Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Making Things Awkward is Kind of My Specialty

One of the most profound and hilarious moments of my life happened while sitting in the office of my plastic surgeon discussing my impending mastectomy in 2009.

I'll give you a little background as to why I am writing about this moment. Today I had a consult with my plastic surgeon. The same genius (and I don't mean that in a sarcastic way at all) who helped me come out of all the breast surgeries I've had. I met with him today to talk about that one time I made an adult decision and decided to have a prophylactic mastectomy of my left breast (also I just have to point out that it's really weird to talk about my left breast when all I talked about for a really long time was the right) so I can basically eliminate my chances of getting breast cancer ever again. This was an entirely different experience from the first time I sat down with him to talk about mastectomies. The first time, I had no control. I was told what to do, where I had to be and what it was going to be like. For a control freak like me, this was an awful experience. I was angry and sad and confused that first time. I wasn't able to play much of a part in the decision making process. I was told what kind of mastectomy I was to have, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But this time it's different. This time I get to make all the decisions. I was the one who decided to do this. It was on my own terms that I called up my surgeons to get the ball rolling. This time, I get a choice of how I want my breast removed and I get to weigh the options that have been given to me. I am almost drunk with the power that I currently  hold in my hands.

Going through this process, albeit a somewhat different process, has got me thinking about I dealt with it the first time. My conclusion is that I dealt with it very poorly. This time, instead of the anger and sarcasm that I pulled about myself like cloak to sheild me from the cold reality that I was faced with, I am excited. I know that sounds weird. Who could possibly be excited about removing their breast?! I've had a lot of questions, and I find that for the most part, people understand, or at least they really try to. Some people look at me like I'm crazy. They wonder why I would ever want to do this again if I don't have to. I don't have cancer in my left breast so why mess with a good thing? To them I say that I am being proactive. It's not a matter of if I get breast cancer again, it's a matter of when. I could be one of the lucky ones and never have it come back, or I could be entirely unlucky and have to deal with far worse consquences that I did before. So, to reduce the odds of bad things happening, I am taking the steps to go under the knife, and as I've said before, I am completely, 100% okay with this.

In November 2009, I first met my amazing surgeons. They have been absolutely wonderful throughout this whole thing, and I am happy to say that I have a very good relationship with all my doctors. They have been incredibly patient with me, even when I was being particularly bratty. When I was first faced with the prospect of a mastectomy, they told me that I was to have an immediate reconstruction. That was awesome. Not awesome at the time, for me anyway, was the fact that I had to have an implant put into my left breast. I never wanted to be that girl. I always thought that breast implants were silly, and if you had asked me if it was something that I would ever consider, I would have vehemently told you otherwise. When I was told that I had to have an implant I lost it. I lost my shit, and threw the biggest tantrum I have ever thrown (which was surpassed by that one time I yelled at this awful woman for 20 minutes in the hospital). I cried, and shouted, and was a complete and utter asshole-ish bitch. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know why my breast, a breast that while on the smaller side, I had always found to be perfectly fine. I didn't want to have to go up a few sizes. I liked my small A cup. I was happy with it. I'm a tiny person and the last thing I wanted was giant boobs. I ranted, I railed, and through it all, my plastic surgeon sat there, patiently waiting for me to finish. After what had to have been the 100th time of me asking why he couldn't just leave the left one alone, he turned to me, with a straight face and said "because they don't make implants small enough to match your natural breast". That stopped me dead in my tracks. Just the way he said it, and the way that it came about made me really stop and think. It was one of the funniest and most profound moments of my whole cancer experience. I don't even know why, but it was.

Sitting in his office today, as he drew all over my chest with coloured sharpies, I couldn't help but be reminded of that moment. Reminded of how it made me sit back and take a look at what he was really saying. I think it was at that moment that I just decided to go with it. If I couldn't have any control, why fight it. The was to fight is by not fighting at all right? At least that's what I tell myself.

So what's the moral of this story? The moral of this story is that this is actually real now. It's one thing to talk about doing it but it's a completely different thing to actually go through with it. I know that this topic might make some people uncomfortable, but making things awkward is kind of my specialty.

Here's to many many more awkward moments!

Love Always,


  1. Hi there Leah! I was just reading up on few of your posts and had quick question about your blog. I was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance, thanks!


    1. Hi Emily,

      I would be happy to answer any questions you have. Just send me your email address and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Perhaps send it as a direct message over twitter (I know i wouldn't want the whole world to know my personal email address). My twitter handle is @LopsidedLeah.

      Thanks for reading!