Monday, January 16, 2012


In four days, I'll lose my breasts - breasts that fed, nurtured, and comforted my baby Bug in the middle of so many nights, lulled him back to sleep, grew him into a rambunctious little boy who climbs stairs, chases cats, makes "vrooom vroom" noises while playing with his cars (really, sound effects at ten months old - who knew?), and who won't let me out of his sight lately. (He has picked a winner of a week to begin having separation anxiety.) These breasts served their purpose, and it's unlikely they'll ever nurse again, so why am I so nostalgic about losing them? 

The practical side of me says "good riddance," but my feminine, sexual, nurturing, highly impractical side feels like curling into a ball of self-pity under the covers. That side has a big pout on its face. And maybe this is the rub: a big part of me feels like I'm losing my femininity here. On the heels of chemo, which is no aphrodisiac, I'm sacrificing one more (well, two) very feminine parts of me to the cancer gods. Enough is enough. 

I waiver between being anxious: will they find any evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes they biopsy? how will I handle Bug trying to climb ME once I'm home from the hospital? pleasepleaseplease don't let them find any cancer. And curious: how much do they weigh? (yes, seriously, I am curious what my new weight will be - told you, not practical.) how much pain will I be in? will I experience phantom "limb" syndrome when it's cold outside?

As the big day gets closer, I find myself looking more and more at other women's breasts in a strange mix of curiosity and envy. Curiosity about whether they're real, what size they are; envy that their tatas haven't failed them. I realize it's a pathetic exercise. My practical side is not speaking up very loudly at the moment.  

As for the practical, my surgeon's going to perform what she's called a "witch's hat" incision, which I've been told will minimize the visibility of my scars (not that they'll be on display, anyway). When my implants are placed about a year from now, most of the scar will be hidden. AND IT IS CRAZY THAT THIS IS EVEN ON MY LIST OF CONCERNS. 

Hard to compare that cancer thing with a scar, you know? But it's funny how the brain can compartmentalize things. Well, my brain, anyway. Brilliant coping mechanism. My guess is I stash unpleasant things away somewhere in that cobweb-filled practical side of my brain (at least it's good for something).

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