Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 31st May

I am not a fatalist and I don’t think I actually believe that everything is pre-ordained to the degree that things happen to us according to a plan and we kind of just fit in. I do believe, though, that there are lessons to be learned all over the place, if we are just open to them and recognise the signs.

On the other hand, maybe, just maybe it’s a matter of us recognising something as a sign because we are looking for something in particular.

I went to church today because I wanted to, because Mum went regularly and because it was the anniversary of her funeral yesterday. I saw someone that I know and she asked me how I am doing. I said well and she said she could see I am looking better. She also said something along the lines of it’s important to take time to get over these things, but it’s hard and one just wants to get back to normal.

Of course that resonated with me. It also made me take note of the whole thing about ‘give yourself time’ and how everything, everything does get better.

A lesson to be learned.

Then I went for a run this evening.

Sometimes when I paddle, the water feels like treacle. Sometimes when I run, my body just feels like lead. It was like that yesterday, although I did have quite a good run/walk. Today it was different. I was able to run much more easily and happily and I went much further than I thought I would. Today was not a ‘lead / treacle’ day. And it felt good.

Of course, that just reinforced the idea that everything has its moments and everything does get easier, eventually.

When I run, I wear a sports bra, because my real boob needs support. Generally, I don’t wear normal bras, for a number of reasons, but mostly because a soft, sports-type top is most comfortable on the side of the mastectomy. It’s not always the best for the real boob, though. I’ve been wondering recently, though, about the whole ‘reconstruction / falsie’ question.

I’m pretty sure I will never have reconstruction. I tried going there and my body said ‘No thanks’. I really don’t think it’s worth having anaesthetics and operations just to find out that the same thing will happen again. It was before chemo, so that had no effect and, if my body has already begun to reject a plastic bag, then who am I to assume it won’t do so again? So then the question of a falsie arrives.

And then I wonder about the why…

Why do women actually feel the need to have a reconstruction or to wear a prosthetic boob, especially if they have had a single mastectomy? Is it to look normal? Does it make them feel more normal?

I know for an actual fact that I will never be ‘normal’ again. At least anatomically. (As my children will attest, I think I am far from ‘normal’ generally, anyway!) Even if I wear a prosthetic and look as though I have two boobs, I won’t have. Even if I were to go the whole surgery etc route and have the reconstruction to have what look like two boobs, I will know that one of them is not real.

So, in many ways, the question is, I suppose, ‘Why bother?’

Maybe, having (what look like) two boobs makes a person feel more like a woman. At least, that’s what some people may think. I have been asked a few times if having had one boob off makes me feel less like a woman. The answer is, ‘Hell, no.’ I am what and who I am, even with one boob and one ‘non-boob’.

I do think, though, that maybe someone should invent a one-sided bra. Just for those of us who have had the surgery, don’t want to / can’t have reconstruction and who cannot be bothered to wear a real bra, pretending there’s something where there ain’t!

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