10 Things I Want You To Know About My Breasts

by Eden on September 9, 2014

In April, I began my journey to take action about my diagnosis of the breast cancer gene (BRCA 1) and had a preventative double mastectomy. As I explained here, my first surgery (in April) consisted of removal of all my breast tissue (and reduced my breast cancer risk from 87% to about 3%) and tissue expanders were inserted in my chest muscles to make room for a silicone implant.

Looks kinda like this:

Tomorrow will hopefully be my final surgery in the reconstruction process. Because I have nothing else to do than write an internet list, I decided to write one 48 hours before my last surgery.

Here’s 10 honest things I want you to know about my boobs:

1) Yes, They’re Fake

I’ve been walking around with rock-hard expanders that were filled with saline, and after this last surgery, I’ll have silicone. They’re FAKE and probably not organic and I don’t give a shit.

2) However…My Nipples ARE Real

I had a “nipple sparing mastectomy”. Meaning I got to keep my nipples. Not all women choose this and keeping my nipples does increase my breast cancer risk slightly, but it was an aesthetic choice I decided to make. Call me vain, but I still wanted to feel like myself when I “looked down”. However, I will say the fake nipples that plastic surgeons are capable of constructing these days are quite remarkable and real-looking.

 

3) I’m OK Talking About Them (and if you’re not totally pervy, I’ll let you touch)

I’m all about education and keeping people informed. The more women talk about the struggles of genetic testing and taking preventative measures, the more lives may be saved. I don’t think it’s slutty or gross for me to talk about my boobs and let people feel them. I think it’s pretty rad that we have the choice these days to take our future in our hands and prevent diseases before they get us. I also think its awesome how natural fake boobs can look! Had my mom done this, she may be alive today. I will talk all about my boobs forever and ever. even if it will annoy you and gross you out.

Grossing you out is just an added bonus.

 

4) Yep, I “Lost The Sensation”

Although I did keep my nipples, they don’t have any feeling. Am I sexually frustrated because of this?

No.

Nipples never really did anything for me to begin with and my sexual organs are still in check so I’m fine with it. I have heard rumors that the sensation comes back, but I fine with my boobs and nipples being purely decorative.

And like Angelina Jolie, I think they’re very nice decorations.

 

5) I Would’ve Gotten Rid of My Breasts Even If I Didn’t Have The Breast Cancer Gene

Regardless of the BRCA 1 mutation, 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer (and 7 out of 8 women will talk shit about that woman, but that’s for a different blog post…).

Having lost so many women to breast cancer in my family, living with the fear and constant MRI’s and mammograms was gonna put my on an anxiety roller coaster that I didn’t want to ride.

If my BRCA genetic test came back negative, I would’ve probably done the surgery anyway. Breasts are not an essential organ and the surgery is minor compared the grueling chemo and radiation treatments that I had to see both my parents endure. I’m not on a mission to convince people to start cutting off healthy organs, but I do want to educate and inform you that you all have your health in your hands.

You can decide what you want to do with your body cause its YOUR body. You can do what you want, you can get genetic tests and you can start taking better care of your physical and emotional self.

 

You can also never have to worry about sagging or wearing a bra, EVER! But that’s just me being vain again.

 

 

 

 

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When we know someone who’s sick, it’s natural to tell them “let me know if I can help”.

Having undergone a few serious medical procedures this year and taking care of my parents who were terminally ill in the past, I present to you five things you can do that might actually help your friend.

1) Don’t Ask, Do!

I’m fairly outgoing and outspoken. But one of the hardest things for me to say is “I need help”. This year, I REALLY needed help and I hated to admit and ask for it. And the truth is, most people won’t tell you they need help. Just help. Get their groceries, do their laundry, take out their garbage. Unless the specifically tell you, “I don’t want you doing ___” , just do it. Its very hard for people who are used to being independent to suddenly be weak and vulnerable. The best thing you can do is just help out, no questions asked.

 

2) Don’t Tell Us About Your Other Sick Friends

When my dad was first diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, one of his friends started telling me about their cousin that had an ovarian cyst. I don’t know why they thought it was even relevant, but generally, sick people and their caretakers don’t really want to hear about your other friends’ illnesses. Save it for the water cooler at your office.

 

3) Don’t Preach

One of the most frustrating things I heard while recovering from my double mastectomy was hearing people tell me how toxic the environment is and how I didn’t need to have surgery if I ate organic food and a butt load of kale or whatever. I got tired to telling people that I was born with faulty genes that had an 87% chance of getting breast cancer REGARDLESS of how much organic kale I shoved down my gullet.

Unless, of course, Ryan Gosling is shoving the kale down my throat.

 

4) Be Honest (But Not TOO Honest)

What IS helpful is having an honest relationship with your friend when they’re recovering or sick. For example, try using statements like “tell me if you want to be alone or if you’re ok with having company”. I actually liked having friends visit me when I was recovering, but not everyone will. Just keep your communication open and honest. But don’t be TOO honest. Don’t tell us how skinny we look (even if you think it’s a compliment). In fact, maybe don’t even mention anything about appearance. If you don’t have something nice to say, save it for when we’re all healed up and getting drunk on New Years.

But by all means, please be honest about how obnoxious our selfies are

 

5) Don’t Say “I Understand What You’re Going Through”

Cause guess what, you don’t.

Even if you think you do, everyone deals with illness differently. Saying “I understand” is just like saying “um”. It’s just filler. You don’t know what to say, so you think that will make us feel better. But it doesn’t, it’s frustrating. Unless you’ve actually been there, avoid talking about yourself and avoid complaining and comparing it to stuff you’ve gone through. Maybe you “understand” maybe you don’t, but sick people don’t really care.

Just be our friends: distract us from the shit we’re dealing with and be there to support us.

And it won’t hurt to bring Ryan Gosling into the mix…

 

 

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