Monday, May 25, 2009


I have two 6 1/2 inch (yep, I measured) scars where my breasts used to be. I'm really not telling you this so you'll feel sorry for me. Please don't feel sorry for me; I'd rather have those scars than cancer. It still amazes me that I went to the doctor for a simple thyroid problem and two month later ended up with these scars and no hair. Crazy. Seriously, crazy. I'm the type that goes to the doctor positive I have strep throat and the test ALWAYS comes back negative.
The other day Tom and I were talking about that phone call that changed my life forever. How I still dreamt about it. There are days the phone rings and I have flash backs to that call. I remember that call word for word; the tone in her voice as she told me I had cancer. I remember how I repeated back to her the word cancer and the expression on Tom's face when I said it. A breast cancer survivor friend of mine was horrified when she heard they told me the news over the phone instead of calling me into the office. I'm not sure I could have handled that. They don't usually call you in to tell you everything is ok, ya know? I would have known something was up and been completely freaked out until the appointment. There really is no good way to tell you you havce cancer, in my opinion.

That first office visit they tried to tell me all I really needed was to have the rest of lump removed. In the beginning Tom, my surgeon, my oncologist and a few other family members were all trying to tell me to go ahead with just a lumpectomy and chemo. I was never more scared of anything in my entire life. What if my surgeon missed something? Could I take that chance with my life? From the beginning I had something inside me telling me I needed more than a lumpectomy. Turns out it was God and I'm glad I listened. For those of you who haven't read my whole story, or who have forgotten - after my mastectomy they found a second mass in my left breast - a tumor that didn't show up on my mammogram or MRI.

So, here I am without breasts trying to decide if I should have implants or not. I don't have to have actual implants either - I can have the them take muscle and fat from my stomach to create breasts. From what I understand that is extremely painful, though. Plus they will create these neat fake nipples and tattoo on the aureoles. The nipples won't be responsive so I'll always look like I'm cold. I just can't decide what to do. There are times I don't mind not having any breasts. I like not wearing a bra. No bouncing when I run and jump (yeah, ok, I know they won't bounce IF I were to run and jump.) On the negative side: tight fitting t-shirts are out! I look ridiculous! And I have to worry about my weight and the fact that my stomach could someday pop out further than my chest giving me that potbelly look. We don't want that. Nope.

Next month I'm going to be 40 years old. I promise you before all this started I was completely unhappy with my breasts. I wonder if there are any 40 year old women (with their natural breasts) who love their breasts. Is there any woman who looks down in the shower and thinks "they're still soooo beautiful!". I know breast feeding two children was unkind to mine. Much thought had been given to someday having a breast lift. Women who have breasts that are large wish for small breasts; women with small breasts wish for large breasts. My wish is that I had mine back - just the way they were. Please don't tell me if that's what I wish I should have the surgery to get implants. Those won't be mine. Fake nipples and tattoos? Absolutely no feeling in my chest area? Yeah, people, totally not the same. I did the right thing having them removed, but I miss them. I mourn for them.

I don't usually write blogs like this. I much prefer to tell stories than to write about a random subject matter. But I needed to vent. Today I wore a tight gray t-shirt and decided I'd wear a sports bra underneath (I dunno why either) after a couple hours of doing the junior high bra pull down because there was nothing that was keeping the bra from riding up - I had to take the stupid thing off. It made me sad. While I know I'm not going to change anyone's life with this post, I hope you pause and think - at least for a moment - and be happy with what you have. Trust me it's better than nothing.

I can't end this without a story:

A couple weeks ago it was a beautiful sunny day and I decided I would take advantage of my beastlessness and wear a shirt that required no bra. I put on my spaghetti strap top with the build in padded bra. Problem was, without anything to pad the bra was gaping open and you could see my scars. After much consideration I finally decided I only had one option: stuff shirt with socks - and that's what I did. I used two big, fluffy, hot pink socks all balled up and it looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. When Tom and the kids got home they were most impressed by my new figure (they all noticed right away.) In fact, I was feeling so good I wanted to go out to dinner; so out to dinner we went.

I was in a good mood and I noticed a few people staring at me, as usual. Yeah, yeah, I have no hair - or maybe they were staring at my hot chest. I noticed the waitress kept giving me a really sweet smile. I did notice she was checking out my chest, too. You can tell I have cancer, and usually you can tell I have no breasts...maybe she was trying to figure out what kind of cancer I had. Or she noticed what I noticed on the drive home: one of my hot pink socks was falling out of my shirt. Classy!


  1. Oh Sheri, that was both hilarious and moving. So honest. I have to make decisions after I finish chemo and radiation as to surgery also and I have thought so much about just what you have shared. I hate that any of us have to go through this but I am thankful for people like you to go through it with!!

  2. What a wacky, crazy, sad and sorry journey this is. Only a few can truly understand it ...

    Those nipples look like cookies ;)

  3. Sheri,
    you didn't change my life..but as strange as it sounds (no disrespect) brought a smile to my face... the part about the "tattoo" nipples brought a smile to my face.. my sister did have the surgery to make a breast out of her stomach, and she would make the same comments you just made... your entries remind me so much of my sisters... like her your strength and your ability to find humor in all of this is amazing.. whether you know it or not you are an amazing woman...and a hero to a lot of people that are fighting this beast.. I just wanted to thank you...thank you for bringing back a "funny" moment that my sister and I shared.. God bless...

  4. Sheri, I loved your post today. It is such a hard decision to make whether to have reconstruction or not.I have already seen a plastic surgeon and in September or October I will have the tram flap where they take the tissue from the stomach. I have heard that they look and feel like your normal breasts and you have feeling with them. Some days I say I can't do it but then those thoughts fade away when I look at myself in the mirror with only one breast.
    Your humor will certainly carry you through this this journey.
    I am looking forward to reading more of your blogs.
    Oh and the sock thing, maybe there are some flesh colored ones out there,lol.

  5. i laughed i cried...this is 5 star post. thanks for that!

    I am Mamarazzi and I am a Welcomista from SITS. I am here to welcome you to the SITStahood! You are going to LOVE this amazing community of women.

    Stop at Dandelion Wishes and say hello and if you like follow me. I do a drawing for fun prizes each month EXCLUSIVELY from my list of followers...just for following, no need to stop in and comment everyday (though you might wanna, but who has time?) just follow...pretty cool right?! yeah, that's how I roll.

  6. Awesome perspective, as always.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Tell me; when you rest your sweaty forehead on the rim of the toilet between bouts of emesis, do you note the coolness of the porcelain? cuz you've got some great attitude.
    Love, love, love.
    Pink socks ARE classy. The lowlife thing to do is use tube socks.

  7. Sheri the final choice is yours to make. Whatever makes you the most comfortable with yourself will be yours to decide dear. I've had girlfriends who had their breasts removed and are comfortable with that, others who elected to implants and are happy they went that way. The bottom line is that you'll be well from here on out. Keep the positive attitude, makes all the difference in the world.

  8. I am a welcomista from SITS.thankyou for for sharing, being transparent, open and honest

  9. Hi there, I'm stopping by to welcome you to SITS.

    What a moving story. Though breast cancer hasn't made it's way into my family, many other cancers have. I feel for you and know just how scary that word can be.

    I don't know if you knit (or know someone who does) but I found this pattern a little while ago and thought i'd share. It was made by a woman who had one of her breasts removed.