June 22, 2007 § 6 Comments
I feel terrific. I figured I should move so I started walking, even pick-up a few light weights. Ten days later I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon MJH. She reminded me that a mastectomy is major surgery. I forgot. She put an ace bandage around my torso. Like a string on an index finger. A reminder. I need to heal. The skin has to adhere to my ribs. Slow down.
Tell that to the twenty-two ziplock bags that were pinned to the wall in Ms Michal’s first grade class. Each had a wet paper towel along with a kidney bean and a sunflower seed. In less than a week, the beans and seeds sprouted, by the second week the stocks were wild.
My drains came out. Just a quick tug released rubber straws that suctioned excess liquids accumulating underneath my skin. When attached they siphoned off into two small plastic grenades which nestled in the pockets of a camisole made exclusively for this purpose. Even then, they got in the way. Under clothes it look goofy, like a gigantic fanny pack.
It was liberating to lose the entire apparatus.
The bandages came off next. Somehow I thought they’d stay on longer. Just five days. It hardly seemed like enough time for it to set.
Great pecs said the Clinical Nurse Specialist.
The things you can see with a breast out of the way.
I looked down and saw a small dent and then a long incision from my clavicle to my left armpit. Tight stitches, even raw they were smooth. Better than anything I could have done, even in the days when I embroidered flowers on blue jeans. I went home for a closer look.
The scar looked dangerous. Fabulous.
Time for my premiere.
I lifted my shirt for my sisters, then DD, then Marty. Anyone else willing to humor me could catch a glimpse. I had a black belt with none of the sparing.
I threw a bar-b-q for ten, in honor of a second premiere in one week. Confessions of a Matchmaker on A&E.
May 2005. Long before reality matchmaking shows were on anyone’s radar a colleague, Penny Benatovich showed me a pitch tape she produced about a tough talking Harley riding, matchmaker named Patti Novak. Patti called a spade a spade, and a guy overweight a fat guy who needed to lose weight. Together we pitched the concept to A&E. It takes a village to raise a child, and an army to produce a show.
A week and a day after my mastectomy the program aired, but I shouldn’t jump up and down. I just had major surgery.
In 1998 Melanie Perkins worked at Smash. She was a dedicated producer creating a powerful film about her friend, 10-year-old Andy Puglisi who disappeared 22 years earlier. For a period of time Smash provided funding for the film and was involved in pitching it to potential networks. We walked, but eventually HBO paid attention. “Have You Seen Andy” aired on Cinemax earlier this month.
Series premieres, documentaries broadcast, breasts removed and beans sprouting wildly. After I’ve healed I’m going to run in a 5k race to raise money for breast cancer eradication.
You can click here to make a pledge of any amount or register to join me on September 23rd.
There are more then 10 million Americans living with cancer today. Operative word, living. Good thing.