It is mastectomy week. No lies, I have been a crying mess. I am prettttty sure I left tears and cry snot on row 5 at church yesterday. I am trying to cope with this impending loss and the unknown that comes along with a double mastectomy. I came across "The Dear Boobs Project" on Facebook, and felt like I should participate. I wrote a "Dear Jane" letter of sorts to my boobs. I know, weird...right!? But hey... I have never done things "normal" per-se. I wanted to share this letter with all of you. I hope that someone that has to walk this breast cancer journey will identify with my experience, and if it helps one woman, it was worth sharing. Thank you all for the prayers and encouragement as well as the physical and financial support from my family and friends. I am so grateful. I appreciate everyone loving me through this journey.
It is 3 days before my double mastectomy to remove you… and I have to admit, although you are trying to kill me… it is hard to go through this process… and just be ok with amputating you. And honestly, as I typed that… I realized that is the pattern I followed a big portion of my life… refusing to let go. Many of my life-lessons involve coping with “loss” and this is another one of those. Loss of people, loss of control, loss of things in my life that seemed important, loss of relationships and now the loss of you… “just boobs”… mounds of fat and flesh… nothing that can’t be replaced according to others views. But to me, it is a loss that I am mourning a bit.
This weekend, I kept thinking, “This is my last weekend with my boobs”. Not like I am going to do anything differently with or without boobs – but the unknown freaks me out a bit. So does the loss of my nipples. It is a hard pill to swallow to lose something that “symbolizes” being a woman being taken in just a couple of hours of surgery. This entire journey with you has been pretty wild. 39 years and some months you have been a part of my body and I just have to cut you off. Right now, nothing makes it easy to deal with, nothing. I am pissed, sad and tired of treatment and KNOW that I have to get rid of you to save my life. I am having to use all of the other “things” that make me a woman: Grace, Strength, Courage, Humor and above all FAITH to fight off the negative thoughts and the fear of this loss.
I remember being ridiculed in 3rd grade when you grew faster than the other kids and the boys snapped my bra. I hated you then… why do I want to keep you now?
I remember being thankful I had you when I was 14 and wanted to pick out the cute swimsuits, but got frustrated when you were to big to fit in my homecoming dress.
I remember having to have a special piece in my wedding dress to cover the cleavage that I always seemed to have.
I remember you swelling to monumental size when I was pregnant (19 years ago!?!?!) and then shoving cabbage leaves in my bra when you got engorged after having my beautiful baby.
I remember feeling let down as gravity took its course after having a child…and your stretch marks showed up.
I remember gaining weight after a divorce and during a rough 2nd marriage and you grew big again – my bras looked like hats. You were heavy and needed so much support, but I rocked you!
I remember you shrinking down to nothing after I lost 149 lbs in 2015 on Extreme Weight Loss. I threw away all of the big bras and stared sadly and the droopy skin on my chest. I wished for “new boobs”. I kept you tucked away in sports bras all of the time. I went to 2 surgeons to ask about implants.
I remember December 19, 2016 – I felt the lump. I was gripped by fear at the ping pong ball in my chest – protruding out of my pale boob skin. I made friends, family, doctors look and feel and give their opinion. I went and got a mammogram and biopsy. I flashed you more than you have ever been flashed before. Pulling you out of my bra and putting you under pink capes, getting squished and poked and prodded became the norm for a while. January 24th 2017 was your “judgement day”. I heard, “Invasive Ductal Carcinoma” “Tumor Grade 3 of 3”, “4cm”, “Hormone positive”, “Double mastectomy”. It was a no-brainer. I would HAVE to say goodbye to you. I have to much life to live – a son that was graduating high school, an amazing man I was about to marry, I couldn’t let you get in the way of that. You must go to save my life…because it is a REALLY GOOD LIFE!!!! I am sorry you can’t go along with us.
I remember being thankful for the Extreme Weight Loss process – because it prepared me for this journey, somewhat. I wouldn’t have felt the tumor if I was still in the DDD bras. You COULD HAVE killed me. Not only I am thankful for finding the tumor, but I also got a taste of what the flat chested life is like – and until I get reconstruction, I will just keep telling myself I have hidden my chest before, I have been disappointed with my boobs before, but most of all: I AM DOING THIS TO SAVE MY LIFE.
Boobs, it has been a good run. Thanks for the memories. I am sorry that I have to cut you out of my future… but it must be done to save my life. Saving boobs is never worth losing my life. Ta-ta… (pun intended 😉)