Well, yesterday was my exchange surgery. For those of you without a time share in CancerLand, this is one of the 4354 steps needed to build new boobies. You see, when your breast surgeon scoops out all the Cancer-ness, sometimes they have to take skin with it. If you are opting for implants, tissue expanders are installed at the same time as the mastectomy and slowly filled to the desired size. This can take anywhere from a month to a year or more depending on your particular cancer and plastic surgeon. Once your t-shirt tots are ready to go, you get to exchange your bricks for “squishies,” either saline or silicone implants that take the place of all that cancery breast tissue. Like real boobies, squishies come in many different shapes and sizes. The type you choose usually depends on the dimensions of your cancer-melons, however there are some women who had huge tatas that choose to pare down, while some of the flatter sisters choose something a little flashier and bigger than what they had before.
I had decided that I wanted rockin’ tits when I was done. For me, that simply meant boobs that defy gravity since my native taters were on a crash course to my naval. However, my plastic surgeon is a man, and in man-language “rockin’ tits” means “huge, enormous breasteses.”. This is something I did not know until I came out of surgery yesterday and my husband told me the plastic surgeon had decided to go with 500 cc sweater monkeys. I know that probably doesn’t mean much without the visual, but it is kind of like going to the salon and asking for a pixie cut and walking out with long, 1970s Cher hair. Not bad, but not what you thought you were going to get.
But at this point, what can I do? Well, I could go back and have ANOTHER revision and get a couple eggs over easy, or I can just embrace what I have and laugh. I think I’m going to have go laugh at this one, because, really, what’s the point? None of these surgeries have been cosmetic, optional procedures. All of them have been to either fight Cancer or to get my Cancer-fied body back to a point where I can begin the process of accepting a new normal. Cancer treatments usually involve one or more of three traditional healing paths–surgery, medication, or radiation. However, not one oncologist that I’ve seen has brought up the laughter treatment. See, Cancer has very sensitive feelings. So yes, by all means, have surgery, get your chemo, do your rads like your doctor tells you. But DO NOT forget to laugh at Cancer along the way. Make fun of it, call it names, humiliate it in public! Soon you will find, even if the Cancer doesn’t abate, that you are stronger, more agile, and better able to roll with the punches.
Yesterday I wore a new t-shirt to my surgery. It says, “Yes, they are fake. My real ones tried to kill me!”. The nurse who checked me in saw it and laughed hysterically. Since she laughed, I laughed. Then others around us laughed. Other medical-type folk walked by wanting to know what was so funny and they got to laugh! The laughter was spreading like, well, like a cancer! The mood was lightened and everyone in the surgical suite had a smile on their face.
Cancer is a pretty stupid disease. If we can do something as simple as laughing at it, our journey through CancerLand, no matter how long we end up staying, will be easier. Not easy, because Cancer is the calculus of illnesses. However, a little levity will lighten the load, much
Iike the calculator you slipped into math class to lift your final grade. So laugh at Cancer. It won’t make you better with numbers, but it could keep you around a little longer.