The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
This morning I took the step of moving forward with my efforts as a Sharsheret volunteer. I was awed at the sheer range of services Sharsheret offers to women affected by breast cancer. I called with the intent to help others; yet I left with not just that opportunity, but also a survivorship toolkit for myself. I am personally humbled by the support that Sharsheret is able to coordinate and deliver, while respecting the very different and difficult choices we each must make in acting on our diagnosis.
During our discussion, I was asked to share my journey, and many memories surfaced (just like that old Clint Eastwood classic – “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”). But what stood out, among the “nuggets” I recalled, interestingly, was this one very specific memory.
Disturbingly undignified. Ridiculously funny. No, my friend, I am NOT referring to the latest Saturday Night Live skit. Instead, I am recalling one of my many post-mastectomy /reconstruction visits with my plastic surgeon.
- Me: In the exam room. Half naked, as usual.
- My Reconstruction Surgeon: an award winning plastics guy, an artist really. We will call him “Dr. Gorgeous”. Hair gel aside, there is truly a special place in heaven for this man and the work he does to make women whole after breast cancer.
- Jeff: My husband, my everything, the guy I lean on, nag, and love endlessly.
I stand in the center of the exam room with my arms and hands out straight, while Dr. “Gorgeous” pulls, prods, and admires his artistry (could this get more awkward?). He is very considerate and gentle, reassuring even. As he reviews his handiwork, I stand under the glare of the fluorescent lights baring and reflecting my scarred and repaired orbs-above-post-baby-paunch to the mirror.
Good news is then shared all around, as the exam is FINALLY over. My orbs are “orbing”; my incisions are healing. All is well. Thank G-d. But I am still not allowed to move. I am not allowed to overstretch my arms for fear I will pop my stitches. Jeff is called over to put my bra on for me. And he gets my arms through successfully. Congratulations, honey! But at first attempt he failed to slide the bra cups fully under my healing new boob-mounds. All this while Dr. G. watches and tries not to interrupt.
I am cold. I am still somewhat half-naked. I am surrounded by the two most important men in my life right now and I am annoyed. Seriously.
Feeling for Jeff, Dr. G. steps in. “I hear you, Jeff, we have spent half our lives hoping to get these things off of our women, who ever learns how to put them on?”.
Wink-wink. Nudge-nudge. Jeff’s ego is restored.
Between the two of them my bra is re-clipped and I am helped into my shirt. We are now ALL laughing. Because this is just SILLY.
One $50 Bra. Enough to take down one incapacitated woman, and two educated men with advanced degrees. Sigh.
- Bra – 1
- Jeff – 1
- Breast Cancer – 0
I’ll take it.