Hahaha! Dude, have you ever watched Portlandia? If you watch the first episode, you see kind of a "music video" to a song called "The Dream of the 90's," and it is hilarious. The two characters kind of talk about Portland in between the lyrics of the song, about how, in the 90's, people got tribal tattoos and random piercings, and how girls in glasses were hot (I love that part. Because I wear glasses.). And they say that Portland is still like that.
I haven't ever been to Portland before this year, but dude, this song is so accurate! We went last weekend so that I could see my plastic surgeon there and decided to make a weekend of it. As we spent time downtown eating and walking around, I was like, "Am I in the 90's?" Flannel shirts everywhere. Grunge songs playing in every eatery and store. The dark, matte lipstick. Piercings on every nose, every eyebrow. It was crazy! And really funny.
I'll get back to Portlandia stories in a minute. First, I want to tell you about the visit with my surgeon.
I really like her. She's smart, but also has a really good bedside manner and actually acts like a real PERSON instead of a robot. I appreciate that. I asked her what my chances were of trying to do tissue expansion again and having it be successful. She basically said that chances of that happening were 0%. Once the radiated tissue has protested, it will always protest. Even two years down the road!! They could try to do this thing where they use skin from my back, and put an implant where my left chest cavern sits right now, and cover it with the skin, but I'll have to get the implant replaced every 15 years or so, and that is only if there isn't a leak in the implant or anything. She prefers a DIEP flap, that thing I told you guys about a few months ago. She says that, with a DIEP flap, you put in some hard recovery time, but that's the last you ever, ever have to do surgery for the rest of your life. The recovery time is 6-8 weeks.
I still have PTSD from having to get a hysterectomy two years ago, when that recovery took 8 weeks. It was torture. Because of that surgery, my biggest fear isn't the surgery itself. It's the recovery time. I just so, so, so don't want to do it.
I don't want to do anything at this point. I just want to be left ALONE. I'm like Greta Garbo. (I just vant to be left aloooooone....)
Which is why it's a good thing that they can't do it until February. She wants me to be done with my herceptin infusions, which will be in February of next year. And then they can take out my port (Portia!) at the same time they do the DIEP flap.
What's cool about the DIEP flap is that it acts like normal breast tissue. If you get fat, they get bigger. If you lose weight, they get smaller. Almost like real boobs...
And.... she recommends having fake nipples made. I guess they use skin from somewhere and, like, fashion nipples to go on the fake boobs. And then they do this pinkish tattoo to complete the effect. I was like, "I don't know....." She said, "It's obviously your choice, but I have done so many of these surgeries, and my patients find that having nipples again is very psychologically healing." I told her I would think on it.
You know, when I was in 6th grade, and I started growing boobs, I HATED them. I was so upset at the loss of my former, boobless life. I would take off my training bra and stuff it in between the couch cushions. I just couldn't believe I would have to wear a bra for the rest of my LIFE.
And now? I don't know. Part of me just wants to get my right tissue expander out and be done with it. And part of me doesn't want to look like a teenage boy. Wants to feel like a normal-ish woman. I don't know. The luxurious thing is that I can take all the time I want to decide. And I can spend the next eight months getting my health back. Getting stronger. In eight months, if I still don't want to do it, then I can wait longer. Or I can get my right expander out and be done with the whole thing.
People say, "You can at least get prosthetics." Nah. Not my bag. I don't want to bother with them. I've also heard so many funny stories about them. My friend's mom had fakies that would kind of work their way out of the bra and be up around her neck all the time. My Bend plastic surgeon's friend had one pop out when she was swimming, and they couldn't find it. Her son kept diving to the bottom of the pool to look for it; little did he know that fakies float. That thing is probably stuck in that part of the pool that sucks old water in for cleaning before pushing it back out into the pool. You know, the part with the little white, plastic door? And it makes a loud sucking noise?
I don't want to deal with prosthetics. I have to put constrictive compression garments on my chest and arm all the time as it is. I already have to deal with something that is not my skin that bothers me and makes me hot. I don't need to add to it. To me, prosthetics are like wigs during chemo baldness. Don't want to deal with it.
Wow, sorry. That was long-winded.
Kay, so Portland. We stayed in a hotel; and we actually paid quite a bit for it. And it was a piece of craaaaaap. The pool was an outdoor pool in the middle of the concrete parking areas and wasn't heated at all. And it was kind of a cooler weekend. Our kids were so desperate to swim that their teeth chattered as they splashed around, and they emerged only after 15 minutes, with their lips blue. Good times. The other people staying at the hotel were, frankly, really scary. As we walked to the pool, one lady leaned out her car window and said thickly, "Hey, do you have a light?" I politely told her I didn't, and as we entered the pool area and put our stuff down, Ben said, "I think she wanted to lure you over there so she could beg for money."
We liked the time we spent away from our hotel. We went to the zoo, which was fantastic!! So much fun. Here is Gage on their little zooish train ride:
More zoo pics:
We ate dinner at this place called Killer Burgers, and while we waited for our food, my kids were getting more and more agitated with the screaming grunge music inside. There was a homeless young man on the corner just outside the door. My kids kept staring at him and worrying about him. He had some other homeless friends visiting him. A girl was selling things she had made on a blanket, and she had a kitten on a leash. After a little while, she and her companion packed up their stuff and left with their leashed kitten. Dylan, whose birthday it was, begged us to get the burgers to go so that we could get out of the music. As we got to-go boxes, Micah and Sadie decided to each give up part of their lunch (Micah gave up his fries and Sadie gave up her burger) to give to the homeless kid. It was really sweet of them.
We ate at a place called Slappy Cakes one morning. Ben's work associate recommended it. It was fantastic. You have your own griddle in the middle of the table, and you squeeze your own batter on it and cook your own pancakes. You can pay extra for fun toppings. I got blueberries and lemon meringue for mine. Yummmm. Our family, being our family, soon turned it into an art fest. Ben and the kids drew Mickey Mouse, a kite, Shamu...
Not pictured from our weekend - 1) our awesome friends Kyle and Shelly, with whom we hung out, and who watched our ninos while we went to a session at the Portland temple, and also 2) pictures of us at the temple itself. Ben took some on his phone, and he keeps forgetting to send them to me. What a beautiful temple it is. I sure wish we had one closer. It's tough to go to the temple when it's three hours away and you're on a really tight budget. And when you have four kids. :) It was really neat, though - we had some friends going through for the first time, and it was awesome. Thanks, Shelly's Grape Jelly and...Kyle... I need to find him a nickname soon. I'll think on that, as well. Kyle's Grape Style?
The kids are eagerly looking forward to our next summer adventure - going home to Idaho in a couple of weeks for a visit. Yes, I still consider Idaho my home. I'm a tad homesick. My sister Lex calls it "Idahomesick."