The squash-and-green-bean thing I ate at Fino the other day. The Spinster Aunt of the New Millennium has much in common with this plate of flaccid vegetables.
The results are in! One four-thousand-dollar-genetic-test-that-insurance-won’t-cover later, it turns out that I am a mutant. I have the BRCA2 mutation, one of two mutations known to predispose people to breast cancer. These mutations are known in the biz as ‘deleterious’. That’s because they tend to delete you.
It is quite an exclusive little mutation. I share it with less than 1% of the general human population, and some Ashkenazi Jews, and only 10% of the breast cancerous. Lucky me!
“At least now you know why you got cancer so young!” suggested my health care professional, amiably. She repeated the sentiment a few more times during the debriefing. She is a very nice lady, but in this case somewhat overestimated the extent of my hankering to finger a specific culprit in this casting-of-the-ominous-shadow over my carefree youth. I don’t really give a crap how I got it. I am much more interested in just getting rid of it.
Easier said than done, my young onions. Easier said than done. Because the BRCA2 mutation suggests “an increased risk” (vile, oft-repeated words meaning nothing and everything) of not only a recurrence of breast cancer, but of ovarian (!) and even pancreatic (!!) cancers as well, in August I will undergo what can only be described as a sex change operation. All estrogen must go! By which I mean that I will be saying sayonara to the old uterus, tubes, ovaries, and uniboob. Of course this barbaric prophylaxis in no way guarantees anything. Except, naturally, my rekindled interest in pharmaceutical painkillers.
“You’re still the same person you were yesterday,” remarked my oncologist*, alluding to the fact that I was born with this—pardon my hokiness—ticking time-bomb, and have been as one with it all along. But I’m not the same person I was yesterday. As a matter of fact, I’m now the Bizarro Twisty. Yesterday I was a happy-go-lucky chump who gorged on rich food and loud rock’n’roll. Today I’m a cancerous decaffeinated vegetarian nonsmoking estrogenless square about to have an alarming percentage of my person amputated.
Although—and don’t tell anybody—I’m kinda jazzed about losing the boob. I don’t mean the surgery itself of course; that’s gonna suck shit through hefty bags. I mean that it’s been very odd sporting around town with just a single. One feels unbalanced. Lopsided. Preposterous. I don’t believe I’m capitulating to any inherently patriarchal aesthetic when I say that asymmetry, while desirable in Japanese flower arrangements, is conclusively unnerving when it comes to gazongas.
Other aspects of booblessness appeal to me as well, such as the prospect of chucking all those smush’em sports bras once and for all. Although I suspect that the novelty of going topless at my sister’s WASP-ass country club pool and giving the golden-haired bikini trophy wives a jolt will, sadly, wear off sooner or later.
*My oncologist, by the way, is just hilarious.
Her: So, how’ve you been?
Me: Well, I sprained my knee and my ankle and I can barely—
Her: Unfortunately I can’t make you less clumsy.