Thursday, April 29, 2010

So, Nu?

The Yiddish word "Nu" means "Tell me. What's up? What's happening? What's new? Anything different?" kind of all rolled into one word. Best said with the voice raised up at the end of the word, combined with an expansive hand-waving gesture and maybe even a shoulder roll. At least, that's how my grandparents used to say it to me.

I was thinking about "Nu" this week after hearing Kelly Corrigan (author of "The Middle Place" and "Lift") speak at Mercy Hospital-- my hospital! So nice to go to Mercy for an alternative reason. Kelly had breast cancer a few years ago and wrote two very funny, touching, genuine books about her family and her experiences. She was a fantastic speaker, totally down to earth. My friend Jeanette and I went to the reading together, and afterwards, Jeanette asked me "Nu?" But in a non-Russian Jewish immigrant kind of way, with complete sentences and multiple words: "Adrienne, do you feel different after all of your operations? How is your life different now?"

Hmmm. Such good questions. I think resoundingly, YES, my life is different. I made a conscious decision to get rid of as much stress in my life as possible, given the huge amount of stress all the medical procedures and bodily changes caused this year. So, I quit my job and am a stay-at-home mom for the near future. Big and very awesome change.

Do I feel different? Definitely. All of the obvious physical differences (larger rack, menopause, etc.) sort of pale in comparison to the metaphysical difference-- this feeling like I dodged a bullet. I swerved around breast and ovarian cancer, spat on them, and kept right on going. I feel lucky that I didn't have to go through chemo and radiation and fear of recurrence and fear of dying and all of the many other totally shitty cancer-related issues that my mom and Tasha and lots of other friends/family members have gone through, are going through now and will continue to go through.

And with that bit of reflection, I am going to head out and enjoy my stay-at-home momdom with a nice long run. Ciao!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm Ready, Baywatch!

Now that spring is here and the days are warmer, my wardrobe of sweaters and hoodies has given way to tank tops and tee shirts. Hence, the new Foobs are out and about, and as far as I can tell, enjoying their newfound freedom. Here they are in a new (somewhat unnecessary) bra! Here they are in a fashionably fitted J. Crew Favorite Tee! And soon, the Foobs will be outfitted in new bathing suit tops! The old triangle bikini version is ov-uh. We are ready to debut something strapless. It's quite exciting, albeit a bit pricey what with all the shopping.

However, at the age of 40, I find it kind of bizarre to suddenly have a Rack. My whole life, I hovered between an A cup and a B cup (most definitely an A cup post kids). Now, I've upgraded to a full B and my whole body looks different as a result-- the ways clothes fit, even my posture. I have to say, I am enjoying the new shape but part of me feels a little tiny bit fraudulent. The Foobs are not really "real" to me yet. Maybe it will just take some time to adjust? I have this irrational idea (at least, intellectually it seems irrational) that fully embracing the new Foobs is akin to rejecting the old God-given Boobs in some way. Thus, the next logical step would be to inject toxins into my face, suck out fat pockets, or some other trendy steps to avoid aging and attain some relatively unattainable ideal of Beauty.

Maybe I'll just spray a tan on and call it a day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Want Fries With That?

A favorite topic for me-- the drive through mastectomy. Only in America! You can get both breasts taken off and then be back home 24 hours later. It's totally fine, right, since the hospital provides you with lots of pain medication To Go! There's your aftercare, right in a little bottle. Meanwhile, you still have lots of medication in your system from the operation, a crazy high level of pain, limited ability to even pay attention to instructions (restrictions, drain maintenance, etc.) given by the nurse, BUT you are considered fit and ready to leave. Yep, take your crappy plastic toy and your bag of fries and head on home.

What, you don't have a staff of nurses at home to care for you?

I actually feel fortunate that I had a good set of circumstances: fit and heathy going in, relatively young, no complications post surgery, lots of friends/family to help post surgery. Even so, I thought the nurse had taken some of my morphine when she told me, "We are getting ready to discharge you" the morning after my mastectomy. I finished surgery around 7pm and by around 10am, they were putting the paperwork together. I was out the door by 1pm.

I guess that's safe?? It just seems insane to me that women are sent home so quickly after undergoing such major surgery.

Monday, April 5, 2010


I was sitting in my dermatologist's office, getting my yearly mole examination and overall skin check, about 2 weeks before my hysterectomy. I'm telling my doctor about my upcoming surgery and unbidden, she tells me the following lovely story:

"Ooooooohhhh, you are going to REALLY have to watch what you eat. I mean, you can EASILY put on like 20 pounds after a hysterectomy. Even if you EXERCISE. You will have to eat NOTHING just to stay the same weight. My friend, who is a DOCTOR, had a hysterectomy and gained tons of weight. And she did NOTHING DIFFERENT. She exercised constantly and was on a strict DIET. She is SO MISERABLE.

OK, your moles look great! Oh, and I'll see you after your surgery because you will need all new products. Your skin will get SO DRY."

I am literally like, FFFFFFUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!! Do I need to get a sidecar after surgery for my ass? What the hell should I expect? And why in God's name would she volunteer that kind of information? I mean, even if I totally chunk out post surgery, let me chunk out on my own without some kind of apocalyptic fat prediction!

Meanwhile, I can say that I am now 8 weeks post surgery and things seem relatively the same. Perhaps it's my cute & friendly Estrogen Patch! Hi there, little Vivelle Dot. Who knows.