Breast Navigation Specialist

I was contacted by what sounded like a very young and cute female Breast Navigation Specialist.

I sense the attention of all my male readers just perked up quite a bit.

(God, I hope it’s your ears. And not something else.)

Calm down, boys, because your fantasies – as usual – do not even come close to this reality of what a breast navigation specialist does.

The Breast Navigation Program provides support for women who are undergoing mastectomies. It helps them get items they need after surgery and also gives them with information on how to get emotional support. They also will provide home visits, rides to doctor’s appointments, and even financial assistance for those who need it. 

Some clothing items are covered by insurance, I was told, and they will take care of the pre-authorizations for me.

“Clothing items,” I asked.  “Like what?”

Men, my fantasies can run rampant, too. I’m thinking Prada bags, Jimmy Choo shoes and maybe even a Badgley Mischka gown.

Sadly, we are in the same leaky fantasy sinking boat.  

The item I will get is a camisole for after my bilateral mastectomy. The garment has inside pockets for you to be able to tuck your drains into so they aren’t dangling out when you walk through the grocery store, and I guess it has some padding to fill out your empty space.

I’m sure you cancer-free folks are wondering what I mean when I say drains. After a mastectomy, fluid gathers in your chest with nowhere to go, so they leave airline tubing in you that drains that fluid into a bulb-like device. I may have one drain or two (per side), depending on how many lymph nodes need to go. These drain bulbs need to be emptied often and are left hanging from your body like Christmas lights until there is only a small amount of fluid draining out of them. Hence, the need for a garment with inside pockets to hold the drains. You don’t want them peeking out from under your clothes, attracting small dogs and scaring children.

I know, I know. Sexy, hugh? Just what every man wants to see dangling from his wife.

So, I am suppose to go pick up my camisole on Tuesday morning. I also will be getting some information about free massages, art therapy classes (where presumably I’ll be painting pictures of breast-less women until I feel better), and meditation and visualization classes.

I’m so visualizing a top shelf margarita, right now.

I wish I could give you a description or photo of this garment but I can’t, as the very kind breast navigation people didn’t bother to show up for my appointment.

My appointment was at 10:00. I love getting up in the morning earlier than usual, so I can go for my walk, go to work for a couple hours so I can go get this garment. And as much as I love the idea of going in to have my breast cut off and having to wear a garment like that, so I wasn’t thrilled about not getting what I needed. But this is the day before surgery, I wanted to sleep until 10:00, do some chores, prepare the house, maybe take a bubble bath and relax – but I wasn’t able to talk them up to 1:00 – so I booked it.    

I’ll probably need that garment, right?

I set my alarm for 5:30 and left the house at 6:00. Finished my walk by 7:30 and at the office by 7:45. I work until 9:30 and drive over the the strip mall the store is located in. This place is situated between a barber shop and Little Cesar’s Pizza.

The place is called the  “A Woman’s Touch” which is a name so nonsensical that I can’t even joke about it. It was 9:55 and nobody was there, so I figured I was just a little early. Maybe whoever works there doesn’t like to get up early either.

I wondered around the strip mall and checked the the other stores.  Still nobody there. 

I called the number on the door, no answer. 

I  waited a few more minutes and then checked out their sign and hours. Yep, they were late but aha! I called it again…and got voice mail. I left a message – and by now I was pretty upset. This hadn’t been my idea and I’m undergoing major surgery tomorrow to remove one of my body parts and the people who had called ME to offer sympathy  and make the appointment didn’t bother to show up? I didn’t say that though, just said “Here I am, where are you” while trying not to simultaneously cry and yell.  

I waited 15 minutes and all the other things I had to do started weighing on my mind. Nobody is getting back to me, nobody called her to leave a message for me- they flat out forgot. How long do I wait?  It is 10:15 now, do I leave at 10:30?  11:00? Now? I need to get some dinners made, clean my crap off the dining room table….maybe do a load of laundry so I don’t have to later with one arm. So, I chose now. But, not before I pulled a sticky note out of my bag and wrote this:

“5-24-2016.  10:15.  I had a 10:00 appointment to pick up a post-mastectomy camisole before my surgery tomorrow and nobody is here.  Thank you for your help during this trying time.”

Too snarky?  I think not snarky enough.

Oh…they never called me back. I never got my camisole. I used an apron with pockets to hold the drain bulbs.

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