This Chapter’s Over. Turn The Page

Yesterday was another pleasant drive into Philadelphia. Little traffic, not much in the way of frustrating drivers, great music and a Venti White Chocolate Mocha from the new drive-through Starbuck’s I pass on the way to the freeway. I drove straight to Penn Tower and found a parking space without the least bit of trouble.

Since I had time to kill I headed up to the Rena Rowan Breast Center on the 14th floor to visit their boutique. I had read about these sisters, one a breast cancer survivor, who started a breast cancer boutique called Faith & Hope in Abington (a Philly suburb). I also read they sell some of their products at the Rena Rowan boutique.

The boutique is shaped a little like a horseshoe. You walk through the doors to see pretty t-shirts, jewelry, car magnets, candles, note cards, and all the “safe” merchandise. As you come to the bottom of the horseshoe there are doors to the back where women can go and try on wigs or bras or whatever they need. It was the oddest thing when I saw one of the rooms. My heart slammed into my breastbone as if someone had jumped out at me. As I wound around to the other side of the boutique I came upon the wigs and scarves and bras and prostheses and surgical camisoles. Subconsciously I wanted to peruse the lingerie and pretty scarves – almost like I was in a dream, but my rational self reminded me I didn’t need any of it.

I didn’t panic and run out, but I had to leave. I’m not even sure if I can put a name to the way I felt. A little sad, possibly, but not much. Maybe a little relieved that I don’t need to frequent the back. I think mostly I was surprised. Surprised at what, I can’t figure out. But it was almost like waking from a dream and thinking, “Oh. I don’t need to be here. I should go.”

So I did. I went back down to the 10th floor, checked in and settled down to read my book.

Sitting in the waiting room of a plastic surgeon’s office is quite an experience. I sit there and surreptitiously observe the other patients, wondering if they’re there for liposuction or a tummy tuck or botox or something noble like reconstruction of some type. Of course, I’m not quite so haughty when I’m in there for the laser hair removal. But yesterday was all about the reconstruction so I could judge. (I’M KIDDING, PEOPLE!)

The nurse called me back and asked for my height and weight. I told her 5’7″ and 125 pounds. Not really. That would have been a heinous lie. Sadly I told her the truth and the horrible facts have been recorded for posterity. I put on my lovely little gown and read some more while I waited for the doctor.

As I’ve mentioned several times, University of Pennsylvania is a teaching hospital which means the doctor can’t go any place alone. I was a little disappointed when he only had one resident in tow instead of a legion. Dr. Serletti and I chatted about Caddy Shack for a few minutes, then he asked how everything was “working out for” me and I said fine. Odd choice of words, don’t you think?

How are your boobs working out for you?

Great! They’re a wonder for opening up stubborn pickle jars!

After the riveting conversation came the part where I opened the gown and posed for pictures. “Oh yeah,” he said. “They look great.” Geesh! It all sounds so seedy! And it surely doesn’t sound very professional, but I promise it was all so very clinical – even with the camera and the other guy in the room. (I shudder to think what kind of perverts are going to find this blog now.)

The entire “exam” lasted about 10 minutes. He checked out my abdomenal scar as well and liked how it had healed. So I am now officially released from the plastic surgeon’s office. Time to recondition my Pavlov’s response – no more flashing my girls for just anyone in a lab coat.

It seems kind of weird. This has been my life for the last year-and-a-half. What excuses will I have to drive into Philadelphia now?

On my way home I stopped off at the Valley Forge Barnes and Noble and met Cristie there again. Of course, the discussion about my doctor’s appointment lead to another one of those discussions. I love how she makes me think (even if I prefer not to) and I’m going to write about yesterday’s discoveries later.

I’m interested to see what the next chapter will be about. I only hope it will provide as much blog fodder as the reconstruction did!


Here’s another post at MWC.


  1. Em on July 10, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I’m glad the chapter is over for you and that things look “great”. LOL I guess I can put away my lab coat now.

  2. Travis Erwin on July 10, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Congrats to you for putting one more hardship behind you.

  3. Becky on July 10, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Sooo glad that chapter is over for you! And I can see how it WOULD be kind of surreal to be perusing the wigs and scarves again.Bummer…no more excuses to flash the girls? LOL! (Did you ever read “Reconstructing Natalie” by Laura Jensen Walker? There is an amusing scene in there where an older woman gets new ‘girls’ after her battle with cancer, and proudly shows them off at her support meetings, lol.

  4. Katybug on July 10, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Boobs that can open a pickle jar. Now THAT would be almost as good as extra arms and hands!!!! 😉

  5. Jenster on July 10, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Becky – I’ve started reading it twice and both times I had to put it away. It was too much for me. BUT I plan on giving it another go later this summer.

  6. mel on July 10, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Please join me for the Saturday Song game. Check out my blog for the button/link. Sing unto Him a new song!

  7. Lynilu on July 10, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Yes, you should get more visits to your blog with postst like this!! LOL! But many will be quick to sign off, too, as your reference to boobs isn’t what they’re looking for! Remember the whole “l*adyp*anty” debacle at my blog?? Lol!! Notice I spared you by not spelling it out completely? You’re welcome!I’m glad you are moving into a new phase of your life-after. It is hard to let go even of the difficult times, isn’t it? Kinda like leaving behind an old friend. 🙂

  8. Stacy~ on July 10, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I’m sure you’re feeling relief and sadness with this new phase of your life, and that is a good thing. It’s amazing how we get used to the hard things and wonder what to do once they’re over. Rejoice, celebrate, and now hopefully only Todd gets to see the girls *g*

  9. His Girl on July 10, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    So, I thought this was a really touching, triumphant post. so cool and wonderful to read this story from this vantage point, the end of this chapter…. and PICKLE JARS?!?!?Oh Man, IS IT OCTOBER YET???

  10. Cheryl Wray on July 11, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Your attitude is so joyful and strong. What a wonderful post!!!

  11. beans on July 11, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Wow, the visual with the pickle jars . . hmm, wonder why you chose a pickle jar versus say a jar of applesause . . . ;)Anyway, I am glad that you can move on from this for now, and appreciate your thoughts about your visit to the boutique. If you still need an excuse to go to Philly, go to kelly Drive and walk around, look at the flowers and the water–much better than flashing boobies-though you might find some of that down there as well, you just never know!All I can say is that you are cool, and I am glad that I get to witness you and all this knowledge and widsom your sharing.

  12. The Daily "B" on July 11, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Jen, Happy Happy Happy that that chapter of your life is closed. The boobs and pickle jar bit… heehee!Awesome post.

  13. Judye on July 21, 2008 at 11:14 am

    After I finished reading this I realized the theme from Mission Impossible had been playing in my head.And what a visual…. boobs for opening the pickle jar. ‘snicker’Cant wait to hear about your trip.Be safe and have fun. Hugs.

Leave a Reply