It must be a quirk of my brain that a scene from a movie or lyrics from a song pop into my head when I’m trying to ‘allegorise’ (is that even a word?) a set of circumstances on this Big Breast Adventure. I’d blame the chemo, as I have for any vagueness, forgetfulness or just plain stupidity in the past four years, but this is something my family will attest has been an annoying fixture of my temperament for ages – long before cancer darkened my door. And I’m about to do it again now, dear readers, this time pointing you in the direction of the indomitable Shirley MacLaine as Doris Mann in the late, great Carrie Fisher’s book and film Postcards from the Edge.
Brené Brown’s seminal work Daring Greatly starts with a recap on her own opening lines to a newly appointed therapist. Dr Brown was at the time doing a PhD in shame and vulnerability, and she started her first session by saying, “I hate uncertainty. I hate not knowing.”
As I listened to the Daring Greatly audiobook these words became imbued with a strange, India rubber ball quality, causing them to bounce about in my stomach for a bit. As regular dear readers already know, I don’t believe in coincidences. Which is why I’m not at all surprised by the sudden appearance-in-my-path of Dr Brown’s reference to uncertainty (and her well-documented aversion to it) when, once again, I find myself straddling the known and the unknown on this continuing Big Breast Adventure.
Writing is writ large in our family, so to speak. My dad started his career as a finance journalist, one of my sisters is a sports writer while another is the author of several academic works. I married a journalist and together we’ve run a public relations firm for almost thirty years, writing everything from media releases to CEO’s speeches, website content to annual reports for various local and international clients.
One could safely say that I’ve made a career out of writing, but never in my wildest dreams did I think stringing words together would actually save my life.
Recently I’ve gotten back into the pool, slowly building up my lap numbers and time in the water to around 45 minutes. It’s hard work but very satisfying and the toning effect on the old treatment-ravaged bod has been almost instantaneous. Even though my togs have a pouch for my breast prosthetic, I’ve never worn one to swim anywhere let alone in a chlorinated pool, fearing degradation of whatever material is used to shape that fake left bosom. And that’s all good from an aesthetic point of view because when one wears body-hugging racing cozzies, being one breast down is barely perceptible. From a functional perspective, however, the one-breasted swimmer can’t help but feel a little lopsided when coursing through the water.