Last year I gave the massively padded bras of my past a giant F-YOU and tossed them down the trash compactor. It was a liberating moment – I don’t need no stinking fake boobies! I am woman, hear me and my flat chest ROAR!
Clearly I had forgotten what my natural boobs were like. Or maybe I assumed that after weaning I would be left with a respectable flap of skin that could at least be hoisted up into some form of cleavage. Or maybe I really was ready to embrace the no-boob look. What ever it was, 26 months into nursing and Sabine is very close to weaning (we are down to morning and night only!) and my milk is all but gone.
And with that milk, went the boobs. Or should I say boob. Lefty dried up months ago leaving nothing more than a pucker of breast and an exaggerated, almost cartoony nipple. Righty, on the other hand, is still able to put forth a few ounces of milk each day so she remains a respectable A cup. It’s ridiculous looking. So ridiculous that even the Professor laughed at them one night (to any men reading this – that is NOT the thing to do to your mentally unstable wife who is clinging to her last threads of sanity).
For the past 26 months I have lived in convenient nursing bras and comfy sports bras. My nursing boobs made me feel really sexy – they were a nice normal shape and a modest size. They fed my sweet little baby and did exactly what boobs were supposed to do. Dynamite comes in small packages, y’all! My post nursing boob and still-dying-up boob do not make me feel sexy. Between the uni-boob look and the lack of libido due to depression + Prozac, life is sad and sexless.
I joke that when I go in for the plastic surgery to repair my nose after the cancer is removed (which still has not happened – why not draw out the misery a little more and see just how close to the brink we can push Belle?) I’ll also have a boob job. My husband groans, rolls his eyes, and forbids it saying I’m perfect the way my uni-boob is… and that we are broke. In other words: Don’t go doing something stupid on a whim, Belle.
With a boob job off the table I’m turning to more economical, and less painful options – a properly fitting bra built for women who are small of breast, perhaps uneven of breast, and who want to look natural, not like they shoved pillows under their shirt. Great internet full of women who like to over share – what do you suggest? Anyone with me in the itty bitty, uneven titty committee? Any great bra innovations that you would like to see come around? Let us all join hands and celebrate that wonder that is the post-nursing bust line, and then hide it under some craftily created padding and lace!
It rained last night, for the first time in far too long, and with it came a new sense of clarity. Both literally and figuratively. New York City requires a good washing from nature on a regular basis otherwise things start to look bleak; more dirty and depressing than usual.
This morning I was driving home from the gym when the grey clouds parted revealing streaks of periwinkle blue skies. The sun illuminated those grey clouds and suddenly they glowed golden, the leaves on the trees showed extra green, fresh from their washing. The roads looked cleaner and car windows glimmered – an S.O.S. of hope over the Henry Hudson Parkway.
It was an incredible few moments to witness and I soaked in every last bit. If I were not driving I would have laid down and allowed it wash over me, like a baptism by nature. Instead I slowed the car and let the rest of the world speed by so I could receive this message.
Everything is ok. Everything is renewed.
I’ve not been in a good place for a very long time. Anxiety has crept back into my life, but unlike times past, it has taken ahold and shook me to the core. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I am doing good to just get out of the bed, let alone leave the house. I’m plagued by intrusive thoughts about my own mortality, the death of my family, horrific acts of terrorism, and more. I have been too scared to speak up for fear of losing those I hold closest.
Two weeks ago, in moment of desperation, I walked into a family medicine clinic and asked to see the doctor on-call. She asked a few general questions, wrote a prescription for Prozac and instructed me to find a therapist. I started the meds and then began the hunt for someone to help – a task that ended up far more challenging than one would expect. Someone on the brink should not have to call 20 or more therapists before one will answer the phone or call them back. Nothing about that is acceptable when your job is to care for the mental health of others.
Gradually the medication is building up in my body and I see it bringing temporary relief. Breathing deeply no longer yields that horrifying sucking feeling in my chest. I can sleep a bit better. I can get myself out of bed and to the gym. Yesterday I even met up with a girlfriend and then ran errands with Sabine. We had such a wonderful day together chatting and letting our kids play and Sabine was such a delight to shop with later. While Sabine ate her black beans at our Mother/Daughter lunch I thought how for the first time in a long, long while I felt open and receptive, not closed and alone.
And then my phone chirped saying I had an email saying that I received two tickets to see Pope Francis as he makes his way through Central Park later this month. My heart swelled as the significance of this timing sank in.
And then it rained that sweet, sweet cleansing rain. And then the golden light this morning. And just now a therapist finally answered her phone and is going to help. And during all of this, I have been able to be present and open to the signs. I am again able to feel emotion and cry real tears. I am able to see hope, and maybe a tiny glimmer of light at the end of this dark tunnel.
Biopsy results came back this afternoon and are positive for Basal Cell Carcinoma. I’ll have surgery to have the cancer removed and grafts placed in about a month. I’ll have to see a dermatologist for a full body check every four months for the rest of my life, too.
I’m in shock by this. Part of me knew something was wrong; your skin should not spontaneously bleed. Part of me was certain it would be a false alarm like everything else lately. Part of me is terribly annoyed that for the rest of my life I’ll see an eye specialist and rheumatologist every three months and now a dermatologist every four. Part of me is terrified of what might be in my future considering how young I am. And then a big part of me is insanely relieved it is not a malignant cancer.
I have several more cheerful posts in my draft folder but I think they will sit there for a few days while I regroup. All you readers who commented that you also have a weird thing you have been thinking about having looked at – call a doctor on Monday.