is that it? I thought maybe water was leaking into the case, or….
Me, interrupting: Ha, would that it were that simple! This is much more serious than that!

All the SB employees assist me in pondering the other pastry offerings, to see what else Kona might like. A donut? A bagel? Aha, a peanut butter cookie??

The woman is still waiting and a line is forming, but no matter, we have much more serious issues to attend to.

Diane: Do you think the cookie will be okay? Will he like that?
Me, fretting: I hope so. I just don’t know. He wasn’t too happy with the vanilla donut that one time.
Diane: Well, you be sure to let us know.
Me: Oh, I will – and let’s make sure we get those petite scones in, m’kay? You know what they say, it takes a village….


I’ve been shopping with Caroline and Lynn, getting stuff for the Tri Club party at Galena, and since I’m the one with the Costco card, I write the check when we’re checking out. Then, serendipity…

Checkout woman: Could I see some id, a driver’s license?
Me: A driver’s license? Did you say……driver’s license?

The checkout woman is looking at me strangely, for some reason.

Me: Caroline, did you hear her? She wants to see my driver’s license!
Caroline: Your driver’s license? Amazing!
Me, to checkout woman: You see, I just got my driver’s license back after the State of Illinois had it for SEVEN MONTHS… I’m a little excited at being able to pull it out as needed.
Checkout woman: Oh, I hear you on that! They take your license and they don’t want to give it back!
Me: Exactly! But look – ta da!

I pull out my driver’s license with a flourish, and show it to everyone within a 15-foot radius. Lookie, my license! Then, the unthinkable.

Checkout woman: Great, I’ll just give all this to the verification guy over there.
Me: But, bu……

And she plucks it out of my hand, and I watch, aghast, as she walks away with it.

Me, wailing: Nooooooooooo…………

At Dr. Mazullo’s office (I know, technically not a retailer, but still)

Dr. M.: So how have you been doing?
Me: I’m fat and I’m surly. Isn’t there a pill you can prescribe for me?
Dr. M.: No pills! Have you tried exercise? Just 30 minutes a day, a few times a week…..


Dr. M.: Have you thought about seeing a therapist?


Starbucks, today

Me: Okay guys, this is day 5 of no petite scones. What’s going on here? Is Dave somehow trying to diss me?
Wayne: Dave the Manager? He wouldn’t do that. Let me see where the problem is. We haven’t been getting them all week.
Me: I know! This is becoming a serious problem!

(Wayne goes and gets the delivery manifest, and they all start looking at it intently.)

Other SB guy whose name I don’t know: Maybe there was a fire at the petite scone factory?
Me: Hmm, that could be it…….
Wayne: Okay, it looks like we’ve been ordering them but they haven’t been delivering them.
Me: Aha! Who do I speak to about this? To whom should I direct my scathing letter?
Wayne: We’ll get to the bottom of it, don’t worry.
Me: Hmm….

I get my coffee, add the Splenda, then before I leave, one last sally:

Me, gravely: Someone is going to be looking into this situation, right? To resolve it? I mean, a cookie is fine once in a great while, but Kona’s reputation has been built on the Kone Scone, so……

I leave, confident that I’ve made them understand the gravity of the situation. I hope. God forbid I should have to escalate things to the next level…..

*I have no idea what this purported next level is, but I thought this sounded good…..

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Not on MY watch

So I grudgingly went today to the birdfood store, to get some more seed for the little chirping, tweeting hooligans who have for some reason invaded my backyard and its 9 birdfeeders. And since the store was right next to a Foodstuffs, I figured I’d go in and see what food I couldn’t eat, and maybe pick up something for The Kone, who was having surgery on his leg and thus had to (gasp!) forego his morning scone. I know, I know….

Anyway, I walk in and lo, what’s this? A table of cookies from their bakery – but not just any cookies. BLACKHAWKS cookies. What fresh hell is this, I think to myself. Here they’re trying to trap me into innocently buying a Hawks cookie, thereby doing something different and thereby jinxing the team and thus being responsible for their tanking in the Stanley Cup finals. I saw this all unfolding before me – the shame, the scorn, the disdain I’d be subjected to, as an entire city made its displeasure with me known. So of course, much like the Hawks and the Campbell trophy, I refused to even touch the Blackhawks cookies. No way, I thought. No sirree. You are NOT pinning this on me, if they don’t win.

Kona got the smiley face cookie instead. Disaster duly averted.

My life is brilliant

One reason I thought long and hard before writing my last post is because, well, it’s more personal than I generally like to get about things. But then, as is usually my way, I thought “Oh, fuck it”, and also thought of the greater good. Where sometimes I just figure that there are things that need to be said, because putting them out there will have some benefit to others. Such as –

1. The BC women out there who think it’s just them going through this stuff, that it’s atypical or freakish. And our doctors aren’t much help in this regard. Ask them about one of these side effects that gee, almost all of us seem to have, and they just shrug their shoulders and give you a wry grin, as if to say “Umm, sorry, not really my area of expertise.” In spite of being oncologists. Because again, they don’t know how any of these treatments affect the younger crowd.

2. The women going through this shit, who want to be better understood, who want this information out there, so that the people we love get what we’re dealing with, even after “active” treatment is over. So they don’t think we’ll have our surgery and be done and be off shopping at Target on the way home. Because it doesn’t end – cancer is the “gift” that keeps giving.

3. The friends and family of those going through this shit, to help them better understand what the deal is and for them to get a better grasp on the reality of breast cancer. Because most of us have no clue until it’s entered our lives, which I’d say is pretty normal. We all have the things that are important to us or central to our lives in some way, that we know more about than most other people do.

I was thinking about this the other day when I was talking to Motya, and I mentioned to her that Kelly Preston was my hero, for getting pregnant at the age of 47, which gave me hope for my own Miracle Baby in the future. And Motya went off on these celebrities who keep hidden the fact that many of them use donor eggs, and so they perpetuate this myth that it’s soo easy to get pregnant in your 40s, thus giving people false hope. At which point I decided I no longer liked Kelly Preston.

Then Motya mentioned that at least my people had cool spokeswomen, like Christina Applegate. At which point *I* went off on my own tirade, against Christina for going on interviews after her treatment and proclaiming “I’m 100% cured, I know I won’t die of breast cancer” blah blah blah. Again, perpetuating myths that are harmful.

Harmful how? Well, when I was first diagnosed, I of course went through all the typical stuff – “Oh my god, I’m going to die, I can’t die, my house is too messy, oh my god I’m going to die.” In other words, the usual.

But then after a few weeks, I started to feel a little…embarrassed. For making such a big deal out of all this. For letting everyone else make such a big deal out of it. I mean, they’d just remove the lump and that would be it, right? That’s how it works these days, yes?

Obviously not. And I don’t think the groups or organizations or people who promote those lies are doing anyone any favors.

But while I’m glad I wrote it, because I do think it had the intended effect, I have to say that I’m the one who really benefited the most. Because so many people responded either on my blog, on Facebook, etc., that it brought me to tears, just thinking about the goodness of the people I’ve been lucky enough to have around me. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I truly have the most amazing people in my life, that I’m fortunate to call friends. And what’s also amazing is that while I have “real-life” friends like Stacey and Kristen and others, as well as newer friends I’ve made because of the Big C like Tracey and Tammy, there are just as many who I’ve actually never met in person. Yet I feel like I know them - George, Noreen, Kim, Molly*, Rita, Gisela, too many others to name – and I consider them also among my dearest of friends. And in this respect, in spite of my crappy Schleprockian existence, I can honestly say that I am….blessed. That’s the only way to put it.

So even though I’m balding, broke, fat and surly, I always remember the one essential truth, that life is good. Living is good. Being alive… good.

I’m reminded of that every day, and I have my friends to thank for it. Would that everyone were as rich as I am.

*Oops, I actually did meet Molly, at IronSpud. See, that's called Tamoxibrain, for which the motto should be "never failing to help you make a total ass out of yourself. " It's truly a pink gift.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Living on the edge

I was hot once.

Really, it’s true. Attractive. A babe, even. Never had a problem meeting guys. The right guys, sure, that was a problem, but guys in general? No. I was skinny, and lovely, and liked myself.

That was before The Cancer. And FatSurly. Which kicks your body into early menopause – which means that things now work like this: as a young woman who shouldn’t be in menopause, this pill that stops the estrogen in your body means that your body is still trying to make estrogen however it can. And fat makes estrogen. So whatever you eat, your body gloms onto and turns it into fat.

At least that’s how I explain the fact that I can and do eat 300 or fewer calories a day and can’t lose weight. Seriously. A typical day consists of coffee, then maybe some cottage cheese and blueberries. And that’s it. And that whole “calories in, calories out” mantra that people love to throw around, that just doesn’t work. I’ve briefly entertained the notion of stopping the Tamoxifen, but that would be the ultimate in stupidity. Because the more hormone positive you are, the more you need to take Tamox. Some people who are 20-30% positive don’t take it, as the benefits aren’t worth the side effects. Me? I’m 100% positive. Not a lot of choice there.

So I’m no longer attractive. Far from it. And I no longer like myself. Also far from it. The difference between now and then was brought home to me yesterday, when I was chatting with a friend who’s new to Facebook, and he mentioned some pictures of me in an orange sundress that were on there. Pics of me and Stacey in Costa Rica. Back from when I was hot. Pre-cancer and pre-FatSurly. I look nothing like that now. Nothing at all. But I like the picture because it’s me and one of my closest friends – who totally gets the whole cancer thing, I might add - having a great time in one of the most beautiful places on earth, so I leave it up there. Even though I want to cry when I see pictures of the old me, and I wonder, where is that person now? What happened to my life? No wonder I don't want to leave the house. Ever. For anything.

And he told me that I looked a lot better then. Then this:

“You know, that’s the thing about cancer, that it can turn someone from a hot young woman to, well, a frumpy old lady.”

Now, I hesitated in writing this blog post, because I knew he might read this, and I didn’t want him to feel bad about his comment. Because yes, it could have been left unsaid, but on the other hand…..he’s right. So I wasn’t offended, or mad at him, especially since he’s a sweetheart of a person and wouldn’t hurt my feelings for the world. And there was no malicious intent in his comment – it was more an expression of amazement, that people don’t realize how far-reaching the effects of cancer are.

Which is my point. That most people don’t get it, and don’t understand why those of us with the Big C haven’t “moved on.” This was brought home to me the other day after I posted on FB an update after the glorious Blackhawks’ victory to the effect of “My birthday is in 2 weeks, and I do have cancer, so, if you happen to have a line on Hawks tickets, well, I’m just sayin’….”

The vast majority of my friends took that in the spirit in which it was intended, i.e.:

a) Laughing, with a “work it, girlfriend!” thrown in for good measure
b) Thinking hmm, Miss Tasha needs Hawks tickets
c) Admiring the appropriate use of the Cancer Card

One person, however, felt compelled to tell me that I didn’t have cancer, I was a “cancer survivor,” snidely adding “What is this, Make-a-Wish for adults??”

I was going to respond to that, with a comment along the lines of hey, as long as I have scars on my chest and feel like shit all the time and can’t remember a damn thing because of FatSurly which is also making my hair fall out due to the weird hormone shit and I can’t lose weight to save my soul and will probably expire of a heart attack as I’m trying to haul my fat ass up the Alps this summer, then I get to say whatever the hell I want. And who the fuck are you or anyone else to tell me otherwise?

But I didn’t bother, because I figured her comment spoke for itself. And people like that don’t get it. They don’t get that what I deal with is typical. That this is all the typical day-to-day shit that I and all my CancerChicks deal with, the stuff that people just don’t get. Other people think we should be done with this, but we can’t be. If life is a highway, we’re stuck in an endless construction zone, with nowhere to exit.

And those of us who get to take FatSurly, we’re the lucky ones. No matter how crappy Tamoxifen is with its horrible side effects, at least those of us who are hormone positive have something we can take, to try to help prevent a recurrence. And I’m lucky that I didn’t wind up with treatment-induced heart failure, that my recon surgeries have been successful so far, that I haven’t had it even crappier.

But in spite of that, I’m still fat, surly, tired, stupid, balding and scarred, with compromised lungs thanks to radiation.

Oh yeah, and I have a fucking gumdrop stuck to my chest.

And I still have a 18.6% chance of death from cancer in the next 10 years. A 31.4% chance of recurrence. Those numbers are 26% and 46.4% respectively without Tamoxifen. So I’ll play the Cancer Card whenever the hell I feel like it, thank you very much. It’s pretty much a lifetime membership.

* * * *
Last night, I didn’t take my Tamoxifen*. And today, I didn’t eat.

I feel skinnier already.

(* While this would be a wonderfully dramatic way to end this post, it’s also a bit attention-whoreish if I leave it at that, implying that people should leap in to tell me I need to take my FatSurly, that looks don’t matter, etc. and so on. And that’s not the point. So I’ll add that my rejection of FS was a one-time fuck-you-cancer statement, and I’ll be back to taking it tonight. The fasting is likely to continue, however.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kona for the Cure!

There I was the other day, toodling along in the car and visualizing running on those very streets once I’m recovered from the major surgery* I had last week, but hewing to my strict training regimen nevertheless as I focused on tightening my ab muscles, building up that all-important core strength. Suddenly, I heard something on the radio that caused me to gasp in disbelief and subsequently almost choke on my bonbon. An advertisement for Tickets for the Cure. Tickets as in lottery. What? Now we’re supposed to sit around chomping on our buckets of fried chicken and gambling?? This was a joke, right?

(*It has been brought to my attention that because I’m a rock$tar who’s so used to having one surgery after another, that I’ve inadvertently downplayed the latest one, which did indeed involve full anesthesia, lots o’ stitches, major cutting and slicing – in other words, a procedure that would fell lesser mortals. And by being all blasé and heroic, I’m doing serious damage to my Bonbon Receiving Potential. So let this be official notice: ouch!)

Nope, no joke. There actually are Lottery Tickets for the Cure, to go with our fried chicken and Ding-Dongs or whatever the hell else they’ve slapped that pink ribbon on. So my question becomes this – how is it that *I’m* not cashing in on the pink ribbon bandwagon? How come *I’m* still po’? Yet all these other organizations and companies are making buckets (ha!) of money on me and my people. On the backs of the cancer-trodden, as it were. And I think to myself – self, this just isn’t right.

So, for all you kind-hearted and generous folks who like to give your money to others in order to get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside – and I assure you, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! – I present for you the following: Kona for the Cure!

What is this brilliant Kona for the Cure that I speak of? Well, it’s another one of my schemes – I mean, worthy endeavors, in which I try to make money for a worthy cause. In this case, me. Me and Kona, that is. My DIY Fundraiser which revolved around selling my beautiful little heirloom tomato seedlings was kind of a bust (ha, no pun intended) – in that my wonderful friends bought plants, even those who I suspect don’t even have any actual gardening space – but the people to whom I’ve given dozens or even hundreds of plants to in the past? Not a peep. That’s a bit of a disappointment, in them as people. But my tomato-buying friends? You’re the best. And you’ll all be invited to the Gala Tomato Tasting at my place at the end of the summer – god willing and the creek don’t rise, as they say. (And assuming we have a good tomato summer for once, please god please god pleasepleasepleasegod.)

But it also occurs to me that I erred slightly in my seedling marketing, in that I should have slapped pink ribbons on them and boldly called them Tomatoes for the Cure!, and I’m sure they would have been flying out of here.

No matter. This is why we have Kona for the Cure, which offers you the following:

- A 2-day affair of walking, camaraderie, and heartfelt tears and hugs, as we battle breast cancer together, bravely and strongly, with Kona as our courageous mascot. We’ll probably just keep walking around my neighborhood, in case it’s hot, so Kona doesn’t get too tired.

- Your choice from a range of Fuck Cancer attire, from the classic FC hat, to the equally classic Fuck Awareness, Find a Cure t-shirt, in resplendent pink, of course.

- A catchy slogan that we can chant as we’re walking and hugging: “A scone for The Kone!” Now granted, that makes no sense whatsoever, but hey, neither does Komen’s “I am the cure!”, right?

- To mimic that rustic, on-the-road experience that seems to appeal to so many walkers, we’ll set up pup tents in my backyard, and to take care of your bathroom needs, I’ll send you to the Wendy’s a couple of blocks away, as that’s the closest I can come to Porta-potties. I will try to work out a deal for participants – I mean, pink soldiers in the battle against BC – so that you get discounts on Frosties.

- The wonderful feeling of doing…..*something*… help in the quest for a cure, though it’s not clearly exactly how the money is helping other than by throwing out some amorphous feel-good slogans like “because everyone deserves a lifetime” and “you’re a pink warrior” and “Buckets for the cure!” We too will be slinging plenty of those about, oh yes.

I’m sure I’ll think of other things to throw into the kitty, but rest assured, you’ll be taken care of in the manner to which your $1150 fee will entitle you (after taxes, fees, and gratuities). Yes, a mere $1150, or just HALF of what Komen expects you to raise! I can’t think of many things that are more of a bargain than this particular experience, of spending a couple of precious days with myself and The Kone, all while swathed in a big lovefest of pink hugs and friendship. And alcohol. Yeah, we’ll throw lots of mai tais in there too.

Space is limited, so act now! And remember……. a scone for The Kone!

Because everyone deserves a scone……

Miss Tasha’s Coming Out Par-tay!

For those who know me only through my blog, it might come as a surprise to know that I’m actually a rather modest person. Really. Not modest regarding my obvious superiority – hell, I have so many gifts I could pass them out like party favors! – but rather in the Victorian sense. I grew up with parents from the “old country,” meaning nothing related to sex was ever brought up in the house. Never got “The Talk.” Chicken had white meat, not breasts. You get the idea.

So it was a particularly cruel joke played by fate when The Cancer came along, in the form of a large lump in the worst place imaginable, at least in terms of removing it. But being my shy self, I’d spare people the details, which prompted questions and comments like “Oh, a lump, so they can remove just that and then that’ll be it, right? Why would you need recon? You don’t need recon, do you? For just a lump? Blah blah blah, yes?”

Until one day I snapped. Right here on this little blog, I believe it was. Where after the six millionth puzzled look and inquiry as to why I’d be so vain as to go through reconstruction for just a little ol’ lump I finally responded with:

“It wasn’t just a lump! It was a huge honking lump that was RIGHT UNDERNEATH my fucking NIPPLE, okay? So the whole thing had to go, leaving me with the Appalachian Mountain Boob problem, okay? You know, with the whole top sheared off! THAT’S why I need recon!”

So here we are. Where I still don’t like to talk about things like nipples or fipples, but sometimes, it’s for the greater good, and so I’m okay with it. But when it comes to the Boobages, and the new lovely cleavage, I figure, all bets are off. I earned these puppies, and the right to flaunt them any way I damn well please. Which I plan to do, in spectacular fashion. Not just because they’re fake, but especially because they’re fake, and pretty. Because as we say around these parts – the real ones tried to kill me.

All this is a prelude to announce the big celebration of Miss Tasha’s New Boobages, in the form of a Coming Out Par-tay on June 5th! The Boobages party of the decade! And not coincidentally, it’s also my birthday weekend. There’ll be the usual fun, food and festivities, with Kona stealing guests’ food at every opportunity, and in the “special events” category we’ll have:

- The giveaway of the Jingle Jugs to the person who comes closest to guessing just HOW many insurance bills/notices/threatening letters Miss Tasha has received in the last 2 years!

- A piñata as a stand-in for BCBS execs!

- Whatever other crazy stuff we can come up with!

And YOU are invited! Yes, you! Well, okay, those of you in the Chicagoland area, which I think narrows things down considerably. I’m also inviting my doctors, so they can admire their handiwork in a social setting, and guests (the female ones) are encouraged to flaunt their own girls in a show of solidarity with my own Boobages. Man boobs are not encouraged. And given that some of my dear CancerChick friends are planning on coming, this could be the finest assemblage of Boobages, fake and otherwise, that my little burg has ever seen.

I do think it’s telling that my female friends who’ve responded to the Evite are all giddy about buying new push-up bras, picking out the most boobalicious clothing, etc.

The guys just seem frightened, and most of them have gone to ground. Nary a peep from many of the menfolk. Sad.

But speaking of the Boobages, it’s almost startling to discover that hey, I now gots cleavage! And not because the girls are pushed up and wonderbra-ed within an inch of their lives, but because they’re now naturally busty, thanks to the superior work of Dr. Fine and his people – well, and the fact that he had a good base to work with, naturally. Modern medicine can do just so much.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Who knew?

Who knew it was so easy, I mean. Here, I’m just a week out from major surgery, and still have the usual million things to do around the house: clean, organize, cut the grass, garden, swim in my piles of cash, etc. I wasn’t sure how I’d get everything done, but then I hit upon the perfect solution to all my woes: And who do I have to thank for this brilliant idea? Why, none other than crazy anti-gay conservative minister George Rekers, who rented his escort, I mean cabana boy, I mean concierge, so that he could have some help after surgery.

Yes, in a stunning example of forward thinking, Rekers knew that he’d be unable to lift any luggage on his trip to Europe after surgery, and so he immediately went to a site apparently known for providing such kinds of assistance, the aforementioned According to Rekers:

“Contacted by the newspaper, Rekers claimed he was ignorant of his traveling companion's profession when he hired him for a 10-day European vacation.

‘I had surgery," Rekers told the newspaper, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him.’”

Of course, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, or perhaps a bias of the liberal media, that the gay hooker he hired, "Lucien", claimed the minister liked daily nude body rubs. I’m positive that’s just related to the debilitating surgery he had. Positive. Pos. I. Tive.

In closing, I just have to say that this, this is the kind of bold, honest thinking those fervent anti-gay activists are known for. Kudos.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On the road to Boobalicious

….or, a PSA for the fipple-inclined

So once in a while among the serious triathlon tips, the suggestions on how to follow my own strict Paleo-based diet, the gentle discourses on politics, etc., I like to impart some useful information to my sisters in breast cancerhood who might stumble upon this blog somehow. This is information that in many cases is totally useless to the rest of you, or may even be TMI for some, and I get that. If this isn't something that's become part of your life, like it or not, then reading about it is probably a bit disturbing. So stop reading now please, if you’re not in that “sisters looking for info” category.

Okay, where were we….oh yes, the fipple. There’s a reason we call them FrankenFipples. That’s because no matter what method they use to recreate the nipple - twist-and-stitch, a graft, etc. – when you first see it, you might totally and completely freak out and wonder what the hell your plastic surgeon has done. In fact, you might think that there was a mishap as the doctors were snacking in the OR and passing around the Dots, and oops! One fell to your breast and got stuck there! And they figured heck, that’s good enough, no one will notice.

You will notice.

Now me, I’ve read enough threads on YSC that all started the same way – “oh my god, I’m a freak, I’ll never look normal, what have they done!” – to know that this whole gumdrop-nipple appearance is totally normal, and to be expected. I know that and yet I’m still a bit skeptical, though trying to keep the faith. Motya was asking how they know how much the fipp will shrink, and she suggested that there was some kind of “fipple algorithm” they use to determine just how big you need to start out with, which I’m sure is the case. These are surgeons after all – they have this shit figured out.

So that’s my PSA for today – if you’re having the fipple surgery, or thinking about it, do NOT freak out when you see the little Mount Vesuviuses stuck on your chest. All will be well, eventually, after you go through what Kim described as the three stages of fipple recovery: meat grinder, nursing incident with teeth, and prickly fipple. Kim rocks because she came up with a shot that she christened the Prickly Fipple (pear vodka, pear liqueur, mint) – which definitely elevates her to Rock $tar status in my book.

Oh, and one final thing – do NOT get your hopes up that you’ll get the spongy nipple bundt cake thingies to protect the fipple! I was totally looking forward to that, based on someone else’s pictures/website, and what do *I* get? Plain old bandages. Hmph. I think this calls for a letter – or at least a visit to the craft store, to ask if they carry spongy nipple bundt cake thingies. I’ll report back.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

All hail the Boobages!

Yesterday started out much like any other surgery day – I went with my mom downtown to NMH, with me driving her car of course, so as to avoid the huge spike in blood pressure that ensues whenever I’m in a car with my mom as driver. Then we get to the waiting room there, and yet again, I note that their computer’s homepages are set to some hospital webpage rather than my own informative blog. Sigh. Must I fix everything around here?

I’m then taken to the pre-op room – same one as before the last surgery – and lo and behold, who should soon come walking in but my old friend, Dr. Marcus the anesthesiologist! The nice one, not the other guy who rolled his eyes at me when I didn’t answer his silly questions fast enough. Hey pal, brain injury, okay??

Me: Well, fancy meeting you here!

Dr. M.: You again? I mean… again!

Me: So you remember that I don’t like the forgetting drug beforehand, right?

Dr. M.: You mean the one we give you here before you get wheeled to the operating room?

Me: Exactly! I hate that!

Dr. M.: We could just forego putting you under altogether and….

Me, aghast: God no, that’s crazy talk! I don’t want to know what’s going on during surgery. I just don’t like the part where I’m putting the little cap on my head before I get wheeled down and then poof, next thing you know I’m waking up from surgery, even though I know I was awake for some of that but I don’t remember a damn thing. Umm, that makes sense, right?

For some reason Dr. M. is looking at me a little strangely.

Me: I mean, that’s probably pretty common, that people want to remember being awake and engaging in witty banter and all that, right?

Dr. M.: Actually, no. Most people are a bit tense so they want to forget as much of things as they can, and for that to happen as soon as possible.

Me: Oh.

In the meantime, I have one nurse working on putting in the IV, and she’s the one surly nurse I encounter all day. I really don’t understand these people who are immune to my considerable charms, but nope, she doesn’t even crack a smile. Hmm. Odd. Perhaps she’s jealous of my stature as a Triathlon Goddess – it’s been known to happen. Okay, not really, but there’s a first time for everything.

But then there’s Michelle, PA to the Stars (me), who has the best news of all:

Michelle: So we’re doing nipple recon on the right, a lift on the left…..and you know, we can leave the ports in, just in case we want to do some future adjustments.

Me: Seriously?? I get to keep my adjustable Boobages? Sweet!! That way I can keep the dream of a Pamela Anderson look alive!

Dr. M.: But she got deflated, didn’t she?

Me: Yes, but then she got re-inflated! She went big again! A girl needs her Boobages, you know….

Resident: I’ve never heard the term Boobages….

Me, modestly: I tend to make up brilliant new words. Feel free to use it! Oh, before I forget, how long before I can go back to my regular activities, for which “the little people” look to me for inspiration? I *am* a finely honed triathlete, you know. And cyclist.

Resident: Well, easy biking you can do – just don’t go racing those guys on the lakefront who are hunched over their triathlon bikes zooming along.

Clearly, my reputation precedes me.

And you see, this is the kind of charm and wit I’m known for, which is clearly why all my doctors adore me. Though they never seem to take my calls, but I’m sure that’s because they’re really super busy and all.

But it’s not all laughs and idle chit-chat. Dr. M. is asking the important questions, so I try to pay attention.

Dr. M.: Any allergies to anything?

Me: Nope.

Dr. M.: And you’re 5’6?

Me: Yep.

Dr. M.: Weight?

Me: &*(#&*(RY^@^)*&^R*&).....

(We interrupt this blog posting due to unforeseen transmission problems. Please stay tuned.)

Oh, sorry, I’m not sure what happened there, must have been a glitch in the subwarf integrated circuits or something. Anyway, where were we? Oh yes. The questions.

Dr. M.: And what are you taking the Celexa for?

Me: Umm, so I don’t go into a frothing rage and kill people on a regular basis? Any more so than usual, that is. Oh, and so I don’t break into uncontrollable weeping at those Pedigree commercials with the shelter dogs.

Dr. M.: And the Prevacid for heartburn, does that work?

Me: Kind of sort of.

Dr. M.: ?

Me: Well, sometimes I still take a Tums or something.

Dr. M.: Does that coincide with anything, eating something in particular?

Me: No, not really, though it does happen more often when I don’t eat anything. You know, fasting all day in a futile attempt to lose the weight that FatSurly makes it impossible to lose, and is the reason I want to shoot myself on a daily basis.

The room is silent, but I think that’s because everyone is just industriously working away at their respective tasks. At the same time, something does occur to me, and that’s this: anyone who ever puts forth the notion that one can ever strike up a patient-doctor relationship of some kind of is, quite simply, on crack. Because here we have Dr. M., a perfectly lovely fellow who likes hockey, and he knows me as a fat and surly psychopath. Dr. Fine will see me as I’m in all likelihood drooling on his operating table. And let’s not even talk about Dr. Merkhottie, treating me in the days of the broken collarbone AND brain injury. Those were some stellar moments there, let me tell you.

Finally, the man of the hour, Dr. Fine, comes in, and I greet him in my usual manner.

Me: So Dr. Fine, Cori is really happy with her foobs, and I’ve seen Jen’s and they’re spectacular, so I’m expecting nothing less than complete and total perfection here with my own. Oh, and I write about you on my blog, so the whole blogosphere is also expecting perfection. Just so you know. No pressure or anything.

Finally, I’m wheeled down to the OR, yammering the whole way, about my theories on doctors and how they engage in googly eyes and flirting and such over the patient during surgery, etc.

Resident: Where do you get your ideas on how doctors operate? Grey’s Anatomy?

Me: Exactly! I mean, what could be more accurate then a hospital where the residents are constantly getting it on in supply closets, and the operating rooms are all so darkly lit that the docs can’t actually see what the hell they’re doing, and oh yeah, the person with advanced brain cancer is miraculously cured, because she’s a hot blonde? Right?

For some reason, they now put the little mask over my mouth even as they’re still prepping, but I think that’s because they recognize that someone of my highly honed athletic physique will take longer to knock out.

Next thing you know, I’m done with surgery, sent home, and lo, there it is 8PM and we’re doing Shots Across America, drinking to: Kim’s birthday, my spectacular Boobages, my great doctors, PamB and her awesomeness, Kim’s awesome running abilities, Kona at the Day Spa, the Hooters to Hooters half-marathon, our hooters in general, and I forget what else. It was a long and glorious night, and I am fortunate indeed to have such great friends.

One final thought – is it wrong that I keep peeking down the front of my shirt to admire the new girls? Because admittedly, the Frankenfipple is a bit scary at this point, but the lift and symmetry? Truly a wonder. Dr. Fine is a genius. And as I always say – what’s the point of getting cancer if you don’t get anything out of it?