Two months after giving birth, I return to the operating table.

The ordeal is smaller this time. It will be outpatient; not even worth mentioning to my friends. Just two small surgeries.
The first surgery will be to replace the temporary implants inserted at the time of mastectomy with more permanent ones. I will be opened up along the existing scars for the implant exchange.

I am tasked with selecting either silicone (more life-like) or saline (zero health risks; zero maintenance until the time of replacement ~ which is roughly every decade with either option.) Not wanting to give any fuel to the arthritis that racks my ribcage, I choose saline. I would prefer a rippling, wrinkly, sloshing water-balloon chest to the pain – or even the possibility of sustaining the pain – of the arthritis. I’ll take weird and ugly over incapacitated any day.

Also while under, I will be having a surgery to remove my ovaries, a laparoscopic bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy. Blah, blah, blah-blah. Because I tested positive for a BRCA I gene mutation (what’s up Angelina Jolie), my risk for ovarian cancer is high. Removal of the ovaries greatly reduces this risk and is recommended by age 40.

Silicon or saline? Oophorectomy now or in 10 years? These are weighty and highly nuanced decisions. I will second-guess them for years.
The oophorectomy in particular will have pervasive, unpleasant side effects that make me question this decision many, many times. But these decisions are about survival, or bettering odds for survival.

Health problems birth a need to make difficult, monumental decisions that are often a roll of dice amongst a table of bad options. You can only do the best you can with the information available to you. I’m pretty sure that’s the advice my Dad gave me anyway.
The surgeries put me in bed for a couple of days and I can't lift my tiny baby for the first week. But once again, my mother is here to lend her hands, and I'm bouncing back before the week is up. Onward we move.

To match the scars curving across both sides of my chest and the pair of small ones below, where the JP Drains exited, I now have two bubbly little slits on either side of my belly button, plus another healing slash across the top of my belly button.
Scars; blazing-forever-imperfections across my deeply imperfect body for my imperfect self to lament.

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