Because of my partial mastectomy in late December, my breasts have changed. A lot. I miss the old ones. Yes, I know I still have them. I am grateful, of course. But I enjoyed my big boobs. Those breasts are gone. They were real, and they were fantastic.*
I didn’t always love my breasts. When I was twelve, I was one of two girls in the seventh grade with a developed bosom. We stood out. Rather, our breasts did. I’m not sure how the other girl handled her early endowment, but I responded to my brand new boobs by slouching, moping, and avoiding boys. One morning while waiting to enter the classroom, Norman, one of the “bad” boys, walked up to me, reached out, and grabbed my left breast. Other boys laughed. I was shocked, I was mortified. I have never forgiven Norman, either, wherever he is.
I hated my breasts. How I yearned to be a flat-chested, blond cheerleader! It took me years to realize they were a welcome part of me, a part that gave and received pleasure, and nurtured life.
After I had my son, my breasts became enormous. Even after weaning, they remained large. My neck and shoulders hurt. My lovely breasts were too big. I spoke to my doctor about mammoplasty (breast reduction surgery.) She agreed to refer me to a breast surgeon if I lost twenty pounds. I lost the weight and sat on a waiting list for four years before I had the surgery. Anyone who knows me will tell you that those new, smaller breasts didn’t last long. I gained weight and, well, they grew back!
I’ve lived my life as big-breasted woman. It’s as much a part of me as any other. How do I see myself now?
The answer is, I don’t know yet. I’m not used to my new, perky look. My surgeons performed a great breast conservation and reconstruction. My plastic surgeon conserved my right breast, and reduced my left breast to match. Because I had a bad hematoma after the first surgery, and the pathology report indicated more cancer, b0th surgeons went in a second time. More tissue was removed from my right breast. My margins are clear now.**
My breasts, my breasts, they look completely different. I wish I had some photos of my old breasts. Yes, everyone says – at least you still have them – but it is weird getting to know a new pair.
**Clear margins – after surgery, if no cancer cells are found near the edges of the healthy tissue, it is called a clear margin.