Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Before I had surgery, one of the big questions simmering in the back of my mind (and yours, too...admit it!) was "What's it like to look at yourself in the mirror for the first time after having a mastectomy?"

I chose not to do a lot of "googling" before my surgery, because I didn't want to get all crazy with anxiety. I felt it best for me to steer clear of input from the masses and just process what was about to happen to me on a very personal level. That's just me.

So, the day after surgery as I was being readied to go home, the nurse came in to change the dressing on my wound. I endured this without so much as a glance-down. When I got home, I changed into my comfy jammies, again, without looking. It wasn't until the next day that I took a look. And it wasn't a mirror-look, it was a glance-down look. I didn't cry. I didn't even gasp. I just marveled. Where once were breasts are now two nine-inch scars crossed with steri-strips. Just like that.

I'm sorry if this is too much information. It's just so WEIRD processing an amputation. I am blown away that modern medicine has made this whole thing possible, from detection to amputation. Three months ago I knew nothing. Now I am a cancer survivor. I am in awe of the fact that Dr. F did something SO invasive and today, 15 days later, I'm home, doing laundry, getting in the pool, driving my car. My body looks SO different to me when I look in the mirror. I don't love it. But then I never really LOVED my body. Clothes DO fit me differently. My bra-basket sits in my closet, dejected over being utterly ignored. My chest feels tight, like there's duct tape wrapped around me. I am flat as a pancake. My friend Judy and I joke that I need a 38-T bra..."T" standing for "trainer."

I am adjusting to the new way I look. I have my moments, believe me.

But mostly I just marvel.


Janet McCormick said...

I've been thinking much about your brainwaves on this topic. I've never had boobs. No really. I'm talking "Nearly A" cup, all my adult life. Bras are purchased in the "Why Bother" section, and come in Barbie or G.I.Joe styles. I've had a lifetime to resolve that clothes are not made for me. But you are a sudden newcomer into our "little" world. So welcome. We can run with no bounce, we can buy little girl tops, we can squeeze through barely-open windows, and coats button up nicely. I've always said I'd like ONE DAY to experience boobs, the kind that friends complain about. But it is what it is, yes? Welcome.

christie said...

Thanks for putting out the welcome mat, Janet. Yes, there ARE perks! No bra-strap showing! The thought of running right now hurts, but someday, yes! Bounceless running! I can get used to this....

ol' Ned said...

Todd's wife, is also boobless, even though she nursed four kids. She's my running buddy and it's great!

Christie, just think of all the money you'll save on bras, camasoles, and the ability to now by cool, cheaper teenie-bopper tops! Alex is a VP in rue21 shops. Do you have those out there? I'll get you some discounts!

Love you!

Lorie Ann Grover said...

You have been brave redefining normal, and you've done it so quickly. That is a marvel. And beauty.