WARNING TO MALE READERS: This post contains much estrogen-saturated material and may not be suitable for the male Psyche. At the very least, a male reader may experience the WTMI (way too much information) effect after only a few lines. Hey, I warned you.
A blog is for my thoughts and feelings, right? And hey, this is my blog, so I’m going to blog about some personal stuff because it’s been on my mind so much the last few days.
It’s amazing how our self-image can be so tied up with our bodies. I was born a “big-boned” girl and at the ripe old age of 9 months had rolls on my thighs that could cut off my parents’ finger circulation as they tried to change my diapers. Puberty gave the thighs a come-back and I’ve been less than thrilled about the lower half of my body every since. My sister and I used to joke that it would sure be nice if you could suck in your thighs like you suck in your belly.
I’ve heard there are two basic body shapes: apples and pears. I don’t know who came up with the fruit idea but it kind of makes sense if you look around you. Apples have thin little legs, but tend to gain weight on top, either having round bellies or big chests. Pears, like me, tend to be smaller on top but gain weight/hold weight in the lower half of the body more. Invariably when I exercised more and watched what I ate more, my chest was the first to go. Of all places I was NOT heavily endowed that was it, so the injustice stung all the more. AND after breastfeeding all three of my girls, which I am so glad I did, what little I had became like deflated balloons or little empty tube socks. I’m just sayin’. Not real appealing.
Fortunately I have a husband who rather likes the lower half of me and didn’t really care if the top half was barely there.
Age 36 brought with it a surprise diagnosis of breast cancer. The idea of a mastectomy was not appealing, but not so much because of losing shape up there (there wasn’t really any to begin with) as with losing a part of me that made me feminine. It’s a little hard to explain. I had some strange dreams in the few days between my diagnosis and surgery. One in particular makes me laugh now: I dreamt that they were going to take out my kidneys and put them on my front! Pretty creative if you ask me. Pretty much the same shape as what I had, too!
A year following my mastectomy, because I was relatively young and because it was all covered by insurance, I opted to have reconstructive surgery. The doctor had to insert an “expander” under my muscles on the side of my mastectomy, which was just a big flat area of chest with a long scar across it. Every two weeks or so I’d go to his office and he would inject more saline into the expander, slowly stretching my skin and making room for a new pretend booby. When the skin was stretched enough, I had surgery to put implants in. One on the mastectomy side and a smaller one to add to the side that was still “me” so they would be basically the same size. How about that, out of cancer I got a boob job!
Having a chest was an adjustment for me. Typical of breast implant surgery at first they are rather “high” on your chest (like practically under your chin) so if you want to have that type of surgery and not have people notice, good luck. It was awkward for me and I was pretty self-conscious for a while.
Fast forward about 5 years to this week. I was getting dressed after my shower and looked in the mirror. Huh. That doesn’t look right. The fake boob, as always, was like a half a grapefruit stuck to my chest. The real side was a lot smaller and flatter, actually kind of looking like it did before I had surgery. Uh oh. I panicked for a moment. What if the implant popped? Well I think that’s what has happened, or at least I’ve sprung a leak. Good grief. Talk about self-conscious. Now it’s worse! I have one perky, larger side (referred to lovingly by my girls as “the bowling ball”) and one dwindling, back to the tube sock side! Oh well. I’ll figure out something. Maybe implants have a 10,000 mile warranty. Thankfully they were saline so if it leaked it won’t hurt me. I just have an empty baggie inside my boob. Weird.
I was texting with my sis at lunch today and as we talked God reminded me: my appearance is not who I am. It matters to me, of course, but it doesn’t really tell people who I am inside. Why else would God tell us in the Bible that although we look at each other on the outside, he looks at our hearts? I’m also reminded at how blessed I am and how I take my health and “wholeness” for granted. So many have lost limbs, lost hair, been ruined in a fire or accident, or been born missing parts of themselves that everyone else seems to have. I pray I’ll remember when I see people in those conditions that their appearance does not tell who they are. They’re still made in God’s image. Their souls are still beautiful and precious to Him.
So regarding the ta-tas, it’s just another day of adventure. It makes me laugh.
Now next time you see me, don’t look at my chest. Promise?
© copyright Michele Klotz 2009