The last three days of my two breasts

Just three more sleeps, then I go into hospital and my breasts will be no more. Every now and then I have an attack of, “Why am I doing this? Am I nuts?” And then I just have to remind myself of the facts: Every female family member I know of who has/had the BRCA1 gene mutation has had cancer. That’s 100 per cent. Nobody just slipping through. I have the BRCA1 fault and I’m overwhelmingly likely to get breast cancer. I just have to repeat this mantra every now and then as I face off with the idea of a double mastectomy. If I actually had cancer, I’d be running in saying “Get them off, get them off!” But I don’t have cancer. It’s hot here (Australia in January) and I’m wearing a little black top. I look down and inspect my breasts. It seems rather incredible that these major parts of my anatomy will simply disappear. But it’s not an arm or a leg or an eye; I’m not having to deal with chemotherapy and vomiting. In a few weeks’ time I’ll be adjusting to life with a new chest. I’ll be teaching again, doing all the stuff I usually do. And these few weeks of discomfort and difficulty could mean that I have a long, healthy, cancer-free life. It’s not much to pay, really.

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