Welcome To The Club

After announcing on social media that I’m going to have my reconstructed mastectomy implants removed to “go flat” some of my small-breasted girlfriends reached out welcoming me to the flat-girl club, or the no-boobies club. You know what I’m talking about – the itty bitty titty committee. I adore all of my “70’s disco titty” friends for reaching out to me, but here is the thing – your idea of being flat and my reality of being flat are completely different versions of flat!

Look, I get it. I know you’re trying to make me feel better and I love you for that. I do not mean to depreciate your support. However, while you have a feminine curve, no matter how small, I’ll be concave. While you have the sexy look of a breast and nipple, I will have a long scar and wrinkled skin. While you can feel sexual arousal, I am numb. While you have clothes that lay over you, showing off your model-size breasts, I’ll be struggling with the idea of letting the fabric of my shirt sink into my chest. While you feel the touch of your lover, I’ll be struggling with showing my body to another.

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Reality

The Facebook Posts – Mel’s Cancer Diaries.

My journey is much harder on my psyche than I expected. The process of filling the tissue expanders was much more painful than my doc explained. If you have gone through breast cancer you may have noticed that the medical community doesn’t focus much on the healing process. Maybe it is just my experience, but I feel that they don’t warn you of what something is going to feel like. Not just physically, but emotionally too.

Take the experience of tissue expanders as an example. Yes, I had an appointment in a medical office that explained the mechanics of what would happen, but they skipped over a lot of parts that make up an experience as a whole. The first time I had a “fill” I came home and went to bed. I couldn’t get a muscle relaxer and pain killer in me soon enough! Strangely, the pain was a pulling feeling in my shoulders down into my back. I didn’t go into work that day as my body was too achy. I had no idea I’d feel this way. No one told me.

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Nightmares

The Facebook Posts – Mel’s Cancer Diaries

This is a very difficult entry for me to write. But, I have to write because writing is therapy for me.

Since the mastectomy (about two weeks ago) I’ve had terrible dreams. No, not dreams. Nightmares. I dream that something is being destroyed. It could be a towering inferno to a burnt pot-roast. Sometimes it is Thanksgiving dinner that catches on fire, ruining the beautiful turkey. Fire and skin are the running themes that posses my REM sleep cycle. The destruction is different each night, but they all add up to irreversible damage.

The night before last was so bad that I can’t believe my brain let me imagine such things. I needed to talk about it so I made myself tell my oldest daughter. It was difficult to describe because the destructive action in the dream was ME doing the harm. And, at the same time, it was me trying to repair the harmed. The dream was about a beloved pet dog. I was trying to put her skin back to together after realizing that I had somehow burned her. It was unclear how I damaged her skin, yet I had the understanding that it was me who did the damage. The part I remember clearly was trying to put her back together as if nothing had happened. It was my fault she was “broken” and my responsibility to “fix” her.

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Bras

The Facebook Posts – Mel’s Cancer Diaries

So, my doctor gave me a bra. I went to see her so she could check my tissue expanders and drains. She announced that the bra was a gift. She even accentuated the word, gift as if it would be delivered in a Tiffany-blue box. Naturally, I was a little excited. A new bra is not cheap. I pictured the intimates section at Macy’s and imagined what she might hand to me. Once I saw the thin plastic sheath in which the bra was presented my fantasy of La Perla came crashing to the floor.

Lemme tell you about this bra. It was made of stretchy satin. It was tan, yet erred on the side of brown pantyhose. It had what seemed like a million hooks in the front. It met strict safety requirements as to avoid the drains that stick out of the skin under my arms. Lovely, yes?

She gave me this thing that had no bells or whistles. It made me look like a man wearing a bra for a Halloween costume. No. no. no. no. I do not want to wear it. Like, ever. I don’t even want to ever wear any kind of bra ever again.

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