Monday, January 17, 2011


As I was sitting in the waiting room of my new plastic surgeon, I caught myself thinking about vanity. I've never really considered that I was vain. However, sitting there looking at the other patients coming & going in the plastic surgeon's office, wondering why they were there, and then wondering if they were wondering the same thing made me say to myself, "OK, I have to admit that I'm a bit vain at times." Sometimes its not the 'typical' vanity of wanting to look sexy or whatever. Its more the vanity of being the strong, well-put-together, self-assured, and take-me-as-I-am woman.

I guess, pride & vanity go into the first. My pride & vanity won't let me admit to failure or weakness. I think that's one reason I don't cry or share much emotionally. I'm afraid that if I do, whoever is around will discount me as weak.

I do enjoy being at least averagely built and looking. I don't think I'm drop dead gorgeous or even classically pretty. I'm not exotic or arresting, but I'm interesting to look at and put together well enough to be able to flaunt it. That is vanity to me.

Again, pride & vanity go into my presentation of myself as self-assured. To most outsiders, I probably appear to be very self-confident and self-assured. However, if most people were party to the thoughts in my head, they'd know a very different side of me. I almost constantly question whether I'm doing the right thing, saying the right things, looking the right way, etc. I analyze conversations I had months ago. I berate myself for saying something off-the-wall or for not expressing my true feelings. However, I keep that inside because I don't want to be misunderstood or appear less than self-assured.

The take-me-as-I-am side of me is the side that until recently didn't care whether I wore make-up or not. I was the girl who wore whatever was comfortable with no real question as to whether it was truly fashionable. I was comfortable enough with my body that any thought of doing anything to alter it (like plastic surgery or dieting) was not even on my radar.

Now I suddenly find myself searching for a plastic surgeon who can hopefully restore me to a reasonable facsimile of my pre-breast cancer self. I find myself searching for on-line photos of reconstructions like mine. I find myself analyzing other women's breasts and judging whether they're real or fake. Then I have to remind myself that mine will always be fake too. I also have to refrain from labeling these women (and a surprising number of men). I know that they could be like me, faced with the unappealing prospect of living life as less than themselves without the skill of a surgeon like Dr. S. However, I almost want to proclaim to everyone in the office that I had breast cancer & I'm not just getting a boob job for the heck of it. It shouldn't matter, but I've always prided myself as being natural in my appearance. Now I am definitely artificial.

Plus, I think in my mind I have a stigma attached to getting a boob job. It just seems frivolous to suffer as much pain as that just to have perky, larger, etc breasts. I must admit that any cosmetic surgery seems to me a bit frivolous and *way* too painful to be worth it. I don't mean that women shouldn't make themselves happy by fixing and/or improving what they want. I just never really thought it was necessary or anything I'd even vaguely consider - visiting a plastic surgeon. At MD Anderson, it wasn't such a shocking thing because all the patients there were like me - facing cancer and live irrevocably changed by the treatment of that cancer. However, visiting a thriving cosmetic plastic surgeon's office made me think about the cosmetic side of the business.

The outcome of my meeting with the Dr. S was successful. I have my reconstruction scheduled for Feb 17th! I chose that date because it'll be exactly a year 2 days post-surgery since I had my mastectomy. I'm so excited! I can't wait to get these coconuts off my chest. Her surgical plan is awesome! I think she'll do a great job. It'll also be awesome to be only 45 minutes to an hour from home for a surgery!

1 comment:

  1. a huge congratulations!

    you have jumped through so many hoops to get to this point. i can't believe how long you've had to 'suffer' with expanders!!!

    you are a trooper! i am so happy for you!

    hugs from cyberspace!


My Chemo-Jane hair-style

My Chemo-Jane hair-style
I just had to have my mom buzz my hair because it was falling out so badly.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.
My loving husband is watching me distract myself with a game on his iPhone.

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs
I even have a fashionable belt to hold up my drains.

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE
The smile is fake because the TEs were irritating!