OK, yes, I had a double mastectomy by choice. I made the decision to remove my own breasts and as hard of a decision it was, I have no regrets. That doesn’t mean though I don’t miss them and the many gifts they gave me. First and foremost they connected me to my partner. Her body pressed against mine was something special that only we shared. I can no longer feel her in that way which was something I had to mourn. It has been hard to know I will never be able to feel her touch again in an area that was so special in our bonding. The other thing my breasts gave me (and my partner) was lots of humor. But, how they did you will have to continue reading.
As much support I’ve had in my decision I have also had a few who felt I over reacted with having my breasts removed. But how is it wrong for taking my life into my own hands? I look at it as beating cancer to the punch. I know cancer well and I didn’t want him knocking at my breast’s door. And on that breast’s door I wanted a sign to hang saying,”Breast Cancer NOT welcomed here.”
Unfortunately, my family knows “breast cancer” all too well. I’d like to refer to “him” as “BC”. Here’s why I have spent a lifetime worrying. “BC” reared his ugly head to four generations of women in my family and all were between the ages of 37-39. “He” had the audacity to take the lives of my mom’s four aunts and my mom (when I was only 15 years old). They were too young to die and “BC” made them suffer. I hate “him” for doing this to the ones I loved.
However, “BC” didn’t stop there. He had the gaul to visit my sister. The difference with my sister was “he” was too small to over power her strength. My sister didn’t come through without loss though. It cost her a breast and the continuous concern “he” may return. What’s even more asinine was my sister tested negative to the two identifiable breast cancer genes. How crazy is that with the consistent number of women in my family who had it? For whatever reason the “BC” that visits us doesn’t want to be identified. Let’s just say “he’s” incognito and wears a mask and cape and laughs with an evil laugh saying,”You can’t catch me.” And you know something? “He’s” right. “He” has had great power not just over life and death in my family but also over mind and spirit.
I’ve witnessed “BC’s” evilness first hand and I have feared for years when “he” would come to visit me. Just as my fear was getting the best of me, I realized I had the power to possibly take life into my own hands. Gosh, what a concept. I could stop giving “BC” the control over my life as he had done to so many in my family. I didn’t have to wait to be “his” next victim. I could reduce my chances and hopefully keep ”him” away forever. The choice was mine.
But, when it came down to it, taking that control was more difficult than I thought. I had for years wanted to kick “BC’s” ass because of what “he” had done to my loved ones and because of the constant fear “he” gave me so I figured making the decision to have a double mastectomy was going to be a no brainer. But the reality of it was a different story. Instead of “BC” being able to be blamed it was going to be me who was responsible for removing a part of my body that was dear to me. It’s a little ironic considering I had never liked my breasts. I would wear very tight bras when I was a teenager so my breasts would not be noticed and I made fun of them terribly after my son was born. I still have to admit they were humorous. There was nothing like bending over and seeing in the mirror one size A breast and one size B breast hanging off my body like two dangling bananas ready to be picked. Sorry if that’s more of a visual than you wanted but so true! And secretly I loved how they made my partner laugh too.
Anyway, with the dilemma of making a decision to have them removed it dawned on me I actually did liked them regardless of my booby name calling. I realized they meant much more to me than I had ever thought. They were how I measured needing to lose a few pounds, they were the source of humor, they bonded me to my partner and they gave my son nourishment. My breasts were important to me and I wasn’t sure I was ready to remove them. I had to do a lot of soul searching and brain cramping thinking. That’s when I came to the conclusion that even above not wanting to lose them I knew I didn’t want to know “BC” as closely as my mom’s aunts, my mom and my sister had. It was enough for me to know “BC” as a bystander. As I was trying to decide whether to have a double mastectomy my mind raced with “what ifs”. It could be possible I thought I could be the one in my family who “BC” wouldn’t visit. However, the odds were against me and did I want that worry continuing to hang over me? And unfortunately, my crystal ball was broken to know what would happen. All I could do was to look at my family history and use them as my guide. I needed to listen to them. It’s funny because I had always prided myself on being so strong and yet “BC” knew just what to do to bring me to my knees. I wanted so badly to be standing over “him” and not to have “him” standing over me.
So, again I say, yes, I had a double mastectomy by choice. I made the decision to remove my own breasts and as hard of a decision it was, I have no regrets. I have mourned my loss and may continue to do so for many years to come. But, more importantly “breast cancer” no longer controls me. With the removal of my breasts, yes I lost many things but the greatest thing I lost was the fear that used to consume me.