December 26, 2006
Continuing the "Reconstructing Felicia's Chest" saga, I had an appointment today with yet another plastic surgeon - the third since my breast reconstruction adventure began two years ago. I was feeling a lot of anxiety about the visit - especially about having to again recount the story of the breast cancer diagnosis, mastectomies, expanders and the radiation that caused the expanders to fail. Of course I’d have to flash my mangled chest and pretend like having photos taken of me with no top on aren't a big thing; thinking about all that almost made me turn the car around and go home. But, being that today was the second day of Kwanzaa – Kujichaagulia – which means “self determination,” I decided to drive to NYC to keep my appointment and see what could be done about the mess that was once my right breast.
As soon as I stepped into the office, I wished I’d stayed home. The place was super busy and the receptionist didn’t even look up when I told her my name and the doctor I was there to see. The forms she gave me to fill out me barely had a sixteenth of an inch between questions for answers so I ended up having to go to the desk and tell her what I'd written (so much for patient privacy). Manhattan isn’t the easiest place to find street parking, so I arrived a half-hour late trying to find some place to leave my vehicle. I still had to wait over an hour to see the doctor.
The nurse who took me to the exam room didn’t say a word to me. The doctor is the only person in the place who even made eye contact. Still, after explaining my story and telling him what I DON’T want (absolutely NO muscle compromised, so TRAM and Latissimus Dorsi flaps are OUT), the only option he offered is something I’ve never even heard of – and believe me, I’ve done my research.
I took his card before I left so I could email or call with questions, but I already knew I wasn’t coming back. And, to add insult to injury, I had a $115 parking ticket when I finally got back to my car. Sigh…