Femininity
Losing a breast and staying positive about it is a challenge. I practiced a series of tricks to keep myself upbeat. They worked. The more I did things to make myself feel like a whole woman, the more I actually believed I was. It was true - a part of me that identified me as "woman" was gone; the essence of the woman I was, was still in tact. It just needed to be reminded that it was safe for her to come out.

Subj: Re: How to tell Mom .....
Date: 2/28/99 7:12:51 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: QueenReg


Penny,
It will be over before you know it. Then you can get on with your healthy life. Here are a few things I did to speed up emotional healing. They may sound silly, but they helped.

I knew that I would feel like a "whole" woman if I wore a bra. My surgeons said that I could wear anything that didn't bind. I found just the thing - Warner's Barely There. These are soft stretchy bras that have no adjustments or clasps. They either slip over your head, or you step into them. I wore one home from the hospital. I felt like I was on my way to recovery, a real human. I also bought some Cuddle Duds, silky undershirts with beautiful lace detail around the neck. These were great in the cold weather and, because of the details, they made me feel very feminine.

Next, I bought myself a bath pillow. When I was allowed to submerge myself in a tub, I would fill it with bubbles and oils, and float my troubles away. The bath pillow is kind of a glamorous throwback to the days of beautiful movie stars. Many days, I'd just rest there and relax.

I took advantage of every cosmetic giveaway there was. This gave me an opportunity to try new things and to pamper myself a bit. I saw that my face had also taken a beating with the emotional strain of cancer and surgery, and that these little treats not only helped the complexion, but also the emotions.

Penny, I discovered something really important through my cancer surgery. Once I realized that my health could be restored, I began to think about me as a woman and I discovered that what makes me one is not my breast or any other "zone." The real woman lies between my ears. I have never felt as feminine or as in touch with me, the woman, as I do now, since that mrm (modified radical mastectomy) and free tram reconstruction. What's more, I like the woman who I have become. This revelation could have only come by conquering cancer.
You're a brave one, Penny. Have a great "sleep" on the 1st. Enjoy the drugs. Go forth and kick cancer's (_|_)!

Regina

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