To have a boob or to not have a boob. Or, way more information about bras than I ever cared to read or write. Or, PSA for women who have had partial mastectomies. Or, more cancer adventures.
As some of you may know, I had a mastectomy at the beginning of breast cancer treatment almost 2 years ago. When you have a mastectomy, you can rebuild – which I opted not to do. Or, you can wear a prosthetic. Yeah, I opted not to do that, too. For a variety of reasons. I was happy with one boob. It didn’t get in my way, didn’t have sweat under it, and I kind of quit wearing bras. Because, you know – the old ones don’t work and they don’t really have bras with one cup. So, I wore sports bras and racer back bralettes. I had to change the way I dressed a little and some necklaces hung weirdly, but I was good.
Until I tried to take my old bras – the ones that were barely or gently used, to the bra shap I frequent. For those of you that can shop at Victoria Secret, you wouldn’t understand. For those of us with giant boobs, we have to go somewhere special. You know – they don’t sell F or G cups everywhere. You read that right. I was a 36G when this all started. Also, those over the shoulder boulder holders are not cheap – it takes a lot of strong fabric and ingenuity to hold up big girls. So, I paid anywhere from fifty to a hundred dollars each for bras. So, the Quarantine had me cleaning out things and I had a very large bag of gently used and slightly worn bras. The owner of this lovely shop will take any of these and she will donate the bras and her bra fitting expertise to the women in shelters looking for a new start. She is amazing. She can tell your bra size and which bra style and brand that will fit you best when you walk into the shop. Not all women are shaped the same, so not all bras work the same.
So, I called her to see if she was taking donations. As soon as I said, I had a mastectomy, she interrupted me, “Did you get the prosthetic”? Um – no. “No? Ma Ma. You have got to get the prosthetic. You are unbalanced. If you keep walking around like that, you will be crippled and walking around like one of those hump backed old ladies, you will have years of pain. Ma Ma, you have to get the prosthetic.” I will, I will. I promise. Thanks for telling me. “I’m serious, Ma Ma, do it right away.” She says in her lovely accent. “And save the bras for when Covid is over (I smirk at that now).” I told you she was amazing. And, she didn’t even really know who I was. I am doubtful that she recognized my voice. She calls everyone, Ma Ma. There really are angels everywhere.
So, I made an appointment and went to get a new boob. It was a horrible day in Northern CA. we were just coming off a heat wave and in the middle of the Camp fire of Aug/Sept 2020. The wind was blowing and there was chunks of ash in the air – not the snow like flakes. It was gross. But, I ventured out to get the boob – supporting local business where I can, you know. I am not going to chop the shop up – but, things were interesting with the new boob when I got home.
I got to look closer in the mirror and wear my new fake boob with different clothes. A thinking girl would have worn a t-shirt to the fittingbecause they do not lie. I brought home a tank top with a shelf bra and that worked fine. But, I had to wash the tank, so I decided to wear the bra today. Firstly, the band is not my size – it’s a little big. Okay, three sizes too big. Plus, it is a stretchy comfort bra. Since the salesperson had loaded the fake boob into the tank, I was loading the fake boob into the bra for the first time. The bras have pockets where the prosthetic fits. As I am folding a prosthetic breast and pushing into the side of the bra – I get an irresistible urge to giggle. Is this the weirdest thing I have ever done? Could be. I’m putting a very large fake boob into a pocket in a bra so I can wear it around. Also, I am writing about the experience. So, all weirdness.
So, I put the bra on – the boob I had removed was my small one. Real boobs are not symmetrical. One is almost always bigger than the other. I think the prosthetic is a size too big? Or am I just used to seeing nothing or something smaller over there? Fuck, I dont know. Another irresistible urge to giggle. Also, no prosthetic that is paid for by insurance, can ever match the size and shape of an individual breast. As just about any man will tell you, no two sets are alike in shape or size. My insurance pays for a prosthetic and a few bras. Since I don’t miss wearing a bra and I was looking for something comfortable, I opted for some tank tops with the shelf bra and one stretchy comfort bra. Which I knew I would only be wearing at home for balance since it offered little to no support and, you can’t hide in a stretchy comfort bra either, you can see it all. So, I’m wearing this stretchy bra and every step I take on the stairs, the prosthetic sinks a little lower and a little lower. Now, I am sure that I’m a visual riot. The prosthetic is so heavy – it cannot be supported by the bra. My own boob is doing just fine but every few steps I have to cup the fake boob in my hand and hitch it up. This is hilarious. So many unexpected adventures in the wake of cancer. Not a worry, I will take myself, my prosthetic, and my growing understanding of post cancer bras and go visit the lovely lady who calls me, Ma Ma.
So, do I miss having a boob? Not really. Do I feel whole now that I have a prosthetic as some have suggested? No. I was pretty whole before. The peace is in my heart and soul, not in my boobs. Was walking around with one boob weird? Yes. Is this weirder? I don’t know. Maybe? I am sure that once I get the size and bra thing figured out, it will be fine. But, you know, I should have taken them both off. Lighter, cooler, freer, bras and prosthetics not required. I sure won’t be dancing in this bra.
PS. I ate lunch with my new boob and the bra that can’t support it and something happened that hasn’t happened in almost 2 years, I got food in my bra. Good times.