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.