“they’re fake ’cause the real ones tried to kill me!”
We’ve all seen the t-shirt quote, and sure it’s funny. I’ve been heard to joke about the fact that I’ll have the perkiest tits in the old people’s home, or that I’ve had a government funded boob job. But they’re just surface jokes, because under that laughing face is the memory of a pretty traumatic time.
Only a couple of weeks after being diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, my surgeon asked me to make a life altering decision, right there in his office.
“Do we remove the entire breast or just remove the tumour?”
I was originally a DD – for you blokes, that’s more than a handful – so the idea of ending up looking like a barbie doll with her head on backwards wasn’t appealing at all. I know there’s lots of ladies out there who choose not to have a reconstruction after a mastectomy, but that’s just not me.
And the idea of removing only one … well it was too strange for me to comprehend.
“Just take the tumour” was my response, while protectively holding my breasts.
Unfortunately following a couple of surgeries in the attempt to remove the cancer the decision was taken out of my hands. Chemo, Radiation, then the breast would be removed.
So that made me luckier than most ladies going through the same situation. I know lucky isn’t a word that you associate with cancer and mastectomy, but I really do feel lucky for the extra time I had to come to terms with my diagnosis and the idea of losing a breast.
By the time I had been through treatment, and had several fights for my life, my breasts lost their power over me. Now they weren’t a symbol of femininity, they were a carrier of disease. No longer did they have the power to beguile, they had taken on the power to destroy.
“I want them both removed, not just the one”
It was a decision I didn’t go into lightly or alone. But it is one I don’t regret at all.
And because I was eager to get back behind the wheel of my race car, I chose the type of reconstruction that allowed for the quickest recovery time. Because yes, you get a choice again about the kind of reconstruction you want. So many choices.
But now, even though I joke about them – and from the outside you’d never know – when I look in the mirror before my shower there are the scars and a painful reminder of what I’ve been through. And some days it does still hurt, and oddly I still miss my original breasts.
But I smile and tell the lady in the mirror … yeh, they’re fake, but the real ones tried to kill you.