A dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have one of her breasts removed. Her journey to being free of cancer was difficult and traumatic. She went through it like the fighter she is and has emerged on the other side, cancer free but without one breast. She didn’t realise how it would affect her, she says, in retrospect.
“I never realised how intrinsic my breasts were to how I see myself,” she said sometime later, when she was contemplating reconstructive surgery. She had been through the hair loss that chemotherapy brings and the associated shift in self-image. The hair grew back, very different in texture from what it had previously been. But the incision on her chest was a constant reminder of something missing, a part of her body gone. There was a constant sense of imbalance, she says, and the healing process had to go beyond the body. The most difficult journey for her was accepting her own body after the removal of the breast.