Breasts of burden…

I read the following article on MSN this morning Miss D.C to have double mastectomy and found the topic rather interesting, not because she wants to have the procedure, but from those who feel she shouldn’t.

As one who’s been diagnosed and treated for Breast Cancer, I can say the decision to remove ones breast(s) is not easy; especially at an early age.  I was 39 when diagnosed and had my right breast removed two weeks before my 40th birthday.  The day before my procedure, I informed my surgeons that should my margins have changed since my last full scan and exam, they had my consent to remove my unaffected breast as a precautionary measure.  Trust me, I didn’t make that decision lightly, but I’d rather have it done then than to have had to go through the entire process at a later date. 

Miss D.C is 20; just seven years shy of when her mother was first diagnosed and treated for breast cancer by having one of her breasts removed.  According to the article, Miss D.C lost her Mother, Grandmother and Great Aunt to breast cancer and while she doesn’t carry the BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation, she does in fact carry a variant mutation of which could very likely cause breast cancer.  Her predisposition to inheriting breast cancer is tantamount to walking around with a time bomb in her body.

Again, my issue is not with Miss D.C’s choice to have her breasts removed, it’s with those who think she shouldn’t.  Why?  For vanity’s sake!  Just because she’s young, pretty, and has succeeded as a model and pageant winner, doesn’t mean she’s couldn’t again with reconstructed breasts.  There’s a plethora of hypocrisy that comes with the very concept of reconstructed breasts; especially in the pageant world. 

Women in this country get their breasts augmented for the sake of vanity and treat enlarged breasts as a trophy to their femininity or a means to stand out from other women; once again, vanity at its finest.  Trust me when I tell you, breast augmentation is not easy, nor is it painless.  While my reasons for breast augmentation and reconstruction were for medical reasons, the extent of pain, scarring and such is the same as for those who do it for vanitys sake and I argue that Miss D.C could in fact continue to model in spite of a double mastectomy.  With the advances in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, Miss D. C’s procedure could produce minimal scarring and render her as aesthetically pleasing as she currently looks.  And going one step further, it’s not like anyone is going to see her actual breasts anyway.  Even in a bathing suit, her scars would not be visible and the contours of her reconstructed breasts would like that of others with natural breasts.  She would have no unfair advantage because any self-respecting surgeon would not increase the size of her reconstructed (implants) breasts; they’d be left the same size as the natural ones were.

I’ve often considered posting photos of my reconstructed breast to show the advances of cosmetic surgery and how it looks very much like an unaffected breast so people might stop being so judgemental or even curious.  Trust me when I say, those pointing fingers and passing judgment would have a very different viewpoint if it were they that were in that position or that of someone they love. 

Miss D.C’s father and brother are very supportive and encouraging of her decision to undergo a double mastectomy especially after what their respective wife and mother went through. 

I wish people would think outside the both and stop thinking all that glitters is gold.  I applaud Miss D.C and the life-altering decision she has taken and hope she becomes an inspiration to all women to see past external beauty and put their health and lives first.  There are many women who’ve died or had complications  from having elective cosmetic surgery while there are those of us who’ve had it as a preventative or life-preserving one.

Live the life you love; love the life you live!

10 thoughts on “Breasts of burden…

  1. So young. If there is anything on a person’s body that is cancerous and could possibly kill them, I don’t believe there is any question what has to be done.

    It’s all about survival.

    Having lost her mom and grandmom to breast cancer, I’m sure the decision was a simple one.

    • Agreed! But sadly, so many in that world (modeling/pageants) are so caught up in physical appearances that they forget that there’s a life at risk.

      I was asked to and participated in a photoshoot that profiled women who’ve had breast cancer. The photos were tastefully taken exposing as much of ourselves as we felt comfortable with in order to show others that in spite of what we’ve gone through surgery-wise, we’re still strong and beautiful.

  2. I don’t think things like this affect people until it falls on their doorstep. Instead of being negative about her decisions, people should put themselves in her shoes. But we don’t want to do that. We’d rather armchair quarterback about the situation. Sigh.

    I think someone like you can fully understand her thoughts and feelings on the matter.

    • And therein lies the problem LL; people tend to forget that illness and disease can strike anyone at anytime. Instead of focusing on the outside, the idiots who are throwing rocks for the decision Miss D.C is making need to consider the alternative if she chooses not to have the surgery.

      I heard few say ‘boo’ about the Colts cheerleaders who shaved their heads to support the coach who was fighting cancer and they were not affected, so why the fuss for someone who could potentially get cancer? She’s being proactive! If she chooses to ignore her genetics and ends up with cancer, I guess the naysayers would then say, “oh, why didn’t she do something to prevent it since she knew she was at risk?” Damn if she do and damned if she don’t, but regardless of them, I fully support her decision and pray her health and strength henceforth.

  3. What a decision to have to make. 20 is so very young. My daughter will be 22 in a few months and she’s a baby to me…….my baby anyway.

    Thank you for this most personal of posts, it was an excellent, thoughtful, rather interesting read.

    • I hear ya Reggie. My lil lady will be 21 in a few months and is and will always be my baby. I pray she’d never have to face such a decision and I’d be there for her 100% if she did.

      Thanks! 🙂

  4. Wow….A life changing decision and a very brave one at that too. If this means her life expectancy can be increased then I applaud the path she has chosen cant be easy.

  5. One of my close friends just went through this. Her grandmother and mother both died from breast cancer. When she was tested they found that she was highly predisposed to also getting breast cancer. She had both of her breasts removed as a preventive measure. I’m sure that decision did not come lightly.

    • And that’s my point! While Miss D.C does not carry the BRCA genes, she’s predisposed to a genetic mutation for breast cancer, so why the fuss from naysayers who say she shouldn’t take a preemptive move to have the double mastectomy? It’s all bullsh!t is you ask me. Let her do what’s in HER best interest because I’m sure 1) she didn’t enter into the decision lightly and 2) is doing what could be a life-preserving procedure.

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