Cups of Clarity

“I write as a way to communicate with friends from all stages of my life and receive support from others.”

Those words appeared on my site three months ago, and I was reminded of why I wrote them again this week.

I needed a cup – or two – of clarity, and I received that from you all. Thank you, dear readers and friends.

In response to my post about what size implants I should get during the second phase of my reconstruction, several of you asked me the following:

How did I feel about my old breasts?

Did I think that they were too big?

Why did I wear minimizers?

Did I have back problems?

Those questions are seemingly simple, but none of them had crossed my mind before I received your comments and emails.

If I had to speculate as to why I didn’t consider them, I’d attribute it to the reality of life as a female post-breast cancer. Seeing my reflection with short hair and sparse eyelashes still makes me cringe on a good day and tear up on a bad day. The chemotherapy drugs and steroids continue to work their way out of my system so my weight isn’t something I can easily control and my immune system resembles a child’s.

I feel so different about my appearance that I think I viewed selecting implants as a way to make myself feel even more different. Since I don’t smile back at my reflection, what does it matter if my breasts are smaller? Why shouldn’t I go into Victoria’s Secret for a bra like I did when I was in my early 20s? I’m not like the old me anymore so my boobs don’t need to be mine either, right?

Your questions made me think, though. I loved my old breasts. I didn’t think that they were too big; they were perfect! I wore minimizers in public since that looked best under clothes and conveyed a more professional image. I have a lot of neck and neurological issues, but I’ve never had back problems because of my chest size (knocking on wood).

I have the clarity I need for the next phase of reconstruction. I’ll talk with my internist and physical therapist this coming week about whether a certain size is preferred from their medical perspective. Assuming that there are no restrictions on that front, I’ll let the surgeon decide what looks best in the operating room. (She’s not ordering implants as large as I was before so I’ll be at least 50 CCs smaller.) I might not feel like myself now, but I don’t need to select implants to make myself feel even more different.

I’m at peace with that approach, and I thank you for your support and input. xoxo

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