When you’re going through something like surgery or a certain illness, everyone has stories of things that go wrong and advice on what to do. Some advice is good and some is not. The best advice a person can be given is to listen to the doctors and follow your heart. Many may have been through what you may be facing or are going through, but that doesn’t mean your experience will be the same as theirs. What works for them may not work for you. There are people who just randomly give advice from their own opinion, also.
Since I had my double mastectomy, I have heard a lot of advice, some good and some bad. I have decided not to get reconstruction because of possible infections and more surgeries. I’ve heard lots of advice on this matter. A co-worker said, “You can change your mind. Maybe in a year you’ll want to get it done. It’ll make you feel better.” One lady told me, “You can get special bras with padding to wear in public. When you’re at home you can go without.” Another lady commented, “You can get prosthetic ones to put in your bra. You’ll feel more like a woman.” Someone else told me, “You won’t want your husband to touch you for a while without breasts. You’re going to feel like less of woman. Eventually you’ll want to get reconstruction to make you feel better.”
Maybe some women feel they must have breasts to feel womanly and others may have to put on special bras for appearances, but that is a personal choice. Not all women feel the same. Some are perfectly happy without breasts. I met women who are not ashamed at all to go flat chested after surgery. Some have even gotten tattoos where their breasts once were.
I thought, before, surgery I would never be able to love myself without breast, but now after surgery I feel totally different. I feel like I have been free of a weight that hung from the front of me, a weight that gave me neck pains and headaches. I’m also freed from bras. No more straps sliding down, no more squishing breasts in one that’s a little too small, no more rashes and no more bras coming undone in public and sticking me in the back. I am free. I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
The doctor saved some skin for possible reconstruction and despite the scars, they look like small breast. I’m happy with that. The scars are reminders of the battle I faced with strength and overcame. I’m proud to walk around without bras and to tell the world I faced cancer and I beat it. I have no need for special devices to make it look like I have something. I have nothing to hide. I’m proud of my battle wounds and I still feel like a beautiful, desirable woman.
I listen to others’ advice, but decided to follow my heart. When you’re faced not only with surgery, but major decisions, follow your heart. Where-ever your heart leads you is the direction you should go. You’ll hear from many who have been where you are or know someone who has, but in the end you have to decide what’s best for you, what will make you feel the most comfortable. Not everyone’s advice is bad. You just have to pick and choose which ones work for you.
During my surgery and recovery I used some of the advice I got from other cancer survivors. When it came to deciding on reconstruction, I listened to others’ advice and in the end followed my heart. I’m still recovering from surgery. I’m in week six and doing well. I’m happy as I am and I feel beautiful and strong. I stand tall in the light of a new beginning.