Weird things about having breast cancer/telling people you have breast cancer:
People can’t stop looking at your tits. A lot. Constantly. I mean, I have big breasts so I’m used to people looking at them. I have been proud of them since they both showed up. They’re 38 D. Enjoy them. I know I do. But from kids to adults, people look at my breasts more now that ever. Adults try to avert their eyes and pretend they aren’t looking. Kids especially. They’re trying to see if they can spot the sick on me, I know that. It doesn’t bother me. I am just getting a kick out of how weird and silly that is. I also admit I’ve looked at women’s breasts when they said they have breast cancer, too. It’s a human animal thing. No shame. Just makes me laugh.
I remember when I started having breasts. The left one just showed up one day. We were living in Willits. I had this little bump, and I could move it all over my chest cavity. I have never until now admitted that to a single human. Yes. My left breast showed up on its own, and I could make it move all over. I was one boobed for months and months and months. I was filled with shame about it. I was, I don’t know, 8 or almost 9? Just a tiny bud of a thing. But it gave me a complex that really hasn’t gone away.
It was a loner for at least six months before my right breast showed up, and by that time righty was far behind and obviously much smaller. OH the complex the poor pubescent girl me had. OH the shame. I was one breasted, and it was harrowing and weird. In my little 9 or 10 year old pea brain I remember thinking it was my fault. I moved my breast buds all around my chest, so it’s my fault that they are super lopsided and “wrong.”
Someone please tell me they did this. No? Ok, nevermind. I’m okay with being the weirdo.
I used to put plastic Easter eggs under my shirt. I’d do the more smooth half, and walk around my room with these little breasts under my shirt. I’d put the egg on my right side and just roll with my left breast. I’d pose. I longed for the day when my t-shirt would stand up in the middle of my breasts like my Auntie’s shirts did. Oh it was so glamorous.
I am actually 100% ok with being the person that demystifies being “weird.” All of those little things and thoughts we had as kids that ended up being normal and everyone else had, well, it would have been helpful for all of us to have someone show us that. As tweens and teens often that’s a celebrity of some kind. For me, it was Dolly Parton. No. It had nothing to do with her breasts, but AMEN on the breasts, Dolly.
I have loved her my whole life. She was giving an interview when I was 12 and I remember watching her on TV when she said
I’m normal like everyone. I go to the toilet like everyone does.
I about gasped and fainted at the same time. If DOLLY was a regular human that had to use the toilet, every single weird and disgusting thing about me was OK.
It sounds silly, but it made me so okay with my awkwardness. I’ve felt like she was my fairy Godmother ever since.
Sigh. It’s so weird right now.
A few days ago didn’t know there was more than one kind of oncologist. Tomorrow I meant a radiation one and a medicine one.
I feel like all of my 50 years I’ve done this weird flip/flop existence where once in a while I have to be my 50 years old age and most of the time I’m still 12, dealing with periods and acne and crushes on boys. It is shockingly odd to me to have to think about things like writing my will, talking to cancer doctors, talking to HR about being sick, and sending/enduring the trainwreck texts/messages of “oh hey, I love you. And oh…I have breast cancer.” OHMYGOD it’s just too much already.
I can’t believe I’m in this zone. I’m not old enough.
Then I realize that I am old enough. And that makes me feel super alone. I know so many (SO MANY) people are out there rooting for me and loving on me. But at the end of the day…I am an unmarried woman that lives alone in her house. And most of my closest people live 1,000 miles away. I already missed Eugene before this. But now I miss it like I’m missing a limb. I know it’s because I miss my family and my old “ordinary.” But it is so so much harder to start over at 48 like I did than I thought it would be.
I truly underestimated how thoroughly I would miss familiarity. But honey, I miss it. I miss my friends and OH MY GOD do I miss my kids and my family. I miss you all…every second. I miss you so much it’s painful. I love where I am. I really do. Billings feels like home. It has nothing to do really with the town, though. It’s the people and the nature. And I suppose that’s enough. Billings is charming, but the MOUNTAINS are a shiny jewel. The town is cool but MY FRIENDS are AMAZING.
I lived in Eugene and the vicinity for 17 years. Never in my life had I lived anywhere that long. So it makes sense that I miss it now more than ever. I plan to make my life in Billings feel that way. It’s harder doing it by myself, rather than a family unit figuring it out together.
I don’t want to discount how beautiful and lovely my boyfriend and his family and his boys have been to me. It feels decadent and loving to be with someone that has a loving relationship with their ex-spouse and their parents are cool old hippies/Peace Corps people. It’s more that I could rationally hope for. And yet, it has just been delivered to me. I’m not unappreciating that gift for a second while also missing the people that have known me the longest.
It means so much to me those of you that reach out through messages, texts, emails. I can’t even explain what it means to me. Thank you. Thank you.