trip advisor

June 11, 2007 § 10 Comments

For traditional meds, there’s the BIDMC, conveniently located near Fenway Park and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Free parking for chemotherapy treatments. Healing and heart, but you must know where to look. Avoid the cafeteria, and avoid any doctor who underestimates the power of nutrition, exercise and the role of humor and compassion in healing. Thank you MJH and Hester.

On the Trip Advisor scale, my mastectomy was a perfect 5.0

I started training early. I worked out with a personal trainer, a physical therapist, and saw an acupuncturist. To release tension I’d get a massage. To gain muscle mass I’d use weights. I even took Merengue lessons. I moved as often as I could and consumed generous amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables. Cancer treatments are challenging, not unlike an Iron Man or Triathalon.

The procedure I dreaded the most, turned out to be the least debilitating of them all.

I had braced myself for feeling wounded from such a visual casualty. I feared waking up to a different me. I expected pain and anguish. Instead, I felt calm and peaceful.

I pushed the button releasing the next dose of the morphine drip.

The recovery room looked a lot like the pre-op room. Maybe they were the same room. I expected everything to be different. I expected to feel miserable. I felt good. I expected anxiety. I felt relief. I expected some amount of sadness, and there was none of it.

Turns out I am not my left breast. I am something else. The mastectomy had been daunting. I was sure some critical part of me was embedded there, some part I couldn’t afford to lose. I was wrong. I can’t help but wonder what part of me removed would actually change me. Then I decided not to go there.

Eventually I braved a peek at the site of all the hoopla. My left side looked like a super model with a boo boo. I was bandaged, flat chested and boney. Just another new look for me to try on this year.

I spent the night in a private room, they brought in a cot for Marty. He was on standby, ready to help, ready to unplug the IV when I needed to dash to the bathroom. I had trouble keeping down watermelon, even water defied gravity. In between my perfect bullseyes in the sink, I woke up to enjoy how quiet it was in the room, to enjoy how utterly the same I felt, and to push the morphine drip just one more time before dawn.

The next morning, my head was a little cloudy the sky equally obstructed. All that grey made it easy for us to sleep in. I had the option of a second night. I considered it. It was so peaceful there in Riesman 1268. We read and napped. We brought in some food. The food stayed down. The afternoon was lazy like a late checkout at the W. We left after 3p. The service was great. Still, I’d take Marty by my side over a team of nurses on the floor.

Next stop radiation.


§ 10 Responses to trip advisor

  • Rick Beyer says:

    Love and Kisses Momo, glad you are doing well. Morphine is a dream, isn’t it. I wish I had a miniature version of the drip every day. I guess you are now a living breathing example of “whatever kills you makes you stronger” but how much stronger do you really need to get?? (I hope this post makes sense it is late and I have another early shoot day tomorrow.)



  • Patryce says:

    Dear Momo,

    I’m glad this surgery is behind you and I’m very happy to hear you are feeling calm, peaceful and relieved. Yes, I certainly agree with the healing power of nutrition, exercise, humor, compassion and I’ll add Love!
    Still sending lots of thoughts and prayers.

  • MRB "The Other Marilyn" says:

    Darling Momo. I must say I got a kick out of your realization that you are “not your left breast.” Oh, Honey! The rest of us have always know that! You got stuff between those two diminutive ears that makes boobs, well, irrelevant. And that huge wide open heart, baby, that’s my Momo.

    I love you and am so happy to know we’re on to the next step.

  • Auntie Momo. In the “life is a bitch” arena, Nana Kass now has nothing on you. And to think that you don’t even have a younger brother to boss around! The California clan loves you and wishes you a speedy recovery and a JetBlue reservation to Oakland. Am trying to think of a pithy but supportive boob comment, will have to work on some material and get back to you.

  • Allie Frank says:

    Marilyn, you are a superstar.
    I will keep you in my thoughts and pray for full and speedy recovery.

  • Kelly says:

    Oh I am glad to hear you are feeling well. 🙂 I hope my surgery is as enlightening and peaceful as yours seems to have been 🙂

  • Wynelle says:

    Morphine! The one (only?) drug I’ve never tried. Dang! Have to hear all about it.

    You look gorgeous. May you float like those bubbles through the next phase.

  • Ricki says:

    I toast to you Momo, “Happy days, healthy days and wonderful days ahead for you and your family”.
    Much love forever,

  • Philippa Woolley says:

    You are practising non attachment in one of the most profound ways I could ever imagine. Yes you are so much more than your left breast!! Is that not the voyage of this thing called LIFE? To realize that we are so much more, there is so much more than the physical body, than this physical world.

    Rest. Relax. Laugh. We are all thinking of you in Montreal.

    Philippa, Nandu, Shakuntala and Revati

  • Matt says:


    I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I’d like to request permission to use a photograph of yours in this book. Please contact me at, and I’d be happy to give you more information about the project. Please paste a link to your blog in the subject field. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.



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