When I was first grappling with the idea of having breast cancer and losing a breast, I said to John, “I just don’t like the idea of somebody cutting on me, or of becoming deformed …”
I have been wondering lately about that whole concept of deformity, and why I find it so frightening. I think about carnival freak shows, babies born with extra limbs – and about how these people with abnormalities are ostracized. It is that sense of “not being like everyone else” that is scary – and especially the fear of being shunned.
I think of the lepers of the world, the prisoners, and those who truly have physical deformities.
Here I am, surrounded by supportive and reassuring family and friends as I lose a part of my body that has become diseased, and I talk of deformity. Talk about blowing something way out of proportion.
And yet, that fear of deformity, even having a fake breast, was and is a real and honest part of my feelings surrounding mastectomy.