Embracing breastlessness

It’s the fad title; The Year Of Living …. whatever, fill in the blank with your choice of taking a year of one’s life dedicated to living off the grid, or like in Biblical times, or as a celibate or eating certain ways, and etc. etc. etc. Having one’s breasts amputated is rarely a first choice for a change of pace, and it sure isn’t just for a year. When homegrown breasts are gone they’re gone for good. This is me now, flat as my Canadian prairie roots from the neck to the navel. Not for me prosthetics or reconstructive surgery.

For what end would I seek new breasts to replace the ones I donated to research in the Breast Cancer Tumor Bank: to look like I’m sporting cantaloupes on my chest? For who: surely not for me, and as Decker said, “Yeah, I miss your breasts, but I’d miss you more.” He got serious points towards being the great love of my life for that answer.

Just thinking of reconstruction gives me phantom nipple pain. More surgery, anesthetic, pain, post-anesthetic vomiting, pain, extra scars, pain, new risks of infection, pain, rounds of different doctors, pain, more time off work, pain. Did I mention not liking pain? With my risk of recurrence so high, there’s no reason (save vanity) to add implants as obstacles to finding any future problems. 

Even though our wonderful universal health insurance would pay for reconstructive surgery or prosthetic boobies, I’d pay personally in oh-so-many other ways.

Here’s my image of the prosthetics option. Every morning sling on a bra filled with plastic forms in the shape of the breasts of my choice, complete with a little mound pretending to be a nipple. I didn’t even wear a bra until I was about 55, and high on the list of great things about a double mastectomy is NEVER having to be fitted for, buy or wear a bra again as long as I live.

Or, how about this labour saving device – stick on boobs? Wake up, shower, dry off, pull on panties, reach for today’s size/shape of breasts from the top shelf, slap them on your chest, button up a blouse and I’m good to go. What fun that’ll be on a hot day! Two blobs of gel stuck over the scars, sweat running between them where my cleavage used to be. Those babies don’t breathe! Then there’s the itch and redness from the sticking mechanism, the allergic reaction to the latex-y material, or the possibility one of them loses its adhesive and slides down to my waistband.

And for what purpose would I torture my good, hard working otherwise healthy body into supporting Barbie- wannabes under my sweater? Beats me. I never did understand the breast obsession when I had two nice ones of my very own. Having ones that someone else manufactured and sold to me sure doesn’t captivate my attention. If no one wants to check out my new as-is body like a 12-year-old boy, well, that’s fine with me. I’m grateful for having a reliable body, scars, no nipples, and all.

As a conflict manager, I’m accustomed to brain-storming all the options and creating novel ways of resolving problems. However, sometimes the issue presented as needing solutions just isn’t a problem needing fixing in the first place. More than just leaving good enough alone, I’m embracing the change.


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