Former Grunge Girl Attempts to Redefine the Idea of Beautiful Breasts Part 1

As I’ve said before (see Why I Did Not Do Reconstruction), for a number of reasons, I opted to not go with reconstruction. Things like lack of money and fear of surgery factor heavily, as does an overwhelming sense of “it just does not seem right for me”. It’s not like reconstruction would erase all that has happened to me and my body, the scar would still be there, and the created nipple would be there only to make me appear normal to others (men). It will never again be a source of stimulation that women unharmed by breast cancer still have. Why should I try to make it look like it did before? It isn’t, and no amount of cosmetic surgery will make it so.

In some ways, I think I just rebelled against all those save the ta-tas ads, which I believe to be misleading. I hate the boobies/ta-tas culture associated with breast cancer, because ultimately it cheapens and makes light of breast cancer. Judging by some of the reactions to objections about the campaigns—“but breasts are beautiful and they sell/bring awareness”—it almost seems as if people don’t get it: if one gets breast cancer, detected by the ad-recommend mammogram, there is a strong possibility that the afflicted breasts will wind up wrecked. For all the talk of awareness, I think most people who have not actually had breast cancer just don’t understand this—they are UNaware.

Reconstruction, to my punk rock/grunge girl-from-the-90s sensibilities, just seems fake. The culture of the punk/alternative (they aren’t the same but I can be both) rebels against all that fakeness. As a huge fan of this music I embraced this rebellion against all things fake. In addition, being a strong woman back then did not mean dressing like Beyonce; jeans and flannel were OK (dressing like Beyonce and proclaiming female strength is a whole other post, ugh). Sometimes I miss a few aspects of the political correctness and Riot Grrls that were a part of the early 90s. Just sayin’.

I still have these sensibilities, and they probably inform my current opinions about breast cancer culture and my own experience more than I even know. I recognize it enough, however, to know that it is why I reject the reconstruction notion. All this rambling here really boils down to: it just isn’t right for me.

I wanted to do what a few women are now opting to do, to be real and/or express themselves artfully after surgery. By now everyone interested in breast cancer issues has no doubt seen the video or photos of Jill Brzezinski-Conley, and know of the recent fuss on Facebook involving the photo of Inga Duncan Thornell, who tattooed over her mastectomy scars, photos of which are in the book Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo. I did not find much of this stuff while I was in active treatment (despite Bodies of Subversion apparently being written in 2001 or so), and considering reconstruction. In fact it was really difficult to find pictures of women with lumpectomies or mastectomies that mirrored what my body looked like. Everything only showed nearly finished or finished reconstruction. I did not like what I saw. It was not until late in the game I found the SCAR Project and blogging. I found a few bloggers posted pictures of their breast(s) saying they too found it difficult to find pictures. But even with the discoveries of these blogs, there are still NOT lots of pics of what I look like. And still, most pictures I find are women going through the reconstruction process, trying to return to “normal”.

I am still debating, as I write this, whether I will join the ranks of those who post their pictures. Probably will. But I will explain what I’ve done and why, in future posts.

Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

6 thoughts on “Former Grunge Girl Attempts to Redefine the Idea of Beautiful Breasts Part 1”

  1. I love your honesty. I agree as it is a personal choice ~ you are right, they are fake no matter how they are reconstructed. I didn’t get nipples until years after because I simply didn’t see the point, but I did have implants. Sometimes there is a bit of feeling which returns but sometimes not. I admire you ~ I’m an 11 year breast cancer survivor ~ here if you need a friend. 🙂


    1. Hey Presents of Presence–been meaning to reply…I am working on Parts 2-4 of this story, but I got distracted by shiny objects, other posts, and what I had written already is locked in my broken real laptop, currently being held hostage by “tech support” at the manufacturer.
      This is a difficult story to write, not just because of the cancer aspect. Hopefully I can illustrate that clearly in the next few posts. Thanks for liking the story, commenting, for reading, and for support!


  2. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get setup?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yourrs would cost a pretty
    penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure.
    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.


    1. Gosh, i began about a year ago so my memory is a bit dim! This blog is totally free, tho’. Probably what I did was go to home and I’m sure they have a “get started” page and I followed the directions on a whim. I started out using other places like Blogger, which I just could not navigate although most people say it is easy–I just couldn’t get it. But I think Blogger is connected with Google and Gmail, so if you use those, you might like Blogger since it links your email, calendar and so forth all together.
      Good luck starting blogging, hope this helps.


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