Posted by on Mar 14, 2011 in Breast Cancer, Cancer is NOT okay!, Inspiring, Memoir, Mom stuff, Mothers and daughters, Personal | 19 comments

I remember seeing her scars one time.  Only once.

A body disfigured by diseased malevolence, a thief whose plunder demanded dignity and femininity and time…and eventually hope and life.  

It's a scant memory, a fleeting, vapored ghost, which I suppose is blessing.  A boy-like chest, flat and smooth with purple jagged lines; menacing expression replacing life-sustaining and desire-satisfying pillowy flesh.  

She raged five years against brutal torture, before the days of pain management and less invasive treatments.  Mama was the bravest woman I ever knew.  

This will inform my thinking for the rest of my life.

* * * * * *

I wonder what percentage of small-busted women don't think about implant surgery.  For over 20 years I flirted with the possibility.  Ever since Victoria let every imaginable secret out of her bag, I wanted what she flaunted–

sex appeal…

cleavage…

the ability to fill out a C-cup

The green grass on that side of the fence sure looked pretty.

* * * * * * *

Over seven years ago I moved to a new place; no one knew me here.  Once again thoughts of breast augmentation stirred in secret corners; if ever I was going to do it, now seemed like the perfect time.  By the time I saw friends back home, the contrast between before and after would be faded by time and my kids were young enough not to really notice.

The fact I cared about that was telling….

* * * * * * *

My sister is a 13-year breast cancer survivor.  After having both breasts removed, she had reconstructive surgery.  She is a hero.  

I don't judge anyone who has a breast augmentation, by the way, whether it be elective or reconstructive.  This was a very personal, complicated decision for me, and I understand women arrive at different conclusions for their own reasons.  It seems important to say that.

* * * * * * * *  

I weighed the pros of having surgery–do I really need to spell those out?!  And I weighed the cons ~

    The thought of leaving my children without their mother as a result of unnecessary, vanity-related surgery–no matter how negligible the risk–was affecting.
  • People would know or wonder, and the thought of anyone besides my husband noticing was unnerving to me.  
  • It felt like I was thumbing my nose at God, how HE created me, and telling him I wasn't satisfied with his work.  That He wasn't good enough.  No, make that I'm not good enough….

But interestingly, the most compelling reason of them all was living and breathing: 

My daughter.

* * * * * * * * *

She is built just like me, my only daughter, my first born.  In form and face, there is no denying our relationship, and sometimes in scampering glimpses, she is a mirror portal to my youth.  

High compliment is when she tells me I am mirror portal to her future.

Those well acquainted with our family will tell you she is the very best parts of me and my husband.  In seasons when marriage becomes more about love-commitment than like-love, she is perfect reminder that my husband and I are One for eternity and no one else was meant to be mine or his.  

* * * * * * * * *

I wake her on Saturday before she's ready to leave dreams behind and we have sleepy conversation.  Out of the blue and unrelated to anything we're talking about, she leans up on one elbow and with earnest sincerity chasing away Sandman she says, "Thank you, Mom, for not ever getting breast implants."  

My quizzical expression begs her to repeat and continue.

"I know you thought about it for a long time, but I'm really glad you never had the surgery.  Thank you."

I have no idea where this comes from; for that matter, I'm not sure she knows.  

Somehow this odd, unexpected thank you is delayed compensation (confirmation?) for my decision.

* * * * * * * * *

Mama didn't choose her scars; they chose her and ultimately they marked me.  

And yet somehow found in the mysteries of gratitude and fierce mother-daughter love, there's healing.

Let it be.