Yes, that is my ass. I can’t show you the front shot and keep the blog public …
Sex. Part I. I can spin lots of sex stories …
One of the issues I have with cancer is losing – or perceiving to lose – my sexual identity. I love sex! French Canadian upbringing … we actually talked about it. My Mom made sure I understood who was in charge!
I love my body. I was pretty happy with the fifty-one-year-old breasts. The thought of not having them really does cause me huge fits of anxiety. Yes, I know I can get bionic breasts … but are they really the same? Will they look and feel real? To me? My partner? That really ramps up my anxiety … still. Just typing it out makes me want to reach out and pop anxiety meds. Yes, if I have to choose between life and breasts … I want my breasts! I’m not Angelina Jolie … sorry.
How do you find love without breasts? How do I rewrite my own love story without them?
Will I find love? And more importantly … will I still be able to have sex? I cannot imagine having the same … freedom … without a whole body. I imagine better and stronger women have conquered this fear, but I am not there yet.
Perhaps shallow, but that is my biggest worry. Not losing my life. Losing my sexiness. Do you expect anything less from a woman who did a boudoir shoot the night before her surgery? And charmed all her doctors?
I really am torn up about scars on my breast. (I know … scars are sexy and there is always a good story to go along with them …) As I was sitting in bed one morning with my laptop (single so what else would I do?!), I saw an advertisement for temporary tattoos. I browsed through their catalogue and found one I want. This one.
And I wanted it in that exact spot. But I couldn’t get it in time … and I did wonder if the surgeon would think it was instructions. The breast cannot go! I did tell him this story … which is partially why I am known as the most fun patient in the OR! But that is another story!
Back to the boudoir before the surgery … my photographer and I decided to Sharpie my breast with “Fight like a girl”. And photograph my right breast like this … and a few more positions. Hands. Breasts. Bed. You can imagine …
I wanted to remember my body unscarred. I really didn’t have any major scars. Largest one – prior to my lumpectomy and sentinel node removal – was on my left foot. And it’s barely visible. Never had major surgery.
I was terrified that I would wake up and not have a breast. But the surgeon promised – PROMISED! – that would not happen. They were only taking out the tumour and several nodes. They took out at least 7cm of tissue – almost a baseball – and I still have my 36D breast. The tumour was located at 10 o’clock on my breast so I fully expected the incision to be there. But Dr. X – I love him – cut below the cleavage line and went in from there.
I now have a 5 inch scar which starts just inside my nipple and runs all the way to my side and another smaller 3 inch incision at the bottom of my armpit. It’s not as bad as I imagined – certainly better than no breast – but my journey isn’t over. I still could lose it.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer. That means there is no hormone or gene expression associated with my cancer. Estrogen didn’t turn it on. Nor did progesterone. And I don’t have the HER2 gene. (But I may have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation … testing to come).
That means they can’t “turn my cancer off” by turning off the hormones or the genes. So they might have to blast it with chemo and radiation.
And that leads to another fear. Losing my hair. Yes … I have worn a wig to bed. And he loved it! Just don’t get the strands wrapped around … you know …
I guess I will have to wear it again. It really was a riot! But really? Losing all of my hair (on my head) is almost as scary as losing my breast.
How do I do it?
Not feeling as sexy,