Day 5 – Farewell Breasts
I remember writing this – I was at the sunshine coast on my own with three nights away from normal life, my routine and even the kids weren’t with me. I’d been diagnosed one week prior. This trip was planned as a solo ‘retreat’ just some simple time away, alone before I was even re-diagnosed… a gift that ended up perfectly timed. It was a time for solitude when I was in the early days of facing breast cancer for a second time. I didn’t know what exactly was ahead of me; at that point I was just taking day by day and emotionally preparing for my bilateral mastectomy.
A journal Entry… This was 2 days shy of my four year anniversary ‘cancer free’– and boy did falling short of that milestone hurt – It hurt so bad.
28 June 2018
The remembering, the reminiscing and the present moment where I sit right now – Waves crashing meters away… Sitting calm, but knowing wholeheartedly that I need to write something down – the memories and feelings of my breasts. How I feel about them now, before they are gone.
What I’ll miss…
- The bounce and jiggle – the feeling when they’re squished and propped up in a Lorna Jane bra and I exercise… my feet pounding the pavement and my breasts dancing softly and fully to the movement.
- Washing them and softly cupping them in my hands, a real feminine connection to myself (washing my breasts with my hands NOT A SPONGE is how I found my first breast cancer).
- Rolling onto my side at night and their squishy warm comfort.
- Lying on my stomach (whilst still a bit uncomfortable from my first surgery, totally doable if they’re positioned correctly).
- The feeling you get when you release them from a bra at the end of the day… aaahhhh.
- Rubbing oil across my chest and breasts each morning and night, feeling the warmth and moisture soak into my natural chest
- Sexuality… when my breasts and nipples are caressed, licked, bitten… that insanely good feeling that shoots straight down… that sensation that tease, that explosive feeling of sexuality and womanly power that immediately turns everything on! What will I do without my two switches? (I know this point is a little X-rated, but seriously, this has been so incredibly difficult, it’s what I was most afraid of. Not the visible appearance, but what my nipples mean to me, my womanhood and my sensual sexuality).
- Putting an outfit on and positioning the ‘girls’ in a push up bra to sit in that perfect position, propped up yet still naturally soft.
- When you forget to wear a supportive bra in RPM/spin class and you hit your first sprint… they feel like they might hit you in the chin and free themselves from your crop top!
- When my friend used to envy my boobs in teenage years and tell me to “put those tits away, you make me sick” with that cute eye roll – secretly saying, “Girl, stop making me jealous” [You know who you are and I’m sure you’ll get a good laugh out of this one!]
- Being paranoid after my first child thinking they were ruined forever… but then they got better!!
- That memory with my first child when my milk came in, my bed was saturated and I looked down – my breasts were so swollen they nearly hit my chin and the nurse says, “Good morning Dolly Parton”.
- Looking at my breasts lovingly as they change shape through the natural aging process, knowing that I fed my two beautiful babies made everything ok, I love them just the way they are.
- That feeling I get when I look in a full length mirror naked and I feel whole and lucky and grateful – even though my tummy still has the effects of menopause and I’m no longer ‘ripped’ I’m soft and feminine and I fully accept myself.
A side note on ‘soft and feminine’: I once worked with the most incredible older man of retirement age, he was respectful, polite and warm, he had the aura of wisdom and I know he’d suffered a great loss in his life. I enjoyed his company and working along side such a gracious man. One day when a bunch of us 20 something’s female work colleagues were in the tea room, we were speaking about food, our best methods of exercise to keep shape etc etc and he so bravely interjected and said… “women should be soft and squishy”! [Love it!]
That very comment through times of weight gain due to menopause and various cancer treating drugs kept my sanity and self-love at bay! I didn’t use those words as an excuse but as a means of taking the pressure down a notch in a largely ‘out of my control’ facet of my life.
And so it saddens me that my soft, warm and squishy breasts and my ultra sensitive nipples will be removed…
I will reconstruct… though they will be hard and cold and I will have scars as nipples…
I will learn to love them, I will learn to love these foreign parts of me as my own, I will self accept and I will be kind to myself…
But for this moment… I will grieve the impending loss of my breasts; a part of me which makes me feel feminine, soft and squishy!
Love Bec x
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