Owning my own ‘normal’

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm

It turns out there isn’t anything defective about my implants.  I had meant to do an update and as usual, the month got away from me.  But it’s actually a good thing because I have had some time to ruminate on my reaction and my relationship to these strange orbs that are sitting front and center.  But first, the information from the doctor.

The implant hadn’t leaked, or slipped out of its casing.  It turns out that because the leftover skin being used for the reconstruction is so paper thin, it is inevitable that I will feel the lining and at times, the implant itself.  In an effort to examine how ‘normal’ my new breasts feel I solicited the help of two friends in the office and we ran comparisons.  Ah, the theater.  Turns out, real breasts have just as many anomalies as the fake ones. There isn’t really any such thing as a perfect pair of breasts, so there you are.  No offense to the ladies who offerred up their boobs for my experiment- both have lovely racks.   The plastic surgeon reassured me that as the implants settle in, they begin to feel more ‘normal’.  He also said that if I still wasn’t happy in a few months time, he is happy to do a trade out surgery for new implants as one of my breasts is about 1/2 cup size smaller than its counterpart.  But based on the fact that I am not a model or someone who requires perfection in this area, I may leave well enough alone.  At the very least, we have decided to hold off on the completion of reconstruction for about six months and I will reassess at that time.

Someone pointed out to me that all of the solutions being offerred to me kind of suck.  Going back in sounds elaborate and leaving them as is means settling with a less than ideal outcome.  But, as always, I pointed out that a perfect pair was not the point of the exercise.  And in terms of that- the solutions offerred have delivered ten fold.  This is just a messy icing job on the cake, as it were.

All of this blew open the conversation again about feeling disassociated with the breast reconstruction.  My chest has become something to hide or ignore or live with.  Maybe all of the above.  I did some research on what the nipple construction and tattooing will look like and somehow it’s all just a bit fakey-fakey for me.  I know that a lot of this is psychological- no one knows that better than me- but I want to find a way to reconcile with what I’m left with.  In speaking to an old friend who is about to undergo a double mastectomy and reconstruction I expressed my lack of enthusiasm for the next stage of reconstruction and she suggested that I forget it and get tattoos I love, instead.  I  have known for some time that I was going to get a quote tattooed on my back, but this is something altogether different.  And I thought, maybe this is the key.  Maybe for me the key is not in trying to make my breasts look ‘normal’ but in accepting that they are something different.  They need not conform to what ‘normal’ breasts look like because god knows, there is nothing normal about me.  Maybe my body needs to become a canvas on which I tell my story to myself- a story I write, that belongs to me.  In recreating my ‘normal’ body, maybe I can reconcile with the idea that my normal is not normal but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be beautiful and that it can’t belong to me.  My relationship with my body has always been tenuous at best, sometimes it’s downright hateful.  Imagine though, the ability to make profound decisions about how we look and in doing so, making decisions about how we feel.  That would really be something.

So for the next six months I am going to do a lot of research.   I am going to find every symbol that stands for perseverance.  I will figure out the meaning of every flower, every plant, every insect, every thing that stands to serve as art on the body on which I now write.  In the end, I may opt for the standard procedure.  But it will be a decision as opposed to a resignation and that is the key to reconciling what was with what is.

In the mean time, me and my BRCA twins are healthy and happy and living our lives.  I hope that this also become part of my ‘normal’.

Written on the Body

  1. You are perfect.

  2. I am not one who is big on tattoos, but the picture you found of a tattooed breast, is really quite lovely! It is a wonderful way to turn what could be a sad situation into a beautiful thing to look at, enjoy and love! Whatever your final decision on this matter, it will have to be something you are completely and totally happy with. Isn’t it amazing that we live in an age with so many fabulous choices!

  3. There are some amazing chest tattoos on women that have had a double mastectomy. Good luck, I hope you find something you love. I just got a hummingbird on each shoulder and I smile every time I take my clothes off. 🙂
    That’s a first. Love you!

  4. I am still more than willing to drive you to and from and hold your hand while you get your tattoos. I offer to you the Lotus flower as a symbol. First, because I have one and it would be cool if you did too! But secondly, because Lotus’ emerge from the mud and muck and become something so beautiful. You’ll find what’s right for you and what speaks to you. I also encourage you to start checking out tattoo artists’ portfolios because it’s not just what you get but who gives it to you that matters most. Good luck! Can’t wait to see and read all about it! Love you!

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