“I had very large breasts. They were GG cup. I felt they were too large for my frame because I am only 5’2” in height. They were very good for feeding my babies though. I breast fed my son and daughter until they were one and loved that experience.
When I was 54 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The tumour was in my left breast and was around 7cm. It was a total shock as I hadn’t felt a lump nor seen any of the other signs of breast cancer. At first it was thought that a lumpectomy would be enough remove the tumour but the surgeons couldn’t get all of out in that way. So I had to have a mastectomy which meant saying goodbye to my left breast. I was devastated which surprised me because I didn’t know that I actually loved my breasts until I was about to lose one of them.
After the mastectomy I was left as a “uniboober” and I really hated that. I had to wear a huge silicone prosthesis in my bra to balance me up and it was heavy, uncomfortable and hot. I had asked my surgeon if he would remove both breasts at the same time but he declined to do that.
As time went on and when I looked in the mirror, I came to like my flat side and my scar much more than my large remaining breast. So every time I had a check up with my surgeon, I asked him if he would agree to a second mastectomy so that I could be symmetrical and totally flat. He eventually agreed and I had my second mastectomy eighteen months after the first.
I’m so much happier living flat and I don’t miss my breasts now. I still feel like a woman and feel feminine. I’ve discovered that my breasts didn’t define me as a woman and that living flat is a positive choice after mastectomy. I’ve made an interesting discovery – I used to get a lot of stares when I had large breasts but people don’t look at me and my flat chest when I’m out and about now. And I’m very happy about that.
Making the choice to remove my healthy breast has made me feel
empowered and confident about myself and my body. I’ve done a few topless photoshoots and I feel very comfortable showing my breast less chest and my scars. My aim is to destigmatise the image of the woman with no breasts and to increase the amount of images showing flat chested women. I also want to advocate for women to be given all the treatment choices after mastectomy – not jut reconstruction. Staying flat is a positive choice to make after mastectomy and it should be offered to all women when treatment options are discussed.
I’m happy living flat and I like my scars. They are a record of the trauma that my body has been through and the healing and strength that it continues to give to me.”