The other night, while gathered around our kitchen counter for a lovely dinner of fish tacos (it was Friday) prepared by my even more lovely wife, her mom, the cancer-warrior Wilma, and I were discussing some of the literature that had come from the breast center. I just love saying that — “breast center”. Between bites of the sautéed cod niblets Wilma looked up and asked “Do you think the… um, reconstruction is absolutely necessary?” I kind of understood her question. My wife quickly interjected. “What?” I put down my taco and spoke up. “Strictly speaking, I don’t think it’s considered a medical necessity but since your insurance covers it, why not? Plus, I’m sure it’s considered helpful to the, I don’t know… what’s the word?… healing process?” Wilma’s puzzled looked slowly eased off her face and as she picked her taco back up she replied “Hmm… Guess you’re right, dear.”
A few short moments later, Wilma proceeded to explain one of the catalogues that was included in the material from the breast center. “Look at this, hon,” she said. “They have some really lovely wigs and scarves; just look at these scarves! They’re just like something a stewardess would wear in the ’60’s!” Obviously the thought of losing her hair to chemo was now sounding more like the manageable road bump I was hoping she’d discover. Oh, remember to say a prayer for her. Do it now. I’ll wait. OK, I thought I’d give her a boost of support at this point. “Wilma, that sounds awesome! We could go wig shopping and have lunch at that Italian place out in Grapevine! This is going to be so much fun!!!” It is at this moment that my ever-sensible wife decided once again to interject. She loves to do that. “I love how you’re so concerned with getting a tie-dyed scarf for your bald-ass head but you could care less about having your boobs put back on.”
Damn, she’s smart.
Anyway, later on my sister and I were discussing this humorous interaction when she (my sister) began discussing the history of breast reconstruction post-cancer surgery. “Heck, I think even thirty years ago there was no reconstruction unless you wanted to pay out of pocket. It was considered cosmetic. They’d literally give you a bra where one cup was filled with a prosthetic.” Did she think I was unaware? I may be a man and only in my 30’s now but I know what went down. “Listen, sis, I’ve seen every Lifetime Movie ever made. I watched The Ann Jillian Story when it first aired. I can still remember that scene where she changes out of her hospital nightgown for the first time and cries over the ridiculous bra she’s been given.” There were a few minutes of silence before my sister replied. “And of course only Ann Jillian could play herself in that movie, right?” Right you are. Now at this point, you’re all going to forget that I just mentioned that little fact about me and Lifetime Movies and see this purely for the laughter value. Good. More to come…
Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons