Friday, June 22, 2012

Why I Can't Go to Dunkin' Donuts

If Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg can write this book, then surely I can explain to you why it is that I can’t walk to the Dunkin’ Donuts across the street from my apartment.

 

It’s really very simple, but not exactly “polite” conversation on a “family” blog.  At the risk of TMI, however, I’m going to give it a shot.

 

On Tuesday, I had the second (and what I hope will be the last) of the surgeries to reconstruct my breasts following a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy (PBM) last July to help ensure that I don’t get breast cancer as the result of a BRCA2 genetic mutation (which puts my lifetime risk at somewhere around 85%). 

 

The initial surgery last summer took12 hours and included both the mastectomy and immediate reconstruction of “breast mounds”—the technical term—using a microsurgical transplant of fat, tissue and blood supply (perforators) from my abdomen.  (You may be more familiar with tissue expanders and silicone or saline implants, which, for a variety of reasons weren’t for me.  I opted for this more complex surgery, the longer recovery, and earlier this week, “phase 2” of the process.)

 

Tuesday’s surgery involved cleaning up the initial incisions (including the “dog ears” on the 18-inch abdominal incision), using liposuction (resulting in terrific bruising) to make the left and right sides approximately the same size and shape, and creating nipples.  Following the surgery, I was wrapped in shoulder-to-groin compression garments, which had to stay in place for 48 hours.  Yesterday, I was able to shower (heaven…) and, per the post-op instructions, continue to use the abdominal binder, which is similar to the support band the FedEx guy wears around his waist and lower back to help him deliver all those Zappos boxes.     

 

The newest body parts, however, (created larger than “normal” because they will shrink, the docs say) are to spend the rest of the recovery period (not sure exactly how long that will be) without any compression or restrictive garments of any kind.  And so it is, that despite a desire for a bit of fresh air and a walk (I know, it’s 96 degrees and humid outside), I am not comfortable (even in a dark tee shirt) walking to the Dunkin’ Donuts across the street from my apartment.

 

A first-world problem, indeed…