Nipples for My Daughter
Only then did I feel motivated to finish the blank canvas that was created after my 2006 mastectomy. Prior to my surprise pregnancy, it did not matter to me or to my husband that my reconstructed breast mounds were bare.
I liked the freedom of not having to wear a bra, especially in the summer under light-colored clothes. I did not want to have to wear one just to block the color of an areola from showing. If there is any benefit following mastectomy, at least we have this one—free from the ties that bind.
This all changed when Rayna arrived, and I decided that I had to getnipples for my daughter. Why? My husband and I do not want her to have a warped view of the female body.
Inevitably, there will be times during her young life that she catches glimpses of me while dressing or bathing. We do not want those intimate mother-daughter moments to skew her image of womanhood.
The other important message I need to convey to her is that I am whole again. Once she is old enough to understand that her mother had breast cancer, it is important that she sees me as a whole person and not someone who has been dissected.
She will eventually learn that my history of breast cancer increases her risk. I need to be a role model for her so that she can see what survivorship is all about—firsthand. Through my example I can ease her fears about the prospect of this happening to her—so that she does not have such a heavy cross to bear as she calculates her risk.
Now that I am motivated, I will be getting nipples soon. Maybe just a 3-D tattoo will be enough since I do not want to protrude through my shirts. No more bare mounds for me. It is time for fully reconstructed mounds—with nipples for my daughter!
(Bilateral mastectomy 2007; reconstruction 2008)
As a highly-skilled hairdresser, Trish already had a steady following of clients when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.
Since her mastectomy and treatment, the stylist now has an additional following of survivors and previvors who flock to her salon chair for a dose of camaraderie and inspiration with their style and cut.
Trish has a generosity of spirit that comforts women going through breast cancer treatment, reconstruction and healing. She conveys strength of character and resilience that inspires others with whom she readily shares her story.
She was only 31 when she was diagnosed, and her son was not even a year old at the time. Her biopsy was on Christmas Eve, and once she got the results, she knew that 2007 would be the year to skip—if only there were a fast-forward button on life.
After long regimens of radiation and chemotherapy, Trish never thought she would be able to have another child. But, God had other plans. Her surprise pregnancy in 2010 brought her the gift of her daughter, Rayna.
Trish works at Making Waves Hair Salon in Bergenfield, NJ.
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