Goodbye To My Boobs


A post-surgery LizzieFour days before I amputated my breasts, I had a theme party for them. My husband and I served martinis—boobtinis, actually, with two olives, of course. We wrapped melons with prosciutto, and since we couldn’t find a breast of veal to braise, we settled for butterflied chickens.

The party had two purposes. First, I wanted to celebrate 28 years of living with my born body. And second, I wanted to distract myself from the reality that in four short days I would be missing body parts I deeply valued….

The rest of the essay is over at The Daily Beast. Questions or comments? Feel free to post them below

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 25th, 2010 at 7:11 pm.
Categories: Blog, Clips.

8 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Louise

    I just had to say i admire your courage. I went through the testing also (mom, grandma, greataunt) and although it was negative, i don’t know if my family actually carries the gene,so i don’t know if i really am negative or not. we may carry another undiscovered gene. So it’s an ongoing fear. I was prepared and still am to do the surgery, it’s a positive action. I wish you all the best

  2. LG

    I lay here without any tatas…. in peace. I am 48, had two tumors on one side, nothing on the other side… and two children with disabilities – my plate is so full with my kids – I cannot live a half life worrying about when I will get “it” on the other side. I have a high CA 125 (ovarian cancer marker).

    I give you all the credit in the world. There are many who don’t understand – that is ok. I do.

  3. CMH

    Well done for being so brave! Time passes so quickly and you adjust to the change. Your memory of what you were like before fades. I had to make the same choice and it has been absolutely fine. No regrets at all. Once you have kids you will feel even better about your choice, because you know that you have sacrificed to make sure that you will be there to watch them grow up. That’s more special than any expendable body part.

  4. Lael

    Thank you so much for writing about this, and for the great idea to have a party for the Tata’s! I’m 39, doing the double in January and figuring out the best reconstruction for my body type. I meet with “plastics” on Wednesday.
    When you say, “Since the procedure I chose used a tissue matrix donated by a corpse and stripped of DNA,” to what reconstructive process are you referring?
    Thanks,
    Lael

  5. Lizzie Stark

    I chose a direct-to-implant procedure with nipple sparing. After the mastectomy, my plastic surgeon inserted an implant under my chest muscle, and used Alloderm to cover the under side of the implant. This is different from traditional implant surgery, which involves the use of expanders to gradually stretch out the pectoral muscle until it covers the implant. In my experience, most of the plastic surgeons I met thought that their procedure of specialty was the right one for me. So, you might figure out what sounds the most appealing to you, and then figure out if you’re a good candidate for it.

    I heartily recommend the FORCE boards for this — there are tons of women who have had every procedure under the sun done, and they’re happy to tell you about their experiences. There’s also a great resource on the types of reconstruction available. Good luck — I hope you can find a procedure that’s right for you!

  6. Jim

    Dear Lizzie,

    I am watching your interview on Today as I type. You are one brave woman. Let me relay some thoughts that I think are pertinent for me. My maternal Grandmother had both of her breasts removed back in the 1950′s because she had benign tumors in both breasts. As a young child I was curious about this but never gave it much thought. I just knew that I loved my Grandmother more than anything as did my five brothers and sisters and my ten first cousins. At that time, people thought that these tumors could turn into cancer! How far we have come. And how much courage it must have taken for her to take that radical step so that she could survive to see her children and grandchildren grow up! Grandma lived to her mid-seventies and got to experience the love of her children, grandchildren and great-grand children. What a shame it would have been for none of us to have been able to share our love with her.

    You (and Grandma) are very brave women! I wish you a long life and many adoring children and grandchildren.

    Jim Ross
    Chesapeake, VA

  7. trini

    Hi. I am a breast cancer survivor of nearly 4 years. I am BRCA1 positive and I am saying good bye to my tatas on May 8. I’m scared, but don’t want to worry about re-occurrence my entire life!

  8. Lizzie Stark

    It’s totally normal to be scared — waiting around for the surgery is the hardest part. Be nice to yourself over this next week, and reach out to the ones who love you.

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