There is no measure I can use to accurately express the frustration I felt with the simple task of getting dressed. Who knew 'boobies' were so important? I mean, I was an A-cup before, so I am not referring to cleavage or anything of the sort, but simply finding something that FIT!
I didn't become insecure, because I had already decided, I was a warrior and my scars were simply the signs of war, a war that I WON! So I refused to let insecurities plague me. On the other hand, I had no desire to be walking in public with everyone staring (not in a good way) either. Yes I had prosthesis and yes, I had the correct bra but this still did not make life easy for me.
Unless I was wearing a basic t-shirt and jeans, every time I got dressed I had to stand in the mirror, shifting here and tugging there, trying to make it work. When all the pulling and pining (both safety and bobby pins) was over I would ask my husband 'how do I look?' After spending 30 minutes getting things 'right', 9 times out of 10 there would still be something wrong. It took me forever to get dressed.
Husband dearest decided it was simply a matter of needing new clothes. So we shopped. That did NOT solve the problem. You see, women my age do not dress in ways that would accommodate a mastectomy bra and prosthesis, especially when you live in the Caribbean, so on I struggled.
For a long time I felt uncomfortable in my own clothes. They were either 'matronly' to accommodate the bra and prosthesis or I had to be constantly checking myself to ensure I had no embarrassing mishaps. As minor as one might consider this problem to be it isn't. The way we dress and feel in our clothes affect our attitudes which in turn affect our relationships and so on. If I am uncomfortable in my clothes I can't very well relax and have a good time, can I? If I am tense and wishing I was home, this would affect the people who I am out with, wouldn't it?
What you need to understand is this; the small things, these are the things that have the power to make or break our spirits as survivors. People see you as a survivor and assume because you got over that gigantic hurdle, everything else should be 'easy'. A person constantly uncomfortable in their clothes will eventually become uncomfortable in their own skin and there is nothing 'easy' about overcoming that feeling.
I therefore made the decision to re-construct. It was a personal and well informed decision made years later. Some people may view my decision as vanity, a waste of money etc. But I NEEDED to have it done. In establishing who I am after breast cancer, I am not ashamed of my body, neither am I ashamed of my scars or reluctant to tell my story. However, at 30 years old, my sense of style, my confidence as well as my manner of public conduct, demand that I be comfortable within my skin. Which means I had to be comfortable within my clothes. I needed 'boobies' for that.
This is not everyone's opinion and journey. I have seen highlights from the journey of one woman 'Bold and Breastless' who doesn't even wear prosthesis. There are those who are quite comfortable in their prosthesis and mastectomy bras. The point is, in finding YOUR 'new normal', only YOU can understand and decide what is best for YOU. Your husband, family and friends will have their opinions and advice but you alone have to sit in your skin day and night, therefore you alone know what is best in defining who you are.
As for me, how do I look? AMAZING!!!!!!