This entry was written by Jackie Roth, PhD student at Thomas Jefferson University. Every other Friday, throughout the entire year of 2011, Jackie will share a blog entry about her breast cancer experience. This year-long blog series is in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary.
To read Jackie’s previous entries, enter “ Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.
As I was flipped through the catalog of one of my favorite stores I was surprised to see, in middle of winter, the swimsuit section! Is me or do the summer clothes come out earlier and earlier each year? I wanted to shop for sweaters considering there was snow on the ground! Nevertheless, I paged through the section in search of swimsuits and found myself picking out the ones that I thought would look cute on me. All I could think of were halter tops, thick straps, and cute prints!
But then reality set it. In a few weeks I’m scheduled for surgery – a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. The halter top with thick straps might not fit well anymore…
Getting a “new” upper body means that clothes will fit differently for sure. Will I hate v-necks now? Maybe, maybe not. This summer, will I reach in the closet in search of my favorite strapless dress? Maybe, maybe not. I can imagine that the thought of your clothes not fitting your “new” body the way they used to can be upsetting, but I am trying to look at this situation in an opposite way…
This surgery is going to be drastic. I don’t doubt that the end result will be a very big change for me. Going into surgery, I will be scared. Coming out of surgery, I will still be scared, but more so, scared to look at my scars. But at the end of the day, the “girls” (breasts) that I have now don’t matter at all. Although they have been with me almost my whole life, one of them, turned against me. Will the other one do the same in the future? I am not willing to take that risk. And you know what, I have a better set of girl(friends) who will never do that.
My girl(friends) have been beside me through this whole process. They are my best friends from kindergarten through graduate school. Some of them I’ve known for 24 years, and others for just 6 months. Over the past years we’ve laughed, cried, fought, made up, and been there for each other through it all. As I finished up chemotherapy and prepared for surgery, my girl(friends) threw me a party to celebrate. We even let the boys come along!
By the end of the night, the girl(friends) and I took a picture. I was amazed when I saw just how many of them showed up to support me. There was barely enough room for all of us to fit in the picture together. And I know that a bunch of them that couldn’t make it that night were there in spirit.
So as I’ve grown less attached to my physical girls, I’ve become closer and closer to my real girl(friends). My journey with breast cancer has taught me how important it is to cherish these friendships. I know that these “girls” would do anything for me, and I feel the same way about them.
I will go into surgery with a pair of girls and come out with the ones that really matter right by my side, my girl(friends)!