Breastless In The City
The morning I realized that my showers would no longer be the same, I held my left breast in the palm of my hand as if it were a newborn baby.
As I began washing it, one tear dropped like a light mist on a dry summer day. The light mist turned into a sprinkle, and the sprinkle turned into heavy rain. Before I knew it my tears had turned into a tsunami and my body was shaking like an 8.5 earthquake. I cried for the breast that I desired, the breast that I had known, and for the breast that would no longer be.
Prepped for surgery
In less than five hours my favorite breast would be gone. The thought of that shook me to my core. What had I done to cause this and what could I do to stop it? The questions were coming faster than the answers.
We arrived at the hospital, and as I was being prepped for surgery, my husband kissed my left breast and bid it farewell because he knew that he would never see it again. At that moment my heart cracked a little, but I didn’t allow it to bleed because there was no time for that. It was a choice between no breast and no life. I chose life.
I awakened to what felt like a big pothole, the sunken place, a bottomless pit on the left side of my chest, and I could feel the vacant tissue. At that moment I felt broken, shattered, empty, and saddened. But it was the only choice I had... Right?
I never knew what it meant to lose a breast. I knew what it felt like to anticipate them, to enjoy pleasure from them, but I didn’t know what it was like to mourn them.
Hiding my emotions
So I stuffed my emotions into a metal box, and I locked it. I then placed it inside a room that I had built inside my heart. I threw that box inside that room, and I did it as swiftly as I could because God forbid if any of my other emotions were to escape.
After all, I was still standing and I had things to do. I couldn’t allow a missing breast to defeat me. I had all of the answers that would numb me, keep me from feeling anything. I was good, no worries...Right?
Repeating the process
15 months later, who knew that I would repeat the process all over again. This time was different: I was less emotional. I had been down this road before. It was my right breast; it wasn’t friendly and was void of emotion and had a brick wall thicker than Fort Knox. So who cared if it had to go. Right?
I cared after I looked in the mirror and saw two jagged scars taking up residence where my two breasts once lived. The scars were squatters, and I didn’t have the power to evict them.
What does the pink breast cancer ribbon really mean?
So, every time we see a pink breast cancer ribbon or someone advocating breast cancer awareness, please let’s take a moment and really think about what a pink ribbon stands for. It may mean survival, a thriver, someone who’s battling or someone who’s been defeated.
Caregivers: Do you practice self-care?