The thing about hope is this: You never know when you’re about to lose it.
Sometime during this month of July, i lost hope. I felt it slipping from my grasp at various points: during my week-long hospitalization; inside the pressurized oxygen chamber for the 7th time, the 9th time, the 18th time; as i lied to yet another person this week, pretending i already had plans just so that i had an excuse to stay in my bed instead of going out; last Wednesday, when Dr. Walsh gave me a hand-held mirror so that i could look at what has happened to my breast area; as i admitted to my mom first and my dad next that i was struggling financially; and as i sprawled on my hammock during a chaotic wind and thunderstorm on Friday night, my teeth chattering, my eyes gritty with dirt, my robe soaked. Yes, in all those times, i felt less hopeful, less optimistic, less positive … more fatalistic. But even then, even in those moments, i considered them just that: moments. I don’t know when those moments stopped being periodic and became … constant.
I’m facing some tough choices right now, regarding my body and regarding my health. I’m sure the decisions are obvious to anyone who isn’t me. The cellulitis / turned staph infection / turned tissue necrosis is simply not healing. In this past month, they have pumped me with five different kinds of oral and IV antibiotics. They’ve placed me in a pressurized oxygen chamber 18 different times, for a total of 41 hours. They’ve deflated my once-D cups to A cups, to alleviate all the pressure build up and skin tightness on the right side. They’ve performed two surgeries on that area – inspecting it, cleaning it out, taking blood and tissue samples, moving the expander, replacing the expander with an implant.
And none of that was good enough.
Dr. Walsh has scheduled me for a third surgery this upcoming Wednesday. She told me that we need to take the implant out. Once that implant is out, and the skin heals and settles, i will no longer be eligible for another implant – at least not on that side. She told me that the next option involves a special reconstructive surgeon pulling muscle and tissue and fat from other parts of my body (back, stomach, and butt) to create a new “breast.” Now it’s not just one part of my body that would need to heal, but up to four. She told me that few surgeons have experience doing this; she is not one of them. For this reason, it’s possible i would have to fly to another state for this procedure. She told me that my insurance company has to pay for this, even though they might try to deny authorization at first, and i might have to fight them on that.
That’s a lot, all for a fake boob.
And i can’t help but beat myself up for making the vain decision that led to all this mess in the first place. I didn’t have to choose reconstruction, and i certainly didn’t have to ask to go up a cup size during the expansion process. I was being vain and greedy, and now i am paying for it.
And even with all this self-blaming, there is a part of me that is considering NOT having the surgery on Wednesday so that i can try to remain qualified for implants. My skin tissue is literally TURNING BLACK AND DYING along my scar, and i still care about “looking like a womyn.”
I’m truly disgusted with myself, at this point.