One of the problems I’ve found with having a brand new set of tits is the question of if and when to tell suitors prior to any shirtless situation. I still have scars, so I know that the topic should be broached prior to any upper-half undressing, lest I have to stutter some explanation about falling down a flight of stairs with a set of steak knives. Because I haven’t had playtime with anyone who didn’t know me and my body before surgery, addressing the issue hasn’t been more than a fleeting bout of anxiety prior to arriving on a first date, anxiety that inevitably ends with me bestowing a bro hug and affixing the dude firmly in the friend-I-don’t-text-back zone.
All of this changed last week.
I’ve been seeing a new guy, and while it’s nothing serious (and judging by my robot-like failure at pair-bond formation, it won’t be) it has progressed to the point of me tailing his car back to his house after dinner in order to catch the third period of an Isles game we were watching at a bar.
I might be small, but I’m not dumb. I knew what would happen, I just hoped it would occur after the shoot-out heroics of Okposo. I’m lucky I have good ears and a pretty good imagination. While having Howie Rose play my personal Barry Manilow, my new fellow went to work trying to get me to fuck him.
Wasn’t gonna happen. He plays offense and I only put out that easy for goalies.
As we made out, and my cochleae tried to process the overtime action I couldn’t see on account of the action happening in my face, it occurred to me that this dude didn’t know my boobs were made via medicine. When should I disclose prior to the big reveal? Would he feel their unnaturally round and hard shape and think I was a goddess, or just a really piss-poor liar? Or, worse, and most untrue, that I had some sort of shame surrounding my surgery?
“I…I have something to tell you. Two things, actually,” I awkwardly stammered, his face mere millimeters from my own.
Already aware of how boy brains work, and I knew that, at this point, if he was savvy, he thought I was going to mention
- a) a boyfriend
- b) a divorce
- c) an STD or STI
“I want to go slower than I usually would,” I said, which, while true, sounded slutastically stupid. “Because I like you,” I hastily added, lying like a shag carpet. It was actually because I didn’t want to leave the room with the television and because I was lukewarm on the turned-on scale. “Also, my breasts? Aren’t real. And they’re new.”
His face was that of a kid finding the red Schwinn under the tree at Christmas.
“That just makes me more excited to feel them!” he replied.
I went from lukewarm to just below room temperature, and snuck a quick glance at the television. Final zamboni run.
Another two minutes into making out and his hand was up my shirt. While I didn’t really want to, I let him, because I had brought them up. And, hey, why not. He wasn’t so much as stealing second as being walked due to the following batter being hit by a pitch.
And that’s when I noticed something. I could feel his forearm on my belly, and his mouth on my own, but his hand was suddenly missing, like he was an amputee. Was my bra still on? Was he under it? Was I suddenly suffering from frostbite? I couldn’t tell.
In fact, I couldn’t tell anything.
If faking an orgasm is bad, not being able to tell what you’re faking is worse. Was he tweaking the nip? Was he even on it?
While I hate seeming like a wet blanket in bed, and credit myself for very rarely getting into situations that require forced theatrics at this age, I was at a loss. I didn’t know whether to moan even though I was absolutely numb, or do I call time out on account of needing to have another huddle.
I opted for neither, instead seeming more silent in the sack than a mute Amish girl on her wedding night.
When I got home that night (and actually watched the period that I had conveniently DVRed) I wondered why that was. I feared that like a sequel to The Little Mermaid I made a trade, only instead of voice-for-gams it was one of nerves-for-curves. I feared that this condition, like tattoos or my new tits after death, could last forever.
Neurapraxia, or nerve injury, is common in cases like mine. I mean, after all, some dude with a fancy degree opened me up, severed my muscles, and shoved orbs of silicone somewhere near intercostal nerves three and four. The anterior branches of these fibers supply the sweater puppies with sensation. (“…to the side and the forepart of the chest, supplying the skin and the mamma…” Swoon.)
So what’s the deal? Will I forever be a sensory slave to my prostheses?
As with overpriced education systems, fantasy football leagues, and the level of spice in Thai food, there are classification systems. In the case of nerve damage, the degrees are rated one through six. The first two have stripper names, the aforementioned Neuropraxia and the second-degree, Axonotmesis. Both recover over time, and are the most likely culprits for what’s (not) going on in my new additions two months out from the OR, at least in my understanding.
The cool thing about nerves is that, like Real Housewives programs and TuPac’s discography, they continue to grow and generate new units at a fairly steady pace, especially following first and second degree injuries. In order to restore nerve function, these new nerve units have to establish the right connection, may it be motor nerves to muscle or sensory ners to skin. At a rate of one inch per month these new bundles are produced, and thankfully sensory function is usually reestablished within three to six months after surgery, fully being restored usually after a year.
In the case of augmentation, sensory function is only permanently lost in 10-15% of patients. (I recognize that “only” is probably not the best word to use here, and my heart goes out to my synthetic sisters who can no longer feel their nipples for good.) What’s kind of cool, and hella interesting, is that, even after long stretches of time where there’s been a loss of nerve supply, sensation can be recovered. Unfortunately muscle reinnervation can’t happen after a while without nerve innervation, so if nerve-to-muscle connections aren’t reestablished in time, you can say sayonara to that function.
That said, the risk of a definitive and forever failure of the tit nerves is low. Sensation changes due to stretching of the nipple and areola are common but, again, I can cope with that, especially with a new push-up bra.
On December 5th, I’ll be up to month three, and should start sensing more in the area, if I’m on the three-to-six month regeneration path. Unfortunately I don’t think that the other night’s right wing will be on the lucky front line of nipple nips that I can actually feel in my bits once the sensation is (hopefully) reestablished.
But, hey. There’s a silver-lining. If I do permanently have nerve damage, getting the girls pierced again will probably be painless…