It’s Not About the Boobs!

Breast cancer awareness

Breast cancer awareness (Photo credit: AslanMedia)

It always seems to be about the boobs, headlights, breasts, tata’s, knockers, watermelons, cupcakes, t*t’s, whatever you want to call them. I remember mine never being perfect, well at least in my eyes. I spent a good portion of my teens wishing them different. After children, forget it. Imagine 2 latex balloons, at first they are perfectly round, filled with the breath of life and their presence is just delightful. After some time, actually overnight, they look sad, rejected, used and tired. Poor things. And what do we do? Grab the scissors, cut the ribbon, stab the rest of whatever life left, and toss them in the can. That’s the story of my boobs.

It was hard to lose my breast at 32, but I was devastated that they took my nipple too. I had breast cancer, not nipple cancer, and I wanted it back. I can remember driving by the hospital and thinking, damn, it’s in there. I imagined heading in the lobby, running the halls and crashing over lab tables, petri dishes and opening can after can of nipples, until I found MINE. I hated my boobs and nipples, until they were gone. They tried to appease me, offer me a new tattooed nip, with soft, supple skin from my  va-jayjay. I politely declined the hairy, half-assed attempt for the real deal. So I remain, uni-nip. It’s still slightly embarrassing having a headlight out 24/7, especially in the coldest of days at them gym and the wettest of bathing suits at the pool.

Now, I hate the fact, that I hated my boobs. I miss the perfectly flat, empty saggy things that were mine. Their presence provided my story, my history from buds to knockers to babies to cancer. They were my mine, from seed to sag. Meeting the new girls was like meeting a new step mom. I would introduce myself to the gals every morning. I didn’t like them, but knew they loved me, and they weren’t leaving. Gradually, I accepted them, because I had no choice and by that time, it was not about them at all.

People do not know what to say when you have cancer. Some don’t know how to act, can’t look you in the eye and say the most idiotic things. I know when I had it, I would quietly catch the lookers, checking out the area, sneaking a peak at the new budding and expanding set. Having breast cancer gives some the notion, that at the end we will find comfort in the new pair of knockers that are making their way.

Most often they would say, “You are so lucky, you get a boob job in the end”.  I said (in my head), “Shut the F*&^ up”.  I would stew, and be so pissed off, and scream quietly, in every spec, of every cell in my body, “I want my boobs, not the new, perfect, fake set of saline!  It’s not about the boobs, you nimrod. It’s about the cancer, those SOB cells that stole my knocker, t*t, watermelon that deflated to a cupcake, ta-ta, you idiot”.

Breast cancer is not, about the boobs. Any cancer is not about what or where it begins. It is about waking up and the world is upside down. It is about walking on the ceiling, or in a dark place and not knowing what is in front of you. It is about having a sickness that takes some of your body and spirit while you are finding your place in your new world. It is about realizing that you can either succumb to the darkness or search for the light. It’s about shaking your weaknesses and becoming stronger. It’s about the new choices, and new paths, that you choose to follow, and finally feeling the light and presence and peace of surviving it.

Cancer starts with the boobs, bladder, lungs, liver, or anywhere. But, it does not end there. Some say it is a membership or club that you are joined to for life.

Just remember this… remember to tell a member they are patient.  Remember to tell a member, they are positive and powerful.  Remember to tell a member that they are strong, they are courageous, they are  forgiving and inspiring.  Say those things to a member, or say nothing at all.

**This is my blog about my journey, a part of it about cancer and other parts about life, parts about poetry and parts about parenting and mothering through hardships, and parts about living with the glass more than half full. Thank you for reading this and I hope you come back for more. **Cathy


  1. Claudine O'Neill says:

    Cathy, hello my dear childhood friend whom I do not get to see that often but do think of quite often! This blog brought tears to my eyes! Your articulation of your BC experience was so vivid. Thank you for sharing and continuing to be a such a shining pillar for all those who have BC and not.

  2. Evanate Mom says:

    Such a gift to “non-members” to get a window into how to be a real friend to a survivor. This blog is the missing piece we all need to hear. Cathy is amazing.

  3. This is the most spot on thing I’ve read about BC in awhile.

  4. Susan Biela says:

    Wow Cathy well said! You are strong and such an inspiration!

  5. Linda Mascelli says:

    Hi Cathy! As a fellow breast cancer survivor I always liked my breasts. I was amazed with all the support I received from my husband and family during surgery chemo and radiation. Our breasts are only a small part of what makes us who we are. It is good to grieve our missing part but it is great to celebrate what we have left. Woo hoo! Thanks for starting your blog! Linda

  6. Hunter Allen says:

    And here I’ve been staring at your perfect ass all these years!

    Seriously CG, great article. You are – as always – an inspiration. Be well! H

  7. Cathy–You are such an inspiration to many women! You have such a positive outlook on life and I’m glad you are sharing it with all of us!

  8. Lorie Higgins says:

    You are a true inspiration! Stay well.

  9. Cammie sanders says:

    Cathy, you have put into words what I have been feeling over the past 8 months! I could see and hear you as i read this blog! You have inspired me more than you will ever know! Thank you dear friend!

  10. Maggie Hammond says:

    Way to go Cathy! I have taken your words to heart. You are right, people don’t know the right things to say, so they say what THEY think is the right thing to say. I will remember this article forever. Thank you for sharing.

  11. smbergin says:

    There are so many passages in this post that moved me but I think I am struck most by when you say, “It is about realizing that you can either succumb to the darkness or search for the light.” The light you continue to pursue has made an enormous difference in the lives of so many other members and their families. Can’t wait to read the next post …. 🙂

  12. Karen Conte says:

    Cath – you continue to amaze me! This is fantastic and actually brought me to tears to once again. You have perfectly caught the essence of you in your descriptive paragraph only forgot that you are a wonderful sister, daughter and friend!

    I only hope that those that come to this site could truly know how wonderful you are – caring more about everyone else than yourself.

    You know how much I love you and I am so so so proud to call you a friend!! Best of Luck on this new adventure and I will definitely be coming back!!

  13. Joe Keane says:

    You forgot “fun bags” – I always thought that was fun to say. Fun Bags….but your point is well taken! You are most definitely; strong, inspriring and all of the other adjectives you mentioned….i’m happy that I am able to read this today and hopeful that you’ve found light and peace surviving cancer!

  14. Mary Doherty says:

    Love it Cathy! Well said. I did not know that you had breast cancer. You are truly an inspiration and my hero!

  15. wonderfully put Cathy. I remember reading my Mom’s reports after her mastectomy and it seemed weird to read the word nipple. I don’t know why. I guess it just made it all the more real that this part of her body, was infected with this horrible disease and it all had to come off. You are my hero!

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