Genes, Boobies and Other Accessories

This is going to be a strange but necessary post. As this blog has progressed, I’ve put a lot of thought into how I describe the emotional, mental and physical aspects of this whole ordeal. I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of explaining things so that you get an accurate picture of the experience. People don’t really talk about the details of breast reconstruction very much so I’ve tried my best to be very transparent and descriptive. Up until now, I’ve worked hard to find ways to explain what I mean when I say that the tissue expanders are “hard” or “firm.” I have really struggled with finding the appropriate analogy.

I have a Master of Arts in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication and I’m an adult learning specialist (ala Training Manager). Analogies are a big part of my professional life. I use them in most of my professional writing because they are effective instructional tools. I think that identifying good analogies to use in the training courses I develop is one of my professional “super powers.” I very rarely struggle with creating them to explain complex topics, but for the life of me, this expander experience has had me perplexed. Needless to say, I’ve been on a mission to find the best analogy to describe the way these things feel.

I’ve tried to use words like clay, skeet, bricks. These analogies have not been the best because they are all harder than the expanders and just don’t do them justice. I’ve even been letting friends touch them because it’s just been hard to find a good way to describe them. I giggled when I wrote that because it’s funny to think about how many times in the last few weeks I’ve said “just touch them and you’ll see what I mean.” I’ve ever been felt-up this much in my life. And trust me- there’s nothing “hot” about this. [Side note: The expanders sit high up close to my clavicle, so it’s not as crude of a feel-up as you’re probably picturing, Dad.] I mean, I’m very aware that at some point I’ll stop seeing them as my temporary prostheses and they will return to being something much more private. Until then, my friends are curious and I have not been able to describe them well enough….until now!

Last week I was at a friend’s house for dinner. As we were preparing dinner, I realized that these silly expanders feel just like a head of lettuce! If you’re gearing up for surgery right now and want to know what they will feel like, go to the grocery store and feel-up some lettuce – stat! I realize that now most of you will think about this when you go to the grocery store. I have a feeling that what I have actually encouraged you to do is start a weird phenomenon that will be confusing to on-lookers and cause you to show up on peopleofwalmart. Regardless, those of you that are mentally preparing for surgery and are trying to understand what they will feel like will benefit from this trip to the grocery store tremendously. So I’ll take one for the team and sound like a weirdo by using my new found analogy. I just hope that it brings at least one of you some comfort by helping you know what they’ll feel like as you prepare for this significant battle of mind and body.
And the rest of you can just giggle in solidarity with me when you walk by lettuce in the grocery store. šŸ™‚

Comments on: "Lettuce find the right analogy" (6)

  1. Having not done the tissue expanders I was actually quite curious. I may never look at lettuce the same way though! šŸ™‚

  2. hopeforheather said:

    Do you mean like one leaf? Or feeling from the back of the head? I am trying to get it and I sure do appreciate your effort. Helps me. Really.

  3. Jennifer serio (becca s friend--ashleigh and gillian mom) said:

    I ve heard from our mutual friend what you are going thru and now am in the first stages of going thru it myself. When questioning “R.A.W” (only not to name her) she told me to read your blog. You gave answers to questions I havent thought of yet and more insight than I have thought to begin asking. I m still just attempting to grasp the genetic testing and ultrasound results. You sharing all this as helped me in so many ways. And my husband (whom you probably dont recall meeting at Andie ‘s bday) said you have explained what to expect better than any of my doctors yet..I m sorry you are going thru this and not “home” where we could help you more but am very grateful that you are sharing and helping others. I ve been cheering for you since I first heard but had no real clue what all it entailed and now as i face this same battle I m very grateful to learn from tou and can’t describe the relief reading your blog has given me because I know (or have met you several times) reading your story gives me a different comfort than reading a strangers. I love how you are facing it and your honest words..thank you and keep up your positive Mandi attitude!

    • I do remember meeting him! šŸ™‚ I’m so sorry to hear that you’re facing this right now, but I’m thrilled that the blog has helped both of you. Please feel free to email me or call me any time you have questions. I don’t know who your breast doctor is, but I really loved mine in Little Rock and HATED to leave her. If you need a second opinion or anything, I’m happy to share her name. I’ll send you pictures too if you want to see my progress during expansion. ANYTHING that I can do to help you as you mentally prepare for what is to come, please please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I know you’ll make the right decisions for you and your family. You’ll do great no matter what you’re faced with…and with people like RAW in your life, you’re sure to have the support you need. I’m here for you too girly! Hang in there and thank you so much for your encouragement around my blog. It’s so great to hear that it’s helping people. šŸ™‚

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