13 July 2010
Today was another appointment at UAMS, the pre-op meeting with my surgeon, Dr. Suzanne Klimberg. I’m convinced that almost anyone in Arkansas who keeps up on life knows the brilliant reputation of my surgeon. I’ve known her for fifteen years as she raised the money to hire me to pass the Arkansas Breast Cancer Act in the mid-1990s. I’ve been one of her fans since that time, and let’s hope she thinks half as much of me as she’ll be the one holding the knife on Monday. Seriously, as I told her today, when I received the February phone call with my breast cancer diagnosis, I called my mother first, then Dr. Klimberg. She is highly respected inside the breast surgical oncology field and her patients come from far and wide seeking her masterful surgery skills. I’m just fortunate enough to live here in Little Rock where she practices.
The pre-op meeting was what I expected – information about the surgery itself and what to expect during recuperation – pain control, approved activity, drains, home medication, etc.
It was today with Dr. Klimberg that I made a 180 degree turn around – I think I’m no longer scared of this upcoming surgery.
This afternoon, I thought about my relationship with my boobs, and what is it that makes most women terribly terrified of this surgery. What is it about the relationship we have with this part of our body? What’s it all about? Quite honestly, I’ve never been real attached to my breasts. In fact, if someone were to give me the choice of keeping my TaTas or my eyelashes, it would definitely be a favorable vote for the eyelashes. I really do miss my eyelashes right now!
Reflecting on my teenage years, I quickly remembered middle school and a real creep of a boy in math class that used to make fun of my slow progress in the area of female maturity. Yes, he was a real jerk whose terrible self can still haunt me from time to time, only because I can remember few people as horrible as he was. (I sometimes wonder what kind of life he lives today – not that I’m hoping for anything but the best for he and his lovely family . . . HAHAHA!) While some of the other girls in my grade were already sporting B- and C-cup bras, I was honestly wearing a training bra that I didn’t particularly need. I’m certain my mother bought it for me just to meke me feel like the rest of the girls.
Around that same time, my father had a friend who was a terrible jokester. And today he is actually a good friend of mine, a colleague in the communications industry. But during this time in my life he would say to me, “Ah Stacy, you’re a pirate’s dream, a sunken chest.”
My mother had a small-chested friend who obviously felt a kinship to me, even during my young teenage years. How could I forget the night she informed me that SHE was the President, and she was making me the Vice President of IBTC – the Itty Bitty Titty Committee? I would have been horrified if not for the fact that I loved Miss Ila so very much.
So goes the beginning of my relationship with my boobies. Not so good, and it never got much better. Nobody has ever confused me with Anna Nicole Smith or Dolly Parton.
It was today, after many long weeks of grappling with the emotional side of this surgery, that I came to grips with the fact that I have never been loved or admired or held in high esteem because of the size of my chest. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. Hopefully, for those who love me, ours has been an affair of friendship and laughter, carpools and mother-daughter adventures, political campaigns, antique road trips, cooking parties in my kitchen, out-of-the-park PR programs, and a passion to bring great education to all children.
After Monday, my body may be different, but today I realized that it’s all going to be okay. Let Boobies be bygones. Tata to the TaTas. I’m feeling pretty darn good that I'm going to LIVE, and all the rest about life will be the same. Here’s to LIFE, and I love it!
Posted by Stacy Sells at 9:08 PM