Genes, Boobies and Other Accessories

Boobie Funeral

I know this might sound weird but the last few days I’ve found myself saddened by the changes my body will go through over the next year. It’s almost been like a pre-op grieving period. All of the sudden I’m scared of that moment when I wake up from surgery and see my temporary chest. I wonder if most women experience shock when they finally see a chest that’s (in my case) considerably smaller and doesn’t resemble anything that they are used to seeing? I wonder if it’s a hard thing to get used to looking at. I’m not scared enough to reconsider or question my decision. The thought of continued worry and radiation exposure for the rest of my life isn’t appealing at all. The thought of being forced into this surgery while going through chemo doesn’t sound good either. I know that if I was told that I had a 92% chance of winning the lotto, I’d buy tickets immediately. With this kind of risk and my horribly bad luck with my lady parts, I know what I need to do. I want to be in the 3% bracket and live a life where all I need to do is eat right and exercise to control my blood sugar…and make sure my liver is functioning properly. (hehehe)

No matter how rational and well thought out this decision is…I’m still going to be “Bride of Frankenstein” for a year and the emotional part of this decision is weighing on me. Thankfully, I have the internet to help me in my quest to reduce my uncertainty and calm my nerves. Reading other blogs by previvors and survivors helps tremendously. This weekend, I ran across this really cool awareness campaign, The Scar Project. It’s basically a  protrait series of fabulous women post op and it makes our scars look beautiful and artistic and something to wear with pride. The women look so feminine and strong. It was really encouraging. It made me feel better knowing that it is possible to still be feminine even with noobs (noobs = no boobs). And when all reconstruction is over, it‘s possible to be feminine with newbs (newbs = new boobs). I’m trying to keep things in perspective. I just have to emotionally prepare myself for this transition period. I’m thankful every time I read another blog, run across another website, meet another previvor or survivor because the sense of community and “normalcy” of this process is reassuring and comforting.

I also think this grieving period is something that we all experience. Much like grieving for a loved one, grief seems to manifest itself in different ways. You have good days and bad days. You feel peaceful and tormented. I think this week is when I really get to experience this process of grieving. It’s like a week-long funeral for my boobies. Let me make this point clear – it’s not a vanity thing that I’m experiencing. It’s more of an identity thing. Over the last few years, I’ve been forced into challenging and examining my concept of what makes me a woman. I had to challenge my definition of being a woman when I realized that I would not get the option to ever be knocked up and participate in a rite of passage that’s so closely tied to female identity. Now, I’m altering and temporarily losing the other outward sign of my identity as a woman. So in some ways the cool thing about this process is that I am learning to dig deep within myself to redefine my concept of me and what makes me a woman. It’s a refinement process. And so I’ll embrace my boobie funeral this week and hope that in the end I discover a renewed since of self and a new sense of humility and grace.

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Comments on: "Boobie Funeral" (9)

  1. I sincerely hope that writing about this experience and sharing your journey helps with the whole process, as well. Good luck, my dear. And whatever you do — keep that sense of humor sharp! You are full of grace with regard to this life you are leading…and are helping so many others by sharing what you are feeling.

    • Thank you for the encouragement! I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I’m so glad we are friends.

      • Me, too, Mandy. You are top of my mind this week — as it appears you are with lots of others who value your friendship. You are strong… Be well and know you are doing the right thing! And take all the drugs they offer up!! 🙂

      • Sorry it took me so long to respond. I’m just now getting online! About to post something new – finally! Feeling good. Thanks my friend!

  2. Hi Mandy–our mutual friend Megan made me aware of your blog. I wanted to respond to let you know that I’m a survivor and there IS life on the other side! Yes, it is normal to grieve, and yes you will look different. But always remember you’re making a great choice to live the best life you can. The American Cancer society will give you small pillows to use for propping along your sides–you will need these because it will feel funny post-surgery. And yes those pillows that prop you up in bed are still available. I got mine at Walmart. It sounds like you’re mentally prepared, which is great! Hang in there. There are good things that come from something like this that you aren’t even aware of yet. And you’re stronger than you even know.

    • Thank you Kathy! Megan speaks so highly of you. I appreciate your words of encouragement. I’m going to Walmart tomorrow! Keep following me and please share your insight. I really appreciate it!

  3. Jeremy DiCicco said:

    Mandy,
    You have the inner strength to handle this. You also have friends who love and support you. I wish I could say I know what you’re going through, but I don’t. It goes without saying that you’re welcome to call on me any time and I will do for you what I can. Your surgery may change the way you see yourself, but I will always see you as the beautiful person you are.

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