Once I made the decision to have the surgery, I began meeting with plastic surgeons. When you ask 5 plastic surgeons the same question, you get 7 different answers. I wanted a number of opinions so that I could compare techniques and surgical options. I was pretty convinced that I was going to work a tummy tuck into the deal one way or another. So I met with the first doctor. He was a douche. I wanted to get a consult on the reconstruction and a consult for a tummy tuck. This guy only did tummy tucks. He was referred to me by a friend. I decided that it was worth asking him what he thought about me having a mastectomy and he said it was the best thing I could do for myself. In each consult my plan was to ask the doctor “if I were your daughter, what would you recommend that I do?” So although I’m sure he is a great doc and his tummy tucks are flawless, etc. He was a douche because he had the craziest hair and he talked like a Vegas lounge singer. It was hard to take him seriously. His hair wasn’t exactly what I would call a comb over…more like a comb forward and over with a swoop on the side. It was so distracting that I eventually stopped looking at him and tried to focus on a spot on the wall behind him. I think he also fancied himself a little and I got nervous that because of my goofy grin he’d think I was flirting with him. I still can’t understand why he speaks the way he does. Seriously, its like he sings his sentences. Anyways, obviously at this point – I’d ruled him out for being a douche.
The next doctor is where I got my first exposure to pictures of a mastectomy. The pictures were informative and helpful, and confirmed the bride of frankenstein picture that I had in my head. Although, I must say (when it’s all done) it just looks like a breast reduction with perfectly round nipples. Ugh nipples. I hate that word, and over the last year I’ve said it more than I ever have in my life. The doctor puts pictures up on the wall through a projector for me to see and as he starts out, he says he’s going to show me pictures of before, day of, week after, 30 days after, 6 months after and a year after. This is where I realize that the process really is a year a long…and when I first hear the words “tattooed nipples.” Tattooed what?! He proceeds to show me the gun they use to tattoo after all of the surgeries are good and over. I’m not grossed out or anything or upset…my shock is more like “Oh! That’s how you do that?! Really?! Can Jews do this?”
Side Note: I’ve always appreciated the art of tattooing and am probably the only person I know without a tattoo…but now that I think about it – I’m also one of the few Jews in my circle of friends. Regardless, I decide that I’m not the first Jewish woman to have breast reconstruction and take my question to the internet where I find similar questions and become more comfortable with the idea of this tattoo….possibly tattoos in general (but don’t tell anyone – cuz my friends will think I’ve lost my mind since I’ve been committed to “no tattoos” for so long).
This first conversation leads me to the realization that I am really starting a mission to search for the perfect shape and size nipples. This becomes the focus of my consultations. I start seeing boobs as accessories at some point in the consults and find myself talking about them like I would purses. I even sat down at a bff’s house and thumbed through a Suicide Girls coffee table book where most people would look at the book as really artistic punk-style soft porn, I looked at it to shop for nipples. I’m sure I took the fun out of the book but it was a good book for me to look at and I even found a girl with flesh-colored star-shaped nipples…don’t be surprised if I do this btw.
At some point when you are faced with this surgery, you go through a period of time where you emotionally detach from the feminine identity you associate with having boobs and begin to see them as nothing more than accessories. Some people have to go through this process post op because they didn’t have time to process things prior to surgery. I just happen to have delayed the surgery by about a year and a half which has given me the time to emotionally be more prepared. Although, I don’t think I’ll ever get over the weirdness of tattooed nipples…