Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Wednesday 29th October

Day 23. Or, Day 1, depending on how one looks at it.

The point is that I still have a drain in. It’s actually a new drain (bright and shiny and new), but there is still a drain in me. I’m even beginning to become quite fond of it. In a strange way.

Yesterday was the op to remove the tissue expander. With it gone, I feel even more sore than I have for a while. Even more sore than when I had the mastectomy, I think – if memory serves me correctly. I think that a lot of this is because the nerves that were totally numb after that op are now all working and have registered that they have been messed about!

I no longer have the horrible feeling of enogorgement / pressure I had with the tissue expander in.

It’s not better, but it is getting there, I reckon.

I was talking to someone yesterday before going to the hospital, explaining what was going to happen. I explained that the reconstruction won’t take place now. (There is always a possibility of things changing at some stage in the future, but definitely not for the forseeable time.) The opinion given was that, of course, I must have it done at some stage.

My immediate reaction was, “Why?”

It makes me wonder: What is it about society that says every woman has to walk around with two boobs? I mean, it definitely is not normal to be able to spot someone who has had a single mastectomy easily. Why, though, is that an issue to consider? If I choose to not have a reconstruction and, in fact, not to use a prosthesis of any kind, why is this an issue? If I am comfortable walking around with one real boob and one ‘non-boob’, why is it anyone else’s issue?

I walk around quite happily with a tattoo on my ankle, which, actually, freaks some people out. A missing boob may not exactly be in the same category, but, as long as I am comfortable with myself, why does what anyone else thinks matter?

I’ve already asked my kids if they would feel embarrassed or the like if their mum appeared in public with only one boob in place. They all say no.  I’ve researched about prosthetic boobs, to a degree, and will go ahead and pursue the process. Whether I will actually get one, though, will depend on how I feel – and how practical it is. After all, getting a ‘one-boob’ bra is not actually easy – and my real boob does need support, especially in its old age!

Whether I will feel the need to stuff a bra with a prosthetic, or anything else, just to seem to be normal, will remain to be seen. One woman I spoke to said that the falsies just get so hot. Knowing me, I will leave it in somewhere and then lose it for a few days. At this stage, this is all a little up-in-the-air until I actually recover from all these ops and begin to look at things a little more practically, I think. And when I can start running and paddling again. At least the damn drain must come out first!

Whether people will think this is weird or not, I don’t know. My guess is that most people won’t even notice, or really care. Everyone is mostly too caught up in being themselves and seeing themselves through what has to happen in their worlds to really notice what is going on in mine.

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