Why I Don't Miss My Breasts Anymore

December 18, 2014 4:46 PM

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It turns out that was one of the truest things anyone told me about losing body parts, although, at the time, I couldn't imagine shrugging and saying, "Whatever." I had just finished six months of very aggressive chemotherapy, and had a lumpectomy, hysterectomy and oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries). I also slogged through genetic testing, only to discover I was BRCA-positive (BRCA is the acronym for the breast cancer genetic marker). For me, this meant I had an 87% chance of recurrent breast cancer and a 44% chance of the far more sneaky (often undetectable until it's too late) ovarian cancer. I was past child-bearing age, married to someone who would rather have me and not my breasts around and I had already given up various indoor and outdoor parts of myself, so what's one -- or two -- more?

In the weeks before the bilateral mastectomy, I dressed my grief in new names for this surgery, calling it, in my memoir The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a deboobing or mammatus interruptus, and even what my then 13-year-old son came up with, a de-racking. I had grappled with whether to undergo breast r...

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