Friday, October 2, 2009

Attack of the Prosthetic or "What the Docs Didn't Tell Me...Again"

When you go through the mastectomy and reconstructive process the med-pros, if you asked them, would genuinely tell you that they diligently inform patients of the potential risks, healing times, the care of the wound and drainage tubes (a.k.a. d-bombs for my few but loyal blog followers), medications, numbness and expected down time. What they don't inform of is how it will all feel! And I am not talking about the emotional adjustment of having your body look like Igor took knitting lessons from the Monster!

What I am speaking about are the bizarre sensations. The queer aches. The very wrong pains.

My surgeons did not truly share what the daily oddities would be - despite providing me with a personalized 12-page booklet. They didn't really prepare me for the texture of the of the training boo-bee. That it would feel like an unripened grapefruit trying endlessly to dislodge itself, a la Sigourney Weaver and Alien.

They did not share the fascinating little tidbit that if any seam or edge ... of any kind or material ... presses against the iron grapefruit for more than 2 minutes a deep impression is left. Very useful if you are imprinting keys. But a bit disconcerting if you are trying to grow (?) a new breast.

I do admit that they told me the breast area was going to be numb. What they didn't share was that it was the kind of numb sensation you feel when your foot falls asleep -- that heavy, prickly, tingling feeling. In this situation, however, it n-e-v-e-r goes away no matter how much you stomp.

Nor did they even whisper about what I fondly refer to as the "spike attack." Think rolling-pin that is actually more medieval mace. If I shift my arm or shoulder too quickly, or instinctively reach to catch something, the iron grapefruit that was planted in my left chest wall jerkily rolls its protestations against every nerve, bone and fiber it can reach.

I will give Med-Pros credit, they do encourage "creativity" when trying to camouflage the lopsidedness of "the ladies." Even being complicitous in the creative process by prescribing varied padded objects, courtesy of the retail mastectomy fashionistas. And let me tell you, we are not talking tissue or gym-sock stuffings Sandra Dee...!

Which leads me to mention that I was not forewarned that the surgical scar that runs horizontally from pit to sternum screams in burning agony if the compression bra is pulled too tight over it. An unavoidable and unfortunate situation if you are trying to artificially balance the "ski-jump" that passes for a bustline. And this fire does not extinguish.

For now, I have learned to embrace the ski-jump and wear patterned and textured tops. Though, I must admit I am perversely yearning for the inevitable awkward scene in the grocery store when a little kid points and shouts loudly: "MOMMY! that lady has a hump on her front!"

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