58. There’s no such thing as a "minor procedure"...Or Happy Anniversary?!

58. There’s no such thing as a "minor procedure"...Or Happy Anniversary?!

Tuesday August 20th, was our wedding anniversary, and I was scheduled for a “minor procedure.” That’s the plastic surgery term ladies-who-lunch use when they are getting “Nip/Tucked”.

It seemed pretty simple. Dr D, my plastic surgeon, had described it as “optional but advisable.” Post radiation the skin on my right breast has gotten tighter and tighter, and as I didn’t have a lot of fat on my chest to begin with (a somewhat backward compliment from my breast cancer surgeon) adding more to the radiated fat would make the overall appearance of the finished breasts better. As this has been one long-ass process, I thought I may as well come away with the plus of what my ex-boyfriend used to call “ a great rack.”

The beauty of reconstruction is it can be postponed, and generally should be, for a few months, to let the skin heal after radiation. The downside of the wait is, well, the waiting. After so many surgeries, two more are all that stand between you and finally putting a “nail” in the proverbial coffin.

I mean, it seemed easy enough. The doctor would remove two ounces of fat from somewhere on my body, spin it, re-inject it in my right boob under the skin where it would hopefully mate with the other, less healthy fat cells, so the skin would be a bit plumper. I laughed at first , “free lipo! Hell yes”. And just a couple of needles? This was hardly surgery at all.

But all surgery is surgery. The small “procedures” that older ladies get while on a “vacation in Cabo”? Surgery. The minor vocal procedure Joan rivers had that was supposed to be “routine”? Surgery. The “easy” cosmetic procedure author Olivia Goldsmith died of? Surgery.

And while being lean and in shape is great when it comes to managing recovery from surgery, not so much when you are looking for extraneous fat to use to for reconstruction purposes.

Thing is, to make it less frightening, we (including me) tell ourselves it’s “no big deal”. I likened it to having a biopsy. I mean after all they were just clipping and replacing right?

That was until I found myself talking to the anesthesiologist . Wait, I thought I was gonna be in “twilight?” Nope, apparently it was full general . Ah, okay. Thankfully I handle anesthetic pretty well, so fine, maybe it’s “just in case”

Or maybe this is a much bigger deal than I thought…. I mused as they rolled me into the room, cause that is when you tend to muse. And sure enough, it’s a full surgical room, scrubbed down with all the bells and whistles that were there before.

About two hours later I came out of it. I woke up and talked to the doctor (which I have absolutely no recollection of ) then was wheeled into a private room for my post-op recovery.

Collin was allowed back and we prepped for my release. The nurse asked about my pain, which was minor, and then asked if I needed an Oxycodone . Assuming, everything had worn off I was like “I don’t need no stinking pain drugs, I’m fine with Tylenol”.


I was rolled to our car, and while my legs were uncomfortable, it wasn’t ‘til we hit Sunset Blvd. when the sharp burning pain up both my legs began. It was as if the skin itself was on fire and someone kept hitting it with a sharp knife to try to put it out.

We were in the middle of rush hour traffic, and I was literally crying in pain. Collin maintained calm, as he wasn’t sure of what to do. But even in my minor Hysteria, I knew one thing, I wanted a salad from Bossa Nova (It’s my last request meal, also I was hungry, and did I mention it was our anniversary?)

So we stopped and got the damn salad, and I wondered if it would make me feel better.

It didn’t.

An hour later we arrived home. I climbed the stairs like a cowboy who had been riding a horse for 12 hours, hoping that straightening my legs would somehow make them feel better.

It didn’t.

Collin, wanting it to stop probably more than I did, ransacked our medicine cabinet while calling the hospital trying to figure out if we could get a prescription for something that would put the brakes on the pain.

There was nothing I could take that wouldn’t thin my blood, so we were out of luck.

Thankfully, they put through an emergency prescription, and Collin got the hell out of the apartment, partially for his own sanity and because holy hell am I a C U Next Tuesday when I am in pain. Did I mention it was our anniversary?

It seemed like forever, but was probably more like 30 minutes, but he returned home from the Albertsons with Oxy and Chocolate, because chocolate always helps.

I downed the pill, and in about 15 minutes the pain literally disappeared.

Finally I sat down to eat the rest of my precious salad and looked over at my husband.

“I guess this is what it meant in our vows when they say “for worse”.

“Happy Anniversary,” he said, and I think he meant it, before he escaped to collapse in the bedroom.

Looks like I better deliver BIG next year…

57. Wading into the world of "Survivorship" or...What happens when the Cancer is "over"?

57. Wading into the world of "Survivorship" or...What happens when the Cancer is "over"?