Cancer Lesson #57: Sets Don’t Have to Match

Cancer Lesson #57: Sets don’t have to match.

Warning: If you aren’t interested in details about the after-effects of reconstructive surgery, you might want to skip this lesson.

I used to have a matched set.

You know – a matched set of them. Boobs, breast, tits, knockers, hooters, dueling banjos, marimbas. Call them what you like – I had a surprisingly symmetrical pair.

Probably because they were too small to be uneven.

Then came cancer, and my banjos were no longer dueling. Instead, one was trying to kill me. She left me no option but to cut her out of the picture. Or should that be out of the band?

Clearly, there’s no way you can remove a breast, replace it with stomach tissue, and expect it to immediately look exactly like the other.

Not that I was complaining. I was quite happy to wake up with two boobs, matching or not. It was one of the reasons I decided on immediate reconstruction using my own tissue rather than implants.

It was the right decision for me, which doesn’t mean it’s the right one for everyone.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised at the appearance of my new, er, marimba, even if it wasn’t identical to my other one. I was okay with that, though I wondered how my, uh, instrument would look when healed.

Dr. K said he could transform my asymmetrical beauties into a matched set.

I have to say he came close.

True, this involved having my new nipple tattooed so they were a similar color – that’s the TMI part – and I needed some touch-up surgery, which had been expected.

The weird part was that surgery involved liposuction.

On my breast!

Of all the places on my body from which you could suck fat, I never expected to have it taken from there.

Also, sometime after getting the tattooing done, I remembered that I’d considered, but decided against, getting a second tattoo when I turned fifty to match the one I got to celebrate my fortieth birthday.

Turns out I got one after all.

Life is bizarre sometimes.


4 thoughts on “Cancer Lesson #57: Sets Don’t Have to Match

  1. Two years on from getting off the Cancer Express, I’m approaching Reconstruction Day. I’m having it done on the public health system here, private being beyond what I’m prepared to pay for symmetry, and the list is very long. I didn’t have a choice about immediate reconstruction; I lived in a small coastal town that didn’t have a reconstructive surgeon on the multidisciplinary team. I have hated my lopsidedness with a passion every day since my mastectomy, and living in the tropics, I find the prosthesis unbearably sweaty in the height of summer, even given that it’s a special ‘cool’ one. I know I’ll probably end up perkier on one side than the other, but anything is better than the caved in monstrosity I currently sport, and I won’t have to shop for clothes that are high in the neck any longer, another plus point in this climate. I’m not sure I’ll bother with a nipple – I’ll ask the Husband what he thinks, he’s the one who’ll have to look at it! I think it’s going to be life-changing, but in a good way…


    • Thank you so much for your comment. I especially appreciate your taking the time to write because it provides insight about an experience that differed from my own. I think if I could say one thing to people reading this blog, it would be how important it is to realize that everyone’s experience and perspective is different, which means everyone needs to make their own decisions based on what is available to them and what they feel is right for them. No one else has that right or responsibility. I will be sending you good thoughts for a reconstruction that suits your needs, and praying all goes smoothly for you. Thanks again for the comment. 🙂


  2. Hi Kym,
    Come to think of it, my originals never matched symmetrically speaking. I hadn’t thought about that in a while. One was slightly bigger and now I can’t even remember with certainty which one was… My reconstruction project needs further tweaking, but frankly, I’m just not up to it. Maybe some day. And liposuction on your breast… yes, who would’ve thought?… so much happens after cancer comes calling that we ‘never would have thought’ might be our reality. And by the way, TMI? Never!


    • I know what you mean. I could have had more tattooing done on my breast, but I just thought, “Why bother?” Thanks for your comment, especially the TMI part! 🙂 I sometimes wonder if I put too much out there, but I think it’s important to have as many viewpoints and experiences as possible for people to read and share.


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