I MISSED our coffee morning last week to attend the Bons Secours hospital in Glasnevin in order to have a new nipple attached to my reconstructed breast.
The girls wished me the best of luck.
"Put the pictures on Facebook," Maggie laughed down the phone. Yeah right.
As I was registering my details, I asked the administrator how long the procedure would take.
"Oh about five minutes," she breezily replied.
I expressed delighted surprise that it would be so quick.
"Wait a minute, what is it you're having done again?" she asked. When I told her she grimaced, shifted in her chair and said, "Ooh that will take a little longer."
She then gave me a sympathetic look that said, 'rather you than me, missus'.
I greeted my plastic surgeon like a long lost friend, stripped off my shirt and positioned myself for marking.
With one eye closed, he measured my real breast with a ruler from my neck bone to my nipple. With these measurements he was able to pinpoint the exact spot where the reconstructed nipple would be attached. No spirit level was required.
"X marks the spot," I said but he was too busy getting scrubbed up.
Suitably garbed he gave me a local anaesthetic. Up to this I had thought that the reconstructed nipple would be attached like Velcro. I didn't realise that my breast would have to be sliced open.
"The nipple is made from real skin and is attached to the blood supply," he explained.
I gulped and closed my eyes. When I opened them again, I noticed that there was reflective glass in the lights above my head and I was able to see exactly what he was doing.
Fascinated, I watched as he cut open my breast and slowly stitched the nipple into place. I couldn't feel a thing. Methodically he sewed away as we discussed the pros and cons of buying women presents for Christmas. I think I convinced him on the merits of just writing a large cheque instead.
After 30 minutes the nipple was in place. It looked so real. He then covered it with a large bandage which will stay in place until the stitches come out next week. I was able to drive myself home.
Later Maggie and Josie called around, ostensibly to see how I was but really to find out the gory details.
"What does it look like?" they both asked in unison.
"It looks like a nipple for God's sake! What did you think it would look like?" I demanded.
"Eh . . . a Malteser?" asked Josie.
"Um . . . a chocolate button?" Maggie offered.
Honestly, there are times when I feel as if I'm living in a parallel universe.