Lisa W. Rosenberg | Longreads | November 2018 | 15 minutes (3,844 words)
Dr. Alvarez furrowed his brow, crouching to view my right breast head-on, inscribing something on it with a dark blue marker — a map for his scalpel.
“You’ll notice a real laterality here,” he said, glancing up at one of his two male assistants, presumably residents. “Not so much on the left.”
“Yeah,” The younger physician concurred. “Wow.”
I bit my lip, amused. I was too giddy to be mortified. Nothing in life prepares you for a situation where three guys in white coats marvel at the nuances of, and the contrast between, your breasts. I sat, compliant, tolerant. My greatest wish was coming true. On the other side of this day would be relief from my aching middle back, from carrying around twin entities that had never felt like mine, and which had contributed to a struggle with body image that lasted through my mid-40s.
When Dr. Alvarez finished marking me up, he asked if I had any more questions before they wheeled me in for anesthesia. He had explained everything already: what kinds of I incisions would be made for minimal scarring, what the healing process would be like, how long before I’d be able to run.
“How small can we go?” I said, though we’d been over this as well.
“A C-cup,” he said. “Any smaller would compromise the integrity of the breast.”
Integrity and my breasts had never belonged in the same sentence as far as I was concerned. I felt no guilt about my choice, no reservations. A woman I’d met at physical therapy a few weeks before, who had overheard me talking about the upcoming surgery, had clicked her tongue at me.
“God don’t mess up,” she’d said.
But he did in my case, I’d wanted to tell her. I pictured a boob conveyor belt where God’s helpers — whoever they might be — awarded specially-selected, custom-designed boobs for every female in the queue. I imagined a woman in line before me: broad, tall and brash, with frosted, feathered, Barbara Mandrell hair, pausing to fix her slingback heel. Then me, pushed forward, forced to take the double E knockers that God had designed for her, instead of the nice, delicate A cups intended for my slight frame.
“A B-cup might be nice.” I told Dr. Alvarez.
“I’ll do my best,” he said.