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This week’s food for thought Friday is about loss and asks: what is your most significant loss?

This presents me with a conundrum. What is my most significant loss? Is it the loss of trust I experienced when my husband cheated on me early in my marriage? Is it the loss of my grandmother 20 years ago this year. After all she was a massive influence on me as a person. Indeed she still is. Is it the loss of my father in 2014, after all the loss of a parent is a significant thing for anyone as they travel through life. Losing a parent makes you face your own mortality. As I head towards 60 (only 3 years to go), I do think about death more. Mainly because I want to pack so much in before that happens.

Those things are all massive milestones in my life. But I guess they feel inevitable, even betrayal. You have to be lucky to get through to the end of your life without someone doing the dirty on you.

No, the most significant loss is that of my right breast. Look up at the picture above this text. At the voluptuous cleavage, that woman is me. The loss of that part of my body does not get any easier, no matter what kind of brave face I put on it.

I can no longer wear whatever I want

Walk down any bra aisle in a department store and only a small proportion are suitable for me. I love beautiful lingerie and while there are specialist providers of beautiful post mastectomy products, they aren’t what I want to buy. I long for plunging necklines or balcony bras. If I wear one of my many low cut tops or dresses with one of my current bras you see lots of lace. That is fine, but I want to show off my cleavage.

Loss of feeling

Since my surgery last year my body doesn’t feel the same. Not only is there a large piece of me missing but what is there is numb. Around the scar line the sensation is reduced and under my arm it is absolutely absent. Strangely I can’t feel if I pinch myself, but I can feel hot water as it runs down my body. These days I spend longer in the shower because of this.

All is not lost of course

I am alive and I don’t have cancer. The chance of me dying of breast cancer in the future is miniscule. I am also going to see the surgeon soon about reconstruction surgery. So there is every chance that I will get my cleavage back and be able to wear low cut clothes again. It is likely that my new breast will be smaller than the old one, and I may need a reduction on the left side. But hopefully it will help me to feel whole again.

So many people have commented on my bravery, (which I acknowledge but don’t really see), when I think I was just coping as best I could. In truth I am still angry and upset this has happened. I feel guilty for these feelings because so many people are worse off than me. After all I have fully recovered.

I am ready to share photos of me as I am now, starting with this week’s Boobday (link to follow). The photo was taken at the end of Eroticon with (I think) 26 other people. I am used to how I look and I accept it. But I am beyond sad about what I have lost and that feeling won’t go away. Even after I have a new boob made of fat from my abdomen.


7 thoughts on “Loss”

  1. That is a very particular and personal loss to have to come to terms with. Like many, I’m so glad you are able to keep going and not let it stop you from being the person you are.

  2. While I haven’t lost a breast, I get how hard it must be to look at lingerie or not see cleavage in the mirror. Those things are part of your identity and rightfully mourned. I’m glad you have the option for reconstruction. I know lots of people would say you should simply be thrilled to have your health and they aren’t wrong. But feeling good in your body is important, whatever you need to do to get there.

  3. A close friend suffered with the loss of her breast – I could only look on – I will never pretend to understand what it must feel like but certainly see why it would be a great loss. And u being brave – i have said it but i also do understand that often that is just coping. What else can be done? x

  4. julie, I know how you feel. I have had both breasts removed but they were reconstructed at the same time. I lost my ovaries too. I found it difficult to get used to them. I called them my aliens. They didn’t feel like they belonged to me. I found the loss of them and my ovaries as a removal of my femininity. I have never really spoken about this before. I was certain everyone could tell I had plastic boobs. Now they are looking more natural and have settled and gravity has them with a more natural profile. I cried and mourned what I had lost. Now time has passed and I am more thankful but I know cancer leaves so many scars that don’t show. <3 <3 <3

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