EXPANDING MY EXPANDER
One week after the mastectomy, I saw my plastic surgeon, Dr. Ross Cooperman. I enjoy seeing Dr. Cooperman: he's cheery, straightforward, and takes the time to make sure that I feel comfortable and understand what's going on, i.e. great bedside manner. He filled a big needle, so big that it looked like a caricature of a needle, like something you'd see in Alice in Wonderland. My eyes widened and he told me not to worry, that I wouldn't feel a thing. I trust my doctor, so I believed him, but added that I didn't like a big needle going into me! He asked me about my weekend while keeping direct eye contact with me, until 50 ml of fluid transferred into my expander. Genius. He tapped around on my expander and it moved like a jelly fish under my skin; there was room for more fluid. Gasp. He repeated his routine, noticing my trepidation; I explained to him that a woman in a support group complained she was in pain with 20 ml in her expander! Dr. Cooperman reassured me that as soon as I feel pain, he would stop, and if I feel pain after I go home, I can call him and come in and he can take the fluid out; I relaxed. Keeping my gaze, he filled the expander some more, stopping twice to ask how I'm doing, but he was quick. Physically, I felt fine, and mentally, I felt safe and heard. When I looked down, I saw a monstrous looking thing on my chest; I felt deformed. Gone was the match to my beautiful, natural breast. Sigh. Dr. Cooperman reads me well and eased my distress by reminding me that this is only temporary; when the implants are in my breast will look much better. He gave me the okay to treat the scar with aloe, coconut and vitamin E oil. After today's visit, I feel like I am on the mend and moving forward, lifting a burdensome weight from my psyche.