Breasts, tits, hooters, ta-tas, knockers, melons, jugs, boobs, bosoms, headlights, chest puppies, cans, the girls, rack, bazookas, or whatever you call them, they are a powerful part of the female body. Our breasts can attract mates, nourish babies, provide self-esteem, contribute to a woman’s sexual well-being and be the constant subject of male fascination everywhere. But for some of us, they are trying to kill us.
After my second diagnosis with breast cancer, my doctors informed me that I would need a mastectomy. It is my right breast that is diseased; the left breast has never shown signs of cancer. They gave me the option to remove both breasts or just the diseased breast. I chose to remove only the right breast and to preserve my healthy left breast. Why? Because there was no sign of disease in my left breast and I tested negative for the gene that pre-disposes one to breast cancer.
Besides, the surgeons warned me that having a mastectomy isn’t the insurance policy that we all hope it is.
The surgeons cannot guarantee that they can remove 100% of the breast tissue, so with even one breast cell left behind post-mastectomy, cancer can grow, which is exactly what happened to me.
I underwent the mastectomy and reconstruction, a process that was extremely complicated and painful since I had already received radiation on that right breast. Radiation degrades the tissues and makes reconstruction more complex. My plastic surgeon had to swing my latissimus muscle from my back to my chest wall in order to support an implant; he also had to harvest tissue from my back to reconstruct a nipple. He then tattooed the reconstructed nipple to match my natural nipple. He did an amazing job and I sit an awe of the results of a good plastic surgeon. When I showed a girlfriend the results of my surgeries, she asked which one was fake? That is how good reconstruction can be.
A year later the cancer returned for a third time in the same right breast. The cancer came back in a more aggressive form, an invasive form. Two rapidly growing tumors each a different type of cancer. I would require immediate surgery, chemotherapy, 35 radiation treatments, and even more reconstructive surgeries. I was devastated as my breast continued to try to kill me even though it was gone.