There is no free lunch, dammitPosted: February 25, 2011 Filed under: breast cancer | Tags: breast cancer, cancer battle, DIEP, economics, hospital, margaritas, microsurgery, new boobs, no free lunch, opportunity cost, plastic surgery, reconstruction, seedy bars, tummy tuck 18 Comments
Some things just go together like peas & carrots, as Forrest Gump would say. Like idiot people & dumb comments. I’m still scratching my head about this one, but am putting it behind me and moving on. I’m trying, people, really trying, to smile sweetly and listen open-mindedly, but I don’t think I can stand it any longer. Do I really have to listen to one more person tell me how lucky I am to be getting “a free tummy tuck?” Reconstruction is serious business, people, and while I’m all for finding some good in a difficult situation, I AM NOT GETTING A FREE TUMMY TUCK. Yes, I realize I was shouting, and I apologize.
First of all, it’s not free. It comes with a whole slew of costs. While I may not be paying cash out of pocket, there are costs. Boy howdy are there costs. Any economist will tell you that even if something appears to be free, there is always a cost to the person or to society as a whole. I know this because I almost failed Economics in college and had sticky notes with econ principles taped all over my apartment that semester. (My near-failing grade had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the class was taught by a wickedly cute TA who made it hard to concentrate. Yes, we flirted, then I was stupid enough to assert that I needed to earn my grade in the class and not coast on his goodwill and the fact that we drank beer together a few times at a seedy bar. True story. So stupid. The assertion, not the flirting.)
This “free” tummy tuck comes with a hip-t0-hip scar; 6 Jackson-Pratt drains, 5 nights in the hospital; 4 weeks of sleeping upright and in a chair; not being able to raise my arms for a week; a ban on lifting anything heavier than 5 lbs for a month; and no workouts for 6 weeks. Oh, and if you’re wondering how soon I will be able to get back out on the tennis court…don’t. Don’t wonder, don’t bring it up, don’t ask. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even speculate. Got it?
Can we talk about opportunity cost? Please, let’s talk about anything other than how long I’ll be on the DL for tennis. While I’m not paying actual money for this surgery, there’s plenty of opportunity cost, which means that to get one thing that we want, we usually have to give up another thing that we want. This is the idea behind the “no free lunch” adage. We could delve into economic efficiency, utilization of resources, societal costs, and other economic principles, but we don’t need to because (a) they’re pretty boring; (b) I never really learned them that well in the first place because of the prof crush & beer; and (c) all we really need to know is there’s no free lunch. Plus, I think I burned the textbook after that class was over. Bad, really bad.
Yes, I will come out of this surgery with a flatter stomach (something I could easily get from more time in the gym, BTW). And, as my cousin Susie said, I’ll be waking up to a nice present (new boobs). Both are true. But they’re not free. I reminded her, and will remind everyone who will listen, that I was pretty happy the way I was.
I don’t know where this place is or who these people are, but after all this talk of economics and surgery stuff, I want to go there. I might even stand in line for an “extreme” margarita. Don’t know what that entails, but I know I want one. Or two. Maybe I can even get a free lunch.
Just like the idiot comments I get about being SO LUCCCKKYYY to have a thyroid condition! Thin is in, ya know! OH BROTHER!!!!!!!!!!!
And here I am trying to teach economics to high school troublemakers. I too hate the silver-lining brigade. You know what? Some things just suck. Plain and simple, and don’t try to tell me otherwise. There is nothing good about cancer, its removal from the body or the repair work done afterward. Don’t even dust off that old chestnut, “at least you’re alive” because you were already alive before all this started!! So you’re back where you started after going through a lot of pain?! Well, yes, you sure are lucky. Thanks for pointing out the bright side, now go away.
Ed, maybe you need to drink beer with your students in seedy bars. No, scratch that. Bad idea; they’re in enough trouble anyway. And beer is likely too tame for them.
Some people are just idiots. Glad you are not one of them. The recuperation sounds dreadful. No “lucky” in any of this. You will somehow get through it a day at a time.
Thanks for making me sound like an alcoholic, Barb: one day at a time! Love it! I am kinda thirsty…
How did you manage to get a free tummy tuck? Did you win it in a Gastric lottery? Did I miss the promotion at Tummy’s R Us? Did oublishers clearing house send an EMT unit to your house???…..
spread the humor: charlywalker.wordpress.com
ha ha, Charly! Publishers Clearinghouse indeed!
oops spell check and dyslexic fingers don’t mix…….Publisher’s clearing house..
Way to go! I love that you just put it all out there. Some things don’t really have the silver lining people seem to be looking for. The intense reconstructions are not an easy surgery or recovery. I am not looking forward to mine other than the fact that it will mean I am done with everything else.
Mandi, me too! Can’t wait to be done with everything else, or as done as we ever get with this whole mess.
I, on the other hand, will not be doing reconstruction, because I think it’s all ‘too much’ for me – as you described, it’s not easy. The comments I get ALL THE TIME is ‘why won’t you take the free boobs?!’
Fuck off already.
I’m glad you posted this, I’m getting annoyed at the same mentality. Nothing about cancer is ‘free’ or ‘cheerful’ and as much as we all ‘stay positive’ (that comment can also suck it) – there is nothing to be gained from this turmoil.
Michelle, I too thought no way do I want reconstruction, and it is “too much” but because of the infection they need to get in there and clean up the mess, so might as well come out of that with something beneficial. You’re right, nothing about this “cancer journey” is free or cheerful, and I’ve learned that it’s ok to not be positive all the time. And that it’s also ok to tell people to suck it!
Michelle captured it perfectly, “fuck off already” indeed!
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