As soon as I made the decision, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. (Okay, sorry, can't help myself!) Honestly, I'd been on the fence about undergoing this surgery for so long that it was incredibly refreshing to have at least made a decision.

Once I did, I spoke to many, many women who'd already had the surgery. All of these women were incredibly helpful, compassionate, and willing to show a perfect stranger how splendid their surgically reconstructed breasts looked. Not one of them had any regrets whatsoever.

Still, I know I won't have any more feeling in my breasts, and that's a tough concept to live with. I also spoke to several friends who've had their breasts augmented, and they shared details of how, precisely, I'm likely to feel, which helps ease the normal anxieties. (They told me the chest area feels "heavy" afterward, and that you can hardly move, because the implants are inserted up under the muscles of the chest wall, and that I should be prepared for it to hurt, a lot, at least for several days after the procedure.)

I also spoke at length with a therapist who specializes in treating patients having cancer surgery. I wanted to talk to an impartial party, just to make sure I'd covered all my bases and looked at every angle. She assured me I had, and I found myself pleased and comforted that I'd made the right decision—for me.

Sure, I wonder what I'll feel like once I've recuperated from the surgery itself, when there's no way to undo what has been done.

Other than that, I have no real hesitation or trepidation because the pros so grossly outweigh the cons in my mind. Of course there will be armchair critics who might think my decision was way too drastic, but my answer to that is: This is something I need to do for my own health and for my family. I plan to be a good-enough mother for a very long time, thank you very much. And part of being good enough is taking a proactive stance. I'd rather play offense than defense.

So, there you have it. When all of this with my job and my health was going down, I have to admit I spent an inordinate amount of time wondering about life's challenges. You know, the really gritty keep-you-awake-at-night ones—and why they always seem to happen at once. And I've got to say, well, yeah, so they happen at once. I can deal—even while telling myself that it's not fair. Unlike in those mercifully long-gone days in Mr. McCullough's math class, no amount of cramming will help me through some of life's exams.

But I'm going to pass them nonetheless.

Go back to the show Why I Cut Off My Breasts.
FROM: Why I Cut Off My Breasts
Published on March 15, 2007


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