Under Construction

Just when I thought I was done making decsions for awhile, a recent trip to the plastic surgeon presented me with new questions to be answered. Now that I am healed from the major surgery 3 months ago, we can proceed with the reconstruction process.

My first instinct is to “get it over with” as quickly as possible. Move on, live life with as few doctors visits and procedures as possible in my condition. However, my plastic surgeon is very intelligent and I trust him completely. He encouraged me to try and mentally separate my reconstruction from my cancer treatment. He says that the slower we go with the process, the happier I am likely to be with the results.

So I went in expecting to get on with the final touches of nipples and tattoos and be done. But he presented me with the possibilities of adjusting the size, reducing the scars, and correcting the ends of my stomach scar as well. I did not know these were even considerations. It would take another surgery, but a much simpler and shorter one to make the adjustments. He said I would need to tell him how much reduction I want. He asked for a percentage. This is challenging for me, because it involves math, which I’m not so good at! I know I want them a little smaller, but how much? 5%? 15%……..I guess I don’t think of my body parts in percentages. I told him the number that popped into my head was 20%. My goal is to be as close to my former size as possible.

We left the appointment with a lot to think about. He said it would take a couple of months to get on to the operating room schedule, so I figuered I had plenty of time to mull it over. That was until the surgery scheduler called and said they could get me in next week! I told her what Dr. K. had said about it taking months, and she just laughed and said “doctors know nothing about their schedules.” I guess it’s good they have people to keep track of them! We settled on the date of September 4th, with the idea that I could still change my mind between now and then. I doubt I will, but the choice is always there.

I think I’ve come to the conslusion that there is probably a lot of discomfort in my future. There will be lots of tests, procedures, treatments, etc. So why not take advantage of the opportunity to be as comfortable with my physical self as possible? Not many people have the chance to surgically adjust themselves, at least not without significant cost. It sounds crazy because I know many women pay thousands of dollars to increase breast size, and here I am fretting over being just a little bigger than before. Part of me feels guilty, and part of me says that, after what I’ve gone through, I deserve it!

I may still change my mind, but, for now, the surgery is scheduled. I am planning on taking the 4th and 5th off of work. It is scheduled for early morning on the 4th and is an outpatient surgery. If all goes as planned, I should be home by early afternoon. The doctor does not think I will have much pain, because the areas he is working on have very little feeling left in them anyway. I think the only real “recovery” I will need is time to shake the effects of the anesthesia.

Speaking of work, I am so happy to be back! I feel great and believe the routine has done wonders for my mood. I think I was getting a little bored and discouraged at my lack of productiveness over the summer. I guess I thrive on routine. I like my classes and my students and overall, the year has gotton off to a good start.

Nick’s first week of high school seemed to go well. I think he enjoys the independence of getting himself up and ready and to school. I am still struggling with the fact that my baby is so grown up, but at least I didn’t cry on his first day of high school like I did on his first day of kindergarten.

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