Marked for not-death


I just got home from a long, long afternoon and evening at the hospital where I’ll be having surgery tomorrow. There were forms upon forms to fill in, repeat blood tests and endless repetition of what is going to be happening tomorrow.

I actually don’t mind the information part. ‘Bring on the information’ should be my middle name. If it wasn’t Ann. The part I could’ve done without was each person reminding me that it was a BIG operation. I know it is. Now you’re just scaring me when I wasn’t all that scared before. I guess it has the added layer of knowledge that I elected for this kind of operation so it’s on me if it goes wrong. There’s plenty that can go wrong. A blood clot (10% risk), the whole thing fails and I wake up with empty boobs (1-2%), embolism, thrombosis, necrosis, bleeding, seroma, infection…

As each box on the consent form gets ticked, my heart sinks.

At the end of the long list, the surgeon looks up and smilingly says “but none of that is going to happen to you.” It works. I’m reassured by his confidence. Apparently my CT scan revealed ‘very nice arteries and veins’ ripe for the picking. I think he would take it as a personal affront should my body reject his skilled work.

Then he used my body as a canvas to create his bloody art.


I haven’t shown you the intense parts of this Sharpie based body art. There are lines, dotted and straight, going across, up, down and through both my breasts. They are lines for cutting, for measuring symmetry and finding medians. They are lines that show me how most of my skin will be removed, folded over and reattached beneath to create new boobs.

I stood in front of him as he sat, boobs at eye level, and he drew on me. I couldn’t decide if it was the fumes from the pen or the total absurdity of my life that was making me dizzy.

The good part about going there today wasn’t that we got all the paperwork or that I’m marked and ready to go tomorrow. Those are things they care about most. The good part was seeing the environment I will be in for the coming difficult days.


This is my bed. It’s a relief to have a window. And a tree. And the sky. The ward was bright and not too hot. The nurses kind and friendly. There are three other beds and ok my neighbour is a bit racist. Yes, I got that message within two sentences of engaging with her. But I intend to be unconscious mostly for the next couple of days so hopefully she’ll be gone by then.

Generally I’m feeling calm and fine about it. Occasionally I get a flash of frustration that I have to go through this ordeal. Occasionally I get a wave of fear wash over me. But generally I feel ok. And now I have to drink four of these crazy pre-op drinks that are basically sugar in water. So imminently I imagine I’ll be feeling up, up, up.


***I go in at 7:15am tomorrow and out by 7/8pm. Adam will update on Facebook and the blog.

20 thoughts on “Marked for not-death

  1. Kamila

    Dear Heidi, thank you for writing and sharing, letting me, among others, to be with you today and also tomorrow in my thoughts. At 07:15 I should be at my desk at work but before starting checking off my many planned tasks I’m going to think about you and… dwell on that.

  2. Lisa

    I’m honored that you share your journey with all of us, Heidi. You’ll be on my mind during your surgery, as I continue to work love and good thoughts into each stitch of the turquoise wrap I’m making for you.

  3. Heidi

    Aaaaaaw Lisa! What a beautiful, beautiful thing of love that will be. I can’t wait to wrap it and your friendship around my shoulders. xxxx

  4. Brenda

    Sending lots of love to you, dear Heidi! You’ve got this! I do have to say, though…I think my Sharpie art was a tad bit cooler than yours. Mine was blue, and my hip-to-hip was pretty much a smiley face. Looking forward to hearing from Adam tomorrow that all is well. xoxo

  5. Ana Maria Ferraro

    My dear, I just read on facebook… You’re in my heart. Though we’ve barely interacted, I feel great admiration for you in what a lovely and exemplary mother and wife you are, and what a remarkable woman you are as is evidenced by everything I’ve read of yours. Much love and warmth to you, dearest Heidi. xoxo

  6. Karen

    Oh darling, your beautiful sleepy face in the picture, you must have been so tired. What a surreal experience the sharpie art must have been. It was strangely comforting to see your bed. I’ve been thinking of you all day and imagining the strange world you must be in. Sending so much love to you and the dude you live with xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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