Real and Spectacular
On a famous episode of Seinfeld called ‘The Implant,’ Teri Hatcher, as she is leaving Jerry’s apartment comments about her breasts, “By the way, they’re real and they’re spectacular!” This is how Melissa felt about her breasts. She was 35 and was endowed with perfect twin boobs that defied gravity. When people dared to comment, she’d use Teri’s line.
When breast cancer came to visit Melissa had to have a double mastectomy. Her curvaceous figure took a hit and then when she lost her hair to chemo she felt like a teenage boy.
It took her a couple of months after surgery to look at her chest. It is the most noticeable identifier that life after cancer is different. She listed several others.
- Shopping for clothes is now frustrating
- Shopping for a swimsuit is impossible
- Finances are continually impacted
- A day doesn’t go by that you don’t think about cancer
- You wonder if it is all behind you.
- Friendships change
- People look at you differently
- Mirrors are constant reminders
- Physical touch is different, sexuality changes too.
As I sat in their living room hearing Melissa and her husband’s story I knew I’d been let into a private place. Melissa wanted to share her story because she wanted to stretch herself and grow. We moved into their bedroom where she stood in front of the mirror for ten minutes or so. It is the longest she has been in front of the mirror with her scars in view.
She then crawled into their bed alongside her husband. He reached his hand across and she caressed him back. She told me that cancer was the largest hurdle they have faced in their 15 years together. “It may have taken my breasts, my spirit, our money, but it has not taken away our love and compassion for each other. No matter what life circumstances come our way – rich, poor, sickness, health – it’s me and him, no matter what! That is a success story!”