Friday, May 21, 2004


I live in a city where ladies attend Botox parties and a vacation option might be having your face lifted and your tummy tucked. And with the advent of shows like The Swan or as I like to call it, The Stepford Barbie horror show, and Extreme Makeover, getting plastic surgery is becoming so commonplace that it's more like a fashion trend, like Jordache jeans, or "The Rachel" haircut - everybody is doing it!

I don't have a problem with plastic surgery - hey, it's your body do what you want. In fact, I purchased myself some pretty spectacular breasts back in 1991 just before all the hoopla about silicone vs. saline went down. Back when people still talked about it in hushed voices and hid out at swanky Beverly Hills or Palm Springs hotels until the bruising was gone - like no one was going to notice that all of a sudden your eyebrows were located 2" higher than they were 8 weeks ago, giving you a look of perpetual astonishment!

I did a lot of research before my surgery - spent time perusing Plastic Surgery medical Journals just so I would know all the pitfalls - like did you know that implants can, and sometimes do, slide from their position under the breast tissue to the ribcage area? Doing all the research helped me to determine what kind of implants I wanted, saline rather than silicone because I had a bad feeling about putting material that I use to caulk my bathtub into my body, and I briefly considered the Becker implant which allows you to make'em bigger or smaller in the months following surgery via a little tube that extends from the implant to the exterior chest area. I knew where I wanted them placed (under the muscle of the chest wall). I was informed about all of my incision options - under the arm, under the breast, at the nipple line. I interviewed lots of Doctors from L.A. to Orange County and, this I must say is the most important decision of all because there are doctors, mostly "cosmetic" surgeons who are indulging their blow up doll fantasies on women's chests which is why you see so many bad boob jobs. I'm talking about the seemingly pneumatic devices perched on the chests and just under the chins of so many women running around the hills of Beverly and Hollywood. I can't even look at Pamela Anderson without getting nauseated - the skin over her sternum is stretched so tightly between her huge plastic bazooms you can practically see the connective tissue struggling to hold the skin to the bone.

I went with a plastic surgeon who specializes in reconstructive surgery - since I had never actually made it out of a Carter's Spanky bra and into an A cup this made sense. We were pretty much starting from scratch with just a nipple and not much else. He didn't have a luxurious office like lots of the Bev Hills docs, with fembots manning the front desk like animated advertisement for the plump lips, taut flesh and massive mammaries these guys excelled at. His waiting room had not been redecorated since about 1972 when gold shag carpeting, rust colored upholstery and avocado green shades were the interior decorators colors of choice. The women who worked for him were of a certain age and looked it - they reminded me of my favorite teachers in elementary schools who's maternal, nurturing personas helped me get past the seperation anxiety brought on by six hours away from my mommy. The people who sat in the waiting room were not tanned and taut starlets and wives of rich men pursuing a bizarre self improvement project. Most of them were missing parts of their faces - like the guy with no nose, he lost it to skin cancer. Yeah, nothing like sitting with people who are truly maimed to give you perspective on what you're signing up for.

It is indeed a very weird thing to voluntarily go under the knife when there is no good reason on earth to do so. There is always inherent risk with anasthesia - even the light kind that they used for my surgery. And then there's the actual procedure itself which is brutal and violent. Oh yes indeedy. All those friends who'd had it done and told me it didn't hurt that bad - lying bitches. Because of the local aneshetic they injected into my chest, it didn't hurt that bad while it was happening, and yes I have memories of surgery because I was kind of awake. Awake enough to be aware of the fact that Dr. Cunningham was prying my chest wall away from my rib cage with what seemed to be some kind of CROWBAR - with enough strength to lift my shoulder blades off the table!!! I disinctly remember saying, "shouldn't I be asleep here? Could you maybe give me some more drugs please?" They did, but I still remember them sitting me up on the table when it was done to make sure my boobs were even.

After the surgery is when the real pain began. I mean like Army tank parked on your chest, can't breathe except in little gasps, kind of pain. I mean the kind of pain you get when your breasts which were previously non-existent are now swollen to size of two footballs and the skin is peeling off from the pressure of that swelling. I mean the can't lift your arm to brush your teeth because the muscles required for that activity have been pulled and bruised, possibly torn, and aren't working at all kind of pain. And the can't roll over in bed or remain vertical without supporting the mountains of overripe taut flesh that are your massive breasts, with both hands kind of pain.

Talk about buyer's remorse!!! I was totally freaking!! Even though the doc told me that it would take six months for all the swelling to go down and for my implants to settle, I was sure that I had made a mistake of mammoth proportions. Going from Flatsy Patsy to Dolly Parton in the space of a couple hours also screwed with my ability to do the simplest things. My knockers kept getting in the way - when I drove, when I reached for something, when I turned around quickly and knocked out the man sitting in a chair behind me. All of a sudden I couldn't seem to eat without getting food all over myself. Before if something fell off my fork on it's way to my mouth it had a straight shot to the floor, now there was the large awning of my chest upon which the food bounced before it hit the floor leaving a trail behind it.

I had been so excited to finally be able to wear a bra! A fancy lace Victoria's Secret bra. I bought lots of them reveling at how pretty they looked in what was previously just a sock and panties drawer. Woohoo! This was back in the days when Victoria's secret named their bras and I had the whole collection. But I quickly found out that I hate to wear a bra - they are not comfortable AT ALL, and after years of running around flat chested, free and unfettered, I did not enjoy wearing something that felt like a harness and kept crawling up my back.

As the six months passed the swelling came down and the implants settled and my breasts became truly spectacular. Initially I was constantly checking them for leaks and worrying about "encapsulation" the thickening of scar tissue which feels hard and knotty and necessitates going to the doctor so he can grab and twist your breast and break it up. I really didn't want that to happen to me so I was always surreptitously feeling myself up, pretty much anywhere. It got to be one of those mindless habits, and then I'd catch some guy watching me with glazed eyes and remember I was walking down the street. And as it turned out one did deflate. I'm still not sure why but I think it was from shlepping a heavy backpack around Europe - yet another reason I'll never do that again. Anyway I woke up one morning having to pee like a racehorse and later that day while trying on clothes I noticed that my left breast was looking kind of flat and anemic, more like a breast you'd see in National Geographic. I dragged my friend into the dressing room and bent over and she confirmed that things were not at all equal in the chest area. I immediately called the doctor and he replaced the implant for free, but it was going to take one week for the Mentor rep to get a new one to the office. Not what I wanted to hear. I was ready to drive to the corporate offices in Santa Barbara and pick one up, when they called the next day and said they had one and I could come the following morning to have it replaced. I was in and out in 45 minutes and mightily relieved with only a little pain around the incision site.

But initially, they ceased to feel like a part of me and were more akin to new earrings or a great pair of shoes, that I wanted to show my friends, and any other ladies who happened to be in the bathroom when we rolled in for show and tell. It was weird, all of a sudden I went from being self conscious about my body to exhibitionist extraordinaire. They aren't even that big - they just look really good!

And they still do. The doc who does my mammograms every year still cannot get over the fact that my boobs aren't real. He says, as he stands there pummeling and kneading them, "this is the best result I've ever seen! I would never even know!! When did you have these done again?" The same questions every year and then he tells me about the nightmare boobs he sees on a daily basis. No kidding. We all see them - they're everywhere.

And that's when plastic is not so fantastic when it's bad. And when it's on a 17 year old - like Lindsey Lohan. She's in the press a lot right now because Mean Girls is still in theatres and when I saw her on press junkets I could not take my eyes off her bad boob job. It's a travesty. I mean she's a gorgeous, nubile TEENAGER for God's sakes who had perfectly fine breasts prior to her maiming. And that's what bad plastic surgery is - it's maiming and the doctors who do it should be punished. But a lot of the maimed think they look good and A LOT of them are celebrities so the general public goes along with it and get themselves maimed too.

I have no regrets - but I have spectacular breasts and unfortunately they are the exception, not the rule in tinseltown.

No comments: