Grieving A Part Of Yourself
Boobs… They come in all shapes, sizes, and feels. There are real ones, fake ones, droopy ones, perky ones, big ones, small ones, soft ones, firm ones…you get the idea. Whether we recognize it or not, they become some peoples’ identity with femininity. So, naturally, if they are removed, there is a feeling of loss. It’s almost like grieving a part of your self that is gone.
The topic of breasts is supposed to be sexy; but on this journey of post mastectomy reconstruction, it has been anything but. Nothing like finding a way to ruin one of God’s most beautiful creations amiright?
I’m a breast cancer survivor and I’m currently undergoing the reconstruction phase. This upcoming surgery on November 5th will be my fourth surgery in 18 months. I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m frustrated.
Searching for Normalcy
Why choose reconstruction? Because I want to feel some sense of normalcy again. My life has been so tumultuous and I’m craving something that feels (and looks) “normal.” I’m craving to feel like myself. And yes, this may be vain, but I’m craving to have some sexy ass nippleless boobs. There, I said it.
People said to me when I was diagnosed “Well at least you’ll get some new boobs!” Ugh. Bit of advice? Don’t say that to breast cancer patients. It’s not a silver lining.
It’s a messy, long, painful, and tiring process. It’s not a simple “boob job.” I’ve had one of those before. It was an hour surgery, I was home within an hour after that, and I had perky as hell big boobs courtesy of an extremely experienced Las Vegas plastic surgeon.
But this? This is hell.
My First Surgery
I’ve come a long way from the Frankenstein’s monster looking chest with seven inch long black stitching on deflated skin stuffed with a plastic expander. I would have to go in every couple of weeks and have them use a needle to insert into a portal in the expander to fill it with saline little by little so as to not disturb the regrowth of skin and scar. Over two surgeries, my doctor did tissue grafting from other parts of my body to add some growth and protection in my chest since ALL of my breast tissue was removed during the mastectomy.
In the last surgery, they swapped the expanders for implants. I was so stoked going in. Then, I awoke and my boobs were rectangles. For real. I shit you not. Seven inches wide, one inch thick – yes I used a measuring tape – flat, squishy rectangular shaped pancakes hangin’ off my chest. WHAT. THE. F.
Fourth Time’s A Charm
So here we go! Fourth time’s a charm (or something like that). I’m feeling a lot of anxiety and concern with this upcoming surgery. I’m ready to be done. If I had known the process would be this involved, exhausting, and emotional, I would have just gone flat. But there are risks to that as well…
Don’t get me started. If you’re curious, check out notputtingonashirt.org. Basically, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Don’t Listen to Them
Anyone who tells you that it is vain to be worried about, and upset about your reconstruction results – and you should just be thankful you’re alive – is a turd.
Dump them like gas station sushi. It’s your body, your life, your identity. No one can comment with any validity to these things. Just flash them your weird, post-surgery foobs. That should shut them up.
Then hold your head high, play some gangsta rap on a boombox atop your shoulder, hand on your hip, and runway walk yourself out of there. Okay, so it’s not 1992 but I still haven’t figured out how to have a successful theme song whilst walking. One of these days I’ll nail it and I’ll share my secrets with you.
Even if you’re not going through this particular scenario but feel some sense of body shaming; please Queen, adjust your crown and walk on. You are beautiful, you are loved, you are worthy.
“Baby girl, worthy woman,
Every one of us is worthy”
— India Arie