Friday, February 04, 2005


A. this one's for you.

About 3 years after I got my spectacular breast implants I woke up one morning and had to pee, like really bad. And when I went to the bathroom I was amazed at how much I peed and peed and peed. But it was pretty early in the morning, and it was a Saturday and I was a tad hungover so I went back to sleep.

I got up several hours later and got in the shower, and it was here, as it so often is with us women, that I realized that there was something not quite right about my left breast. It wasn't quite as specatacular as the right one. In fact it seemed a little droopy. But I was going shopping with a friend and I was running late so I put on a bra to better support my droopy left breast, thinking, I don't know what really, like maybe it just needed a little uplifting to get back into it's normal perky position.

I met my friend and we had lunch and I continued to pee with great alacrity and by the time we were in the dressing rooms trying stuff on there was no more denying it. My left breast was deflated. Freaking out I had K. come into the dressing room with me and said, "feel my boob? Does it feel different to you than the other one." She stood there in front of me with a breast cupped in each hand sort of weighing them and indeed, I was not going crazy, my left breast not only wasn't so perky it was much lighter in weight.

The fact that my left breast had been reduced to a bag of skin was even more dramatically illustrated when I bent over at the waist and it hung down like a flesh colored triangle similar to those you see on nursing dogs, or indiginous tribal women in National Geographic who've had multiple children. It hung there next to my plump and perfect right breast and it looked just plalin old wrong.

Now, there was no risk to my health because all that had leaked into my body was the saline that had been in my now deflated implant, thus all the peeing. I knew this. I knew it could and would be fixed and it wouldn't be that big of deal. My rational self knew this. My irrational self had a complete hissy fit in the dressing room - there were tears, there was kneading of the breast that verged on self flagellation. I called the doctor's office and left a hysterical message knowing full well that no one would be there until Monday. Note that I left a message and did not call the service and insist that this was an emergency. I may be a drama queen but I do know the difference between a true emergency and a vanity melt down.

I spent the rest of the weekend in a bulky sweatshirt with my breasts bound to my chest with the smallest bra I could find because it just felt so weird. When I got the implants I chose a reconstructive plastic surgeon because I was so flat chested that's pretty much what the procedure amounted to. Consequently my skin had stretched A LOT and it was now just a slack sack hanging off my chest. Oh and I also spent the rest of the weekend holding my left breast and looking at it and freaking out.

When Monday came the doctor's office told me that they wouldn't be able to get a replacement implant from the manufacturer for a WEEK! That was so not acceptable. I told the nurse who called me that I was going to drive up to Santa Barbara to the Mentor corporate headquarters and pick it up myself. I was not going to walk around like this for a week!

Okay, let me pause to totally acknowledge that I am vain and shallow and in a world where women die everyday from breast cancer my situation was silly because it resulted from an elective surgery.

So anyway, the nurse made a couple phone calls and called me back to tell me that the Mentor rep was going to drop off a new implant that afternoon and I could come in the next day to have my deflated one replaced. Probably not so great to give me positive affirmation for my whole hysterical baby behavior, but I appreciated it and sent both the office and the rep a Harry and David Tower of Treats and how Neiman Marcus neurotic am I?

I was at the office at the crack of dawn the next day waiting for the doctor and his staff to show up. The surgery took about half an hour and was no where near as painful as the first one because basically it was just like filling a bodhi bag. They had to go in through my old incision, but I heal really well so it's almost completely faded. There was some pain from where they had to cut through the muscle to re-insert the implant under the chest muscles. Still, I was back at work that afternoon with a little Vicodin.

And life went on.

Except for the fact that I am now so paranoid that it will happen again that I am constantly, absentmindedly, feeling myself up.

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