This is not one of those blogs that starts off all chatty and this is me and this is my life, and then hits you with what is basically an advert for stuff. But I just wanted to say that I just bought a post-surgery swimming costume for £35 from Marks and Spencer and it is great – nice high neck line, good support for the swimming boob, stood up to swimming on a surf beach with no cleavage issues. I had been looking on specialist sites where you were looking at £100 (and up) for a swimming costume. No way. Admittedly, M&S have a range of 3 costumes, so there’s not much choice in terms of design (black, floral, multi-coloured stripes), but the quality is great.
I have 4 breasts. I’ve lost 3 along the way, so that makes 7 in total – a strikingly magical number.
My right breast is an amazing, hand-crafted piece of art, sculpted out of my own flesh. It is admired by medical professionals on a regular basis.
My left chest wall is flat and scarred. My left breast tried to kill me, too, and had to be removed. The implant I had put in failed. I can’t have another go – the skin is thinned and scarred by radiotherapy. It’s not viable.
Obviously, if I’d known this was how things were going to end up, I wouldn’t have had the reconstruction. I’d be flat all over. I’d have a choice of breasts – no breasts at all for sport; small, chic ones for sophisticated occasions; party ones! Maybe.
Instead, I have a small collection of left breast prostheses. Be aware that I am a woman who can’t control her pens, her sunglasses, her mobile or her reading glasses. That means my kids are used to hearing me shout “I’ve lost my boob, I’ll be down in a minute”. That counts as normal in our house now.
Firstly, I have a firm, silicone breast. My every day breast. It’s reasonably realistic in texture, but it’s always cold, and it’s the same plastic pink colour as my daughter’s long neglected Barbie.
Next I have a clear, light-weight, chlorine resistant swimming breast. Sometimes I wear it all the time – if we’re going away on hand luggage only. It looks like an affectionate jellyfish, snuggling up to me. It feels weird.
My last breast is the first one they gave me post-op. It’s a little muppet softy, gentle on new, tender wounds. It feels like a firmly stuffed rag doll – without the arms and legs. And head. I wear it for running, because there’s no friction.
Now I don’t have any breasts of my own, I have more than any woman could reasonably need.
My preparations so far:
A big pile of books by my bed. For convalescence. I’m only going to be in for 2 days, after all.
A whole stock of stuff on the kindle. 2 days is a lot of reading.
Unscented shower gel for my unscented shower on the morning of the op.
Swim in the sea on Sunday evening, because who knows when I’ll be able to do that again? If not this week, it will be a couple of months.
And that’s it so far. I have my pre-op assessment tomorrow & I will get to see the lovely Sandra & revise reconstructions. That is the bit that makes it a big (ish) op, but I think it will be worth it.
I will be a lady of leisure until the autumn. No swimming, no cycling, no running. I will be very sensible. I will be fine.