Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Case For Reconstructive Surgery

This morning on CBS Sunday Morning there was a segment about a model Matuska, who caused an uproar some 20 years ago, when she photographed the scar that was left from her mastectomy. At the time, she believed that photograph was a source of empowerment. She wanted the world to take notice and do something about breast cancer already by lifting up her shirt and exposing her badge of courage.

But as the years went by,  it didn't change the fact that breast cancer had disfigured her, preventing her from wearing low cut tops, and chipping away at her sense of feminity. That's when she decided it was finally time to move on and do what so many other breast cancer patients do these days: Get reconstructive surgery.

When the segment finally came to the part where she was rolled into an operating room to get a new pair of boobs, all I could think was: Hey, what took you so long?

Quite frankly, the only thing that helped me face the fact that I would lose my breasts is the promise from my plastic surgeon that she would put me back to together again and everything would be just fine. Even though the end result wasn't picture perfect, it sure beat the alternative.

C'mon. We all have access to this fine medical technology today. Why wouldn't everyone want to take advantage of it? What's more, in the USA, President Bill Clinton signed a bill in 1998 that states if a woman must have a mastectomy, insurance providers must pay for reconstructive surgery.

I cannot imagine what my life would be like today if I had not been able to have reconstructive surgery.    I am also appreciative of all the added bonuses that come along with it. For example, I can wear spaghetti-strapped sundresses and raceback tops and not even bother to wear a bra because I've got what's called "high profile implants." In other words, my breasts are perky, not droopy. That does not go unnoticed among my baby boomer contemporaries.

Guys just silently stare at my "rack" a little too long and some even look puzzled because all the other parts of my body pretty much show my age. But women can be more forthcoming--especially after a glass of wine or two. At a party once a woman flat out asked: "How come you have such perky boobs?" It's such a great ice-breaker. And it sure gets me talking.

Anyway, back to this model Matuska. I am so glad she finally came to her senses after all these years. And I would bet my bottom dollar she's probably asking herself: Why didn't I do thise sooner?

If you ask me, when a life-threatening disease gives you a chance to get a free boob job, don't over think the situation. Just take it.

To see the whole segment on CBS Sunday Morning, click on the video to the right of this post.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer Escape

Sunrise on a Montauk beach.
Since the summers are short and sweet in New England, I make it a priority to get  away to one of our many quaint beachside towns, if only for a few days.

After all, health experts say any kind of respite from the daily stress and grind of work is good for your health.  I say its good for your soul. I'm a cancer survivor. I could argue that taking a break is crucial to preventing a recurrence. Before I got cancer, I missed out on a summer reunion trip to Norway because my employer at the time said there was too much work to do so they couldn't authorize me to take seven days off.

Of course, when I left that job, the incident was forgotten and irreverent to them, but I never got over it. I missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime event to meet 150 Norwegian cousins. From then on I learned to stand firm when it comes to my right to take a vacation--especially in the summer.

That being said, this year I opted to take the ferry boat across the Long Island Sound to visit some old stomping grounds: The Hamptons, Amagansett and Montauk. Back in the '80s I got there often since my brother once had a place there. I noted that the barren stretch between East Hampton and Montauk had significantly built up. The town of Montauk, which I remember being sleepy, is now over-crowded with rollicking 20-somethings acting like animals during mating season.

In my day, that's what was going on in East Hampton and Amgansett. But apparently, all those folks have grown up, settled down with kids and are content to huddle close to their cozy cottages and take quiet strolls along the beach. I see them hit the farmer's market in the morning, stocking up on whatever they need to sustain them for the weekend. I've gotta say, that's exactly what I would be doing, too.

How can you not resist the sound of gentle waves lapping at the beach weekend after weekend? When the scene is accompanied by a sunrise or a sunset, it becomes a fond memory for life. At least that's what it does for me.

As I look at the calendar, I see we only have three more precious weeks of August. So far the month has been wet and cool, which is a surprise for this time of year. I want more beach time before this season draws to a close. In keeping with tradition, I've already read two fast-paced novels in a week at home. But they were meant to be enjoyed along the seaside.

So if I have one wish for this month, it is for one more heat wave to fall upon one more August weekend. That way I will have one more day of summer indulgence: Spending a lazy day looking out at the sea.