Growing up poolside meant I spent a lot of time in changing rooms. Therefore getting changed in front of women is not something that bothers me or even crosses my mind as an issue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these ladies that walks around starkers for a period of time that breaks the comfort zone of everyone around! I get changed and ladies if you see my wobbly bits, you see my wobbly bits. However, recently I was getting changed, minding my own business and I caught the eye of another lady. Now, if we are honest with ourselves we have all experienced that ‘oh no, Iv been caught staring’ moment. Well the lady’s face had this written all over it. I noticed she was looking at my chest and (I guess) trying to work out what was going on with the smiley face scars or perhaps she was trying to locate my nipples- who knows! I wasn’t bothered by it, as when something doesn’t fit the norm it’s natural to be nosey. It did make me wonder what conclusions people must come to. Those in the know, know. Those that don’t must think I had very strange ideals on what I wanted my breasts to look like or was I one of those people that do want to be like Barbie- let’s hope not!
Everyone’s level of comfort will be different when it comes to sharing scars. Some people are very open but others prefer to be private. I don’t go flashing mine around but when friends have asked what they’re like, I don’t mind showing them. Likewise when supporting women at breast reconstruction meetings, they are there because they want to feel assured and know more. I volunteer at these so people have as much knowledge as possible before surgery.
If you are on the mastectomy journey and want to know what post op can look like, I highly recommend seeing if your breast team run a support group.
As for the lady in the changing room, hopefully she came to the right conclusion but also maybe it helped her think to check her boobs, call a friend in need or perhaps it gave her something to gossip about. Even so, talking more and knowing more about mastectomies will help support people, directly or indirectly.