Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Toodles, Tennis Ball Tatas

A few thoughts on men. As far as I can tell, this whole BC BS has become something of a screening process better than any other one I can imagine. Most women in my situation have extreme feelings about losing their breasts. As you habitual readers know, I really didn't. Sure, in the very beginning, a few weeks after diagnosis, I did say typical things, like "They're not lopping off my breasts! Fuck 'em."

As the stats swam in my head though, I knew I had to do it. When I was vetting doctors, my standard question about my options--lumpectomy vs. mastectomy--was "If I were your daughter, what would you tell her to do?" That question almost always gets doctors--esp MOTs--to reveal their opinions. Good doctors won't say to you, "You need to lop off your breasts if you want to live." So when they told me my options, after they did their spiel, I asked the question. When Larry Norton said, "Having a mastectomy is your safest option," I knew that that was the final word. In my book at least.

I think it only took me a couple of weeks to get used to the idea of losing the tatas. Because, I never liked my tits. Period. If I could start over and kick cancer's ass by getting new boobs, well, that was killing two birds in my mind. I know I'm kind of in the minority here, in that most women seem to think that their boobs are what make them a woman. I suppose I can understand that, but sometimes I can't. And having gone through it, I feel even better about my decision. I'm totally looking forward to the big tata swap a week from today. I cannot wait to have perky, mushy, perfect breasts that require no bra. Cannot. Fucking. Wait.

Oh, I've digressed. The guy thing. Here's what I've noticed and what I will share with you cause I know a few of my readers are BRCA+ and face some tough decisions regarding whether to have prophylactic mastectomies. They have reservations about what it will do to their love life, breast feeding etc. Don't ask me about the breast feeding thing cause I don't give two shits about that. But what I've found with guys and this process is this: The good ones don't care. Period. In fact, the good ones seem to be impressed by my "strength." They tell me I kick ass, or am a rockstar or what have you. Ladies, if they can't handle what you must do for your health, fuck 'em. One out of eight women get BC. That means that one out of eight guys have had a woman in their family who's had BC. And more often than not, these men have an immense respect for women such as myself who don't let their lack of real boobage affect their personal life. In fact, if you really think about, women with implants don't have their real boobs either. They have scars, too. And we all know that implants certainly don't scare men away.

I'm probably also an exception regarding my attitude about being single. Sure, I'd like to have someone aside from Wally to come home to. But I also value my alone time a lot. Not having to answer to anyone. Not having to move clear across the country because of a job my hubby has to take. And I don't care if I never have children. (I can tell you I will never push something out of my v-jay-jay. Once I remove the ovaries, I have a legitimate excuse to pay a surrogate if I so choose. I've always wanted to pay a surrogate anyway.) Don't get me wrong, if a child was thrown into my lap I wouldn't throw it off the balcony or anything, but would I get up in the middle of the night to feed the little nugget? Hell no. That's what nannies are for. That's their job, people.

Okay, so where am I going with all this? I just think that now that I've been through this, I'm not going to have to deal with the whole bullshit first-date-screening process. If I'm set up, the fixer-upper will have to let the dude know what the deal is with me. If he can't handle it, fuck him. If he can handle it, and actually respects me for what I've dealt with this year, I think that's a pretty good indicator that he's probably a decent guy, no?

On the superficial front, I can tell you that my chest is looking good. The vertical scars are looking good. They're actually hardly visible close-up and from far away, I imagine they're barely discernible. The horizontal scars are under my 'boobs' due to the fact that I had expanders. (I think that's the reason.) If you're hefty and a candidate for the ass-fat titties or the stomach fat titties, I think you have that horizontal scar on the boobs, which does look pretty scary. You have much more scarring with the FLAP (ass-fat) procedure. And if all goes well during my tata swap, the real fake boobs will end just at or below the horizontal scar. Meaning, when all is said and done and I've done some laser whatever (if needed) my tatas will look pretty normal.

Is that not a fair price to pay for, well, your own life? I think so. I don't know if that really helps anyone in their decision making process, but this might. When you go for a consult with an onco, ask he or she for the statistics of BRCA+ women who don't have a double mast. If you cut one off, chances are it'll come back in the other one. Not to mention the fact that your tits will be ugly and lopsided and just plain weird looking.

The scary stats: According to my notes from Larry Norton, if I were to have elected just to have a lumpectomy with no chemo, I'd face a 60% chance of recurrence. With a lumpectomy and radiation? A 20% chance of recurrence.

With what I did: an 8% chance of recurrence. That 8% means I have better odds than the entire population of women. Not to brag or anything. Anyway, those are my thoughts for today. My friend just gave me some awesome dark chocolate hearts that just happen to be cooked with medicinal marijuana from Berkeley. Ah, I love food. Especially when it's laced.

I was just now interrupted by a neighbor knocking at my door. She needs a corkscrew cause she was trying to open a bottle of vino with one of those old-school openers that I don't know how to use or why people still use them. So I let her in and she opened the bottle.

"Thank you so much! Would you like a glass?"

"Oh, no thanks. I've got to go to the gym. But I like the idea!"

If anyone wonders why people like Fla., that should be a sufficient answer. Work ends at 4 p.m., and then you're off to pick up your chocolate hearts or open a bottle of wine. It's a tough life down here, lemme tell you.