Hear Erika’s story
What defines a woman!
Is it her breast? Is it her womb? Or is she, because she lives?
It’s 7 a.m… I am at the gym trying to get that much desired work out for “me”.
Today’s target is to lose 500 calories and to support “me”, the IPAD is switched to my IPlayer as I have found that watching TV programmes while on the treadmill helps me kill two birds with one stone.
I scroll through the options and the interestingly titled – “Double Mastectomies” – catches my attention.
So I plunge in! I watch beautiful twin sisters, deprived of their mum when they were just 10 and she was just 39 by the dreaded “C” monster. Not satisfied with wreaking havoc on them, the monster wants to come back for these beauties. It seems the sisters recently tested positive for the BRCA gene. According to the report they have an 87% chance of developing breast cancer. If they opt for a mastectomy, their chance of developing breast cancer would reduce to just 12%! Seems simple right….
No…for they are just 27…in the prime of their lives and still doing what must fun loving 27 year old ladies do. Neither of them has a child yet and so the decision to have mastectomies brings up so many conflicting emotions and so many concerns. But I am impressed by these beauties for they do what they have to do. A comment by one of sisters brings to the fore the reality of the situation. She wonders how this would affect her ability to date again, something most people take for granted. The other twin who has been in a 9 year relationship makes a candid comment. She says “I don’t worry if my partner would still love me, because I know he would always genuinely love me. I worry because as a grown woman, my breasts are a part of me, and I wonder if I would still love myself”. So genuine!
Watching this programme brought back traumatic memories for me.
3 years back I had to make a somewhat decision some years back, as few years ago the ugly monster had reared up its head in my uterine region and after years of treatments, the final suggestion was that to avoid further spread and complications, I should have a hysterectomy.
Not the easiest decision for a single woman who focused on her career and had hoped that one day, she would find the time to take up her feminine roles and put some of the reproductive appendages to good use!
And so the emotions came in floods. From regret at postponing things. To blame at nature for hurling such a tough one on me.
But when something so sinister stares you in the face, you take the bull by the horn, and though scared you pray for the best. And so the doctors yanked off the offending reproductive organs… and despite knowing this was for the best, the emotions I went through afterwards are better imagined!
Each month, I cried for the absent monthly periods. I cried for the babies I would never be able to birth naturally. And then I cried because I felt I was no longer a woman.
But in the midst of those tears… I found me. And in answer to my question, I can say I am me because I live. And healthy “me” is grateful just to be alive. So daily, I choose life for me, and knowing this body including my breasts and absent reproductive parts are containers that house me, I take care of the containers in which I am surrounded. However, I am me and removing one or more containers does not make me less of me …..or even less of a woman!