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Got Goat?

What gets my goat? My hair. But since you all are sick to death of self-absorbed stories about my hair, I have decided to move on. Besides, this morning I cracked the code on styling exceptionally frizzy hair and transformed my Don King fro into a cute Hillary Clinton bob. Typically, looking like Hill is not a good thing, but it is a radical improvement over looking like Don. Even better news: Knowing how to do my hair is going to free me up--emotionally, spiritually, physically--and allow me to explore exciting new topics.

Old topic: my hair. New topic: my boobs, whoo hoo! I know, it sounds like a tired, old topic, even when packaged so smartly, but continue reading because you’ll see that I’ve got a whole new groove. A whole new boob groove. Honest.

Quick boob update: I had my reconstruction in July of this year. It was deeply disappointing and threw me into a total funk for about four months. Until today. This morning, I made an appointment to see Dr. Loren Eskenazi, the San Francisco plastic surgeon who co-authored “Reconstructing Aphrodite.” I came upon the book one night at the Community Breast Health Project in Palo Alto, where I went every other Wednesday night to write with a group of writers/survivors. I got there early one night and decided to look through the organization’s well-stocked library. I had done lots of online research looking for before/after photographs of women who had had reconstruction with implants, TRAM flap, DIEP flap, lattismus dorsi flap, and I found very little. So I looked on CBHP’s shelves for books on reconstruction. I found “Reconstructing Aphrodite,” and it was exactly what I needed.

The black and white photographs in the book were lovely. The women in the photographs obviously had been through a great deal, but there was something about each one of them that struck me: Each woman looked happy and whole . As I was a couple of months away from my own reconstruction, the photos in the book gave me a big shot of hope.

When I decided to get a 2nd reconstructive surgery, or at the very least to explore my options, I began asking other doctors for plastic surgeon referrals. Dr. Eskanazi’s name came up three times. I looked her up on the Web and was beyond thrilled to discover that she was one of the surgeons who helped create the Aphrodite book. My appointment is in less than two weeks.

I think it’s important to restate that while I am hopeful to be seeing someone of Dr. Eskanazi’s caliber, I am not looking for perfection. I’m not even hoping to look like I did before, which--and I say this with a lot of self love--was unspectacular, although I think the clinical term is unremarkable. I was on the phone one day with my friend Tori after my bilateral mastectomy. I was reading to her my pathology report, which was describing my removed breasts: …tan skin, unremarkable…nipples, unremarkable…. “Those certainly sound like your boobs,” she laughed.

I also understand the limitations of having had radiation. Radiated tissue is less flexible and resilient, which makes reconstruction much more difficult and limiting. In fact, implants can be tricky with radiated tissue. They tend to become encapsulated.

Expectations in check, what do I want? I believe I owe it to myself to look and feel as good as possible after breast cancer; to be able to look at my body and say, “I not only can live with this, I can be content with this.”

I'll report how the appointment goes. Until then, I feel like I've been given another shot of hope, and it feels good.

But, truth be told, it wasn’t just the phone call to Dr. Eskanazi today that lifted my mood. It was a phone call last night with Sam. I was talking to her about my hair and my boobs and abrupt-onset, chemo-induced menopause.

“It all just gets my goat,” I lamented. “But then again everything gets my goat these days. In fact, my goat has been gotten so many times that when I actually do get it back, it’s going to be one tiny, little goat.”

“I think it’s time to decide to be happy again,” Sam announced. “You went through a mastectomy, chemo, radiation, reconstruction, a new job, single-motherhood, a new relationship…and you made it through it all. You have what’s important: fabulous kids, good friends, a guy who’s crazy about you, a head full of bouncy curls and a clean bill of health. Ditch the goat, already.”

Sam’s right, little goat. I think it’s time, finally, to cut you loose. So, go! Run free! Oh, but, hey, before you leave completely, could you stop by the neighbors to munch on their meticulously manicured lawn? You know . . . the neighbors who catch their magnolia leaves before they can fall to the ground and sully their meticulously manicured lawn? The neighbors who tucked an “anonymous” note in my mailbox, telling me that I’d left my garbage cans out on the curb longer than they thought was appropriate? The neighbors who called the police for that same infraction while I was at chemo? Yes, those neighbors. Stop by there first, if you would. And, while you're at it, you might want to ask them if they could use an experienced goat.


Sherry said…
Ah good friends..where would we be without them?? Your Sam is incredibly brilliant and wise. It is time to decide to be happy again..."decide" being the key to this wisdom. I am so glad that you have chosen happiness...chosen to look like Hillary Clinton vs. Don King (I mean, if it's a contest I know it's "close" but Hills is that bit more "feminine" shall we say!), chosen to have another opinion and look again at reconstruction. You don't seek perfection which none of us can achieve but you certainly have the right to "decide" that you want something better!!

Sounds like our Jill is going to be saying a whole lot of "well la dee dah"!!! :)
lahdeedah said…
Sherry, did I tell you yet that I loved the interview of you on Bella's blog? And did I also tell you that I loved the photo? Great shot of you!

You always distill these things down to the key elements. "Decide" is the key to this idea of choosing happiness. I may sometimes fumble for the key, but at least I got it on my ring :)

Have a fabulous weekend, Sherry!
Sherry said…
I think we all fumble around for that key from time to in finding the key? that's what friends are for!
Jenster said…
Later goat! I do believe that after everything we've been through - and are still going through - we do have to make a conscious effort to be happy. It's so easy to lament the changes (and Lord knows I've done plenty of lamenting the last couple of years), but you ARE healthy! You're going to have SPECTACULAR boobs! Your hair is fabulous!!

I'm going in on Tuesday for some revisions to my reconstruction. Like you say, I don't expect perfection. But I do think I'm going to be happy when this revision is done. Then all I'll have left will be tattoing. I'm thinking of a Celtic nipple. What do you think??
lahdeedah said…
The Celtic nipple tattoo! Did I not respond to this yet, Jen? I must have in my head and not on "paper" because I read this and it made me laugh out loud! So to answer your question, I think it's a fabulous idea! In fact, you've inspired me to think of something extraordinary for my own tattoos...
SweetAnnee said…
Hi Jill..I have NOT forgotten you and the picture of Santa.
and look at my picture too..I'm going to MISS my's so good to me..

fondly..santa will be on the way Tuesday..
Sandra Evertson said…
You're funny! And Gorgeous hair!
Happy Holidays!
Sandra Evertson
Mary said…
I arrived here through Sharon's blog. You have been through a lot and you are definitely a woman forged in fire. Oftimes, we walk through the fire, but that is God forging us - making us stronger. You are an amazing woman.

KT said…
Hi Jill, I'm glad that you let your goat go. All they do is eat and leave their messes all over the yard. And make awful maaaaa-ing noises. (I'm not a goat lover, you can see. Nor did I grow up on a farm, so if my description of what goats do is wrong, you'll understand why.)

Also glad to hear you are looking to improve upon "your girls". I remember reading in earlier posts that you were dissatisfied with the end result. I was sorry to hear that and hoped you weren't going to give up on them. How great to hear you found another doctor!

I do want to thank you for bringing up the "dissatisfied customer" subject. I was shocked when I realized the end result might not be spectacular. I thought they would just look like boobs. But you helped me realize that I want to see examples of my plastic surgeon's work. And meet with more than one plastic surgeon. So I thank you very much for allowing me to learn from your experience.

Wishing you never have to say "that gets my goat" again! Unless you're commenting on how you never say it anymore? (Huh? Can you tell I'm up way too late?)

lahdeedah said…
Deena--I am so happy my Santa's coming! The kids and I are decorating the house tonight, so we'll save a good place for him. About your is beautiful. And it will be beautiful again. I l-o-v-e-d being bald. It was liberating! (My baldie debut photo is on my 1st post, Looks Like Frodo. )

I think of you often and send you prayers and good vibes ;)

Much love,

lahdeedah said…
Sandra & Mary--I so love seeing new names on my blog. Thank you for taking the time to read my little essays. Thank you, too, for saying something kind. :)

Mary, your blog is full of life and energy. I'm going to have to go back and spend some time there. I love that you have photos of your dogs in the snow posted.

Sandra, your art is so cool! I love the "don't open until Christmas!" tag. Your site just makes me happy! It must feel good to have written so many books and articles. I am just plain impressed.

(PS: Anyone who tells me that I'm funny and have gorgeous hair...well, you're my brand new best friend.)

Stop back again, friends!
lahdeedah said…
Katie, I miss my little goat a little bit :) But I have to say, it's kind of fun being super positive!

The "girls" are going to get a 2nd look by two new plastic surgeons. I wrote about this sometime in October, I think on the Tits Are for Kids post, but if these new gals tell me that what I got is as good as it gets, then I'll just have to focus on having a fabulous bum instead :) And I could say all kinds of self-degrading things fact they're screaming in my head...but then I'd have to go up the street to the neighbors' and get my goat back, and I have way too much pride for that.

(Anytime you want private info about reconstruction, shoot me an email.)


bella said…
Thank-you for visiting my blog so I could come meet you here.
Your writing is refreshing in its honesty and perspective.
I'll be back often.
lahdeedah said…
The beautiful and exquisitely talented Bella! Thank you for the kind words. The feeling is entirely mutual.
Dwain said…
It won't really have success, I consider so.
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