Thursday, October 15, 2009

But how will I ever meet Snoop if I don't have boobs?

So, chemo related news: First off, I'd like to give a shout out to AC.  By shout out, I mean, I HATE YOU, AC.  Do you remember the salad days of docetaxel, back when chemo was fun?  Man, those some good times.  Now, I'm all nauseous and exhausted and generally under the weather.   AC, you can go f- yourself.  (Just kidding, AC, please keep curing my cancer.)

Also - quick rant - I am so sick of trying to fit three weeks of life into one week of feeling good.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to do 3 weeks of stuff in one week?  It's really hard! No like, seriously hard. Pity me.

But really, I know that you aren't really hear to listen to me bitch about chemo (I mean, come on, that's been done to death).  You want to hear all about the boobs!

I want to start by explaining a something about mastectomies that many people don't realize.  When you get a mastectomy, they take your nipples.  Repeat: you no longer have nipples.  If you get breast reconstruction, you either need to get prosthetic nipples, or you get a little pucker sown into your new boobs and then get an areola tattoo.  Isn't that weird?  No, I understand. It's okay to take a moment and get weirded out by that. So, when I talk about how I'm going to miss my real boobs, what I really mean is that I'm going to miss having nipples.  I feel that it is mourning the upcoming loss of nipples is a valid, normal thing to go through, and so I'm doing it.  However, as saying "nipple" is funny, and nipples, in general, are pretty much a comedy gold mine, please feel free to mock my nipple-less existence.  I understand that sometimes, we just do things for the lulz, and I'm honored to be a part of that.

So, on to reconstruction. First, the bad news:  Even though I have put on 9 pounds since starting chemo, I do not have enough tummy fat to make new breasts.  I don't even have enough butt fat to make new breasts.  This means, I get neither an incidental tummy tuck nor an incidental butt lift.  It's at times like these that I feel like cancer and I have an unbalanced relationship.  I mean, I've given up a lot for cancer.  My hair, 9 pounds, flossing, etc.  And does cancer have the decency to give me a great butt or a washboard stomach? No!  Cancer is such a dick. (Also, I asked how much weight I'd need to gain in order to make breasts.  Answer: 50 pounds!)

Since I can't make breasts with my own fat, do I get to have awesome implants?  Um, kind of.  I don't just get implants because I need radiation.  According to my doctor, who, incidentally, looks a lot like the DJ from Northern Exposure, radiation makes your chest muscle "woody" and it doesn't hold implants well.  Instead, I get what is known as a "lat dorsi."  There, they take the latissimus dorsi muscles from my back and form them into little hammocks which will support implants.  It's like all the pain of the autologous tissue surgeries with all of the annoyance of having implants!  Whatever, though.  I am having elaborate fantasies about all of the cute tops I'll be able to wear once I don't have to worry about industrial strength support undergarments, and that soothes the pain right away.

Another note, (so you aren't surprised if you see me):  Because I need radiation, I won't get immediate reconstruction.  I'll have a good 10 months or so between mastectomy and reconstruction at which point I'll have the chest of a young, nippleless boy.  I don't think I need to remind you that this is fraught with potential comedy, and I hope to exploit it whenever possible.

I've gotten several recurring questions from people about different mastectomy stuff.  Let me just say, the answer to all of the questions is pretty much, "No, I need radiation."  So, if you have a question that can possibly be answered by "No, I need radiation," I can practically guarantee that's the answer.  However, keep them coming, and at some point, I'll create an FAQ.

And before I sign off, a humorous anecdote: My friend Mickey was talking to a book publisher (is that right, Mickey?) about how I write quirky little bits about having cancer, and the book publisher told him that the funny cancer market is flooded right now.  Isn't that lulzy?  A) There is a funny cancer market and B) it's already saturated.  If I'd been serious about a publishing career, I really should have gotten my cancer sooner.  I'm not concerned, though, because it's really my soon to be completed young adult novel that will take the publishing world by storm.

Also, Denzel Washington's personal driver paid for my dinner tonight.  True story.  (No, this really is a true story.)

Over and out,
Titsy McGee


  1. It is shocking that there haven't been more advances in the mastectomy surgery. These have been performed for centuries (there is a brutal scene of one in the HBO John adams movie)and it seems the operation just has anethesia now (not that that isn't a huge improvement but it has been a hundred years on that development). And yet we still can't save the best part, the nipple! (and I agree that the word nipple is funny)

  2. It is odd. It's also weird to think that it's essentially just a straight up amputation.

  3. They tattoo on new areolae!?
    Three words:
    Star. Shaped. Nipples.

  4. You and I are on the same page, Linds. I've picked out the stars I want already.

  5. It like the whole empahsis is on whether they look ok, not whether you retain sensation. (and some of that has to be to make others comfortable) I think most people think, oh well you have reconstructive surgery so its not that big of a deal...unless you are facing it. You are right, it is an amputation isn't it.

  6. I think I have 50 extra pounds of fat I can spare. Is it even possible to donate chub? I'd like to know, my neurologist told me this week that the meds I'm on are going to make me fat. It didn't stop me from eating a burrito and drinking a 6 pack of Miller light tonight. Woot!

  7. wtf. the captcha for the last comment was "snegrali"

    Sounds like some African God of Elephant War or something.

  8. Jay, I've seen your recent FB pics and you look slim as hell. Also, are we talking about a Chipotle burrito, because that's like manna from heaven.

    Best Captch I've ever had: Residual Judas.

  9. So I have to say, I was wondering about the process for that. Nipple tattoos would be pretty cool, but if you get star nipple tattoos, that would be beyond cool to just plain awesome. In the interim where you're a nipple-less, adolescent boy, you should totally just flash people, randomly. In malls, churches, amusement parks, playgrounds, etc.

  10. No seriously. I need to lose about 45 lbs. Please take my belly.

  11. are we getting together a fat donation for you? I am so on board.

    On the bright side, you can now choose exactly what you want your nips to look like. Star shaped aside, you can decide just how big, how perfectly round, what color, etc. Who hasn't had nipple insecurity? Now those days are behind you. You'll say, "these nipples are just as I want them."