It’s been long. I was hanging out in the basement of rock bottom for a while there, which apparently also has its own basement. Which has a basement, and so on. It’s like an Escher painting. At some point I need to write some serious blog posts with titles like: ‘Life without George’ or ‘The Updated & Complete list of idiotic things that strangers say to sick people’. But that’s for another day.
The basement happened after a PET scan came back clear, which at first glance seems ridiculous but after closer inspection makes total sense. I kept it all together for so long and now I could finally let myself fall apart for a bit. Normality hit, and the unravelling happened slowly. The PET scan broke that camel’s back. Then again, it could also have been the Kenny G that they still play, two years on, while you are supposed to calm your brain before your scan. Demmit, really? Kenny’s lungs must have a six pack.
Normality…. it’s a strange thing, it’s a relative thing, and very often, it is boring. Lucky me have never had a very ‘normal’ life. The other day my psychologist told me that I have one of the most interesting lives he has ever heard of. I wasn’t sure if I should feel proud or devastated. It’s like those half-compliments. For example; “Oh wow, I am SO glad you cut your hair!!!! Like what the fuck do you actually mean? I’m so confused.
Well, with my new normality came the rise of the boob. (Cue music: “My heart will go on.” And yes, that door was big enough for two people).
Hunk & I sitting in the waiting room of a plastic surgeon. I keep pulling my shirt down and tight. For some strange and ridiculous reason I don’t want anyone here to think that I’m vain and that the hunk and I are here to choose a size. ‘Look!’ I mentally shout, ‘one boob and rocking it. I know they are small. Every expert on this journey has told me so, but surely you can notice that there is only one?’
We get called. The Dr is super lovely. We spend an hour in his rooms. He explains that we don’t have a lot of options, there is almost no skin to work with.
Dr: “We’ll have to take fat from your stomach and inject it under the skin where your new breast will be.”
Hunk blinks several times. His curly eyebrow curls even more.
I stare like a deer in headlights. “Wait, what? I’m going to have a boob built from my stomach fat?”
Dr: “Partly. It’s mainly to get a steady blood supply and stem cells in the area,” bla bla clever medical talk.
I lose focus and get completely stuck on the idea that he should rather take my thighs. A stomach is easy to hide, but my thighs…my thighs. They bug me most days. And they have so much more to give. Take them!
I zone back in….
Dr: “And then we cut out that muscle that you would use to hang on monkey bars. We’ll use the muscle and the back skin to construct a new breast”.
“But I have a hairy back. My mom used to say that I genuinely looked like a monkey at birth. Will I now have one hairy boob? Does one wax or shave it? Laser? Tweezer? Will Kev mind if I don’t shave my boob in Winter?” Fuck, so many questions.
Dr: “This procedure is not for sissies.” (No shit! I won’t ever be able to do monkey bars again!).
Bla bla more clever talk. I’m SO in good hands, I think. He is lovely. I’d like to shake his mom’s hand.
Dr: “And then you have three options when it comes to the nipple. You can either have it tattooed on, a 3D tattoo.”
No big deal, I think, no feeling there anyway. I know that this will come in handy one day but I have not yet figured out how.
Dr: “The second option is to take skin from your groin area and construct a nipple from that. We use that area as the skin is the right colour”.
What. The. Actual. Fuck?!
Dr: “Lastly there is the stick-on nipple.” He fumbles a sticky pink thing from its box. “Lasts two days or so” he says as he shakes it from his pinky finger.
Now this is truly fucked up, I think. Surely a thing like that is a MAJOR choking hazard! Two days OR SO? How do you measure ‘or so’? Who will be counting? How would one know if the glue is all used up? Will we have to make a wall chart with a big red cross on every third day? REMINDER: DAY THREE. STICK ON A NEW NIPPLE. How would one explain to the ER that one’s husband is choking on one’s nipple? Why would people even want to prove that they have nipples? I went through sheets and sheets of toilet rolls a week to hide mine, back in the day, when I was young and over eager and used to go to spinning classes at ridiculous times of the day, in a subzero temperature room.
Shell shocked the hunk and I drag ourselves back to the car. It takes us three days as St. Augustine’s hospital was designed by a blind person with a penchant for mazes and puzzles. Thank God we always have bits and pieces of food stuck on us.
“You’ll have to get the kids to start pulling on my back skin” I say.
“Hu?” says hunk. He is refusing to ask for directions of course. Why are men so proud? On second thought, it is kind of embarrassing if you used to be a game ranger but now you can’t find your way around a hospital.
“They must pull it. Hard. Literally hang on it. It needs to stretch. A lot. I can’t have a boob built partly from stomach fat, hairy back skin and my monkey bar muscle AND a tightly stitched together back as well. I wonder how I will sleep for the few weeks after the operation. We’ll have to get a lazy boy. I’m turning into my parents. One of the kids will for shit sure lose a finger at some point if we had a lazy boy so scratch that idea.” My mind is racing.
We find the car and agree that we are not stick-on nipple people.
Later that week I’m sitting at my kids’ first swim gala, sweating like a prostitute in church. I surprise myself by having become one of those moms who shout like a crazy person from the sidelines. I’m surrounded by such fun moms who also shout. Shout for my kids even, and I for theirs. But man, that cement is rock hard to sit on. I glance over and see a close friend sitting on a chair, in the VIP section.
(Actual wording of conversation slightly changed).
“What (who) did you have to do (blow) to get a seat there??!” I text.
“Nothing. I have boobs” she texts back.
I wave my fat arm and we grin at each other.
I’m getting a boob people. Kai will be so disappointed that it’s not, after all, a robot boob with lights and lasers. I don’t have the heart to break it to him just as yet. I see myself walking on the promenade, holding Hunk’s hand, bad afro because it’s baaaad and it turns into a humidity-level-indicator this close to the water. But I have the biggest 20-year-old boob and a deep deep cleavage and a smile and a hunk.
Ps. This is not related at all, but please remember to watch ‘Shadow.’ The first African Netflix Original. Produced by the outstandingly clever and creative team at Motion Story.