You Don’t Know What You Have

I recall the famous 80’s song by Cinderella, “You Don’t Know What You Got (Till Its Gone)”. I never really realized how big a role my breasts played in my life until recently. It’s true, as ridiculous as it sounds, they were responsible for a lot of things in my life, good and bad.

It all started in grade school. I wasn’t popular or athletic, I was smart, and that was my downfall. Being born six weeks premature and weighing only two pounds 13 ounces, I was very small framed and skinny; so I got picked on for that too. Kids can be very mean, but I digress…. once I hit sixth grade and all the girls were “developing”, I lagged behind. I think I was the only girl that in sixth grade still wore undershirts! I was flat as a valley.  There was a boy that called me a “white Ethiopian” because of how skinny I was but then asked me to dance at the school dances?!?! Go figure!  But, I swear the Lord was watching out for me the last week of school when I was in eighth grade.  One big event for all eighth graders in private school was the last week of school because we got to wear shorts and help wash down desks for the year. The morning of that Monday, I begged my mom to let me shave my legs for the first time.  No kidding, later that day, a girl was picking on one of my friends because she didn’t shave her legs. She then looked at me and said, “What about you? I bet you don’t shave either” Thank the good Lord my mom left me do it that morning or I would have just had another thing wrong with me to be picked on about, and right in front of the cute boy I had a huge crush on!

1998 – 17 years old with no boobs and only weighted 86 pounds. My mom had to sew on the white strap to hold on the bathing suit top.

Then came high school.  I still just had little “mosquito bites” as they say, so no boys were interested in me. It was always the girls with the big boobs and nice figure that got all the attention, not the flat-chested, skinny, braces and glasses wearing, no butt girls like me. I looked like I was a sixth grader going to high school. By twelfth grade, I had a job and made new friends that didn’t know I was some nerdy unpopular girl so new doors opened for me.  I actually had some guys that wanted to go out with me! Granted, I still had some boys that picked light-heartedly on me. I remember a guy calling me “Oral B”- because I was just a head with no boobs, butt, or figure. But, I just laughed it off. My mom tried and tried to make me pad my bra but I was not having it. I felt it was like false advertising! Lol  I managed to get a boyfriend, but he told his friends I had no boobs and he probably would break up with me unless I put out on prom night. Ah, high school….gotta love it!

Then I meet my husband. He loved everything about me. Even my small breasts. He would tell me that more than a mouth full was a waste. LOL  They were his favorite part of my body. However, on my wedding day, it was my boobs that almost ruined my perfect day.  I had my wedding dress made for me by my sister-in-law, and didn’t try it on with the bra I bought until a couple days before the wedding. The stupid bra showed right in the middle of the oval cut out of the back of my gown. Wonderful! I ran and bought those stick-on, push up things… well, they can only push up what is there to push up, of which I didn’t have enough! So, I went braless. I had no choice, so my dress was a little baggie in the front. Looking back now at pictures, it looked horrible. However, the wonderful man my husband is, said that he caught a glimpse of my boobies when I leaned forward sit down and it calmed his nerves during the ceremony. I wonder what my parish priest thought of the view he had!?!? I don’t even want to know!

Up until my mastectomy, my husband would come up behind me and grab my boobs, would comment how much he loved them, and would manhandle them any chance he could get. He loved it when I was pregnant and they got bigger. After two kids, I could finally say that I was satisfied with my breasts.  I would often jokingly ask my husband, “Would you still love me if something would happen to my boobs and I wouldn’t have them anymore?” I guess I cried wolf one too many times, so as they say…the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away… and breast cancer reared it’s ugly head.

When the time came to decide to reconstruct or not, it was a no brainer for me. No reconstruction.  I had read about women having infections, blotched surgeries, and I knew that I would always worry about the implants. My husband was totally supportive and was fine with my decision, my radiologist was not. He thought I had to get reconstruction. He claimed I wouldn’t feel like a woman anymore. He just went on and on. I finally left him have it! Crying I told him that breasts don’t make a woman and the implants would just give me non-functioning and scarred still fake breasts and that I was more concerned about survival, not appearance. That still didn’t stop him from asking every visit if I was going to have reconstruction. That’s all the space in this blog I will waste on him.

So, yes, my breasts played an active part in my developmental years. I hated them because they weren’t what society thought they should be, they caused me ridicule and sadness. But because of that ridicule, I became a stronger person. When people tell me there is no way to do something, I aim to figure out a way to make it work; and usually succeed.  So, it was a sort of love/hate relationship between my breasts and I. But now, as small and imperfect as they were, I would do anything to have them back. Like the song says, you don’t know what you got until it gone.



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