Tag Archives: Desperate Housewives

My Fond Farewell to the Desperate Housewives


Dear ABC, Marc Cherry and the Entire Cast & Crew of Desperate Housewives,

Today, on the eve of your series finale, I wanted to take a minute to send you a little love and appreciation for eight years of great entertainment. I seldom take the time to write letters of this sort. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain that the last piece of fan mail I put out there involved ordering something called a Shaun Cassidy Everything Kit. (It never came by the way … and I’m still waiting.)

When Desperate Housewives debuted in October 2004, I had two very young children. My son was four and my daughter was two and, like any mother with kids that age, I was a frazzled, sleepless woman with little time for herself. Actually, the only real me time I remember getting back then was from 8-9pm on Sunday nights when my husband took the kids off my hands completely enabling me, literally, to hole up in my bedroom and take in my weekly hour of what I always called my calorie-free chocolate. (It had all the guilty pleasure and indulgence of a nice Godiva bar but none of the dietary sabotage.)

My biggest mistake was encouraging my husband to watch the show with me at some point and letting him get sucked in as much as I was. Yes, that’s right. I just outed my husband as a big male Desperate Housewives fan, whether he likes it or not. So, from that point on, we taped the show and watched it after the kids went to bed. And it was a fun hour that we spent together each week keeping up with your motley crew of housewives, temptresses, murderesses and more.

Until August 2005.

We’re from New Orleans, Louisiana. And, like so many others all around us, we lost our home to Hurricane Katrina and wound up fleeing to my husband’s mother’s home about 80 miles away where our family of four lived for the next nine months with her as well as with my parents and my brother. (Talk about the Clampett family.)

It was at this point that I sucked my mother into the show. I can remember putting my kids to bed on Sunday nights in our temporary house and settling in with my mom on the sofa with a few glasses of wine to take in the new episode each week. In truth, it was one of the things I most looked forward to back in those dark days of not knowing what would happen next. Your storyline allowed me to escape my (fairly substantial at the time) worries and just get caught up in the characters every Sunday.

It became such a ‘my thing’ back then that it was the theme of my next birthday party. My kids were in charge and, since their parties always had themes (a la Dora the Explorer, Disney Princesses, etc.), they thought mine should reflect my favorite things. So, with the help of my mother, they wrote ABC on my behalf and received an autographed picture as well as some small pictures that they used to decorate my cake. We played ‘Pin the Ponytail on the Desperate Housewife’ and they even ordered me this shirt.

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Yes, I still have it. But it says ‘I’m Desperate’ and it’s very tight so it’s been demoted to a night shirt.

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Any chance of having the world know the real benign meaning of my shirt was lost in this tiny logo completely covered by my hair on the back.

Now nearly seven years after Katrina, my family is settled back in New Orleans in a new home that we’ve owned since 2007. My kids, who were potty training pre-schoolers when the show started, are now 9 and 12. We’re starting to look at high schools for my son. It’s amazing the time span that your show covered in the life of my family.

And I never missed an episode. I’ll be sorry to see you go. I don’t know what I’m going to do on Sunday nights. If I bring the wine and cheese, can I come over to your house?

Yours in eight years of appreciation,

Michele

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

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One of the Many Reasons that my Mom Rocks


Remember how in the 70s women could solve all of their problems with a stupid bubble bath? Well, I don’t know about you guys but a warm soak in an oversized, Greek-inspired bathtub just isn’t cutting it for me anymore.

Enter my mom.

She’s been trying to ‘take me away’ from everything since the Great Tumor Scare of 2011. I guess it’s sort of a “Thanks for Not Dying’ mother/daughter trip. But lots of things … and life in general … just kept getting in the way. And all of the bigger plans we contemplated (NYC, Chicago and the like) kept getting swept under the rug until we could “find the time.”

So, tired of waiting on me and my sad excuses, she booked a room at a hotel on the Gulf Coast only about an hour and a half away from where we live and gave me two days notice for the kidnapping. Which was good. I had only two days to worry about whether I’d get everything done before I left. It’s so hard for the mom to step out of the family equation. Part of that is real and part of it we do to ourselves. I knew dirty laundry and frozen pizza wouldn’t hurt anyone while I was gone. So I left. On Sunday afternoon. With my mom. For only one day. One great, relaxing, unplanned, nobody-pulling-on-me kind of day.

Talking the whole way up, we arrived in no time and checked in to our hotel, Beau Rivage, which is also a casino. For anyone unfamiliar with these parts, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a big casino destination. Some of them are a little dumpy, but others are actually very nice and attract the kind of entertainment that (sadly) is becoming more and more representative of my generation. (Case in point, I’ve seen Rick Springfield there several times with friends. Don’t judge, please.)

We went up to our room on the 25th floor to drop off our luggage and get settled in. I’m not a huge germaphobe so I kicked off my shoes immediately and walked across the carpet to put my stuff in the bathroom. I was about halfway there, curious as to why the floor felt so cold, when I realized my feet were almost completely underwater. The carpet was soaked which, you can imagine, was a pretty gross discovery to make considering I had no idea just what I was stewing in. After a few phone calls, a return trip to the front desk, and an elderly lady passing out cold in our path to the elevator, we were settled in our second room, now on the 11th floor. I glass-is-half-fulled it and decided that it was at least nice to know that they cleaned the carpets from time to time.

Because I was starving, we had dinner early at the Brazilian Steakhouse (a South American Churrascaria) nearby. My kids love that place so I felt a little guilty being there without them. But we only got the soup and salad bar so they didn’t miss much. The cream of poblano soup is a meal in itself. And I got my requisite Caipirinha cocktail. If you’ve never had one, click here for the recipe. And go get the rum out of your liquor cabinet.

Stuffed like ticks, we returned to our hotel and walked over to its neighboring property, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, to work off some of our dinner until we could breathe again. And until it was time for Desperate Housewives. (Again, don’t judge. DH is significant to me, and I’ll explain why in May when the show airs its final episode. Check back with me then.)

When the show was over, my mother said she wanted to go to the casino. She’s not a big gambler and I’m even less of one, largely attributed to the fact that I never win. But this night was about relaxing so, being the kick-ass mom that she is, she suggested that I hang back in the room to read, write and veg in front of the TV (I chose D, ALL of the above) while she went to lose her money on her own. (I’m kidding. Unlike me, she sometimes actually wins. But not this time. Except that she did score a couple of drinks, including the one she brought up to me in the room. That’s service.) We talked and watched TV a little before finally surrendering to sleep shortly after midnight.

The next morning, she slept in a little. I tried, but my stupid brain wouldn’t shut off so I got up and took a long bath and read more of my book, the last of the Hunger Games trilogy, until she woke up. We dressed pretty quickly and went downstairs for a late brunch, light gambling (I lost $20), even lighter shopping (I spent $10) and a brief stint in the arcade. (About which I knew my kids would be pissed, but I brought them my ticket credit for the next time they visit and they want to bring home another stuffed six-foot, green-spotted snake. So I think I’m good.)

Realizing it wouldn’t be long until my kids got home from school, we checked out, packed up the car and headed out … but not before seeing this sign we somehow missed on the way in to the hotel.

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We laughed at it … then she took off her “do-rag,” I unrolled my left pant leg and we got the hell out of there.

I wasn’t gone long, not even 24 hours, but it was nice taking a break to do nothing in a relaxing setting with my mother. And did I mention it was all on her? Next time, Mom, we’re going to the spa. Love you … and thanks.

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The Fifth Consultation – and in Breast Cancer Awareness Month!


My fifth (and potentially last first round) appointment was Thursday morning. My friend, Melissa, had recommended the doctor and came along for the ride. And I want to point out immediately that this place as well as this experience was different from the others.

What better month to bring up this topic.

My friend, Melissa, has been battling breast cancer now for the last few years. And she’s been beating the hell out of it I might add. You know how when you’re watching some Sex and the City, Desperate Housewivesy-type show and one of the characters has cancer, but they manage to deal with it with levity and an amazing sense of calm and grace, you think to yourself ‘This woman does not exist. If it were me, I would not be able to face people every day and talk about it, let alone joke about it.’

Well, I’m here to tell you that this woman does exist and her name is Melissa.

I won’t delve too much into her personal story but, suffice it to say, she was given the sobering news twice. For the first occurrence three years ago, she opted to have a lumpectomy. After this procedure, she (like all patients) was carefully monitored for any signs of recurrence. Which is how they caught the second occurrence about a year and a half later. This time, she (like many women) opted for a much more aggressive treatment. This time, she would take on a double mastectomy so that she could live worry-free of this disease. For good.

So, the two of us spent the afternoon at the very specialized facility where she had her procedures done. And, as I mentioned above, it was a very different experience from my prior appointments. Rather than a small, private waiting room filled with others seeking cosmetic improvements of various natures, this office (really a small hospital) had a large, beautiful waiting area … a two-story, glass-ceilinged atrium that actually looked and felt more like a spa than a clinical space. There were no TVs or other distractions but rather just a setting to promote peace and comfort to all who entered. The center even offered a little refreshment area for its visitors. And on the table in front of me … where there were typically albums of before and after work … was a similar pink scrapbooking album filled not with breast photos but rather with heartwarming letters, family pictures and other amazing testimonials from women whose lives had been changed as a result of the services and treatment they received from the medical staff here.

Honestly, it was very humbling.

We were taken to a private examination room almost immediately, which is where I actually completed all of my paperwork. Melissa and I caught up a little bit while we waited and she confessed that she wore a boob-showcasing outfit to this appointment … in my honor, of course. (Coincidentally, this is the second time this week that a woman has selected her wardrobe based on its boob presentation for me. Is that weird?)

And, after waiting a little while, the doctor came in. Friendly right from the start. He gets points for that. Feeling a bit small for seeking cosmetic augmentation in a place that is largely medically restorative in nature, I nervously explained right off the bat that I was not here necessarily but more recreationally. He liked my use of the word ‘recreationally’ and said he’d be using it in the future. We talked just a few minutes about what I was looking for (you know the drill by now … nothing too big as I am a small person) and he seemed pretty in tune to everything I had to say.

He said that the biggest mistake women make is going too big or too wide.

He added that women should look to correct and improve the shape of their breasts and not just be worried about their volume. He actually said smaller breasts are “more elegant,” which I’m pretty sure makes me Audrey Hepburn. And finally, he emphasized that an implant should be used to enhance your natural breast, not become it.

In discussing my options, he said that he encourages his patients to get everything that they want done in one procedure. When I asked about the full lift and implants being done together, he said it was no problem. Remember Doctors 1, 3 and 4 all stating it should not be done? And they offered two different reasons.

  • Doctor 1 & Doctor 4 said it shouldn’t be done because the anchor incision involved in a full lift would be under too much pressure to heal if there was an implant stuffed beneath the skin. Doctor 5 said that the anchor incision he makes involves only a very superficial layer of skin and therefore healing and thus scarring is not an issue.
  • Doctor 3 said it shouldn’t be done because of complications that can occur with the patient’s blood flow and there is a possibility of losing the nipple. Doctor 5 said that blood flow concerns are only present in repeat implant patients and assured me that, while the risk is never zero with anything, I would not be a candidate for these types of problems.
  • Doctor 2 (in case anyone was wondering) was also pro-2-procedures-in-1-surgery but his only argument was that any accomplished surgeon can achieve the desired results with no problems.

The doctor also assured me that, if anything, he was a bit of a germophobe and he had never had any complications arise as a result of infection. He said he uses something called an implant funnel to insert the implant. He literally likened it to a pastry tube … only instead of sweet buttercreamy goodness, mine would be filled with silicone. Delicious.

When I asked about the texturized implant shells (that we learned about from Doctor 4), he said he feels they do nothing to prevent the possibility of scar tissue and hardening. Additionally, he said the texturized shells don’t slide down into place and settle as well after surgery.

When I asked about implant placement, he said he determines whether the implant should be placed above or below the muscle based on two things:

  1. The patient’s activity level – Triathletes, for example, are encouraged to seek over the muscle placement … as putting the implant beneath the pectoral muscle could become too physically restrictive for them.
  2. The patient’s quantity of tissue – Patients with a limited amount of breast tissue available are encouraged to seek under the muscle placement … as there often simply isn’t enough skin present to stretch and support the addition in the front.

And, incidentally, he added that under the muscle placement typically results in a more natural curvature and slope from the chest wall into the breast thus creating a more natural look overall.

When I asked about the silicone versus saline decision, he said much prefers … are you ready for this? … silicone. (The exact opposite of Doctor 4, remember?) He said he uses it almost exclusively in his practice explaining that silicone is lighter in weight than saline which is more comfortable for the patient. He added that silicone also doesn’t have the same problems with breast hardening or even possible visibility as the patient ages and her skin thins. That said, he highly recommends a new innovation in the implant world called cohesive silicone for various reasons:

  1. Unlike the silicone of old, cohesive silicone adheres only to itself, keeping it together where it should be on the chest wall rather than leaching into other areas of the body.
  2. The recommended MRI every 2 years for these implants has been lifted by the FDA.
  3. The same 3.5 centimeter incision made for the lift can be used to insert the silicone implant, thus any argument to opt for saline over silicone due to less cutting would be null and void.
  4. He’s seen many first generation silicone implants (from the 70s and 80s) come out … practically empty of their contents … with no harm done to the patient.

When I asked about the fat injection method rather than implants, he seemed to steer me away from that direction altogether. He explained that he felt the technique was best used in cancer patients who are seeking to match one post-surgical breast to another healthy one. Melissa and I were both pretty surprised. We expected this technique to be one he lingered on for a while. It was, after all, the method Melissa had chosen … though she did explain to me that, because she had undergone radiation during the course of her first treatment, she was not a candidate for implants. Her breast tissue would likely have rejected them.

When I asked about the effects that implants have on mammography, he said that so many women have implants these days that there are now named techniques for performing the test proficiently on these specialized patients. He also added that any mammogram, implants or not, can miss anomalies in the breast tissue. Apparently, nothing is foolproof. (Sigh.)

Then, he took lots of measurements of just about everything I’ve got above the waist. Which ain’t much. And he seemed very focused on the fact that I have a very narrow base width which basically means I have a narrow chest. 32 to be exact, A/B. (Lord, did I just put my bra size on the internet?) The doctor said that, for me personally, he would recommend somewhere between 280 and 300ccs of “assistance.” Which is just about exactly what Doctor 4 said. (Yay! Consistency!) He also said that he would recommend something between a full lift and a mini-lift. Rather than an anchor incision, I would need something more L-shaped, coming down from the center of the breast and turning outward on both sides. Best of both worlds, I suppose.

Oh, and they took pictures. Lots of ‘em. I was escorted to a special room, a studio if you will, with very high-tech cameras, computers, lighting, etc. There was even a little heater in the area where I was photographed so I wouldn’t get too chilly, being disrobed and all. I kind of felt like a supermodel. A naked supermodel. Which I guess would sort of make me something else, wouldn’t it?

A word of advice to all women out there who may pursue this avenue – Do not wear any identifiable jewelry, clothing or hairstyle in your headless photos. And God help you if you have a tattoo. Trust me. Your pictures WILL be recognizable. I’ve already identified an acquaintance in one of these photos with complete certainty.

With my photo session behind me, I returned to my exam room to find Melissa waiting for me. And while I dressed, she undressed and showed me the handiwork of her operations. And, I must say … Melissa, you are beautiful. Your boobs are far superior to anything I could hope for. Your doctors did an outstanding job and you deserve every ounce of it. Unbelievable. Boobs made from scratch … using only parts of your body. I am speechless.

We left the exam room and walked back out into the posh waiting area again … with me having learned (and I think grown) a lot from my visit … but not before stopping to snap an all-important picture. It’s one of the many t-shirts they sell in the lobby.

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Breast cancer patients are incredible, awe-inspiring. I bow at the feet of these women.

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