I would have hidden my cancer from the world if I could have done so. If I could have continued to pass for "normal", I wouldn't have said a word. It's not about bravery. I'm not really all that brave at all. It is just easier for me to deal with some things by talking about everything that is NOT that thing. If nobody knows about whatever I'm dealing with, then for a few hours I can pretend that my issue doesn't exist, and for some stupid reason that helps me process emotionally heavy events. The armchair therapists can have a field day with that. It works for me.
At the moment, the left side of my chest is flattened and shapeless, so pretending to look normal isn't happening. It's pretty obvious that something is not right when you look at me. Since radiation and other aspects of my treatment are not kind to reconstruction efforts, it was recommended after the chemo and the radiation. With the intent of feeling prepared, I decided that I should at least locate a plastic surgeon while I had the opportunity, rather than wait until the last minute. I made an appointment.
Plastic surgery is not really something I refer to in polite company. I recall reading stories of collapsed implants, problems with silicon, etc., that have circulated over the years. Mostly, I pictured Pamela Anderson, so surgically enhanced that in my youth I truly feared for her safety. I had nightmares of her toppling forward down the stairs due to the gravitational pull of her chest; the injuries under those circumstances would have been awful. Poor Pamela! My only relief came when she was on Baywatch, where she did not require any additional flotation devices.
It occurred to me at some point, that I might have formed a negative bias toward plastic surgery without just cause. All because of Pamela Anderson. I was basing all of my negative opinions on Pamela Anderson. What the heck? Pamela Anderson married Tommy Lee AND Kid Rock, for goodness sakes! Who even does that? Pamela Anderson really isn't what one might call a role model for someone like me; why was I letting her influence my decision making? It was finally clear that nothing good was going to come of comparing my situation with that of Pamela Anderson. The particular plastic surgery practice recommended to me is considered to be one of the best in the nation, and the particular doctor I selected is considered to be awesome by other doctors as well as former patients. I needed to let go of whatever fears/anxieties I might have accumulated about plastic surgery over the years, and keep an open mind.
So I met the doctor. I listened to what he had to say. The method that he and the members of his practice use involves removing fat from the abdomen and inserting that into the breast area. A tummy tuck AND a breast job! Since I've long joked about moving the fat from various parts of my body to other areas, the description of the procedure was reassuring. My overall impression of the doctor himself was positive; he seemed as though he knew what he was doing, and that's certainly the kind of first impression that you want to form of a surgeon who is going to be making you look normal after cancer.
Maybe everything is going to be okay at the end of all this cancer stuff, after all.