If you aren’t quite sure what you’re looking at, you’re not alone. Believe it or not, you are looking at my prosthetic breast (aka, my fake boob). Don’t be shy. When you have breast cancer, so many people look at your breasts that you wonder if there is anyone who hasn’t looked at them. By comparison, showing my boob (albeit a fake one) on the internet takes things to a whole new level. Luckily, this is the back of the boob so there is no nipple showing; in other words, it's internet and Facebook friendly. It’s also sort of dressed up for Christmas with some bright red Tuck tape (story to follow).
This boob has been with me for almost six years. I bought this boob about six months after my last radiation treatment, which was in November 2011. Until this point, I knew that each boob I wore (a variety of foam ones in different shapes and sizes) was only short term. We never formed a bond, quite literally; however, my fake boob and I have been through a lot together. Here are a few special memories of our time together.
And now, my most recent memory is of my boob starting to leak. I had tossed it on my bed (without the bra) and when I went to pick it up, my boob felt sticky. I mean really sticky. I did a quick check and I could see a small hole in the seam at the bottom of my boob. Well wasn’t that great? Luckily, I had a collection of temporary boobs that I could use until I bought a new one. Until then, I put my boob in a plastic bag and went looking for one of my temporary boobs.
This was a good-news –bad-news situation. The bad news was that I was going to have part ways with something that had been part of my life for six years. The good news was that I was going to have to buy a new one, which meant I would see the woman who did my original fitting. Far from being a sad and uncomfortable situation when I bought my first boob, my fitter (Faith) and I discovered that we had the same sense of humour and spent most of our time laughing. She told me that I was the hardest person that she ever had to fit, and I could tell that she wasn’t lying as I looked at the boxes of boobs and bounty of bras. They were everywhere. You couldn’t help but laugh.
I knew that this time would be even better. I was about the same weight, so my boob size hadn’t changed. There wouldn’t be any hit or miss trying to figure out my size. It was not only stamped on my boob, but it was also recorded in my file. Now that’s a statement you don’t read every day.
The other good news was that I could buy some new bras. As it turned out, this was even better news. The cost of my bras had actually dropped in price by about $30 a bra. Since I bought two, I actually saved $60. There’s nothing like saving money to put a smile on your face.
The good news kept coming. Faith told me that I didn’t have to throw out my old boob. She suggested that put duct tape on it to cover the leaking seam and then I could use it in my bathing suit when I went swimming. I had worried about going in the water with one of my sponge boobs and worried about absorbing all the water in the pool. With this silicone number, that danger was gone.
The day after making my new purchases, I reminded my husband that we had to fix my boob before it leaked any more. I carried my injured boob into the garage where my husband pulled out Tuck tape. He asked me if I wanted clear or red. Since it is so close to Christmas and my favourite colour is red, there really wasn’t any choice.
I held the end of the tape as my husband cut the tape and carefully covered the seam and tried to get the tape to stick. It initially didn’t like to get near the silicone either. My husband persevered and once one piece of tape stuck the other ones quickly followed. My boob is now leak-free, festive, and has a new purpose in life.
This pretty much sums up what I want to be. Just swap out leak-free for cancer-free and it is a perfect match. I want to be happy (my equivalent to festive) and, since cancer, I do feel like I have a new purpose in life.
With this in mind, it would be okay to say to me, “What a boob!”
Over 30-years of writing experience, over five years as a cancer survivor, and a lifetime purveyor of wit and laughter.