Friday, May 17, 2013


Well, I don't let my breasts define me, so I'd chop them off in a heartbeat if I had to!

Oh my. How could you put something so unnatural in your body.

Not that I've been through breast cancer, but if I had, I wouldn't get reconstruction done. Therefor, you shouldn't either.

Just give it time. You'll totally get used to not having breasts.

So are you getting reconstruction done because you're afraid you're husband would leave you if you didn't?

Clearly, you have fallen into society's definition of beauty. I mean, why else would you get reconstruction?

Geeze. Haven't you been through enough? I can't believe you are deciding to do this too.

This is the other side of reconstruction. Not the "oh, you're going to get a free boob job!" side or the "well, you won't have to worry about saggy breasts anymore!" side or the "omg, are you going to go bigger?" side of reconstruction surgery - the comments that make reconstruction seem fun! easy! wonderful! free! (it is not fun, nor easy nor always wonderful and it most certainly is not free in any sense of the worse) This is the opposite side of that.

And yes, all things I have heard or read others say when talking about reconstruction after mastectomy. Sometimes they are said specifically to me, other times they are said in a more general sense, but they sting none-the-less when I read or hear them.

I suppose someone out there is thinking, grow a thicker skin, you are way too sensitive. Maybe I am, though I don't think so. I'm me. And I'm human. And I have feelings. And sometimes people hurt them - purposefully or inadvertently.

It's not that I run away to my room, where I cry for hours upon hours. Nor do I lash out at the person saying the things. I don't even talk about it that much {except usually to my husband who unknowningly drew the let-the-wife-bitch-to-you-about-things-she-feels-she-can't-bitch-to-anyone-else-about card.}

Lately the issue of reconstruction has come up often enough, that I feel it's time to just put it all out there. I know this will turn some of you off. I don't regularly say what someone "should" say or "should" do or "should" feel. We are all unique and for the most part, I think we are all just doing the best we know how and sometimes it comes out all wrong, even though we meant it to sound less harsh, less judgmental, less cheesy. I know, I've done it too. Open mouth, insert foot, slink away, feel like an idiot.

But here's the thing, reconstruction is a DEEPLY personal choice. It is one I made for ME - not for my husband {who wouldn't have blinked an eye should I have told him I wasn't going to do reconstruction, so no, thank you, I'm not doing it so he won't leave me. Also, clearly, if you could even think that for one second, you do not know my husband even a little bit}. I did not do it for society - though I confess, I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking I need to add a tummy tuck, or maybe botox, or whiten my teeth, or buy x, y and z clothes so I can be "pretty" and "popular" because the commercials tell me it. But alas, at the end of the day, that's not why I did it.

I did it solely and completely for me. Yep, all for me. I've walked around with breasts for my half my life, and certainly all of my adult life. Those breasts feed my babies. I didn't always appreciate them, it's true - I complained often of their size and their state, but they were still a part of me. And no, they didn't define me. I am much, much, much more than my breasts. But hello. They were attached to my body. It was a major surgery. I did not just flippantly say "sure! Cut them off!"

I didn't fight making that decision either, but still. Of course, I wanted to get rid of the cancer and was going to do whatever the doctor's recommended, but that didn't automatically make the decision an easy one.

As far as having something unnatural in my body, I also had chemo put into my body - that's not exactly natural. What if someday I need hip replacement? Or a dental implant? Or a defibrillator? Or, a million other "unnatural" things we could put into or body. Sometimes we do it because we feel we have to, sometimes because we want to. Sometimes we decide not to do it, and that's okay. It doesn't make one decision better than the other. It simply means, I did what I felt was the right thing for me, and someone else did what was right to them.

And don't get me started on getting used to it. No, really. For almost a year I woke up every day with only one breast. Every. Single. Damn. Day. And I didn't get used to it. I didn't like it. I wanted to change it. I would have done it sooner if the doctor's had said it was safe. Now, someone else may get used to it. Someone else may have always been okay with it and not needed time to even get used to it. {Related: I have a front tooth that will probably have to pulled soon - would someone tell me to not get a bridge or a dental implant and to just get used to not having a tooth? I'm going to guess no.} Regardless, I didn't need time. Again, I did what I felt was best for ME.

Some women go through this and get reconstruction. Some women do not get reconstruction. One path may be better for me, one path may be better for you. But I would NEVER tell you you should do it the same way I did, simply because that's how I did it {or, how I would theoretically do it}. I would tell you to do what you think is the best thing for YOU. This is not to say you can't feel free to tell me what you think you would do in the same situation, or what you did do when you were in that situation. That is called sharing. But do not assume that everyone should do what you did/would do.

Do I seem touchy? Maybe. I'm about to get to the end of reconstruction - final surgery next month. So, it's been on my mind a lot lately. I have complained about some of the process - as I said earlier, it isn't easy or fun. I have had to use pain killers to deal with the pain from it. I've sometimes even declared that I'm done with recon, only to decide a few days later, no, not really.

But today. This moment, I can say without a doubt, I'm glad I decided to do reconstruction. I also realize it's not a path for everyone. I know women who never did reconstruction - they are gorgeous and wonderful and did exactly what was right for them. Just as I did for me.

Phew. There. It's out. I will step off my soapbox. Thank you for listening though. I appreciate it, even when I seem a bit ranty.


P.S. I wrote this post last week, but was sitting on it. I had intended to let it go live next week, but it seemed more appropriate to share it now, especially after the newest celeb "came out" with her decision regarding cancer, being proactive, and reconstruction. 


  1. I'm sorry you've felt judged around your decision.

    For what it's worth, I don't think that it's fair for anyone who hasn't faced a major decision like this to say what they would or wouldn't do. As a parent, I've had to eat my words enough times about what I "would" or "wouldn't" do with my kids. I can only imagine that facing decisions around breast cancer would cause me to confront my preconceptions in similar ways. Unless and until I find myself in that position, I don't know what I'll do.

    Also, on a different note, I've had a steel plate in my right arm since I was 11. Is that 'unnatural'? I guess in the sense that I wasn't born with it and most people don't have them. But I don't get any judgment from people when I explain that I have it. Clearly we have a lot of baggage around breasts, as a society.

  2. Hats off to you, Brandie. You're you, and you know what's right for you. I don't, and neither does anyone else. But ummm do people seriously say stuff like that? Wowwwww.

  3. I don't find this ranty at all! In fact, I happen to think what you have been saying about this is nothing but positive. Each person's story is different. Each person needs to make the decision for what is best for them - that is what you are telling us all. I agree with you! Boobs are boobs - they don't define us - and they shouldn't. If I were in this situation I would have done the same as you! I want to be with my children when they are older. I don't have a mother and have not for my entire adult life. I never want my kids to feel alone! Not if I can prevent it.

  4. I don't think you seem touchy at all. I can never figure out why there is so much judging going on regarding what women decide to do or not do with their bodies. It's all so personal and ultimately nobody else's business. I like how you sound from your soapbox. And good luck finishing up your reconstruction.


Seeing your comments makes me smile! Thank you so much =)