Since my fiancé (how grown up) pretty much has his own fan base these days, I'm posting this guest blog even though it's been lost in the depths of inaccessible malfunctioning hard drive for the last month or so, along with all my photos and iTunes. Lesson learnt: back up back UP.
Much like the hair thing I had issues about how DadJokes would deal with me wonky boobed. I'm sure this is a common wobble among women having mastectomy's so I asked him to write about it and hopefully be a bit helpful. Of course after the lovely response from the hair piece I was never sure if he was saying what he thought we wanted him to. Turns out there was a marriage proposal on the cards from way before then (cheeky bugger been planning it for 6 months!), proving men do actually think this way, so I'm satisfied that women with one boob can still expect diamonds. LOVE I meant unconditional love, of course...
To be quite honest, I wonder if anyone really thinks about what the other halves go through when it comes to a horrible situation like this. Quite rightly so too, after all, this is much more about the ‘victim’ (oops she told me I’m not to use that word, sorry).
I however, think of the grief of the person with the patient as my mind wanders sitting in busy waiting rooms. I can fully relate to the anguish on their faces and am pretty confident I can read the thoughts and questions spilling out of their heads. In this case I felt I could read them like tangible sentences.
So I’m in the waiting room, waiting to hear if Soph would lose her breast, and I’m thinking: What can I possibly say to make her prepare for this? What will I say to her after surgery? Pre-cancer life was happy happy, will it ever be the same for us again?? I’m sad for her, it’s so unfair, but is it wrong for me to feel like it’s my loss too? It's a tough one. I never really thought it would come to this and in the end I decided that Yes I’m scared for what’s coming next, but I will be strong.
It’s impossible to imagine what it feels like to lose a part of your body like that. Especially a part that makes a woman so very much a woman. And dare I say it, a part lusted after by the large proportion of the opposite sex since puberty – that I do know about. I’d imagine this is a big part of what makes it upsetting for Sophie and it's that very thought that helps me know how to remain strong and be supportive throughout.
I recall standing bedside as Sophie had a small metal marker inserted into the core of the tumour, so when the chemo shrunk the bastard completely, doctor's would know exactly where it had been.
I felt semi-confident that the long treatment, albeit hard work, would eradicate this mess and the mastectomy fear would be nothing but a bad dream. As you followers of this blog will know - the Chemo did not quite do its job, the tumour was an aggressive Grade 3, so the inevitable decision 8 months down the line was to remove the offending boob. F*ck.
I think by the time the surgery had come around, we were both looking forward to getting the alien out of there, desperate to in fact. Our strong desire to get rid of a whole breast should give you some idea of how painful this whole saga had been. It was going to be a relief.
I continually spluttered as much positivity about the actual deed as I possibly could, I wanted her to be assured that there was no shame in being left asymmetric, that it was medically the most positive action to date and that I loved her and found her beautiful no matter what. In fact, I was the first person to step up and take a look at it moments after she had woken up post op. "Ah ha" I said with a smile "it's so neat and clean and tidy, well done, it's over, it's all out".
In truth, I was preparing myself to have to lie about it, but honestly it didn't faze me. There were times I worried it would, but happily and genuinely it really didn't. The sheer relief that she had woken up from the surgery seeming fairly calm and collected was insurmountable. I’d expected a breakdown so monumental it would require roadside assistance.
I hope Sophie believes me when I say I don’t see her any differently to how I did before. On the contrary she’s a far stronger and more inspiring girlfriend, with a greater perspective on life.
An insensitive colleague of mine recently said ‘if it was me I'd feel like a freak.’ It was only because I know there’s nothing further from the truth that I didn’t jump over the desk and rip off one of his testicles to see who the freak was then. Don’t think HR would have taken too kindly to that though…
So, I can happily say we are on the way back to some sort of normality now, in fact the other day, I caught myself singing out loud to cheesy 80's music. Club Tropicana drinks are freeeeee….. Not remarkable until you consider the fact I haven’t done that for 8 months. Meh, the mastectomy is the mastectomy, it will always be there for us but it really doesn't get in the way, quite literally of course!
The two of us are lucky that we can talk about our thoughts, fears, insecurities and underwear needs, so she’ll always have someone to help her clear the hurdles that come her way.
I will love her whatever happens, should she one tit or not... sorry, want it or not.
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