I thought that breast cancer had given me some very concrete opinions on plastic surgery.
Before cancer, I had a whatever-blows-your-fur-back attitude. Who am I to judge someone who wants a smaller nose, bigger breasts, rounder bum, smaller thighs, etc.?
But when I was diagnosed, my opinion shifted. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why someone would put their body through unnecessary surgery and the risks that come with it, and unnecessary pain and recovery time. My own recovery from my lumpectomy and axillary dissection confirmed this.
Though I ultimately didn't have my entire breast removed, I did have part of it removed because I needed to (may I add I am grateful my surgeon did such a spectacular job too). I couldn't understand why someone would remove or add parts just because.
Reconstructive surgery to replace parts that had been removed due to disease, or damaged maybe because of an accident, I could understand, though I still had my doubts I could do it.
It was a question I considered a lot when first diagnosed, before it was confirmed the cancer appeared to be confined to the lump in my left breast, and to a limited number of lymph nodes.
To reconstruct or not to reconstruct
I wanted to feel prepared in case I needed to make a decision on reconstruction. Did I want to? And if I did, did I want implants or to have fat and muscle taken from my belly to create a new breast? I'll admit, the thought of getting a free tummy tuck out of the deal intrigued me for a moment or two.
Then I talked to a friend, whose close friend took the latter option and had a lot of issues recovering. And I looked at photos online, particularly of women who had reconstruction on one side. The results weren't always so spectacular, whatever method they chose.
Reconstructive surgery, if I ended up having a mastectomy, started looking a lot less attractive to me.
But the thought of having surgery not because of cancer, but because of vanity? Nope. The though of it straight-out bothered me.
Tonight, I was watching the show Skin Deep.
The women being featured were getting breast implants. Both were single moms with older sons, and being in the dating game certainly seemed to have an impact on their respective decisions.
But then one of the women being interviewed noted that she was a cervical cancer survivor. Her treatment had knocked her into early menopause. She had gained a significant amount of weight because of hormone therapy, then lost it with a serious amount of work. Unfortunately, the ordeal left her boobs a saggy mess.
Why should she be less deserving of surgery she wanted, simply because she hadn't had her breasts removed because of her cancer? And really, even if she hadn't had cancer, but had gained and lost weight because of one of the millions of reasons women gain and lost weight, who am I to say?
The other woman had spent much of her life raising her son on her own. She put off dating so she could focus on raising him, and not worry that her son or a significant other was only getting part of her attention. She was slender and had always wanted implants. And why not?
So maybe plastic surgery still isn't for me. But the thought of it doesn't bother me any more. Whatever blows your fur back.