Why I’m so very grateful to be flat chested!

Breast Cancer is serious business!


Why I’m so very grateful to be flat chested! Photo credit: imagerymajestic freedigitalphotos.net

Many times in life you will be faced with very difficult decisions. Mine came when I was told I had breast cancer. Within minutes, I made the only choice I could. You see, just one week prior, I had found a bump the size of a pea on my right breast. I tried to locate it over the next week, but it wasn’t until I happened to lay on my side that I found it again and within that one week, it had become the size of an almond. The tests confirmed it to be Mucinous Carcinoma (Colloid Carcinoma). Knowing that it had grown so quickly, and being concerned that it would spread, like so many other people I had known, I decided to have a bi-lateral, or double, mastectomy. The steps that lead to such a decision is a mammogram, ultra-sound, then a biopsy of the tissue for scientific proof of what you are dealing with.

The surgery, a week and a half later, went smoothly, with no complications. Within 24 hours, I was walking the hospital halls and was released to recover at home. Recovery didn’t take long, I was moving around the house just fine and took the weekend to sleep before returning to my normal day-to-day activities.

I did have to contend with drain tubes for a week, but they weren’t so bad. I had a sweater that had pockets on the inside and I just tucked them in, zipped it up and kept going. I am not a nap person, but had the luxury of being able to take naps throughout the day and found myself discovering some great late night TV in the process.

After the drain tubes were removed and the steri-strips fell off, I was able to view the doctor’s work. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he was able to save some of the fat and I had what I call small pups. It was quite a change from 36C to 32AA, but I knew I could handle it. You see, I remember what it was like to be flat-chested. I really didn’t start developing until I was about 25 and was a 32B when I first started dating my husband. I remember being able to run to him without any encumbrances. In fact, I tried it this weekend, and it felt great! He just laughed, happily of course, and said that I was ‘ate up’.

There was one complication. I found out that I’m allergic to surgical tape. So, I didn’t want to take any chances and always opting for the healthy choice, I have made the decision not to have reconstructive surgery. Implants are relatively safe these days but are not permanent, they may have to be replaced 5 or more years later. That being said, I’ve now tried on all my clothes in my closets and to my pleasant surprise, some of my favorite clothes that I couldn’t bear to part with, now fit gloriously. I have a huge pile on our spare bed for alterations. I changed my sewing dress form (clothing mannequin) to my new size and am pinning and sewing like crazy. I even have plans to make some of the shirts backless. Woohoo!

I was told by my doctors that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes and because I removed all the breast tissue, there was no need for radiation or chemotherapy. This was such a relief because I have lost too many friends through the attempt to fight their many forms of cancer with radiation or chemotherapy. (Many will choose to have a lump removed instead of losing all of the breast, but at what cost? The loss of your breast is nothing compared to the loss of your life!)

I have now become an outspoken proponent to breast self examination. Actually, I had told you that I had found the lump, but my husband was the one who initially discovered it. In fact, I’m an advocate for not only you, but your partner doing an examination. For more reasons than one. *Saying with a broad smile*

Because I could not locate the lump through the traditional manner, and only discovered it by laying on my side, I now advocate a different process for examination. So ladies, and gentlemen, when doing a self or partner examination, be sure to turn on your side to examine the entire breast. Also, lift, if necessary. Take your time. Not only is it a good thing for you and your partner to know your body, it’s also a necessary ritual. Laying on your side allows you to expose half of the mammary gland and then lying on your other side gives you the ability to check the other side as well. The same applies to moving the breast up and then down again. Doing an exam like this regularly will give the best chance at early detection. This is not just for those of you who might have a family history. I have no history in my family. At all. Cancer does not just develop in the mass of the breast, mine was growing from the side close to the rib cage.

God knows I don’t want you to find anything, but if you do, maybe you’ll find it extremely early like I did. Because I want you to live a long life. Early detection is the key.

I have a list started for the pro’s and con’s of having no breasts. It is as follows:

  • Con’s – no breasts.
  • Pro’s – no breasts, no bra, backless dresses, running, and cartwheels.

There are many things to look forward to in life. So, if you happen to see a not quite middle-aged woman doing cartwheels (or any age for that matter). She may just be so very grateful to be flat-chested!


4 responses to “Why I’m so very grateful to be flat chested!

    • I am more than happy to share this story. Please do translate it with a link to the original and attribute it to me. I appreciate it and I know others who face the same daunting decision will too. Thank you for sharing!

  1. Good for you! I had a different sort of breast cancer twenty years ago and had a mastectomy, but they did a reconstruction with my own tissue. The recovery time was longer, but you never have to go back to have it redone. I’ve always been on the smaller side of stacked and I like it. Health to you in days to come.

    • Thank you for sharing, Jane. I am glad that you had the option to reconstruct using your own tissue; you made a fine choice and you are here twenty years later. Woohoo! Congratulations. Be well, Jane.

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