Janelle's Blog

Sex and the Single Breast

Ladies, let’s face it. We are in a society surrounded with breasts…breasts to the left of us, breasts to the right of us.

A few years ago I moved away from Dallas for a couple of years and returned to find that home-grown Dallas women had upped the ante with non home-grown cantaloupe-sized breasts. I knew the women in Dallas were known for their beauty, but I sure didn’t remember this.

Love at First Blush

When I found myself in the hospital immediately following my mastectomy, my husband was trying to help me get out of the hospital bed to walk across the room to the bathroom. I was weak from the surgery, but with his help, I was able to slowly creep across the room. In the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of my ashen white face, a reflection of the aftermath of assault on my body from having a mastectomy a few hours before.

“I look terrible,” I said out loud. No makeup on a pale pallet of a face added to my sudden low package of self-esteem.

“No, dear, you are beautiful,” he said.

I turned toward him with a serious look and said, “Not tonight, honey, I’ve got a headache.” We both burst out laughing. Sometimes life is so serious that you have to laugh. Here I was, a 34 year-old woman with no history of breast cancer in my family, didn’t drink or smoke, exercised, yet I got breast cancer. Women today face the same dilemma. No one asks for breast cancer, but there it is staring you in the face.

How’s Your Sex Life?

You want to know how that affected my sex life, don’t you? Many women think sex is over when they get breast cancer, that they might as well pull out the flannel PJ’s and fluffy house shoes. I’ll admit, I do wear the fluffy house shoes, only because my feet sometimes hurt. But, forget the flannel nightgown. I have never worn that and never will. I figured breast cancer was not going to box me into a stereo type.

The first time I made love with my husband after my mastectomy, he was afraid to touch me, thinking he might hurt me. So, he did everything but touch me. I thought he was rejecting me because of my new-found scar that crossed my chest like the Chisholm Trail. When he finally held me in his arms, I softly cried into my pillow. It was such a relief to be touched and accepted. What was important to me as a breast cancer survivor was to know that he still saw me as his wife. We never looked back after that, and he never made me feel like less than the woman I am.

Since I am a woman, though, I had to test his resolve a few times over the years and he always told me that he never saw my scar. One day Neal reminded me of his scar that stretched across his stomach from a gall bladder surgery. “Does this bother you?” he said.

“No,” I quickly responded. “I really don’t see the scar. I only see you.”

Will the Real Woman Please Stand Up

If you think I don’t understand how you feel about having no support from the man in your life, then you don’t know how deeply I care about you and your emotional well-being. I have talked with women whose husbands left them because they couldn’t deal with the issues of breast cancer. Not one time did any of those women tell me that prior to breast cancer their husbands were caring and supportive men. If a man can’t stand with a woman when she has breast cancer, then his character is missing and there is no healthy relationship.

Please listen to me. With breasts on every corner, we have become brainwashed into thinking that the breasts are our identity. We women enjoy our curves, but the depth of who we are comes from deep inside of us.

You are empowered by who you are, not the size of your breasts. In fact, when less emphasis is on the breasts, more attention goes to the multi-facets of your womanhood. It is a fun discovery to find out you just may be an incredible person.

Just for kicks, the next time you see a woman walking by that has suspiciously gigantic breasts, give yourself permission to smile and think about what a fantastic person you have become, with or without breasts.

Touch people, hug people, love people. They will be drawn to you because you care for them.

Thought for Today:

“Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration of another’s personhood.” – Karen Casey

Live Life,

Janelle

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