12 June 2013

Granny Pants

It occurred to me yesterday, as I was walking through a lingerie shop with Jim, that he was the man who I used to dress for, in skimpy panties trimmed with lace.

Seventeen years later, we’re shopping together, and I’m holding up cotton underpants and he’s saying, ‘Are you sure they’re big enough?

Janet Pants
To be honest, the ‘lingerie shop’ in question was Target, and we were shopping for post surgery Granny Pants that would fit over my giant abdominal incision.  It is only one of the many concessions I’ve had to make in my wardrobe, and most definitely the least sexy.

For starters, a lot of my clothes will get dirty. Without going into detail – bodies are filled with a lot of fluids and some of it doesn’t stay where it belongs after surgery. I’ll  be swollen, and full of drains, so I need to find items that are blousy and comfortable, and straight out of the closets of the Golden Girls. Specifically Maude’s.

A lovely friend surprised me with two fantastic shirts (X-L, women’s tab sleeve linen blend tunics) that manage to be big and elegant at the same time. Plus, they button up the front. For about four weeks I won’t have the option of wearing anything that goes over my head. And I won't be able to bend over to do up my shoes.

Post Op Clothing
Granny Pants
In my closet, I have the hospital gown that I stole during radiation. It’s the only one that ever fit me, and it’s more like a pin striped wrap around dress than a robe.  I also have a lovely selection of pajama bottoms that I can wear under my tunics, and drop with the pull of a string. Sundresses are probably a better option, and I find that the maternity section has a far better selection than the regular section for regular people who aren't having reconstructive surgery.

With the help of my stylist, I managed to make out quite well yesterday. But there was a point yesterday where I was looking at a pair of shorts that looked as though they might just fit. $24.00! Suddenly it was too much. I was done spending money on clothes I’d be wearing for two weeks that looked like they were hand-me-downs form Honey Boo-Boo’s mother. 

That’s it. I'm done.  I’ve spent way too much time and money over the last two years on post canceritis treatment wigs, compression sleeves, hats, make-up, and clothes -  and I’m going to be off work again for a long time.

We chose a six-pack of granny pants and threw them in the cart.

That’s it.
I’m dressed.
Surgery is tomorrow. 
I'm almost ready for the big day.

9 June 2013

DIEP? How boring

My pre-op appointment was on Friday. Time for blood tests, haemoglobin tests (which I aced), meetings with Nurses, Pharmacists, and Doctors.

Everything went smoothly. Nurse Angela was particularly charming - we had a lively conversation with Wing mMan by my side.  I told her that I was planning on fasting the day before the operation, so that I wouldn’t have any digesting problems. ‘Why would you do that?’ she asked in the way that you do when you deal with this every day. ‘Why wouldn’t you have a delicious meal?’

Jim nodded eagerly in agreement. We’re determined to get a few dozen oysters in before the big day, and we’re getting short on time. I told her I thought clear liquids would be more appropriate the day before surgery, but not according to Angela. ‘No,’ she said. ‘You need to keep your strength up.’
So just to prove that I’m proactive about my health, I told her that I’d almost given up coffee. ‘What for?’ she said. I proudly explained that I didn’t want to go through any caffeine withdrawal – and she looked at me as you would a giant tomato. ‘Well how much coffee do you drink?’  I told her one to two big cups. She scribbled on her note pad, ‘That’s not much’.

Then I launched in to how I was worried about surviving without a shower,  controlling pet hair, and peeing on the operating table. She put down her pencil and looked up at me. ‘You’re an over-thinker.’ She said. For the second time that morning, Jim nodded eagerly in agreement.

The last appointment of the day was with the Anaesthesiologist, a swarthy eastern European man with tiny hands and unruly black hair . He told us that while the DIEP surgery is long, it is safe. The work is superficial, and is not considered and insult to the body. He told us that surgeries are classified on a risk scale of one to four. Four is  the most risky  - and would include heart transplants and other fun things. My surgery is classified as a one. ‘In fact’, he said, ‘it’s boring.’

This caught our attention. ‘Did you say that it’s boring?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ he said without the trace of a smile, or an accent, ‘Boring.’ He explained that rather than a roller coaster of anaesthetic administered during surgery, mine will be long a long steady dose to keep me slightly under. ‘There’s nothing to do,’ he pouted, ‘I get bored.’

‘Since when did this become about you?’ I wanted to ask. But I looked over at Jim, who was grinning. The bubble in which I live is all consuming, self absorbed, intense, complicated, scary and fascinating. And that bubble had just been popped by a single word from a pouty Eastern European with a big sweaty face.

My surgery is boring. I’m okay with that.
Four days to go.