Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Tale of Two Titties



This post is all about breasts...or mamary glands...or whatever you call them...Tits, Tatas, Boobs, Bazongas, Gazongas, Ninnies, Fried Eggs, Bazockies, Hooters, Fun Bags, Muffins,Globes, Bosom, Cha-Chas, Chesticles,  etc.


Specifically, this is all about mine because next week I'm having surgery to remove my implants permanently. The bottom line...or top line.. is that;
A. I am concerned for my health and 2. I don't like the way they look or feel. Frankly, I'd like to be able to take a Zumba class without the fear that I'll end up with two black eyes.

I spent a great deal of my life almost completely flat chested. Unlike my friend and co-star Alison Arngim, who grew enormous boobs when we were teenagers, mine never really came to fruition.

I have to say, when the boob fairy did wave her wand, she granted me great boobs (I'm not going to share any photos here. If you want to research visuals of my boobs over the decades, you're going to have to do that all on your own). They were right for my body-type. Perfect A cups. I was a proud, card-carrying member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee.

I had no desire to have a Jessica Rabbitesque figure.
Not that there's anything wrong with a Jessica Rabbit-esque figure. In fact that image was pounded into my head repeatedly. I found that very confusing. During the last few seasons of little house I was made to wear a padded bra.
When I did the re-make of Splendor in the Grass (one of the worst performances of my career, by the way), those in charge, put me in a girdle, a corset, a padded bra and even painted cleavage on me!
They also shaded the sides of my nose so it wouldn't look so wide.
The message I got at the tender age of 17 was that-it was better for me to look like this;


                                                               Than this;

Which is how I looked two years later in the movie Sylvester. No make-up. no painted on cleavage. Just me. Though by then, the messages had been heard loud and clear and I'd had my nose fixed.

Now, you might think there was undue pressure on me to look a certain way but let's face it ladies, we are pressured and bombarded with messages from the moment we can read for ourselves.
The headlines are everywhere, "Friends worry because ___ is too thin!" "A close friend says they are worried because ____ is too fat!" "Wow!! ___ has lost the baby weight!"
I mean look at some of these titles;


and Don't even get me started about fashion magazines. Am I right ladies? If you really want to feel like a troll living under a bridge, read one of those. Every time I open those pages I'm positive that this;
is what I'm going to see when I look in the mirror!


                                                           Then there's this shit!

                                                          Oh!My!God!
What are we telling young women and girls? UGH!


And another thing...what's with all the plastic surgery billboards?

I've done a lot of cross-country driving the last few years and I swear it looks like this all over America;






 How's that for mixed messaging.

This is our culture. It has been for a long, long time and I fell right into it. I believed that, not only would I work more, but people would love me more if I looked a certain way.
Sad but true. My self-image was in the proverbial toilet.
Strangely enough though, it didn't extend to my breasts. I really was happy with them. small (A cups) but low maintenance.

Most importantly, they served their purpose well.
I was 24 when got pregnant with my first son, Dakota.
My boobs grew, and grew, and grew. It was kind of fun to watch. Sort of an interesting experiment in human anatomy. At their peak they filled C cups.
I loved breast-feeding and I was good at it.
I think that breast feeding is one of the greatest gifts a woman can be given by the universe.
For me, breast feeding created a perfect circle of love, nurturing, bonding and connection with another human being.

I nursed Dakota for close to a year. He weaned himself. I'd have nursed him forever but, he was he was much more excited by pasta with pesto sauce;


So, my milk disappeared and so did my boobs. They went back to their original size but...not their original place.
They were lower....much, much lower.
Not Magda in Something About Mary low but low...
I didn't include an image of Magda's boobs. I'm trying to maintain some decorum here but you get the idea....

I was left feeling a bit uncomfortable about my breasts but it was so worth it to have my beautiful, healthy son;



And then my husband at the time, referred to my boobs as......and I quote....
"Socks full of marbles with knots at the top."

I know! I know!!........you're thinking, "who says this to the woman they love!?"

What you should really be wondering is why the hell I just accepted his cruel comment as fact!
I didn't cry, yell, admonish or punch him in the badoobies...(I stole that word from the film Tootsie. It's a great word for testicles.)

Anyway, I took his words to heart. After that I rarely went bra-less. That includes while sleeping, making love etc.  I also had to get all new bras. Not any old bras either, my new bra collection was full of heavy duty, padded, under-wired, supernaturally-lifting miracle-bra-like devices.


A few years later we got divorced. Not only because of the sock comment. Although the sock comment was symptomatic of all that was wrong between us.
And there I was, single and feeling enormously insecure about my breasts.
Dating posed the terrifying prospect of the guy I chose to make love with next, undoing my bra and running away in abject terror.


Then and there, without doing any research, I made the decision, to get my breasts augmented.
Not too big, just enough to fill up the "socks".
I also made sure to find a surgeon who would make my breasts look really natural. I absolutely didn't want them looking high or bulbous or porny or just plain scary......



After my consultation with the doctor I decided to go with saline implants under the muscle. At that time, silicone implants had become very controversial. Research was linking them to all sorts of issues. Particularly frightening, was the possibility of a permanent auto-immune disease like Lupus.

The surgery went perfectly. I was sore for a while after but nothing too awful and my boobs looked really natural.
Most importantly,...and most pathetically really...my self-esteem went back up.

A few more years went by and my boobs and I remained great friends.


Then I got pregnant again and the whole human anatomy experiment began again. This time things were different. My boobs started out bigger so, naturally, they grew bigger.

Then our son, Michael was born 12 weeks early.
I knew that my milk needed to be extra nutritious and plentiful.

So I pumped and pumped and pumped. I pumped day and night. Every four hours around the clock.
I pumped at home and at the hospital and I froze the milk until it was safe for Michael to begin eating. I pumped so much That I filled the entire freezer side of our side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. with breast milk.
(I have to give credit for this photo to Lindsay Woolf. I borrowed it from her blog as I never took a picture of our freezer but this is exactly what it looked like.)

Michael got frozen milk and pumped milk until he was big enough to breast feed. Then he came home and we locked ourselves in the house for months while I fed him every two hours.I actually gained weight after he was born but it was so worth it. Michael went from this;


                                                                     
                                                                        To this;


and my boobs?...well...they were enormous. At their peak, they were a double E!
specifically 34EE!!


Michael nursed for a little over a year. Eventually, he too preferred pasta with pesto sauce;



My well-used boobs went back to their previous B cup. A tad lower but still a bit perky-ish because the implants were there holding them up.

In 2004 I started seeing a lot of articles about breast implants and how they have a "shelf-life". The researches were recommending that they be replaced every 10-15 years. Mine were already about 12 and they had stared to look at bit odd......
 So I made the decision  to replace the implants and do a breast lift.

This time my doctor talked me into using silicone implants. Studies had shown that there was less possibility of leakage and contracture and they stayed softer and more natural and blah, blah, blah..
Besides, the saline ones were in a silicone shell so I convinced myself it was okay since I already had silicone in my body and I was fine. Oy!

After surgery I was left with lovely, perky full B/C cups,which I showed off proudly in a very low-cut gown at the SAG awards that year. The irony of the fact that I was president of SAG when my breasts were doing the opposite of sagging is not lost on me.

Once again my breasts and I were friends.


But, something was nagging at me. I couldn't shake the idea that my implants had a shelf life.
They would have to have them replaced every 10-15 years for the rest of my life.
It was possible that at 80 years old I might have to get new implants! Huh??
I also began thinking a lot about the silicone in my body and what might go wrong.

So I did some research and found a surgeon in Santa Monica who specialized in this surgery. I even saw this physician's work first hand. Her work was just beautiful so I met with her. She walked me through the procedure and recovery. I was then given a print out of all the details;
9-12 hours of surgery!!!
$38,000.00 in costs that my insurance would absolutely not cover!!! And that cost was not including my stay at the recovery place with the nurses etc for $900.00 per night!
What the fucking fuck!

There as no way! There was no way I was going under anesthesia for 9-12 hours for elective surgery. No fucking way. And if I'm being totally honest, there was no way I could afford it.
You know all of those "How much Celebrities are Worth" websites?
like this one...
http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/actors/melissa-gilbert-net-worth/
It's a bunch of bullshit!

I had spent most of my life pressured to look a certain way and I believed the hype. The height of this obsession with my outward appearance culminated with my appearance on the dancing show.


It was all about spray tan and glitter and glamor and what other people think and being skinny, way too skinny!! Yuck!!

I stayed in that head space for several months after that. Then I had a rude awakening.  A 300 pound patio cover collapsed on my head. It was like the universe smacking me in the head and screaming,"WAKE UP MELISSA!!!!"


Wake up I did. It was like a light switch going on. The shallowness of my existence at that point brought me to my knees. I had to change. I had to look inward and address my issues (this looking inward is a constant process by the way).
It was time for me to change. I had to focus on what was real and true. I'd lost myself somehow. It might even have been this;


Three years later, here I am...still changing....still growing. I am in a place where I am truly happy with myself. Sometimes I feel bad about my falling face and disappearing neck and I think I look like this;



but most of the time, I'm really happy with the way I look. I'm enjoying aging. It's not going badly either. This is me just a few days ago;



Now back to the boobieness of it all....after a great deal of thought and research I have found a surgeon here in Michigan who is going remove my implants forever!
As it turns out, the surgery should take no more than 2-4 hours not 9-12, and will cost considerably less than $38,000.00. In fact, the implant removal will probably be covered by my insurance. Our out of pocket fee is for the lift only.
I had a breast MRI a few days ago followed by my pre-op appointment with my surgeon. My sweet husband went with me. He is perfectly supportive of my decision to do this. He only wants me to be healthy.
My surgery is next week. As soon as I feel well enough post-op, I am going to attempt to blog my way through this process.

In the meantime, if you are thinking about any sort of elective plastic surgery please don't just go with the first physician you find. Do the research. Talk to people who have been through it. Read blogs written by people who've been through it....kind of like this one. And most importantly be healthy and take care of yourself but don't overdo it.
Aging is a gift not a curse. 
Love yourself.
You are perfectly beautiful.
You are enough.
 

Wishing you the happiest of New Years,
xoxo,
Tits McGee





Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Long Time No Blog

I know...it's been an awfully long time since my last blog. I told you when I first started this endeavor that I would probably be the least consistent blogger in the ...well....universe....and apparently I am.

It's just that my life has been so full and busy. And, quite frankly, between Twitter, Facebook, texting and the actual phone itself, I've felt like all I do is update folks on the goings-on around here.
Here being HERE;
This picture is what our home looked like during the Polar Vortex.

Every time I heard or read that word, I felt like I was living in a sci-fi novel or show. I mean really Polar Vortex!?! A bit dramatic, don't you think?
Mind you, it was tragic for some and it was really, really cold.
Around here it looked like this;
but it definitely didn't look like this
We were lucky. We only lost power briefly. We stayed warm and cozy inside through most of it. Except for the two times I had to drive kind of far away. The first time was a futile attempt to get to a recording studio about 40 minutes away. I got stuck in the snow...... twice. Thwarted completely on my last turn.Thanks goodness for the man who got out of his car and gave me a push.

My next drive was to the airport in Detroit to pick up my youngest son. That drive normally takes me about 45 minutes. TWO HOURS LATER... I arrived.

It was really scary. It was nighttime, about -20 out and the roads were all ice. Black ice. I think my maximum speed was 25 miles per hour on what is normally a 70 mile per hour highway. There were cars ploughed into the snow all over. Tow trucks pulling them out here and there.
Scary, scary stuff but I made it there and back with my son safely home.
I figure I am now officially and Ice Road Trucker.
Okay, maybe not an Ice Road Trucker...let's just call me an Ice Road Poseur.

Here's the thing about this winter. At least from where I...um...sit...
It's the worst winter the US has seen in 20 years..BUT...I'm loving it because I know it will make spring that much more glorious. Then we'll have summer and then fall, which is breathtaking here and winter again. It fascinates and exhilarates me.

You see, I come from LA. Basically the weather is the same....ALL THE FREAKIN" TIME! It almost never changes. It's pretty but it gets boring. It really does. And the smog Oh my lord! If everyone in LA could spend one year living here, breathing this clean perfect air, they'd know the difference.
I don't know, now that I'm out of LA I'm noticing that more than just the weather changes, faces do too!
In LA many many people have the same face.
You know that face; the frozen forehead, skin stretched tight against freakishly plump cheeks. Teeny tine little noses. And those lips! You know what I mean, those overfull fishy looking lips.
Hey, I was totally guilty of it myself in the past. I did botox for a couple of years and even tried some filler here and there but, it just wasn't me.
Here's a perfect example of the difference;
Me at a premiere in LA a few years ago
I kind of look like Carrot Top don't I?
Look at that waxy forehead! And my cheeks are too full. And I have no lines around my eyes! Mind you, I am all made up and fancy for this picture too and my dear friend Jeffrey did an amazing job on my make up. I mean it's not crazy unnatural but just..not..me.

Now this is me!!!


This picture was taken of me this past fall. First thing in the morning. No make-up. No botox. No fillers...no nuthin'! Now, isn't that better?
It certainly feels better.

Listen, I'm nearly 50 years old and I want to age gracefully.
Have you seen Jessica Lange lately? Oh my God! She is amazing. I watch American Horror Story:Coven and I am mesmerized by her. She is a brilliant actress but, she is also incredibly beautiful and looks absolutely age appropriate. SEE?:
This was two years ago. I chose this photo because she is a bit animated. If you watch her on TV now you can see that she is all natural. Everything on her face moves. It's magnificent!

Now I don't know Jessica Lange personally...though I'd LOVE too...so I can't speak about her personal life or anything, but I can tell you that for me, the number one factor in looking healthy is happiness.

I have found true, real happiness here in my little town. My home is peaceful. My children are well. I'm madly in love with the most extraordinary man. I am content.

The biggest change in me, is that I am finally living a pain-free life.
You might have caught the National Enquirer's take on my condition a few weeks back. You might not, it doesn't matter.

I recently got a request to do an exclusive with one of those glossy tabloid magazines about all of this stuff and I said no.
I thought, why have someone filter my story when I have this platform to share my tale right here.

So here goes;
Since I was about 9 years old, I've had horrible migraines. Just awful, crippling headaches that, if I don't catch them in time, lay me up for days.

These migraines went untreated for decades. Just advil and the occasional stronger narcotic prescribed by a well-meaning Doctor.

I've also had neck issues. I am fused at C4-5. That was solved with the fusion though and didn't bother me a bit until 2012.
In 2012 I suffered two bad accidents that re-injured my neck and gave me two concussions.

My migraines went out of control then. No medication worked and I spent many hours in ERs with IVs and pain meds and steroids and benedryl and ice and heat and everything to make the headaches stop.
It was really torturous.

Then I found the Doctors and therapists at www.mhni.com

I have been in their care for the last several weeks. Here's what's wrong with me and how they are fixing it;
I have a genetic pre-disposition for migraines from my birth father's side of the family.
I also get menstrual migraines every month
Structurally there are bulging discs above and below the fused disc in my neck which are pinching the nerves and causing headaches.
I also have a wicked case of TMJ.

My treatment is multidisciplinary. I am on all new medications for the migraines. Preventative meds and rescue meds. None of them are opiates or narcotics. None of them cause rebound headaches and I take them exactly as recommended.
I get regular blocks in the occipital nerve in the back of my head which hurt a lot but give me nearly instant, long lasting relief.
I also get deep facet blocks in the nerves in my neck which are working but they are a work in progress, as my Dr finds the right nerves to inject and then eventually ablate.
In fact, I'm having a facet block this morning and my tummy is growling like crazy because I'm not allowed to eat before the sedation.

So there you have it. I am sharing this because so many on twitter have responded to the bits and pieces I can post there. So may people suffer from these awful, dark, debilitating headaches.

I cannot recommend MHNI more highly. They have saved me from chronic pain.

So, if you look at the pictures of me again, now you can really see. The first one is a false face. A woman hiding chronic pain under a lot of artifice.
The second picture is a happy woman who has emerged from decades of pain.

Blessing abound. Truly they do.


I leave with my dog Josephine next Monday to begin our book tour.
 so if you watch, you'll see my face and hers on GMA and various other shows. We have signings in NY, LA, Ann Arbor and Detroit coming up. I'll post on Twitter as soon as I know dates and times.

And I will be beaming and happy because I have everything, love, health and peace.

I wish that for all of you too.

xoxo,
M




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beauty and Fear

Hi readers of my blog!

I warned you that I might not be writing too often....and I guess I'm living up to that warning. Life just gets so busy. Especially with a cross-country move!

I am happy to say that we are in our new home and settling in comfortably. It's taken much more energy and time than I imagined it would but, our kitchen is up and running

and now I'm just dealing with hanging pictures, chandeliers etc and unpacking the last of the boxes.
This is all going to be fairly slow going as I am also trying to keep up with laundry, working out, gardening, and just general life stuff.

There just aren't enough hours in the day,


arms on my body


or brains in my head


to do this all with any kind of speed.




Here's an idea of what is happening so far;
Dining Room
 Corner of Main Entry
 Main Entry

 Dad's Wall
 Office ( yes, one is mine, one is his)


As you can see we have a ways to go but it's really starting to come together.

Now for the other part, the emotional part of making a move like this.

It's just scary. It really is but I've never let a little fear slow me down..EVER.
If you know me at all, you know that if somethings scares me, I will stick my chin out and do it.

Which is exactly how I dove into this move. I just leaped and assumed the net would appear.
It did...the net appeared...but I have to say this is all so new. It's like living in an alternate universe sometimes.

I'm making friends slowly, which is how that process goes for me. I don't trust easily. I've been burned more times than I can say.

Mostly, I am spending time with The Boy and the animals and, on weekends, with The Husband.
 See, he works in Chicago but comes home every Friday.

God, how I miss him when he's not here. The first night after he leaves, I cannot sleep a wink. Mostly because I sleep better wrapped in his big gentle arms and also because when he leaves I am on guard duty.

Now, I know in my head, that I am perfectly safe here. We have all of the security we need and we live in a real neighborhood where people watch out for each other all the time. We've even struck up a friendship with our Chief of Police. Nothing bad happened here, ever.
Nothing will...but...but...but..try tellin that to my heart!

This past Sunday I was a wreck. Crying when The Husband left and awake all night.
It didn't help that we watched The Call that afternoon and the image of the girl being dragged out from under the bed where she was hiding, kept replaying in my head.



By 2:00 am ish...when I finally did fall asleep, I had a very realistic Zombie Apocalypse dream.

Jeez! I don't watch, The Walking Dead. I don't play video games. I read World War Z years ago and was fine. I've seen zombie movies but not recently.

Why the zombie dream now?

And why, dear God, did it have to be in black and white!!

I woke up at 5:45 in a sweat (which is nothing new....the sweat part....silly hormones.) absolutely sure that a black and white zombie with a dark suit and graveside flowers stuck in his chest was walking up my stairs to get me.



In fact, it scared me so bad, I waited until sunrise to get in my car and drive to the Sparrow Lab in Okemos to get my blood work done to check the hormones that make me sweat and cry and probably don't help at all with Zombie Apocalypse dreams!!

Then something amazing happened! I was driving on I96 West, and I saw the most beautiful sight I've seen in a long time. The sun was rising behind me in a big orange ball and the land all around me was waking up. Before me there were stand of trees...wooded areas surrounding large open meadows and fields of crops. The sky above was a pale blue, dotted with perfectly painted white clouds. The clouds looked like someone had pulled cotton balls apart and swiped them across the sky. Over every meadow or field there was a mist...like an Irish mist...just hanging there.

It kind of looked like this;


I was thunderstruck and immediately began to weep and I thought, "Does everyone on this highway see how beautiful this is? Do the Michiganders know what beauty there is to be found here? Or do they just drive their commute, not seeing any of it?"

I promised myself that I would never tire of the beauty that can be found here. Just as I've promised myself over and over that I'm not going to lose my excitement when I see a fireflies in my garden


So, I had my blood work done, (FYI-Michiganders, the women at the Sparrow Lab on Grand River in Okemos are amazing!!) then I got in my car for the drive back.

The sun was up and my GPS had me drive back using a different route. I was on the phone with The Husband when it happened again.

This time the sun was up and the mist was gone but left behind was a fine dew over everything. It looked like the landscape had been covered in crystals. everything was sparkling and fresh and new and ALIVE. I opened the window and could even smell it in the air...a crisp, crystalline freshness unlike anything I've known.

And right now, right this second, it all comes together....I've never known anything like this. This love. This view. This house. This life. This pace. This stillness. This peace.
Unprecedented serenity and beauty.



I slept like a rock last night for eight hours. I dreamt about farms and fields and sun and woke up happy.

I don't think I would really have appreciated the beauty of what I experienced unless I'd experienced the fear before it.

I mean, I'd have seen it but it wouldn't have been as impactful.

So I'm thinking that is the reason that everything is cyclical. Fear/Beauty..Light/Dark...Death/Life Joy/Sorrow...Summer/Winter.... Grief/Healing.

I can't have one without the other.  No one can.

So I will continue on this adventure and take what comes and try to appreciate every moment, nuance and season.
I mean, really, when you think about it, what other choice do we have.

I am off now to weed and prune in my garden.


It's time to cut things back so they can grow again in the spring......
hmmmmmmm...
and what was that I was just saying about cycles and seasons?......

Oceans of love to you all,
Me