This blog is a follow on to this piece and this piece and I hadn’t realised I’d not yet added it to those other two. (Been a bit busy, Christmas, New Year, Fun Palaces, finishing third draft of play, surgery.)
So, a coda.
Just before Christmas I saw my consultant (ie, my consultant, the one who’d done my surgery a year ago, the one who’s always been lovely, not the two I’d seen last year, both young, both of whom prompted the first RR piece – and also not, shouty Guardian commentators, my cancer surgeon. They do different jobs, both brilliantly) – so, I saw my plastic surgery/reconstruction consultant …
And he said he’d read the Guardian piece and it made him think differently about how he spoke to women in my position. Unlike many of the shouty commentators, he totally understood I was talking about how the reconstruction feels physically (not emotionally) and he said it changed how he speaks to women about their upcoming surgeries. That he truly hadn’t ‘clicked’ (his term) before, and that my piece had helped him better explain what was coming, what reconstruction would do. And he thanked me. And I wanted to cry because he’s lovely and really good at his job and if even he hadn’t thought to explain it was going to physically feel different, then probably none of them do*. So that’s a good thing. Very.
The other good thing is that I had a (much smaller, just two hours from anesthetic to recovery room) surgery last week and it looks like I might end up in way less pain than I’ve been for the past year. Not pain-free, but tra la la, lots less. Extra woop.
Anyway, this is just to add the bit about Lovely Consultant, not only reading the blog, but how he has chosen to use it to make a difference.
Also, while I’m here, and because I was surprised so many of the Guardian commentators simply assumed ALL reconstructions are the same, I had a DIEP reconstruction (silicone is less recommended when it’s a second cancer/if the area has already had radiotherapy).
* well, yes, you’d think we’d guess it would feel different/odd/take-getting-used-to, but if you’ve never had any reconstructive surgery before and no-one mentions it (and you’re a bit freaked re cancer, or in my case cancer recurrence) then it’s possible that second-guessing things no-one’s mentioned aren’t necessarily forefront in the mind.