Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flat as a Board

I'm trying to picture what I'll look like after surgery.  Flat.  I know that.  I spend time each day trying to imagine this - I take my hands and smush down my breasts as much as I can and try to see how that looks.  It really doesn't work.  I'm trying to prepare myself so it won't be as much of a shock.

When I asked the surgeon what I would look like, he smoothed his suit jacket and said, "You'll look like I do..." Since he's a middle-aged man, I was a little concerned - but I knew what he was saying.  I'll be flat.  Like a man - flat.  Now I look at my husband's chest and try to imagine myself like that.  It's hard to do.  It's just so different looking from myself and well, let's face it, it's a LOT hairier!!

Can you imagine not having breasts?  I can't.  Breast cancer was never on my radar as something I should watch out for or be particularly concerned about.  Since there's no cancer in my family, I never seriously considered that I might get breast cancer. It never occurred to me that I would face the choice to lose my breasts and I never gave any thought as to what my life would be like without them.

As we lead up to the surgery - the day when I will lose my breasts, lose such a large (haha - no pun intended) part of me...I feel well, nervous and sad.

At this point, I'm more nervous about the surgery itself (and the plethora of needles) than I am about cancer.  I've sort of forgotten about "cancer" and I'm more focused on the fact that I'm losing my breasts.  That I'm going to wake up from surgery without them.  How will I feel?  Not pain wise - but emotionally?  How will I FEEL?  Because I don't think anyone can really prepare themselves for that - not really.  As much as I close my eyes and try to picture it in my head, I just can't do it.

And, I'm sad.  Just plain sad.  I don't spend too much time wondering "why" it happened to me - it did.  It's here.  It happened.  I just feel overwhelmingly sad about it.  Not really sorry for myself but sad that I or anyone else has to go through this - has to make these terrible life-altering, body mutilating choices.

Last night, I noticed that my favorite bra was broken.  The underwire snapped.  In a way, it was my first goodbye.  I stood and stared at the bra for quite a while, I felt like crying.  Over a bra!  A year ago, I would have been so irritated when a bra would break, especially a favorite - because it's just so hard to find a bra that you love and want to wear everyday and never want to wash because then you'll miss wearing it a couple of days. It fits perfectly, it's broken in but not old looking, soft but not ratty enough to where your husband gives you weird looks.

When this bra broke, however,  I knew it didn't really matter.  I don't have to run out and hope that I'll find another "favorite."  I don't have to rummage through my drawers hoping that there is another bra that I like as well.  I don't have to scour online stores to see if I can find that specific color again.  Because, in 13 days, I won't need it again - ever.  It was the first tangible evidence that my life really is going to change. That my body really is going to change.

The first real reminder that soon there will be nothing on my chest that needs a bra to hold it up.

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