"The sight of Sheikh's careful fingers slicing delicately through the orange flesh provoked strong feelings of trust in me. His measured explanations, patience and humour brought to life the extraordinary act of reconstructing a part of the body from another part. I wondered about the immense amount of research - decades of it - that stands at the shoulder of every surgeon who does this, guiding the hand that teases apart the layers of skin from fat from flesh. The unimaginable was materialised with an orange and a scalpel in a lounge in an ordinary street.
There are so many parts of myself I don't know the names of. What do I look like on the inside? How long did it take to map the pathways, channels, networks, layers, courses, connections before someone figured out that you can take the muscle from the back but you have to bring a vein with it, a hose bringing the fuel to keep the muscle going in its new habitat?
With any luck my cells will remain well behaved, their recalcitrance held at bay by a heady combination of physiology and luck. But if they muster into a wayward legion of cells that refuse to listen to other cells, that consume without responsibility and grow, heedless of consequences, I hope that someone like Sheikh will be on hand to discipline disorderly conduct at the cellular level."To me, her response to hearing and watching Mr A talk about mastectomy and reconstruction sounds like poetry, but then I would think that. I'm a walking work of art, after all.