July 8, 2006
Secret Fears
Originally posted on the Breast Health Online forum

David is out in the kitchen, cooking.  I can hear the clank and clatter of pots and pans, even from two rooms away with headphones strapped over my ears. Soon our tiny apartment will fill with dinner aromas: pasta with homemade pesto, steamed vegetables, broiled chicken with some of that good apricot marinade we bought at the fruit market in Castroville last weekend.

I'm not especially hungry.  Ever since we booked my surgery date, my appetite seems to have shrivelled away to nothing: I think it must be nerves. But I'll make a show of eating his cooking anyway. He is such a good man: he treats me like a queen. The least I can do is feign appreciation for his culinary efforts, even if my stomach feels as clenched and unforgiving as a fist.

What AM I worried about, exactly?

The anesthesia, for one thing. I'm worried about being knocked out for the surgery. I've only had one experience with general anesthesia, when I was twelve years old and had a couple of molars extracted. Nothing since then. The idea of surrendering consciousness -- of surrendering complete control of my body to a surgeon's scalpel --
is a pretty scary thing to contemplate.  

I'm worried about the time I'm going to miss from my job, too.  I've been with the company for less than a year, and I've already taken off a fair amount of time for various medical reasons. I don't think my job will be in any jeopardy if I need more time to recover than originally planned (I'm asking for a week to start). But on the other hand, I AM trying to build a reputation for reliability. I like to be where I say I'll be, WHEN I say I'll be there. I like the fact that my boss can count on me. Historically this hasn't always been the case.

And -- I'll admit it -- I'm worried about David, and about how he's going to feel about my breasts after the reduction.  Right from the beginning he has made it clear that while he loves my body, just the way it is, he will support me in any medical decisions I make.  I know that he loves me with his whole heart. Still  ...  I worry. This is a man who was visibly squeamish over last year's infected ingrown toenail. How on earth is he going to react to my breasts covered in scars and bandages?  We'll talk about all of these issues before the surgery, of course, and we'll deal with them, and in the end we'll be just fine. The smart part of me knows that.

But sometimes we have no control over the secret fears of our heart.

He comes into the bedroom carrying a plate. "Do you want your salad now?" he asks. "Or do you want to wait and eat it with the rest of your dinner?"  He has concocted a lovely blend of romaine, quartered tomatoes, sliced yellow peppers and garlic croutons.  The salad bowl has been chilled, and a clean napkin is folded and tucked beneath the salad fork.

"It looks great," I lie to him.  And I take the bowl from his hand and dig in.

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