I am reaching out to share my experiences on dating after a mastectomy. This is not a topic I hear discussed a lot, so I became inspired to share my journey to help others in the same situation feel more confident and comfortable within themselves and know they are not alone.
My journey has not one I keep secret. However, something I do not talk much about are the challenges of being a single woman in the dating world after having a preventative prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. It has been 3 and a half years since my preventative prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and over the past year I have become to feel confident in my new body. After my 4 surgeries I felt a huge relief and didn’t feel such a big burden on myself. I was able to stress less about a future diagnosis of breast cancer, but had to come to terms I had foreign objects in my body and no nipples. I was immensely self-conscious about appearing deformed and spent years hiding my chest and scars.
I have been through a journey both physically and emotionally and recently decided that is it time for me, my life, my health and my body. After years of being married and now divorced I decided to do a Boudoir Photo Shoot called Soul on Fire and participate in a project called UnLeashed. After the boudoir shoot and project, I felt powerful, strong, and beautiful. Feelings I wouldn’t dare to imagine feeling after my preventative surgeries. The lingerie helped me find my femininity that’s been there all along. It truly made me feel so empowered and proud of how far I have come.
As I moved forward with a few first dates, happy some of them didn’t led to a second date. One worry for me was when is the right time to tell someone you have BRCA 2 gene mutation, how you dealt with it and how your body is different at 36 years old. How will they react? What will they ask me? Will I get emotional? I had no worries about being intimate with anyone. Nonetheless, I was sure there would be turning point when my nipple-less breasts brought an evening to a halt. It is the hardest topic to speak about.
I have gone on a couple dates in 2 years and have had a couple situations:
Why would you have a hysterectomy at such a young age?
What no hormones?
Do you have sensation in your breast? If not why would I touch them?
Are you healthy?
How do you live with those scars on your chest?
Is that why your marriage ended?
But for all the silly questions I knew inside I made the right decision and wouldn’t change it for the world. Dating should be fun not stressful or depressing.
Recently I met someone in the gym, LOL. I was mid set working out, sweating like a pig and as I am getting up I look up to a very sexy man with tattoos on his arms and these big dimples. I was so flattered, was caught off guard and started stuttering. We spoke for couple minutes and then I didn’t see him for like a month. When we saw each other again we exchanged numbers and started talking and texting. After sharing stories I was open and honest about being a Previvor. His response was I am super hyped about what you do it’s awesome, your video was so encouraging, the people your reaching out to and the courage to fight. His reaction was so kind, compassionate and caring.
He is very handsome, confident, funny, smart, well-dressed man. The anxiety of anyone seeing my breasts caused a little anxiety but knew I was beautiful and it was time to embrace my scars. A scar simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you. By no means am I saying it will be easy for me to take my shirt off and get intimate with a man but one thing for sure is I accept my scars.
In one of our conversation I will never forget he said “I am surprised you are single but I see with everything you’ve been through the healing hasn’t been easy.” That caught by attention and realized how compassionate he really was. After seeing my breast he never made any comments but “honey your breast are beautiful.” What a great feeling and sigh of relief. Now I could care less about him seeing my scars.
I accept my body and embrace my beauty and remind myself daily of “How do you want to be remembered.” The days of my talking down to myself are over and hiding my imperfection. I will focus of self-love, self-worth and self-care.
Through my marriage and becoming a Previvor I would have never thought I would say I have a boyfriend. This man is so caring, compassionate, understanding and supportive. Feeling too blessed to be stressed and am so grateful for all life has given me.
“My BRCA2Gene started the fight but I am going to finish it.”