Bare chested


Lately I’ve been mesmerised by the bouncing breasts of women in the street. Young women. Old women. Fat women. Skinny women. Living where I do, they’re usually all quite prominent. If you catch me staring, sighing wistfully…it’s not what you think.

I have a scar on my chest.
It is not brave.
It does not remind me of a battle from which I came through better on the other side.
It is not stern reminder of the time I cheated death with a melanoma.

It sits between my 3rd intercostals as a 2cm x 0.5cm reddish flat reminder of that time  a few months ago when I went to a GP who removed the small inflamed pea-sized keratin cyst that had been ‘annoying’ me.

How’s that for an awesome conversation starter?
“Hey, cool scar!”
“Yeah I had an inflamed keratin cyst and it had to be removed. So…um…I got it removed. Yeah.”
“Oh”

I didn’t occur to me that I would have a scar, or how I would react. In a stupid self indulgent way I feel like I can now identify a little more with patients worried about scarring. Sure, mine is not classified as ‘disfiguring’ but it prevents me from wearing 70% of my previous wardrobe. It has me staring lustfully at other women’s breasts in shopping centres thinking “that 85 yr old is rocking her cleavage *sigh*”

I’m a little ashamed at how much of my identity was apparently linked to my percieved ability to wear low cut tops. I’m ashamed at how much of my thought-time has been taken up by wondering if people can notice I’m wearing foundation on my chest, if I do venture out in something that bares below the angle of Louis.

I’m ashamed, especially since this week we’re looking at breast pathology. So, one day, we’ll be able to differentiate carcinomas, benign tumours and mastitis etcetera. We’ll treat women who are dealing with the loss of a whole breast, both or worse. Women who would trade their metastatic disease in an instant for a measly little scar.

Robbin’s sure does know how to bring you down to earth.

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2 Responses to “Bare chested”

  1. livingbeyondbc Says:

    What a thoughtful entry…breasts are a representation of a woman’s feminity…so it makes sense that such strong emotions are tied to them. Thank you for sharing–many share your thoughts!

  2. doctor007 Says:

    C, I feel for you. I understand that in the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal, but on a personal level it’s quite understandably a big thing. I think you’ve obviously learned about yourself through this, and it’s not necessarily a negative thing. I don’t think you should beat yourself up!
    Do you know how devastated I was when I was told I needed glasses? It’s not like they told me I’d lose vision! And yet, I mourned the change that was inevitable, and – to a degree – irrelevant. Breast scars and assisted vision are not exactly comperable, except that the situations that brought about their existence could have been a lot worse.

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