How We Fit

How We Fit

“Babe, are you a boob guy?”

Why I had decided that this question was only now so vitally important is lost on me. But it was, so I asked.

Why now? Because it was about 6 weeks after my mastectomy and it had suddenly become apparent that I had never actually consulted my husband about his sexual preferences on body parts….more specifically, my body parts.

Back when I had been diagnosed with cancer, both my surgeon and my husband were in agreement that I should get a lumpectomy. I remember my doctor mentioning that removing my breast could have consequences for my sex life. I thought that was a pretty big assumption for someone who had never actually slept with me.

I responded with “I need both my feet to walk, I need two hands, but my boobs have done their job. I fed two children with them. I don’t need them to function.”

Before surgery I told everyone I came into contact with that I was going to have my breast removed and was saying, “No” to reconstruction.

On several occasions people did actually asked me (in awkward fashion), “How is your husband doing with your decision?”

I would jokingly say, “It’s fine, he sleeps on my right, so he’ll still be looking at a boob!”

The week before my surgery I had texted a picture of my boobs every day to my husband. I also felt compelled to put on every bra that had been carelessly lost and forgotten at the bottom of the closet.

The bras were those poor, frilly, lacey things that waited patiently for that one birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day to come along so that they could see the light of day (or candlelight, rather). But every time, when the evening would come and it was time to put them on, I couldn’t be bothered.

Now, time had run out and the overpriced six inches worth of lace and frills were suddenly and sadly wasted investments.

That’s when the worry started to set in.

Would I still look good to my husband? Would he still want to have sex with me or would he find my new body ugly? Yet every time he suggested I just have a lumpectomy, I sternly cut him off with, “MY BODY, MY CHOICE.”

There was clearly no room in my mind for his concerns.

The morning of my surgery arrived, as did we to the medical center. One last stop at my bedside by my surgeon before putting me under and he asked again, “You sure this is what you want to do?”

“I did have second thoughts,” I had to admit to him, “three days ago. So, I read everything again. I am positive. I know this is what I want. I’m ready.”

And with that, I was put out and wheeled in.

When I came to, a nurse and my husband were trying to get me up. Removing my gown with my husband’s help, I looked down for the first time to see the blank space where my breast used to be.

Obviously still heavily medicated I proclaimed, “Oh, I look GOOD! Take a picture Babe!”

Getting intimate with your partner after having your body altered can be scary. But I knew that if I started worrying about it and then let it fester, it would only be a short time before my thinking turned it into reality. I’m happy to report that nothing has changed in the bedroom department besides being slightly altered by pain occasionally while I was healing.

With a stroke of luck, I now find myself sprawled against my husband’s chest. I sink in and settle into him in a way I never could before. With my one breast removed the pieces of our puzzle fit better. Our hearts are closer.

“Babe, are you a boob guy?”

He looks at me and answers “Any man who limits himself to just boobs is an idiot!”

 

*This is one of a two-part series on intimacy after mastectomy*

 

 

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