Wednesday, October 12, 2011

new girls on the block

Too be honest, I'm getting a little tired of this blog. But I want to keep sharing for a little while longer, for those of you whom are contemplating the flat side of life. There are plenty of blogs out there that talk about reconstruction but not so many for the unconstructed.

What's life like without breasts? Very empty. As in, when you look at your chest, it is like a blank canvas (with a red line drawn across it). All the tissue is gone. It is hard and flat. You can see your muscles jump if you flex. When you hug someone tight, it hurts them and it hurts you. There is no protective fat tissue left to keep your sternum from pressing into you and the person you're hugging.

We (dw and I) can live without them but we do miss them. She misses them because... well you can fill in the blank. I miss them (because of that too) and because I was so used to them being there. Like you would miss your nose if you looked in the mirror and it was gone one day. I miss cupping them in my hands. Yes, I admit I'm a fat grabber. Like your old man who sits on the couch with his hands gripping his fat belly. I like to do that especially if I'm laying in bed and can't sleep. I like to hold on to my boobs, or my belly fat. Don't ask me why. A comfort thing I guess.

I don't mind so much what I look like in clothes without my boobs. It's not a blank canvas then. So when I picked up my prostheses at Imani's the other day, I was surprised how excited I was! It's like playing dress-up. It's fun to slip on the fake boobs once in awhile even with just a t-shirt. I've worn them to class and just to walk down to the shops. I don't think I'll be wearing them to work because they are fragile and I do a lot of leaning up against the med cart and have to help residents sometimes and I don't want them getting ruined. Besides, it is more comfortable not having to wear a bra. I did wear them to the gym the first day though because I picked them up on my way to physical therapy. One of the bras I got was a sports bra so I tried it out. Much better than I imagined it would be. No slipping or anything. I wondered whether the boobs would ride up but they stayed in place. I wasn't doing anything like zumba or gymnastics. Just basic stuff like the elliptical and some weights but they felt good.

I haven't gotten any comments with or without the fake boobs on, so those of you who are afraid life without boobs will be embarrassing, people don't really notice. I'll post some pics later.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And the mastectomies were because...?

The pre-employment physical is always a nerve racking time. Used to be the drug test that made me nervous even though I've never done any illegal drugs. You wonder if eating a poppy seed bagel may cause you to flunk it or maybe hanging out too close to someone smoking a happy cig might rub off on you. But ever since I got discriminated at one of these things for my diabetes, I hold my breath until I get the official word that I passed. And as I get older, I have more and more things to hide worry about.

My blood sugars have been really good for the last few months, but of course this morning it was high. This was the day I needed to go get my physical for my new job. Yeah, I'm going to be doing the same thing, but much closer to home. A 5 minute car ride away instead of 40+ minutes. Turns out my boss took a new job right down the street from me, at a place I had tried to get into before I got my current job. They wouldn't take me then, but now I'm in like flynn. So anyways, I have to pass a physical before I get the job. This time the paperwork didn't say anything about a drug test but you never know so I was worried when my sugar was high because if they make you pee in a cup, they might test for sugar. So I stalled and drank a ton of water in hopes of flushing any sugar and ketones out of my system while I loaded up with some insulin. Not sure what happened because it proceeded to get even higher, so continued to drink and wait until it finally came down to a respectable number. Sure enough, when I got there, they made me pee in a cup so they could test for sugar and protein. Doctor didn't mention anything about it so guess it wasn't too off the charts.

Now, my job is pretty physical so they test for a little more than just seeing if you can bend over and touch your toes. Although I did that as well. The paperwork this time wasn't so bad. They did ask if you've ever been hospitalized but they didn't ask why. Most of my surgeries were outpatient so I didn't have to write down "a billion times." Just 2 (because I forgot I was in the hospital when I got diabetes, that was so long ago). It did ask if I had surgeries but it was just a yes or no answer so I didn't need to divulge anything about my thumb surgeries or my most recent broken ankle. I had to take 2 eye tests. Both long distance and near distance. My eyes are changing and if I just wore glasses I'd be in bifocals but it's a little trickier with contacts so it was a little challenging to pass that test. One of my eyes sees better far away and the other sees better up close. And the high blood sugar this morning didn't help matters since it makes my vision worse. But I passed it.

So I'm sitting in the little room wondering what doctor will walk through the door. It always seems to be some old guy that should be retired but must need the money. Today I was blessed with a fairly young female doctor. Went through a battery of tests including walking in a straight line, standing on my heels and then my toes, gripping her finger with my hands, doing some fast movements with my fingers. All stuff that I was able to do since my ankle has loosened up a lot and although my fingers are sore, they aren't locking up most of the time. So time to lay down on the table and get my heart listened to. I could tell that she must have gotten a look at my scars because it seemed like my gown was coming up too high. Don't know why you have to sneak a peek to get the stethoscope over the heart, but whatever. She announces that I have a heart murmur and wonders if I've ever had any problems with it. Um, no. No one has ever said I had a murmur before. And then the question, "And the mastectomies were because...?" Either she knows people get prophylactic mastectomies sometimes or she was wondering if I was going through a sex change. Anyway, I think I passed the physical despite all my physical shortcomings because she congratulated me on my new job. Or she doesn't have the guts to flunk me to my face, like the old dude many years ago who told me I could do anything except be a pilot. And then he told the plant not to hire me because my diabetes could cause me to pass out at any time. Yeah, and so could a bottle of tequila but neither one has yet.