Being back in hospital for a non-cancer operation recently, prompted me to think about my body and how it has changed over the last two and a half years following my breast cancer diagnosis.
I’ve acquired another scar, this time high up on the side of my right buttock, to add to the two across my chest and the much older one on my left shoulder. But what I have come to realise is that:
I love having no breasts!
Five words that I never in all my 56 years thought that I’d think, let alone put down on paper.
I had to fight to get the balancing surgery that I wanted. Surely it’s important that patients are presented with all of the available options after mastectomy so that each individual can make the choice that is right for them?
I felt that I was pushed down the reconstructive surgery route and, while this is right for some women, it wasn’t right for me. Choice is the most important part of this discussion. A woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body. And a woman’s right to feel listened to and supported by her health care professionals.
I’m happy living as a flat woman without breasts and here are some of the reasons:
- I took control of a very bad situation and turned the negative into a positive.
- I feel empowered by making the decisions about my body. I love the feelings of being confident, brave and strong that have flowed from that decision making.
- I enjoy challenging society’s definition of beauty.
- I’ve discovered that having breasts didn’t define me as a woman. I can be just as feminine and beautiful without them.
- I never liked my large breasts – I’m only 5’2” – and I feel now that I finally have the body that I always should have had.
- I don’t get stared at anymore because of my large chest. Amazingly, people don’t look at me anymore even though I’m flat – they just don’t notice. Once I realised this it boosted my confidence and self-body image even more.
- I really like the way my body looks now, and I like my scars – they’re part of my history and remind me of what I’ve gone through.
- I’m not carrying around nearly 2kg in weight on my chest any more – moving is so much easier and more pleasurable.
- I’ve been freed from wearing a bra & all that entails. Haven’t worn one since November!! But I have the choice to wear a bra and have whatever size breasts I want. I’ve got some lovely C cup prostheses.
- I can wear whatever style of clothes I like, and I think that most styles look great on me now.
- I’m able to play sport without feeling like my chest was so constricted by my sports bra that I couldn’t breathe.
I could go on, but I think this illustrates how I feel about living without breasts. I understand that this is my choice and that others choose to live as uniboobers or to have reconstructive surgery. The options are there for every woman facing mastectomy. We just need to be given all of the options in order to make the choice that is right for us.
Featured image by Sue Lacey Photography