see

I hate my oncologist visits. Not because she’s not my favourite in terms of warmth and empathy. Well that too. But because immediately it all becomes real again. As much as I feel an observer, there are those moments I feel so nauseous I have to excuse myself as I sit in the waiting room, surrounded by bald heads, decaying spirits and hopeful faces. The smell, the smiling nurses, the ‘to us cancer is personal’ slogan. Still too fresh. Still nauseating. A stark reminder of what was and will be. But what I hate even more is receiving a message the next day to please call the doc rooms to discuss my blood work. I love the ‘all looks good Lianne’ calls.. For fucks sake. I know better and I don’t live in constant threat of doom, but in that moment my world crashes. Crashes. And it takes all that is me to bring myself back to for goodness sake girl, pull yourself together. Anyway, cancer markers good, thank fuck, calcium levels out of normal range, need to be rechecked in four weeks to make sure not indicative of something out of the ordinary. For fucks sake like what. What is ordinary. What is normal. I could care. I’m just, today, me one, cancer O. Fuck yeah.

And I got a glimmer of something I liked in my oncologist. Maybe it was the smile reaching her eyes as she told me she found me inspiring and will be using me to encourage so many of her patients who don’t go the whole way. She means no nipple tattoos. Cos they’re obviously not nipples, just like my boobs aren’t boobs. So women just don’t bother. Especially older women. She nearly lost me there. Well I did and its made a heap of difference to me. I like me a little more. In that moment I’m not reminded of the horror immediately. And the moments are all that matter. And I like her for seeing me this time.

illusion

So last Monday I had my man made nipples and areolae tattooed. Amazing what can be done with a little shading and artistry. Nicole, the beautiful feisty cosmetic tattoo queen, is an artist. An empathetic, caring, beautiful artist who has blown me away with her skill, her confidence, her humour and her kindness.  I love my weird, very scarred, oddly shaped yet strangely normal, made up of back skin and pelvic area skin, with different shaped nipples, one ten years older than the other, and with the odd short and curly and absolutely no sensation, boobs. Or foobs some call them. False boobs. One with an implant one without. Ok, not normal at all but I’ve got what I wanted. The smoke and mirrors. At a glance I forget. In fact I remember but I smile rather than grimace. The tattoos are healing and crusting so hopefully all goes as it should without too much touching up required.  Okay maybe not loving the foobs, but loving the illusion.  But please know as happy as I am, as accepting as I have learnt to be, as often as I show you and I will,  I would still rather have your perfectly imperfect breasts. Your old, saggy mismatched boobs. Your breastfed my children and look at them now breasts. Your flat breasts, your large boobs, your inverted nipples, your stretch marks, your droop. This has been torture, not a choice. I will do it again in a heartbeat to be here. But still. Please stop telling me how much better mine are than yours. Even if just to be kind. And remember, as do I, to always count your blessings. Nothing, nothing lasts forever.