This post is all about boobs.
(I’m trying to attract more male readers).
Go out to a public place with a lot of traffic, and take a look around. You will find women of all shapes and sizes.
(Be cool about this, I don’t need any of you going to jail for lewd behavior).
The size of a woman’s breasts is something very personal to her. They may be too big or too small, but they are hers. One of the great insults of breast cancer is suddenly having them altered whether you want it or not. Woman endure single or double mastectomies. They decide to remain flat, or undergo reconstruction to attempt to regain the look that makes them comfortable. Even women who have a lumpectomy, like me, end up with breasts that are different sizes and shapes due the amount of tissue removed and the effects of radiation.
Which is why I underwent a bilateral reduction a few months ago to even out the size and thin out the scar tissue from radiation. Despite on-going complications and the need for a skin graft, I am thrilled with my results. I feel like me again. I don’t see a reminder of my cancer journey every time I look down. Cancer may come back, but that will be a new chapter. This chapter is done.
During my time making these decisions, I have talked with countless women to hear their stories and get other opinions. Not just cancer survivors, but also women undergoing voluntary breast reductions or prophylactic mastectomies (what my surgeon referred to as the “full Angelina Jolie”). And it has raised some interesting conclusions about size. It’s heartening to see the options that women have, not just to counteract cancer, but to take charge over other body issues. Breast size can cause back problems, headaches, and increased cancer risk. It is not just about body image. In many cases, women liked their old breasts, but felt they needed the surgery to solve physical problems.
What I find troubling is the amount of obsession so many woman have over the “number”. I see many ladies unhappy with their surgery results because they went to be measured, and their new bra size is too big or too small. Or they were measured in several stores, and got a variety of sizes, none of which they wanted. The issue is that they had no complaints until they were measured. So is the actual size that important to our psyche?
The problem is how fickle size is. Clothing manufacturers are notoriously bad about consistently sizing their clothes. This is why we try things on before buying them. It is not a personal failing, or a result of a poor surgeon, if we have to buy a bra that is a size bigger or smaller than our vision. We, as women, need to look in the mirror and ask if we like what we see. Certainly, if the answer is “no”, we should pursue revisions or other options. But let’s make that about reality, not an arbitrary size.
In actuality, size does matter. What does not matter is the little white label in your bra. It’s time to cut it out and be free.
For more information on navigating your breast cancer journey, visit our website, www.driventosurvive.org.