01 Feb 12 Excerp from my book

Here is an excerp from my new book “Where’d I Put My Boobs?” coming out on eBook on 07 Feb 12. Enjoy!

Bathing Suits and Flapping in the Wind 24 July 2010

     I do not think I would be remiss in saying that one of the most dreaded things we as women do was buy bathing suits. We were critical of our bodies in the first place: “Do I look fat in this dress?”

     So I’d say it’s about tenfold worse when needing to buy a bathing suit. It was one those things that you tend to like to do in packs to got a more universal “YES!”, or “ummm…..no.” Having to go alone was a very disconcerting thought, and for those of us not comfortable in our own skin (especially after a mastectomy), this could be downright scary.

     Now, top all that off with a few things. First, it’s the latter part of July. This translates to sale (good thing), but slim pickings (bad thing). Secondly: my condition. Now, I had the expanders in which were now nicely pumped up enough to look semi normal. I personally think they look weird, but they pass enough for normal to buy a bathing suit, and be seen in public. Maybe. The trick here was that I still hurt with any real pressure on the front, so spandex was not going to be my friend. Third: No underwire (OUCH!),  since they were not …well…sitting normal yet (a bit too far apart), I couldn’t have anything that expects the girls to be in their proper places.

     So, off I go, alone, and admittedly scared to find a bathing suit. Now, the only reason I plan to torture myself was that I promised my sons that I would take them to a water park before school started, and I could not just go in regular clothes. I deserve to have some fun too. A friend suggested just wearing a tank top, which was a great idea, until I remembered they really stretch when wet.

     Sigh.

     So the search begins. First thing I needed to do was to find my size. Now, my weight has fluctuated, my breast size was fluctuating (I truly had no idea where I was at since bras were too uncomfortable to wear, but I was assuming I was pretty close to where I was before), so I grab a few sizes to try on, in the same styles that look like they might be comfortable and pretty. They were all separates, and the bottoms were not all exact matches to the tops, but should be close enough to get away with. I figure halter top types that could be adjusted were going to be my best bet. They all were pretty floral prints of some kind just like I always got. At the last, I snag one that just looks fun in leopard print. Every time I put on leopard print, I think it looks hideous, so I own nothing leopard print.

     So, into the dressing room I go and begin to put on the six tops I found. They all either hurt, or showed my scars from one side or the other. By the time I was about done, I was on the verge of tears. The bottoms, oddly enough all fit which was different, because that was usually my problem. So, I struggled not to cry, and tried to decide if a tank top would just have to do as I was putting everything back on the hangers.

     Yes, I knew they pay people to do that, to me it was a courtesy.

     Then I spy the very last top, the leopard print. The style was different than all the others. Instead of the typical triangular shape of the cup, this top was more like a strapless top style, but with a halter tie. Hmm, at least I would hide the scars. The question was comfort. Most of them hurt getting on and off and then still hurt to wear, so I was less than optimistic.

     I tried it on anyhow, and low and behold, it fit. Not only did it fit, and hide the scars, but it was (GASP!) comfortable.

     Yes, I had done it. I had found a bathing suit for myself that I could wear even though I was still undergoing reconstruction. What a feat. So I went from tears to jumping for joy (I may have even shouted). The best part of all, it’s modest enough to not embarrass my sons. OK, I’m their mom, everything I do would embarrass them, but I think it was pretty. So now I could go confidently to the water park.

     Now, I spoke of the top, but mentioned the bottom usually being the more difficult part of me to fit. This was true as I found that most designers cut suits to fit bottoms of women that had,well, how do I put it nicely? No shape. No shape to fall out the sides, no shape to creep into wedgies every time we had to bend over to retrieve something. I think the inventor of the thong was not trying to produce a sexier bikini, I think he (or she) was realist in that the bottom material was going to end up looking like that anyhow, so may was well reduce the amount of material in there, and make it more comfortable, and less of a hassle to constantly be pulling out. That being said, women of my shape should not be wearing thongs in public, in my opinion. I call them “butt floss”. So when my alternatives feel like a choice between butt floss, and bottoms that would creep up every step I take, it’s going to feel like a losing battle. Good thing some kind soul invented the skirt bottoms! That way, you were covered.

     Now, after buying my new suit (no butt floss for me), I went out to lunch with some friends to celebrate. Hey, this was huge for my ego! I got into the restaurant, and at first the air conditioning feels wonderful in contrast to the one hundred and four heat index of the day. Then after about two beats, I was freezing. I decided if I was not going to shiver through lunch I actually had to go get my sweater out of the car (how pathetic!). We were already in line, so I make a point to run to the car since I parked a ways out.

     As I was running, I realized two very important things. One, my new boobs were not moving (no bounce, shake, shimmy, or even a lift). The other thing I notice was that my fanny was flapping away in the wind as if each cheek was waving good-bye to someone. Boy, was I glad I was not in that bathing suit, and had a new note to myself not to run at the water park even if my life depended on it.

     What do men think in these times? They like the bounce in the front. No more for me. Isn’t the bounce in the back a bad thing? Women think so, didn’t men? So, now I had boobs tight enough to bounce a quarter off of (try it, and I would kill you), and a bottom that looks like Jell-O® (watch it wiggle, see it jiggle).

     I was surprised more women who do reconstruction do not insist on taking more fat from their fannies to replace the fat in their breasts. Doctors don’t simply out of logistical reasons (it was hard to got the right shape in either place afterwards). Perhaps the surgeons should try harder to perfect this strategy. Perhaps when I donate my body to science when I die, it would be with the sole purpose of practicing getting the shape right for both bottom, and top. I’ll make sure I tell this to my plastic surgeon and I’ll make sure to mention that in my will. Then again, they were welcome to take my fat now and practice on someone else.

            Somewhere in this time frame, and I do not remember when, I had sat Russ and the boys down and wrecked their world.

      “I’m leaving your dad.”

            I remember Russ already knew this, Ted said he was expecting this, and was kind of relieved we were finally talking about it. Chris was furious, and crushed. His reaction startled me by his stating how worried he was about whether or not I was capable of caring for myself, both physically, and financially. He asked me to promise not to move out until I had at least recovered from my final implant surgery. I agreed, but the hunt for a place to live continued. I had begun to work on the idea for my business, and so I felt I would had a goal for finances, and I had to find a place to live that was affordable, and preferably within walking distance of the house Russ would be living in (we had a rental house about a mile away that he would be living in). I would not keep the boys from seeing Russ. He was gone enough with the military, so I was not going to limit the boys seeing him when he was home. Even if that meant time they spent away from me.

 See, I didn’t hate Russ, I didn’t think he was an awful person. I couldn’t get past my anger, hurt and disappointment of times where he had let me down. I was so afraid he would let me down again, that I did not allow myself to see how wonderful he was in taking care of me at that moment as far as all the cancer stuff, which you had to admit, was better and more important than the disappointment in regards to the stupid house not getting fixed within my time frame. However, I was not hearing any of it at that time. Ah, perspective. It changes everything.

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4 Comments

  1. Oh Sarah u’r stories carry so much interest. Have u always been an author? This is wonderful and I love u’r sense of humor. As awful as this disease is when u add humor to it whoever is reading it and has been thru it finds it more appealing (I think) Loads of Luck.

    • Thanks, Camille. This is my first book, but writing has always come easy to me. Thanks for the kudos! 🙂

  2. Katie O'Berry

    I can’t wait to read more. Interesting tidbit here. Feel like I know you quite well after having several conversations with you on the phone. Your book is going to be good.

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