Thursday, July 1, 2010

This Week in Boob

I don't think I've told you guys much about my plastic surgeon, beyond the fact that I have one. She scooted in right behind the oncologic surgeon during my mastectomy and started the breast reconstruction. I say "started" because it is still ongoing. Rome wasn't built in a day and all. She put in a tissue expander to make space for a regular implant later. The expander is an implant that can be filled with liquid over time until it's the right size. More about that little procedure below.

I say "liquid" as though it could be something besides saline. Like, hey, root beer!

So the doctor is a tiny little lady. Just a wee slip of a thing. We'll call her Dr. Hottie McTrottie. When I met her the first time, she was wearing stiletto sandals and toe rings. She also has a rather unrefined bleached blond thing going on, or I thought of it as unrefined for someone who is a) not nineteen years old, and b) works at making people beautiful. I don't know, not everyone is trying for the natural look. She is also nine days younger than me. She told me this at my hospital bedside.

Matt and I have imagined an entire back story for Dr. Hottie, based on just a few data points. Her personal style and grooming is one of those data points. Another is that--according to the diplomas hanging in her exam rooms--when she graduated from medical school, she was Hottie McTrottie Schmo, suggesting that there was a Joe Schmo in the picture, but by the time she finished her residency (her CV is very impressive), she had lost the Schmo and was back to being Dr. McTrottie. Oh, and I know that she grew up in a little town in California.

So what happened with Hottie and Joe Schmo? We were moved to speculate. Matt and I envision a hardscrabble girlhood for Dr. Hottie, always being brighter than people expected or needed her to be. Burning through the days at her small high school somewhere in the Central Valley, with not enough to do, pretty and popular but studying hard, planning her next move. At night she would do her homework at the table while her mother wiped the kitchen counters down, wiped the same place over and over again until she wore the finish off the formica. Hottie dreamed of getting away from that worn kitchen and that town, away to someplace where people had kitchens they never even went in.

Like moths to her pure, bright flame, everyone in that dusty place was drawn to her. One of those people was Joe Schmo. He was an older guy (of course) and Hottie liked him because he wasn't talking all the time like the high school boys, those boys always thinking nothing and bragging over nothing. She wasn't sure what Joe was thinking but that was okay with her. Joe had only a vague sense of Hottie as something rare, something he needed to catch and pin down like a butterfly. By the time she figured out he thought that way, she was well on her way to being Dr. Hottie, and she was tired of imagining Joe Schmo as better than he was. Thank God she'd never had his baby. So she shed him and his name, and made it all the way to her own plastic surgery practice in the ATL.

Or maybe this was the plot of Silence of the Lambs. Was I raving?

Yeah, so I've gone to see Dr. Hottie several times since my surgery to get my expander expanded. It's already the right size--it's symmetrical with the other side--but now the idea is that because I'm going to have radiation before too long, and radiation can make tissues shrink, we want to over-expand it to leave room for it to contract back to the correct size. Got it?

Yesterday, Matt and I went down there for another expansion. There's a valve in the expander that they can locate by putting a magnet on the outside of my skin. Freaky! Dr. Hottie's adorable PA (picture a large American Girl Julie doll) finds the valve and then marks it with a ballpoint pen. Then Dr. Hottie sticks a needle in me, through the valve, and squirts in a GIANT syringe of saline solution. Reader, are you okay or do you need a moment?

So this never used to hurt because a lot of my skin near the surgical scar is numb. But yesterday, when she stuck the needle in, I was like, "Anyway, yeah, it looks like it might rain OH HOLY CRAP OW!" Dr. Hottie said, "Yeah, I always tell my patients, that pain is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because you're getting more sensation back. Bad because, you know." Yes, I know.

So Dr. Hottie put 100cc's in there, and then I sat up. She and American Girl Julie stood side by side and studied me. "Hmm, you know what?" Dr. Hottie said, "I kinda want to put some more in there! You think?" American Girl Julie said, "Yes, totally!" Dr. Hottie said, "You're so tall that 100cc's just spreads out on you. So let's do this again in a few weeks!"

I get that they can't predict exactly what the effects of the radiation will be, but it's funny how all of this is seeming less and less like an exact science. She was more like someone hanging a picture on a wall. "Hrrmmm, I think a smidge more to the right? Now scootch it up a bit?" Like that but with needles. I have a lot of faith in Dr. Hottie and I know everything is going well, but the needles are not awesome.

So that's what's going on with my rack. Sometimes when I contemplate writing a post about my post-surgical reconstruction, I think about all the people I know in my life who read this blog. People who I'm not on intimate terms with, but whom I know are friends of my family's or who are following along, concerned for my welfare. Then I think about actually walking up to one of those people, in person, and saying, "Boob. Hi! Boob." It is really too weird. But I also figure you guys might find these things informative. xoxox-B



Keely said...

I think you just like to say "boob", actually.

It IS very informative. But don't be offended if at BlogHer I appear to be...checking you out.

Sara said...

Um, your hardscrabble girlhood of Dr. Hottie story was killer.

My plastic surgeon was a straight-talkin' bordering on insulting, good lookin', plastic-surgerized, 50-something woman. She said she'd had her boobs done (at least once)and it wouldn't necessarily surprise me if she'd done all her work herself. Kind of a tough ol' broad.

Her PA was impossibly, impossibly perfect. I've never seen a woman in person with a body like that. Nice gal, but she might have been a robot.

I like how Dr. Hottie tells you *after* you say OW! that the pain is a good thing. Maybe next time give a little heads-up first?

Have a boob 4th! Boob!

Lisa Lilienthal said...

I love nothing better than spending a few minutes contemplating your rack, and I'm sure everybody else who reads you feels the same way -- because that means things are going well for you. Happy 4th over there in Hotlanta! My whole family is out here right now and they just can't get over the fact that we have to wear sweaters in the morning and in the evening.

Bren said...

Bladder rack!

Amy said...

I swear on a string bean (and you know I love me some string beans) that I was just wondering THIS MORNING about your boobs. Boobitty boobitty boo. Yes indeed. I was wondering just hours ago how it was all coming along, and here you are filling me in on your being filled in. You're so awesome like that!

Love the picture-hanging simile. And you know, I think a LOT of medicine is like that: art, not science. Scootching, and scoetches. (I got an extra hole in my knee that way, apparently. Ehh, what's one more scar?)

Amy said...

ps. OH! And the instant history on Dr. Hottie?? Spectacular. I love that game. That Mr. Hunky McFabulous plays along makes it even better of course.

Amy said...

Were you raving? Well, maybe a little. But this was pure, vintage Beck. Loved it! The worn Formica countertops?? Hottie McTrottie Schmo?? You are hilarious.

I'm sure you will have an awesome rack. In fact, I was observing my own recently and I think *I* could use a 100cc's of root beer. Or whatever they put in there.

Thanks for the update!! I thought you were sounding perkier and now I know why. xo

Amy said...

P.S. Ignore the fact that I said "a 100". That's like when people say "would of", isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Well, there you go. I'd wondered how the expander process worked, and now I know, so thanks for that!

Now I just do they get them to be the same SHAPE, not just the same size? I mean, boobs come in a lot of different shapes...

Marie said...

You absolutely have to publish this whole journey!! XXOO

Elizabeth said...

Out here in LA it's outrageous how good looking all the doctors are. My friend just went through the breast cancer/reconstruction ordeal and we never figured out whether her doctor was shooting a new tv show or was the real thing.

In all seriousness, I send you healing thoughts!

gretchen said...

Sounds like your boob is coming along nicely.

I used to have a similar history imagined for our veterinarian, whose name was Dr. Kate Monroe. Isn't that a great vet name? I actually told her once that I wanted to write a TV series - "Kate Monroe, DVM". She was a beautiful and scrappy single mom who saved puppies and kitties. A surefire hit, I thought. Then eventually (in real life, not my brain) she got married and became Dr. Kate Zapata, which spurred my imagination in a huge way!

Mad Woman said...

I'm just breathing a sigh of relief that I'm not the only one who makes up back stories about people I don't know very well.

I like your posts..they ARE informative. I've learned a lot while checking in on you!

Michele R said...

You write good boob.
I was also just thinking about what was going on with your appts.
For a minute there I was worried that Dr. Hottie McTrottie would be one of those pushing for bigger, cuz "You can handle it because you're tall" docs.

The Messy Mom said...

I think this has been my favorite post. I found my self on the edge of my seat about the fictional back story, googling American Girl Julie, and then accidently closing both tabs and having to start Safari again. Good times.

Michele said...

Root beer would make the boob effervescent. That can't be a bad thing. Love the back story on Dr. Hottie.

Megan said...

GREAT story on McTrottie, Becky! We made up a similar story about the CHOA surgeon - a Matthew Modine look-alike - who took care of our son when he was 1 month old. My son was 1 month old, not the surgeon. That would have been weird.

Thanks for the update. It's just good to hear you sound like you, which means you must be sorta kinda okay. Hope to bump into you sometime, just to be able to greet someone by saying, "Boob."

Megan said...

BTW, Michele, thanks for the effervescent boob comment. I keep finding myself giggling from the thought of it.

Sugar Mama said...

You just made me say "root boob" out loud when I asked my son to fill up my cup of water. Instead I said, while reading your post, "hey, Tween, can you get me some more root boob please?" And he just looked at me like I say that every day.

This post was informative!

Jenni said...

You know what? I was thinking this weekend that I was going to email you and ask you how the reconstruction was going.


A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

I can't say I've been there . . . not yet, anyway.

But Beck, being a human dart board sounds mighty sucky. And scary.

Maybe next time can they, at least . . . sort of . . . pretend? You know: maybe feign a shard of competency, sans the tatt. Is that asking too much?